How to Experience Toronto Culture Without Leaving Your House

Grab a glass of wine, sit back and (try to) relax. Let’s take a virtual tour of Toronto culture — and its resilience — together.

Thanks to all the platforms and tools we have at our fingertips, you can still experience Toronto — even if not IRL.

Now, in the wake of COVID-19 shutdowns, Toronto’s community is shifting its focus to the digital space more than ever. Every day there seems to be new ways to experience the arts, talent and attractions in the city from the solitude of your living room.

Build your own virtual trip through Canada’s cultural capital with these activities.

Virtual Tours and Sightseeing

Go on a sightseeing tour of Toronto — from above or on the ground. Hit full screen and away you go. Take a panoramic “helicopter tour” of the city. “Walk” around the base of the CN Tower, then check out the view from the top or do a scavenger hunt with their live cam view. Explore the stunning exterior of the ROM.

Virtual ROM Tour

Or choose a spot in the city — trendy Ossington Street or bohemian Kensington Market — and go for a wander via Google Street View. (Take some inspo from The Agoraphobic Traveller, who travelled the world without ever leaving her house.) Your “travels” are only a search bar away.

Tour Toronto’s renowned museums (no lines!). There’s free, unlimited entry 24/7 when you tour online! Google Arts & Culture offers a 360° walk-through for a sample of the Royal Ontario Museum’s exhibits.

Peruse the collections at the Gardiner Museum. Learn about the first men in heels with Bata Shoe Museum. Visit Aga Khan’s site dedicated to #MuseumWithoutWalls, complete with curator talks, virtual gallery tours, activities for the kids and more. The Art Gallery of Ontario has introduced a collection of virtual experiences where you can explore artworks, watch artist talks and learn DIY techniques.

ROM Virtual Tour

Performances, Concerts and Festivals 

Toronto performers continue to find innovative ways of bringing experiences to everyone at home. Enjoy “live” concerts, an international art, theatre and music festival or take part in immersive theatre – over the phone (remember that thing?).

Ever wanted to get a peek into your favourite artist’s living room? Now you can as many of the city’s musicians, dancers and other performers have taken to wooing audiences from their Living Rooms.

Check our rundown of “live” performances, concerts and festivals to keep you feeling inspired at home.

Group Activities

While the point of social distancing is to keep people (physically) apart, it doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected. Change out of your pajamas (or not) and join a queer dance party on Zoom.

Have a watch party and engage with special celebrity guests on social media with TIFF Stay-at-Home Cinema. Or, take turns choosing filmed-in-Toronto movies and shows to binge-watch with your friends or family and compare notes afterwards.

Find more group activities you can do virtually from anywhere and anytime.

Globally-Inspired Cuisine

Get some wild dinner inspiration from a Toronto Raptor. Basketball may be on hold for now, but you can always tune into How Hungry Are You?, Raptor Serge Ibaka’s (aka Mafuzzy Chef) YouTube series for an unconventional fix.

The NBA star hosts players and other celebrities in each episode and feeds them some very unusual dishes that he’s cooked up, including snake and alligator claw. It’s more talking than cooking but very entertaining all the same.

Also, check out his Instagram for a peek into his now-quarantined-in-Toronto life.

Or choose from more than 100 recipes (and counting) in this online open-source cookbook, compiled by Toronto chefs, food personalities and amateur cooks. This free digital cookbook features recipes from some of the city’s top restaurants. If you decide to try it out, share photos of your home-made creation with #OpenSourceCookbook.

If you live in Toronto and want to support local restaurants, consider ordering meals for delivery or takeout.

See it. Snap it. Share it. In every neighbourhood, around every corner, through every door there's something that begs to be discovered in Toronto.


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