PLAN YOUR STAY
10 TIPS TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR VISIT TO TORONTO
during the Franco-Fête de Toronto 2019
- Getting around Toronto
It is very easy to find the 2019 Franco-Fête de Toronto! The Dundas Subway Station (Line 1, yellow) is right at Yonge-Dundas Square. The fare costs $3.25, it gives you access to buses and streetcars on the way to your destination (keep your transfer!).
2. Rain or shine
Franco-Fête de Toronto 2019 will be held, rain or shine. Don’t take any risks, take 5-6 garbage bags with you (for you… and your future friends, who will be very grateful when you give them one in case of rain). You will find umbrellas at the Winners store adjacent to the square.
3. A unique intersection
The Yonge Street and Dundas Avenue intersection is the busiest in Toronto, day and night, and completely safe. It is the only intersection in the city where pedestrians are allowed to cross diagonally. In short, there is no wrong way to cross this intersection when the lights are green! It is called a scramble intersection.
4. The Eaton Centre’s superb food court
All around the Franco-Fête, on Yonge and Dundas are plenty of restaurants. In addition, you may want to go inside the Eaton Centre to peak into its Urban Eatery, the chic “food court” located in its basement. It feels like the lounge of a beautiful modern airport. You eat from real dishes and there’s a wide range of food options.
5. Caffeine fix?
Discover one of Toronto’s very pretty hidden corners, where Balzac’s awaits you, 2 minutes walk from Yonge-Dundas Square (122 Bond Street, take Victoria Street north of Dundas, admire Ryerson’s small reflective pool, then turn right onto Gould Street). In the evening, the Ryerson Image Centre near the pond is lit and ever-changing.
6. A facade that stands alone
From Gould Pedestrian Street (not far from Balzac’s), enter the inner courtyard of Kerr Hall West, a world in itself. There, you’ll find a historic facade with windows that open to the sky.
7. Other treasures hidden behind the Eaton Centre
Many people never think to exit the Eaton Centre on the west side to admire Trinity Square, a genuine oasis! The small plaza behind Holy Trinity Church looks like a small French village. The church has superb wooden ceilings and faces a beautiful fountain that runs to Bay Street (Nathan Phillips Square is on the other side of Bay Street). Trinity Square includes a meditative labyrinth on the ground.
8. The famous TORONTO brand
You have certainly seen on Instagram the famous TORONTO illuminated sign. It is located at Nathan-Phillips Square (on Queen West), 8 minutes walk from Yonge-Dundas Square.
9. While you’re here
Check the Franco-Fête 2019 program to identify your favourite artists, then take advantage of your visit in the heart of Toronto to see the surrounding attractions between two shows. In addition to the points of interest mentioned above, know that the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) is only 20 minutes walk from Yonge-Dundas Square. A few minutes further on Dundas West is Canada’s largest Chinatown (Spadina and Dundas crossroads) and Kensington Market, Toronto’s most colourful neighbourhood (west of Spadina). If you walk south on Yonge Street, you will reach the shore of Lake Ontario in 30 minutes. The CN Tower and its neighbour Ripley’s Aquarium are only a half-hour walk from Yonge-Dundas Square. It is better to book a visit online to avoid the waiting lines of these last two attractions; after all, you will want to come back to finish the day at the Franco-Fête!
10. Montrealer Valérie Blass at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario)
The superb AGO is a 20-minute walk from Yonge-Dundas Square (going west to 317 Dundas West). It is hard to miss, as it looks like a gigantic Noah’s Ark! Currently on display is the works of Montreal artist Valérie Blass: Le parliament des invisibles (until December 1, 2019). BONUS! Admission is now free for visitors 25 years of age and under ($25 for others, or $35 for an annual pass).
(These tips are presented by Nathalie Prézeau, author of the Toronto Urban Strolls and Toronto Street Art Strolls walking guides. To take a quick look at the colourful side of Toronto, see this clip from the author!)