10 things to do in Toronto –

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I wanted to write a post about how we can still enjoy Toronto without endangering anyone. There are many things to do in Toronto while social distancing so I put together a shortlist of possible activities to enjoy in the Six, the big smoke, TO – Toronto.

Things to do in Toronto while social distancing - DownshiftingPRO

With 2.9 M people living in Toronto and almost 6 M including the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), this is Canada’s biggest city. That is a huge population to keep indoors. There will come a time when you will be able to travel again and visit once Covid-19 subsides. For now, you can see some of its top attractions online.

For some of you living in the area, you can access the outdoor suggestions on your bike or by walking (avoiding public transport). I hope you are able to enjoy the spring weather and support local businesses. For those who have a car, you can try a few of these activities from the safety of your vehicle.

Virtual Campout at the Toronto Zoo

If you weren’t to camp outside on this May Long Weekend (Memorial Day for you Americans), you can watch the virtual campout at the Toronto Zoo and share the experience. The live stream includes live animal interaction at Bush Camp, videos plus hanging out at the campfire with songs, stories!

The Zoo has also announced that as soon as it gets the go ahead, it plans on introducing drive-through visits. “The plan is to have people stay in their vehicles — start in the parking lot and literally drive through our front entrance and use the walking paths and zoo mobile route to get a behind-the-scene unique experience,” said Toronto Zoo CEO Dolf DeJong last week.

Ripley’s Aquarium at Home

Explore Ripley’s Aquarium at home and learn all about the amazing animals of our world waters! Use the weekly calendar to meet the Aquarium staff educators, who will be your guide to live feedings, educational encounters, storytime, and much more! Scroll a bit more and discover downloadable animal activities and crafts!

Things to do in Toronto while social  - Check out the Jellyfish or shark take at Ripley's Aquarium- DownshiftingPRO
Watch the Jelly Fish Webcam at Canada’s Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto

You can also see different webcams in the Ripley’s Aquarium. They include a Shark Camera, Rainbow Reef Camera, Ray Bay Camera, and the Jelly Fish Camera. I will admit watching those Jelly Fish float up and down in those tanks is mesmerizing. We have loved our trips to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto.

Please go out responsibly: We remain vigilant of COVID-19 and continue our social/physical distancing requirements set out by both our provincial and federal governments. I encourage you to continue to use a mask and protective gloves when outside and that you maintain a two-meter distance from those you encounter. Keep safe ~ M.I.

Library Curbside pick-up

The Toronto Public Library (TPL) has just announced that soon they’ll be processing curbside pickup and also allow returns. Many have taken advantage of the library’s Digital Library Card and ebook offerings while branches have been closed. This is a great idea as some people prefer the real deal and have a book in hand.

Things to do in Toronto while social distancing - DownshiftingPRO - grab a book - curbside - and read in the park

Cookie Craze in Toronto

Cookie Delivery – Sweets for the sweet. No question the list put together by TOBlog is one not to miss. Who wouldn’t want cook delivery in a time of social distancing? This would make just about anyone happy, don’t you think? Depending on what you’re looking for, Craig’s Cookies is one of the best in the city (according to a TO insider), as is Butter Baker. Le dolci has GREAT DIY cookie kits (Friday’s Only) for delivery. Looking for a way to provide a sweet treat for Front-line workers? Place an order!

Take a Food Tour in a Box

Imagine visiting one of the best food markets in Toronto – St. Lawrence Market right from home. The Culinary Adventure Co. recently launched Food Tour in a Box – a curated culinary box that’s delivered right to your door. The goodies change each week but expect to receive something yummy featured on their food tours, including ingredients for home cooking. As a bonus, the box also includes a $25 gift certificate for a future Culinary Adventure Co. food experience.

Toronto Take out and delivery options Google Map
Toronto Take-out and delivery options
Click on the image to get to the Google Map

Growing up in Montreal, I grew accustomed to having a large variety of food choices. There is no question you can choose from any number of take-out options in Toronto: Chinatown, Korean Town, Little Italy, Greek Town, Little Portugal, Little India… the list goes on and on. There are many ways to support local businesses and satisfy your need for yummy food. Delivery or pick up methods will vary so check with the eatery (or bar) of your choice.

Quiet Street Initiative

In order to encourage social distancing while city streets remain relatively traffic free, the city of Toronto will be installing 57 kilometers of “quiet streets” beginning May 14. Although not completely closed to traffic (‘locals’ can drive), it will provide more walking and biking areas to reduce sidewalk congestion. The ActiveTO initiative will roll out throughout the city (you can find a full list here ) but few a notable streets include:

  • Kensington Market (area that borders Nassau Ave., Spadina Ave, Augusta Ave. and Dundas St. W.)
  • Lakeshore Dr./Lake Promenade (First Ave. to Forty Second St.)
  • High Park  Ave. (Bloor St. W. to Annette St.)
  • Secord Ave./Eastdale Ave./Lumsden Ave./Main St./Hamstead Ave./West Lake Ave. (Dawes Rd. to Oak Park Ave.)

Visit an amazing museum virtually

One of the many things to do in Toronto while social distancing includes activities #atHome. Pull out your tablet and send it to your TV screen so you can see masterworks in big bold pictures. There are many ways to see exhibits in museums across the world online and there is no shortage of offerings in Toronto. I have a few suggestions for visits to our world-class museums.

  • The AGO – get your art fix by visiting the AGO through its online collection. Check out #agofromhome hashtag on all their social channels.
  • The Ask ROM anything series provides insight into the various collections at the Royal Ontario Museum.
  • Bata Show Museums – Download printable shoe prints and make your own colour combination of classic shoes or tune in to their Instagram Live videos). Also, check out their ‘men in heels’ exhibit on Google’s Art & Culture pages.
  • The Aga Khan Museum provides an impressive amount of online content each week. Under the #museumwithoutwalls hashtag, you will find 3D tours, Spotify playlists, and watch and listen to concerts.


200512 IVG Social Car 3
Stay Tuned as I hope to drive down to see Gogh-by-Car and write a review!

The world’s first Drive-In Immersive Art Exhibit! After over 2 million people visiting the Paris exhibit, Canadians will be able to see the Immersive Vincent van Gogh exhibit this summer. During a 10-day period (June 18-28, 2020), art patrons will be able to safely experience the new Immersive Vincent van Gogh exhibition from the comfort of their vehicles. Although those tickets are almost sold out, you can secure walk-through tickets online. Once they are able to open up to walk-through traffic, there are timed entrances so you can secure your spot. you’ll have a chance to visit the exhibit through to September 30, 2020.

Located in the massive Toronto Star warehouse, the exhibition will allow people to drive their cars in and see the projections of Van Gogh’s most iconic works.

Be immersed in 600,000 cubic feet of stunning projection animating the masters’ oeuvre and illuminating the mind of the genius. Wander through giant projections that highlight brushstroke, detail, and colour as you have never experienced them.

Immersive Vincent van Gogh exhibit website

Visit Parks and Open Spaces

Physical activity is very important in keeping mentally and physically healthy. You need to consider one more thing to do in Toronto while social distancing – getting outside! You are still permitted to visit parks if you follow these rules: (1) No more than 5 people can congregate at one time and (2) they must be from the same household. Stay 2 meters apart. Do not use any of the playground equipment or facilities. You are permitted to walk or bike in parks buy you cannot loiter.

I recently read a great post by Lauren at Ontario Hiking with a list of the Top 10 Toronto Hiking Trails: The Best Places to Hike in Toronto. I’ve visited some of these parks but had no idea of others. I love the Map of Trails and suggestions on which are easier or more challenging. Lauren also has more content about Toronto on her other site Justin Plus Lauren.

Things to do in Toronto while social distancing - DownshiftingPRO - Hike in one of the hundreds of trails and parks
Take a walk in the park but be sure and respect social distancing measures

Research future outings

Have you taken the time to learn more about your city? Sometimes visitors or tourists know more about the history and the attractions of a city than its residents. When things open up, you may want to find new places to eat, relax, have a cocktail or check out a green space you’ve never known about.

Reading blogs with great content about Toronto and the GTA can be helpful in planning future trips to Toronto. Though you can find ‘what to do in TO’ posts from larger blogs (BlogTO, Narcity, etc.), here are a few suggestions from some locals that I follow:

  • Parenting to Go – Nothing amuses me more than to see what antics Yashy and her family are up to. An urban-dwelling family, they always have great intel on family living in T.O. Her Instagram stories are priceless.
  • Traveling Mitch – Chris has a 99-page comprehensive Guide to Toronto for where to eat and what to do in the city. It’s an e-book that you can purchase for a very reasonable price, the insight from a local is priceless. I bought the ebook and discovered a few gems that had not been on my radar but are now.
  • As mentioned above Ontario Hiking and Justin Plus Lauren will provide great info on the GTA and surrounding area. If you are looking for suggestions on vegan options, they are the go-to couple!
  • Lastly, you can also find a variety of blog posts about Toronto right here on DownshiftingPRO.com. I have suggestions on the Best Thrift Shops in Kensington Market, a fun day at Ripley’s Aquarium, visits to the AGO, and The ROM.
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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for DownshiftingPRO.com and other online media outlets.

2 thoughts on “10 things to do in Toronto –”

  1. shopping and food, these two things I love a lot. This year i am planning to visit Canada. Hope all these activities i will be able to do. I am excited. Thanks for sharing the information which is valuable for your readers.

    • I have to admit, I miss visiting Toronto very much. They are still under lockdown at the moment so I would not plan to be here before the end of the summer to be sure. But please, continue to dream about coming to visit our wonderful country.

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