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24 hours in (surprising) Toronto

Toronto is one of North America’s coolest cities – but too many travelers skip the Canadian metropolis for stops in New York, Chicago and West Coast gems like San Francisco and L.A.

That, my friends, is a mistake. Toronto deserves to be atop everyone’s list – and it only takes 24 hours to find out why.

9:15: LISTEN TO DRAKE AT THE DRAKE

Start your day with the oh-so-Canadian Lumberjack breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries and pancakes at the Drake Hotel. Smother it all with local maple syrup. This is what Canada tastes like.

The place also has a pretty cool soundtrack – and they often play songs by local superstar Drake. (Drake at the Drake!)

10:30: SEE THE VIEW FROM ATOP THE CN

OK, so you might have overdone it a little with that Lumberjack order – so burn some calories by taking a long but lovely walk over to the CN Tower. Take the elevator up to the top and marvel at the 360 degree views of Toronto and Lake Ontario.

You can even strap yourself into a harness and hang over the building’s edge. Be warned though: this is NOT a good idea on a full stomach.

11:30: DO SOME SHOPPING IN KENSINGTON MARKET

Walk through Chinatown to Kensington Market – Toronto’s most eccentric little neighborhood. You’ll find everything here from local produce and vintage t-shirts to funky little art galleries and French fromageries.

13:00: WATCH THE BLUE JAYS

You’re in North America. This is baseball country. Head out to the Rogers Centre to watch the Blue Jays play the Yankees or Red Sox. Baseball is a slow sport, so sit back, relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

And make sure you eat a hot-dog and wear a baseball cap. That’s an order.

16:00: DIG YOUR FEET INTO THE SAND

Toronto has several sandy beaches. YES, Canada has beaches – and really nice ones too!

Spend a few hours lounging under a pink umbrella on Sugar Beach – where you can enjoy skyline views from a typically-Canadian Muskoka beach chair without leaving the city limits.

18:15: GRAB A DRINK AT C’EST WHAT

Grab a Ginger Ale or if you’re over 19, choose between locally-crafted brews with names like Big Butt Smoked Dark Ale, Homegrown Hemp Ale and Mother Pucker’s Ginger Wheat. Just keep it to one – you’ve got a long night ahead.

19:30 INDIAN DINNER, GREEK DESSERT

Toronto is one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities – which means delicious food from every corner of the planet. Feast on curry dishes and nan bread in Little India before heading to Greektown for the city’s best baklava. Top it all off with a French digestif and you’re ready to go.

22:00 DO YOUR THING IN QUEEN WEST

Take a cab back to the Queen West district where you can choose between comedy and jazz clubs, offbeat theatres, swanky clubs and homely dive bars. Toronto is utterly without pretension – so don’t worry about dress codes.

1:30: EAT POUTINE AT POUTINI’S

It’s been a long day – and nothing says late-night Canada like a plate of poutine – a pile of french fries, cheese curds and gravy. Poutine might have originated in Quebec – but this is Canada’s national dish.

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