There are only a few weeks left before the AAS annual conference begins in Toronto on March 16. Five years ago, when our meetings were last held here, many people wrote to ask about things to do and places to eat. We responded in a catch-as-catch-can manner, but this time AAS Executive Director Michael Paschal has asked us to prepare something more organized. One thing to note: the weather here in March can be unpredictable, usually cold, around freezing, although five years ago it was in the low 20s C (around 70 F). The best advice is to assiduously check weather reports before packing.
The Sheraton Centre (note the alien spelling) Toronto Hotel, the conference venue, is located at 123 Queen Street W. As you go west from the hotel “Queen Street” becomes increasingly funky, Toronto’s answer to Soho: a number of unique shops and restaurants (although it is becoming gentrified). A fun place to stroll, shop, and eat, barring inclement weather. Incidentally, the U.S. dollar is now extraordinarily powerful vis-à-vis the Canadian dollar (aka the northern peso).
Toronto has, like many cities south of the border, become a fabulous place for foodies. We’ve compiled a list of our favorites together with those of our foodie friends (one of them a chef herself) that are within walking distance of or a short taxi ride away from the Sheraton. The following list is not exhaustive by any means, but it does include some extraordinary places. Check the websites for details on cost and to make reservations. Personally, if any of these look interesting, we’d advise reserving pronto. As noted, this is now a certified foodie town.
- Buca, Italian
- Byblos, Middle Eastern
- Patria, Spanish
- Terroni, Italian, pizza
- Noce, Italian
- Oyster Boy, seafood, shellfish
- Edulis, Greek; often hard to get a reservation
- Momofuku, Asian fusion; closest to Sheraton
- Ematei, Japanese
- Richmond Station, continental fare
- The Chase, mostly seafood
- Lee, Asian fusion; run by celebrity chef Susur Lee
- Nota Bene, continental cuisine; also very close to the Sheraton
There are other things to do besides eat in Toronto if you have the time. You can explore the city using public transit (TTC, or Toronto Transit Commission). The subway system is easy to use, but a bit limited geographically. The Sheraton is close to Osgoode Station on the north-south line.
Our four favorite museums (there are many more) are:
- Royal Ontario Museum, or ROM, the oldest and grandest, with a fine East Asian collection
- Gardiner Museum, across the street from the ROM, especially well known for its collection of ceramics
- AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario), a fine collection of Canadiana (if that’s a word), excellent rotating world-class exhibits, and much more (including a great restaurant)
- Bata Shoe Museum, a niche collection of shoes from around the world
It would be best to check these websites to see what shows will be on during the time you’re in Toronto. All are within healthy walking distance or a short cab or subway ride from the Sheraton.
Even more ideas for your time in Toronto—plus some special deals and discounts—are available at the Tourism Toronto page for AAS 2017 attendees.
Image via Wikipedia and used under a Creative Commons license.