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You Are Here: Eat, Explore and Relax Along the Harbourfront

HTO Park

HTO Park

1  Inspired by J.S. Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, the Toronto Music Garden is a classical green space in both theme and execution: six meticulously tended “movements” are lush with trees, tall grasses and colourful perennials. The garden hosts chamber music performances on Thursdays and Sundays throughout the summer. 479 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000; harbourfrontcentre.com

2  Watch the boats (and planes) go by beneath a large yellow parasol at HTO Park. The sand-strewn site overlooking Toronto’s inner harbour lends a relaxed, beachy vibe to what was once a fairly nondescript stretch of lakeside real estate. 339 Queens Quay W.

3  Boasting the area’s biggest patio, the huge Amsterdam Brewhouse draws sunny-day crowds with quality pub fare plus ales, lagers and stouts from one of Toronto’s oldest craft brewers. 245 Queens Quay W., 416-504-1020; amsterdambrewhouse.com

4  Harbourfront Centre is a locus of activity with a year-round program of dance, theatre and visual art, plus a summer slate of cultural festivals and concerts at the waterside WestJet Stage. 235 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000; harbourfrontcentre.com

5  Also on the Harbourfront Centre grounds is The Power Plant, a major non-collecting contemporary gallery that has hosted exhibitions by many eminent artists—from Stan Douglas to Douglas Gordon. Among its current installations is Mexican artist Pedro Reyes’s Sanatorium, which examines the ills associated with urban living. 231 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4949; thepowerplant.org

Pedro Reyes's Sanatorium is currently installed at The Power Plant (photo: Patrick Lears)

Pedro Reyes’s Sanatorium is currently installed at The Power Plant (photo: Patrick Lears)

6  Long considered one of Toronto’s better upscale Chinese restaurants, Pearl Harbourfront has honed its menu of more than 60 dim sum dishes—plus dozens of à la carte favourites—over the course of three decades. Queen’s Quay Terminal, 207 Queens Quay W., 416-203-1233; pearlharbourfront.ca

7  Forget soapstone bears and seals; the range of artistic expression in Canada’s north is much broader than what’s found in tourist shops. The Museum of Inuit Art pays tribute to the past, present and future of Arctic-Aboriginal creativity with works by some of the genre’s most talented practitioners. An in-house boutique helps visitors get started on their own collection of high-quality Inuit pieces. Queen’s Quay Terminal, 207 Queens Quay W., 416-640-1571; miamuseum.ca

8  Toronto’s towering—and still growing—skyline is a memorable sight when viewed from the water. Get a good look with Mariposa Cruises, which offers 45-minute harbour tours five times daily, as well as longer dinner cruises with dancing, drinks and a full buffet. Queen’s Quay Terminal, 207 Queens Quay W., 1-866-627-7672; mariposacruises.com

9  A power players’ restaurant if there ever was one, plush seafood- and steakhouse Harbour Sixty combines opulent decor, deferential service and succulent USDA Prime rib-eyes, striploins and filet mignons. Try the s’mores for dessert—it’s served with real fire for marshmallow roasting. 60 Harbour St., 416-777-2111; harboursixty.com

10  The best Lake Ontario-adjacent spot for a drink? Without a doubt it’s The Miller Tavern, where mixologist Rob Montgomery offers up more than 30 classic cocktails done right—from the gin-and-Cointreau Corpse Reviver #2 to the barrel-aged Vesper martini. 31 Bay St., 416-366-5544; themiller.ca

GET THERE!   Normally, taking the TTC’s 509 streetcar from Union Station is a quick and easy way to access the Harbourfront area. Due to construction, though, the 509 is currently operating as a bus route. A short stroll down Spadina Avenue, or Bay, York or Lower Simcoe streets is your best option.

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