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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

#SeeTorontoNow: Where to stay & what to do on a first visit in Toronto.


City Travel, Travel Videos, Canada, North America, Travel Blog 0

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Toronto. My arrival in the “big city” marked a transition. All those past weeks, I have been travelling in Western Canada, essentially going from small town to small town (except Vancouver and perhaps Winnipeg). The transitions from one place to another have always been fairly slow given my #VIARail train journey across Canada, where I could spend a lot of time getting used to the gradual change of landscape as well as chatting with fellow passengers, an adventure I have talked about in more detail here.

To finally cut the immense distances of the second-largest country in the world at least a little short though, I had booked myself a flight right after, flying from Winnipeg to Toronto in what seemed to me “only the blink of an eye”. A two-hour-flight after more than two weeks of comparatively slow train-travelling, that is.

 

I was not prepared for Toronto when I first arrived. After (rural) Western Canada, everything here seemed too loud, too big, too much. But then, the city had a way of finding its way into my heart all the same …

… and as with everything, it just took a little time. And friendliness. And love. Such is the story of arriving at my hotel, the Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto … Oh but wait a minute. Isn’t the Chelsea Hotel Toronto the very hotel that has 1600 rooms, accommodating more than 3000 guests, and one of the – if not the largest – in the entire Commonwealth?

Well, yes. It is. And yet, the friendliness, personal attention & care of all members of staff has been truly genuine, heartfelt, and very well received. THANK YOU, everyone concerned, for making this transition so much easier for me. I can only recommend you to go there and see for yourself. Check this out.

Arriving at the Chelsea Hotel Toronto and its convenient location ...

Arriving at the Chelsea Hotel Toronto and its convenient location only a few blocks away from Toronto’s famous Waterfront …

 

... located in the midst of other towering sky-scraper buildings ...

… located in the midst of other towering sky-scraper buildings …

 

... makes for a convenient choice if, like us, you only have a few days to spare inside the city.

… makes for a convenient choice if, like me, you only have a few days to spare inside the city.

 

The meals at the local restaurant(s) are offered almost around the clock and vary in style and choice ...

The meals at the local restaurant(s) are offered almost around the clock and vary in style and choice …

 

... but what we found to be the same all throughout our stay, was the genuine friendliness of the great team at Chelsea Hotel Toronto: Thank you, Iris Ibarra & Josef Ebner, for making our stay such a pleasurable one.

… but what we found to be the same all throughout our stay, was the genuine friendliness of the great team at Chelsea Hotel Toronto: Thank you, Iris Ibarra & Josef Ebner, for making our stay such a pleasurable one and “giving a face” to one of the largest hotels I have ever stayed at during my whole life!

 

Staying in downtown Toronto calls for a visit of the city’s iconic CN Tower, a long stroll along Toronto Waterfront as well as a cruise around Toronto Islands – if but to see the much acclaimed Toronto skyline.

There is always more than meets the eye. Even if you choose to follow in the footsteps of what most visitors do in Toronto (that is, visit the CN Tower as well as embarking on a harbour cruise from the Waterfront). You still find little gems worth noticing on the way. The odd Japanese restaurant, surprising you to its full-flavoured, extremely bountiful “Dinner for Two”. The trompe l’œuil larger-than-life-size Street Art Graffiti just around the corner from where you are. The unexpected peace over strolling around Toronto Waterfront, decelerating the speed of downtown Toronto and opening up your vistas towards the immense Lake Ontario, and Toronto Islands to the south. Yes, I can #SeeTorontoNow ..!

... peace during our stroll on the Waterfront ...

… relaxing with a beer & book after our first stroll on the Waterfront …

 

... beautiful Street Art Graffiti ...

… beautiful Street Art Graffiti, apparently commissioned and much appreciated by the local citizens in Toronto …

 

... as well as a celebration for the arts, and especially writers: The

… as well as a celebration for the arts, and especially writers: “The Write Stuff” might be just the festival to come back to …

 

... for someone like me, having just presented her own book at the local Toronto Runnymede Library (thank you, Ana, Tracey & Janice!) ...

… especially for someone like me, who has just presented her own book at the local Toronto Runnymede Library (thank you, Ana, Tracey & Janice, for your continuous support and for receiving me to your hometown, finally!) …

 

... but so is the allure of Toronto in itself ...

… and so is the allure of Toronto …

 

... a city I can only recommend you to go and experience from the water, on this cruise with Harbour Cruise leaving right off Toronto Waterfront ...

… a city I can only recommend to experience from the water also, like on this Harbour Cruise leaving right off Toronto Waterfront …

 

... because water, yep, is what the city has plenty of overlooking majestic Ontario Lake, our vantage point from the CN Tower ...

… because water, yep, is what the city has plenty of: Ooverlooking majestic Ontario Lake, our vantage point from the CN Tower …

 

... some 350 metres above sea level (at 550 metres all the way to the top, the building was the largest in the world all the way until 2007!) ...

… some 350 metres above sea level (at 550 metres all the way to the top, the building was the largest in the world all the way until even as late as 2007!) Impressive, really…

 

... try the glass roof if you dare be brave, a popular among "the tourists" ... :D

… try the glass roof if you dare be brave, a popular among “the tourists” … 😀

 

... Toronto, day or night ...

Toronto, whether by day …

 

... or night is therefore really worth your while!

… or night is just really worth your while!

 

Did I mention that Austrian Airlines / Air Canada flies directly from Vienna to Toronto several times a week? That the city is one of the most multi-cultural, open-minded, and friendly in the whole wide world? (That’s for the general nature of the beautiful Canadian people, I would say – read more about it here). That Toronto easily, and fully, satisfies any international #foodlover’s tastes and palate?

That’s it. I can #SeeTorontoNow! And you? 🙂

 

More travel photos & recommendations on where to eat & travel your way around the city:

 

I have also produced a travel video that highlights some of my travel adventures in Western Canada, all the way from Vancouver to the vast open plains east of the Rocky Mountains. A fascinating, funky take on what has truly been a life-changing journey. Enjoy with sound & smile 🙂

 

Disclaimer: I have been supported on this trip to Toronto by Tourism Toronto as well as the Chelsea Hotel Toronto. All opinions are my own.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
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