On my last two days in town, I decided to check out one of Toronto’s museums. The Gehry-desigend Art Gallery of Ontario is a stand-out, and there happened to be an exhibit of abstract expressionist paintings from New York's MOMA. Unlike in New York City, I didn’t have to fight for space to view the special collection of artists such as Pollack, Rothko, and de Koenig.
Later, I met up with my friend for brunch at chic and trendy Sassafraz in Yorkville. The food is outstanding – as is the people- and car-watching. (Canadians love to drive their Porsches, Lamborghinis, and Lotuses around that particular corner!) Yorkville also has many high-end boutiques, and it's nice to stroll around the neighborhood; larger stores are on nearby Bloor Street.
Other restaurants I'd highly recommend include Bistro 990. This is an upscale French restaurant (although the menu has some other European dishes), but it’s not overly formal; the food, classic décor, and service are excellent. Sotto Sotto is a great homey, Italian pick apparently favored by A-listers like Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp.
In the Distillery District, we ate at The Boiler House. The restaurant’s design is more impressive than the food, so I suggest going for lunch and eating outside on a warm day.
One final must-do is a visit to the Toronto Islands. It's easy to walk from Le Germain Maple Leaf to the Ferrydocks and take a quick ride to Centre Island (boats leave at least once an hour, depending on the season and crowd size). Once ashore, visit the bike rental shop. The island, which does have some residents, offers stellar views of Toronto's downtown, and you can take in all of the island’s vantage points – as well as pretty beaches, yacht marinas, and cafes – in about a half day by bike. Although I left before evening, I imagine that watching the sun set over the island’s western horizon is beautiful.
All in all, I loved Toronto; it's my new favorite Canadian city. The friendly people, mix of attractions, varied cultural institutions, walkable neighborhoods, fine dining, and the Le Germaine Maple Leaf made for a memorable vacation experience. I'd go again – and next time I will buy the baseball tickets in advance and try some Canadian food (there just wasn’t enough time!).