Toronto Travel Tips

During our trip to the USA and Canada, we also spent some time in Toronto – the capital of the province of Ontario. Thus, I put together my personal tips and highlights for you.


I know, I repeat myself, but when traveling on a budget I love staying at local homes, cottages or Condos. Especially when staying longer. For Toronto I can recommend the iHost Suites Ice Condo in the Entertainment District on York Street. The location is excellent: you can walk anywhere in the city, have a grocery market across the street, Union Station around the corner, a great shopping mall, the lake, the CN tower, almost everything nearby.

We booked the one with Michel on and had no complaints. We spent about 450 EUR for six nights. So, 225 EUR per Person. You have to leave a deposit of 300 Canadian Dollars, just in case for any damages, but will get it back after your trip.

Michel himself was very helpful and accomodating. The check-in was easy and uncomplicated, everything worked out just fine and the condo was exactly as desribed. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, lake view, amazing view of Toronto’s skyline, well furbished, clean, towels and extra blankets and pillows. We could even use the fitness and spa area inside the building. I say: an awesome deal!

At the supermarket across the street, Loblaws, we did our shopping for the whole week and spent about 100 Canadian dollars for groceries including fresh fruit and everything you need. I would always come back and am actually thinking about going there during spring or fall season next year so that I can combine it with mountain biking. Man, I really miss my bike.

Shopping in Toronto

I gotta admit: normally, I hate shopping. Anyways, I still went on a shopping spree with my brother. He usually isn’t into any kind of physical activity and rather takes the easy and comfortable way. However, when it comes to shopping, he could win an ultra-marathon. Five hours and he still wasn’t tired. I just love him!

But I am honest. I could not resist either. Man, for Europeans it is a shopping paradise. Even though you have to add 13% tax on clothes, it still is pretty cheap. I bought two pyjamas and underwear at Victoria’s Secret for just 37 EUR. Can you believe it? I say: Thank you Valentine’s Day sales promotion.

They had some really great sales over there. I can recommend the Eaton Center and the Vans store on Yonge Street for clothes and the St. Lawrence Farmer’s Market for food and souvenirs. Enough for one shopping day in the city.

My four favorite sights in Toronto during winter season

Well, I can only give you some tips for winter season. I wasn’t able to check out any trails or parks. Due to the frozen rain and ice storms, you had like 1-2 cm thick layers of ice everywhere and with the wind chill, it got really cold.

Graffiti Alley

Probably something you might not think of when visiting Toronto, but it was really cool. The Graffiti Alley is a nearly one-kilometer stretch with massive pieces of street art. If you are into the skating scene or modern street art, you should really check it out.

Harbourfront Center: Waterfront Trail

The dynamic and exciting city of Toronto is a major urban gateway on Lake Ontario. It is home to tourist attractions such as the CN Tower, Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario and major theatre productions. Still, there are many quiet, natural places to enjoy along the waterfront.

The waterfront trail was my morning running path. It can be divided into three sections: Etobicoke (west), Toronto (central) and Scarborough (east). The trail surface is largely asphalt, routed along quiet residential streets. I admit, not my favorite, since I am not a road runner, but I take what I can get.

Surely worth a nice walk, checking out the ice skating ringCN tower, Aquarium or Rogers Center nearby.

Nathan Philips Square

Nathan Phillips Square is a vibrant, active space in the heart of the City. Every year, over 1.5 million visitors attend a variety of community and special events hosted at the square. Here you will find another ice skating ring. One of 113 indoor and outdoor ice pads, natural rinks and trails for leisure skating year round in Toronto. Also, a great starting point to explore more sights of the city, as you can see in the images above.

Ice Hockey Hall of Fame

I don’t know that much about ice hockey, but it is huge in Toronto. Alright, to be honest, I don’t even know the rules of Ice Hockey. I once dated a hockey player back in High School and attended one game in Davos, Switzerland, but I never got excited about this sport. However, the Hockey Hall of Fame was pretty impressive. It is home of the Stanley Cup and the finest collection of hockey. Pretty cool!

All in all, with its 2.7 Mio inhabitants, Toronto reminded me of a teeny-tiny version of New York, with a little influence from Boston. I really loved it and totally digg the relaxed, laid-back Canadian style and attitude. For a short city trip, so worth a visit.

For me as an outdoor person, I would prefer West Canada or Northern Ontario, though. But I definitely wanna come back, combining it with a mountain bike tour during fall or spring season.

And also on my list: a three-months tour through British Columbia and Alaska. What shall I say: there is just so much to see and so much to love. Once you have been to Canada, you always wanna come back. And this is also true for Toronto.


photo credits: Munich Mountain Rebel

Winter in Ontario

Due to the recent weather conditions, I got a little extra time working on my stories. When exploring parts of Ontario, Canada, I basically had no expectations. What a beautiful province!

In total, there are 10 Canadian provinces, with three territories to the north. The provinces are, in alphabetical order: Alberta,British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. The three territories are Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon.

Winter in Ontario

Ontario is Canada’s most populous province, comprising 40 percent of the country’s total population. It is also home to the federal capital of Ottawa and the unofficial financial capital of Toronto. It is best known for Algonquin Park, the Niagara wine region, Bruce Trail (the oldest and longest continuous public footpath in Canada), and the many beautiful forests and lakes. And oh boy – I had no idea it can be so beautiful.

I admit there was a time when I missed the mountains. But do you know this feeling when someone says the right thing in the right moment? Amin reminded me that you can’t have everything all the time and within a split second I realized how stupid my thoughts were. I could have hugged him for this. If I could pick someone I would get lost in a snow blizzard with, it would be him. It would be fun and safe at the same time.

Seriously, who was I to complain? I was in Canada enjoying the great outdoors, making one of my dreams come true. So, after this stupid split second, I was very grateful that all my hard work paid off and was just living the moment.

The Great Outdoors in Ontario

Initially, my brother and I had totally different plans, but due to the weather, our itinerary changed on a daily basis. Snow blizzards, freezing rain, ice storms, you name it. But this is nature. You just have to go with the flow. That is actually something I love about the Great Outdoors. And I was prepared for any kind of weather out there, even for very cold temperatures.

Freezing rain

I had never experienced this kind of freezing rain before. Freezing rain is the name given to rain maintained at temperatures below freezing by the ambient air mass that causes freezing on contact with surfaces. Unlike a mixture of rain and snow, ice pellets, or hail, freezing rain is made entirely of liquid droplets.

This means: When the freezing rain hits your windshield, it freezes immediately and makes it very brittle. Pretty dangerous, actually. When the freezing rain gets in contact with your face, it feels like tiny little needles hitting you. If you then add this crazy wind chill, temperatures felt like -25 degrees Celsius or colder and you really needed to cover your face to avoid frost bites. But I loved it anyways. Even went running – not for long distances, though, but I did get out there.

Snow blizzards and ice storms were nothing new to me. Since I live pretty close to the mountains and have been to Finnish Lapland during one of their coldest winters, I am used to these kind of weather conditions. For me, it even can be somewhat romantic and adventurous at the same time. Love it. My brother: NOOOOOT so much.

Blue Mountains

A two-hour drive, north from Toronto, there is a little holiday resort called Blue Mountain. Some people call this area “Little Switzerland”, but I would not go this far. They just have one tiny hill up there. Elevation gain: 650 m. So, no offense, but you cannot call it “Little Switzerland”.

However, it is very picturesque and beautiful. Regarding the atmosphere it sort of reminded me of Whistler Village. And yes, pretty touristy, I admit. If you are into winter sports, you might be a little disappointed, but if you just wanna chill and relax with a little exercise, you will love it. I took skiing lessons, since I am currently not sure, if I should switch.

When I went snowboarding, I started to feel the pain from my severe hip injury last year. Not sure, if it’s my technique. But I think I will take more skiing lessons back in Munich so that I am more flexible when choosing my winter outdoor activities. This weekend I will probably go cross-country skiing, working on my general fitness.

Northern Ontario

Wow, just WOW. I had no idea that you could see Northern Lights in Ontario. With all the snow and ice storms, I did not expect any kind of magic. But then there it was. I just wanted to go for a walk, still had too much energy. LOL – I think sometimes my brother was annoyed of my inner adrenaline junkie.

So, I went outside and started to see little shadows on the sky. First, I thought it was just wafts of mist, but then, after a while, they turned green. – I still have this Northern Lights App on my cell-phone from my visit to Finnish Lapland. Hence, I turned it on and then: holy cannoli. It was going crazy. So I went back, put on my warmest clothes and went hunting the lights. And there they were. There I stood. Me alone at the lake in Canada. And this magical moment. Goosebumps and tears in my eyes.

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and was just happy and grateful. Priceless, beautiful. The most magical gift!

So, this was my time in Ontario. I will definitely come back checking out more places during different seasons. I don’t know what and when, yet, but I surely will. Canada, you are pretty awesome!

But for now, I am looking forward to go back home and honestly cannot wait to be back in Davos. I miss it and also cannot wait to see my dearest friends again…


photo credits: Munich Mountain Rebel

Paradise isn’t tropical

(click here for English summary)

Die letzten Tage war ich gefühlt im siebten Himmel und hab es mir richtig gut gehen lassen. Fluffiger Pulverschnee, endlose Weiten in freier Wildnis und kein Mensch weit und breit. Hier würde ich mir sofort eine Hütte bauen und mich für eine Weile niederlassen, wenn ich könnte. Magie und Erholung pur!


Noch nie hab ich so feinen Powder erlebt wie jüngst in den USA und Kanada. Weicher, trockener und sehr kalter Pulverschnee. Man glaubt, zu schweben, zu fliegen. Egal ob beim Tourengehen, Boarden, Schneeschuhwandern oder Trailrunning, dieser extrem feine Pulverschnee befördert Euch direkt in den Himmel.

Ja, der Schnee in den USA und Kanada ist anders als in Europa. Dort drücken arktische Kaltluftfronten Unmengen von Schnee gegen die Berge. Die niedrigen Temperaturen verhindern dabei ein Schmelzen und Verkleben der Schneeflocken beim Absinken. An Stelle der normalen 10% besitzt der Schnee nur 6% bis 8% Luftfeuchtigkeit. Echter Champagner Powder! Ähnlich muss es in Japan sein. Oder noch besser?

Paradise isn’t tropical

Wie Ihr an meinem Gesicht sehen könnt, war es schweinekalt! Hab auch gleich mal einen Snow Blizzard mitgenommen. Aber die Ruhe nach dem Sturm: unbeschreiblich! Selten hab ich so etwas Schönes gesehen. Ich war sprachlos, hatte Gänsehaut. Und mit der richtigen Ausrüstung hab ich auch nicht gefroren.

Zwar kannte ich diesen feinen Powder bereits aus den Gletschergebieten über 2.500 m Höhe, doch es ist nicht dasselbe. In einigen Gebieten in den USA und Kanada kann man diesen Pulvertraum auch in den inneren Tälern erleben. Wenn ich könnte, würde ich einen ganzen Koffer voll mitnehmen. Wirft man diesen feinen Pulver in die Luft, sieht man ein paar Kristalle für einen kurzen Moment in der Luft schweben. Ich hab es ja schon immer gewusst: Paradise isn’t tropical!

Die besten Gebiete in den USA und Kanada: ganz klar in den Rocky Mountains, Utah, Colorado, Banff Nationalpark. Heute lass ich einfach mal die Bilder sprechen, während ich noch von der Magie zehre.



English Summary: Paradise isn’t Tropical: Powder Heaven in the USA & Canada

For the past days, I have been in powder heaven. Quite literally. Did you know that the snow in the USA and Canada is different from the one in Europe? I am talking about this dry, fluffy champagne powder. Something you usually only get to experience at the glaciers. There are few places in the world, where you can experience skiing and snowboarding in bottomless champagne powder, even in the valleys. I am talking about the Rocky Mountains, Utah, Colorado or Banff Nationalpark.

For me, it is pretty difficult to describe it. You just have to experience it. It looks and feels like 7th heaven, feeling light, fluffy, breathtakingly beautiful. – Yep, paradise isn’t tropcial – that is for sure! I will just let the images speak for themselves, being grateful for magical momentes like these.