There is no dearth of tourist attractions in Toronto, Canada – from the iconic CN Tower that looms over the majestic Toronto skyline to the natural history exhibits at the Royal Ontario Museum, from the Art Gallery of Ontario to the Hockey Hall of Fame, from the green gardens of Queen’s Park to the beaches of Toronto Islands – there are more than enough sights to see in Toronto. But the busiest and largest metropolis in Canada has many hidden gems to explore and if you look carefully (or ask the right people), there are some unique and unusual things that you can do in Toronto. Whether you have an extra day on your itinerary, a really long layover or just need something different to do on the weekend, we have just the list for you! Check out our suggestions for the unusual things to do in Toronto, Canada.
1. Visit the Bata Shoe Museum
The Bata Shoe Museum is not only the world’s largest collection of shoes and related objects but also a footwear research center. Shaped like an open shoe box, this museum is Mrs. Bata’s labor of love. It houses more than 12,000 shoes collected by Mrs. Bata from her travels all over the world, including footwear of ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations, shoes of famous historical personalities and many indigenous North American footwear items. Shoe-lover or not, the Bata Shoe Museum is a must-visit destination in Toronto!
Bata Shoe Museum
Address: 327 Bloor Street West; Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Website: Bata Shoe Museum
Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 10am to 5pm; Sunday 12pm to 5pm
Price: 4-27 USD
2. Read books at Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
Housing the rare book collection of the University of Toronto, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is the largest of its kind in Canada, with more than 700,000 rare books in its collection and care. Rows upon rows of rare books, manuscripts, and literary papers are stored in a very modern setting of this beautiful library. The collections range from a tablet from 1789 B.C. to original drafts and printed works of contemporary Canadian writers that the general public can easily access. For the curious visitors, the library also holds curated exhibits of its precious books at regular intervals throughout the year.
Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
Address: 120 St. George St.Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A5, Canada
Website: Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
Opening hours: Weekdays only 9am to 5pm
3. See the Half House
This ‘blink-and-miss’ house situated on 54½ St. Patrick Street in Toronto is a very unique sight. As the name suggests, the house is only one-half of a complete house - a result of a bizarre demolition plan and the refusal of the owners to sell the house to a land holdings company. The house is about a century old, but still standing firm and strong.
Address: 54½ St Patrick St, Toronto, ON M5T 1V1, Canada
4. Take a tour of the Necropolis Cemetery
Also known as ‘The Toronto Necropolis’, the Necropolis Cemetery is a hauntingly beautiful cemetery in Toronto. The cemetery is the resting place for many prominent Torontonians as well as soldiers from World War I and II. The wide-open green spaces of this cemetery are a perfect place to take a leisurely stroll by yourself or with a special someone. Many locals love to visit the cemetery for a picnic, some quiet time or to catch-up with friends and family.
The Toronto Necropolis
Address: 200 Winchester St, Toronto, ON M4X 1B7, Canada
Website: The Toronto Necropolis
Opening hours: All days 8am to 5:30pm
5. Walk through the bamboo forest within The Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research
Nestled within the Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research at the University of Toronto is a beautiful bamboo forest. This Zen-like bamboo garden is open to students and the general public alike. Surrounded by tall bamboo plants, you can spend some quiet time on the benches or the wooden deck of the forest and escape the daily grind of the city. Set in a very modern and sleek building in the downtown area, this rare green space is a breath of fresh air in the concrete jungle of Toronto.
The Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research
Address: University of Toronto, 160 College Street, Room 230, Toronto, Ontario CANADA M5S 3E1
Opening hours: All days 9am to 5pm
6. Go to a cuddle party
This may sound strange, but attending a cuddle party is another must-do thing in Toronto. Meant to create a playful and safe space for adults to understand the different nuances of communication, boundaries, and affection by means of a friendly and non-sexual human touch, cuddle parties are organized by ‘cuddle party facilitators’ certified by Cuddle Party - a federally recognized non-profit educational organization. Anyone can join in a cuddle party, meet new people, enjoy a good conversation, touch, be touched, practice asking for what you want, practice saying ‘no’ to what you don’t want - all in a structured setting.
Website: Cuddle Party
Price: 15-90 USD
7. Let out stress and anger at The Rage Room
After a tiring day, a hectic week or just a frustrating month, blow off some steam at The Rage Room in Toronto. Smash inanimate objects to bits with the weapon of your choice – a baseball bat or a crowbar. With full protective gear and music to match your smashing spree, you can release your aggressions in a fully air-conditioned facility with changing rooms, lockers, and wifi too. As a souvenir, you could even get a copy of your ‘rage video’!
The Rage Room
Address: 26 Ashwarren Rd., Toronto, ON Canada
Website: The Rage Room
Opening hours: Monday-Thursday 1pm to 10pm; Saturday-Sunday 9am to 11pm
Price: 15 USD
8. Enjoy an indie film at TIFF Bell Lightbox
Besides being the venue of the world-famous film festival (Toronto International Film Festival), TIFF Bell Lightbox also screens movies all-year round for the general public. Indie (independent) films are a regular feature of their year-round movie lineup. Indie films in a variety of languages and from countries all over the world are shown at TIFF Bell Lightbox. The stadium-style seats and high-class sound systems make it a perfect place to catch an indie film by yourself, with your significant other or your gang of friends!
TIFF Bell Lightbox
Address: 350 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 3X5, Canada
Website: TIFF Bell Lightbox
Opening hours: Variable
Price: 11-18 USD
9. Read a random book from the Biblio-Mat vending machine
One of Toronto’s most unique destinations is a book shop specializing in rare old books called ‘The Monkey’s Paw.’ Besides its awesome collection of rare books and other memorabilia, the shop is most famous for the Biblio-Mat, which dispenses randomly-selected vintage books for CAD 2 (USD 1.51). This coin-operated vending machine is one-of-a-kind and a book from the Biblio-Mat would make a great gift or a souvenir!
Address: 1267 Bloor St. West, Toronto, ON M6H 1N7
Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11am to 6pm; Sunday 12pm to 5pm
Price: 1.51 USD
While there are various vantage points from which you can get astounding aerial views of Toronto (the top of CN tower, rooftops, and balconies of other skyscrapers in Toronto, etc), the best views are undeniably from a helicopter. As such, there are many helicopter tour operators in Toronto and almost all of them will take you over the incredibly beautiful Toronto downtown and the surrounding areas from where you can enjoy sweeping views of the city.
7-Minute Helicopter Tour Over Toronto
Stray off the beaten path and take in some unusual sights in Toronto – catch a glimpse of the Half House, visit a shoe museum, smash some things at Rage Room or go to a cuddle party! Arm yourself with our recommended list of unusual things to do in Toronto, Canada and make the most of all that this wonderful city has to offer.
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