Explore the World on the 506 Streetcar
By Corinne McDermott | @hvbabywilltrvl
The true beauty of Toronto is its diversity. While the goal with our kids is to show them the world, since we live in Toronto they can still learn about the many wondrous cultures that exist. While India is a trip that is 18 hours away by plane for some, the Gerrard India Bazaar is a mere ten minute walk from our house. If I’m craving kalamari the way they made it on Naxos, Greektown it’s three subway stops away. The ability to enjoy what the world has to offer from our doorstep has made us want to travel more, not less.
When the cooler weather arrives in Toronto, we daydream about escaping that much more. But for just over $10 for a TTC Family Day Pass (good for weekends and statutory holidays), our whole family can explore the world from the comforting warmth and rattle of the 506 streetcar. Running from Main Station in the east end to High Park in the west, the 506 rumbles through many unique areas – perfect for exploring for a few hours, or just hopping off for an authentic cappuccino or maybe a traditional Vietnamese sandwich.
If you start your day with a coffee and a stroll in High Park, you could breakfast on authentic Polish Rye toast on Roncesvalles, lunch on a steaming bowl of homemade pasta on College West, and dinner on Gerrard. St. East could be traditional butter chicken over jasmine rice. If you fear the combination of carbs plus the rock and rattle of the streetcar would send you off to dreamland (you’re probably right and certainly not the first!). Head in the other direction for a hearty fry-up on Danforth East near Main Station, go sari shopping around the Gerrard India Bazaar, recharge with green tea at both Chinatown stops, and then you’ll be rarin’ to go for a mighty feed of meatballs in Little Italy or chorizo in Portugal Village, and then traditional Polish paczki once you’re back in Roncey. With options like Kensington Market, Queens Park, Allen Gardens, and Riverdale Farm as stops along the way, you could do this route several times over and never do the same trip twice. These colourful neighbourhoods twinkle with lights throughout the year, but during the Holiday season they’re extra sparkly. Hopping off and on to shop as well as eat will ensure your gifts are the most unique this year.
Luckily, at either end of the route, there are great places to work off your feasts. High Park is to the West, and to the east Main Station is near to both Taylor Creek Park and its 3.5 km trail, and the Main 64 bus will take you South to Queen St. East – close to the water and 6km of boardwalk that’s waiting for you to start running. Or strolling with a hot chocolate in hand.