Hotel at a Glance: The Fairmont Royal York
The Fairmont Royal York first opened in 1929 as The Royal York, a 28-story hotel that quickly established itself as the most opulent in Toronto. In addition to having private showers and bathtubs in each room (a luxury at the time), The Royal York boasted a 12,000-book library, a concert hall with a full stage and a 50-ton pipe organ, and a glass-enclosed rooftop garden. Today, the AAA Four Diamond–rated hotel still retains many of its original features—hand-painted ceilings, crystal chandeliers, and antique wall hangings, to name a few—as well as a few newcomers, such as a skylit lap pool and a full-service day spa.
- In-room amenities: bathrobes, HDTVs with express checkout, and windows that open onto city views
- Onsite dining: numerous restaurants and lounges, including a wine bar and japanese steak house
- Escape winter's chill: The hotel is directly connected to the PATH walkway, which has underground access to more than 1,000 shops and attractions.
- Stay fit: The onsite health club features a 50-foot lap pool, Life Fitness equipment with personal LCD TVs, and multiple steam rooms.
- Good for families: children's wading pool, professional childcare services, and dining discounts for kids 11 and younger
Toronto, Ontario: Scenic Trails, Boutique Shopping, and the Hockey Hall of Fame
Toronto is known as a wonderful walking city, with a sprawling network of eclectic neighborhoods and miles of waterside parkland. Set on the shores of Lake Ontario, the city’s scenic hiking and walking trails wind along the harbor front. From there, a northerly stroll takes you to the Fashion District, where warehouses and old factories that sat empty for years now house upscale restaurants, galleries, and cutting-edge boutiques. A bit farther north lies Kensington Market, a bohemian village rife with vintage shops and organic-food markets.
Toronto may be home to Canada’s best collection of museums. Hockey is a national pastime, so it makes sense that the Hockey Hall of Fame is here. Its interactive Pepsi Shut Out exhibit challenges goaltender wannabes to stop a slap shot against a virtual Wayne Gretzky. The Hall of Fame’s centerpiece is the hallowed Esso Great Hall, home to the Stanley Cup and portraits of all 366 inductees. Science buffs can stop at the Ontario Science Centre, where you can watch an IMAX film, delve into space at the planetarium, or touch a plasma ball at the Science Arcade.
The nearby Art Gallery of Ontario exhibits an astounding collection of work from Canadian artists and European masters in a Frank Gehry–designed building that centers on a circular floating staircase. Toronto is also known as a city of gardens, and you’ll find one of its best, the Toronto Music Garden, stretched out along the waterfront. Designed in part by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the Music Garden translates the music of Bach through beautiful landscaped installations, including a winding river and giant grass steps.