A week and counting as Brussels Airlines prepares to launch Toronto flights


(Posted 20th March 2016)

Brussels Airlines latest destination, Toronto, will see the inaugural flight operate in just a week now, opening a new route to one of the most popular destinations out of Eastern Africa for travelers from Uganda and Rwanda.

Important for Ugandan travelers will Brussels Airlines also add a fifth weekly flight from the end of next week, further improving connectivity with the European capital and beyond to Europe, West Africa and North America.
Read on what visitors to Toronto can expect, this being part three of three featuring the airline’s new gateway to Canada. The focus today is on , what else, Shopping, Sports, Family Fun and more …

Shop ‘til you drop in Toronto

As the biggest shopping metropolis in the country, Toronto offers an impressive breadth of stores from vintage and niche shops to sought-after department stores and brands. With all the malls and outdoor shopping streets of Queen Street West, visitors won’t go home empty handed.

Malls and Department Stores

Toronto and the greater Toronto region hold a number of shopping malls for one-stop trips – perfect if you’re short on time.

• TheToronto Eaton Centresprawls through the heart of downtown starting at Yonge and Dundas and spanning to Queen Street. It’s the third largest mall in Canada and one of Toronto’s biggest tourist attractions with over 250 stores.

Hudson’s Bay, Canada’s oldest department store, continues to thrive as a one-stop-shop for all of your needs. For specialized Canadian products, the brand’s HBC Collection should not be missed. The Room at the Queen Street headquarters offers a custom collection of high-end Canadian and international designers and has the feel of an art gallery of wearable clothing.

Holt Renfrew and Hazelton Lanes luxury shopping attracts fashionistas from around the world with its exclusive fashion brands. Located at Bloor and Bay, many fashion and high-end events are held at Holt Renfrew.

Yorkdale Shopping Centre has it all: designer labels, home décor, fine cuisine and technology. It has attracted many first-in-Canada and flagship stores, including J. Crew, Tory Burch, Crate & Barrel and Burberry. Yorkdale completed a $185-million expansion in November 2012.

• In 2013, Target Canadawas franchised across the Greater Toronto Area. Canadian shoppers will no longer feel the need to cross the border for those cheap-chic items.

Honest Ed’s is its own attraction with bright lights spanning the block in the heart of the Annex at Bathurst and Bloor. Founded in 1948 by “Honest” Ed Mirvish, this was the original bargain hunter’s mecca.

• In Mississauga, Square One Shopping Centre holds four department stores, Whole Foods grocery store and everything in between. Heartland Town Centre, an outdoor outlet shopping mall, features countless bargains.


Queen Street West, West Queen West, Ossington, Parkdale and Yorkville hold some of the best boutiques for men and women.

Queen Street West has many of the mass market shops you would also find at the Eaton Centre in addition to a few select boutiques like Boomer, Rudsak and Get Outside.

• Further west, on West Queen Street West, more boutiques are found, including clothing stores Citizenry, Coal Miner’s Daughter and Gaspard. Other distinctive stores sell jewelry, shoes and beauty products along the strip. Off of King Street West, GOTSTYLE dresses men in modern, refined looks for every occasion.

• On Ossington Avenue, Jonathan and Olivia and Annie Aime showcase designer items.

Yorkville is home to a number of bridal shops, salons and long-standing boutiques like Over The Rainbow, which offers the jeans of your dreams.M0851 offers leather goods off of the Mink Mile on Bloor.

• The Parkdale area holds Toronto designers and other locally made jewelry at Made You Look. Model Citizen shares silk screening secrets in ongoing workshops as well as selling unique Canadian designs and jewelry.


A long-running trend in Toronto, the city has one of the best vintage selections in North America.

• The bohemian Kensington Marketholds, by far, the most plentiful vintage in the city. From jewelry to leather you’ll find a stylish piece (or ten!) to add to your wardrobe. One of the oldest and most popular stores in the market is Courage My Love, which holds a fantastic selection of clothing, accessories and even beads to make your own jewelry. A large selection of leather jackets are displayed at Flashback Vintage’s two stores. Bungalow has new and vintage pieces of clothing and immaculate furniture.

• Between Dundas and Queen Street, the Ossington Avenue strip hosts some well-known vintage shops, including Vintage Mix 1 and I Miss You Vintage – known for designer pieces at great prices. A good vintage crawl should start at Penny Arcade, located on Dundas Street West near Ossington.

• Vintage stores are scattered along Queen Street from John Street all the way to Dufferin Street. Black Market offers silk screening in addition to merchandise. Cabaret and Magwood are the best spots for vintage wedding dresses while 69 Vintage has an eclectic array of clothing and accessories for both men and women.

• A collection of vintage and edgy stores live in the Parkdale neighbourhood; The Public Butter, Philistine, The Future of Frances Watson, and House of Vintage.

• Leslieville is home to a few niche vintage stores including Thrill of the Find for vintage designer items and Gadabout for pieces similar to those worn by the characters of the ‘60s inspired drama, Mad Men. Tabula Rasa offers contemporary vintage and jewelry just steps away from Broadview Station and the Danforth.

Niche Shops

Teatro Verde is one of the most unique design stores in the city. It’s the perfect place for finding a gift and also has one of the best floral shops around.

Magic Pony in the Design Exchange combines elements of art, design and popular culture in this shop/gallery/studio. You’ll find many imported Japanese toys and kooky books in addition to jewelry.

Umbra designs fun, conceptual home furnishings and accessories. It’s located in a neon pink building near Much Music’s headquarters at Queen and John.

Sanko Trading Co. specializes in Japanese items on Queen Street West. It offers customary foods and desserts in addition to pottery items.

Furniture Design

• Toronto’s style also comes through in its furniture showcased in neighbourhoods like Leslieville, King Street East, The Junction, Rosedale and Summerhill. Whether it’s a big piece or smaller decor items, the cluster of stores in these areas will ignite inspiration.

• Big, brand-name stores like West Elm are in Liberty Village amongst the concentration of condominiums in the area.

Specialty Food and Markets

• As one of Toronto’s oldest attractions, the St. Lawrence Marketbustles away every Saturday morning. Producers of Southern Ontario bring their seasonal goods to the farmer’s market on the north end. The south end contains some of the finest cheese, meat, seafood and fruit purveyors in the metropolis and the perfect way to start your Saturday.

• Torontonians love their cheese – quality cheese shops in the city are numerous. Leslieville Cheese Market in the east end has classes and always offers a grilled cheese sandwich special. Cheese Boutique has grown to one of the largest cheese emporiums in the city. If you’re looking

for a makeshift meal as the Parisians do, Global Cheese and Cheese Magic are right beside My Market BakeryandCOBS Bread in Kensington Market.

• With three locations in the city, Pusateri’sgives grocery shoppers a gourmet food experience with the freshest ingredients and a selection of prepared dishes.

• Located at Carlton and Church, the old Maple Leaf Gardens has transformed into big box superstore grocery chain, Loblaws. This Loblaws has one of the largest food selections as well as a cooking school and cheap-chic retailer, Joe Fresh.

• Chocoholics’ cravings are easily satisfied in Toronto. SOMA chocolatemaker, located in the Distillery District, makes chocolate in small batches directly from the cacao bean imported from around the world. Nadège Patisserie combines the art of French pastry with modern panache in its decadent treats. Odile Chocolatcreates beautiful, hand-made truffles with unusual combinations of wines, spices, herbs and flowers. In Roncesvalles Village, The Chocolateria offers its, now famous, chocolate covered potato chips as well as chocolate-making classes. The Beaches’ The Nutty Chocolatier use only the finest imported Belgium chocolate to make its truffles and chocolate novelties.


• The St. Lawrence Market was rated as the best food market in the world by National Geographic in 2012.

• Downtown Toronto’s PATH links 30 kilometres of shopping services and entertainment in an underground, weatherproof walkway.


One of North America’s major sports markets, and host city of the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, Toronto provides sports fans endless opportunity to be part of the action either in the stands or playing the game.

Professional sports

· Toronto Blue Jays (Major League Baseball) play at Rogers Centre, the world’s first retractable-dome stadium. The Blue Jays won back-to-back World Series in 1992 and 1993.

· Toronto Maple Leafs (National Hockey League) are one of the game’s legendary “Original Six” and have won 11 Stanley Cups. The Leafs play at Air Canada Centre.

· Toronto Raptors (National Basketball Association) are Canada’s only team in the NBA and play at Air Canada Centre.

· Toronto Argonauts (Canadian Football League) are the oldest professional football team in North America and have won 27 Grey Cups, including the 100th Grey Cup in 2012. The Argos play at Rogers Centre.

· Toronto FC (Major League Soccer) play at BMO Field and are famous for boisterous fans and the ubiquitous red scarves.

· Rogers Cup tennis championship alternates between Toronto and Montreal every August, with the men’s and women’s tournaments alternating cities. The tournament’s held at Rexall Centre in Toronto.

· The Honda Indy Toronto takes over the streets of downtown Toronto each July, starting and finishing at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds.

· Canada’s horse racing capital is Woodbine Racetrack, home of the Queen’s Plate.

Celebrate Sport

· The Hockey Hall of Fame celebrates the great Canadian game played all over the world with the Great Hall showcasing the Stanley Cup, other trophies and the Honoured Members of the Hall. It delves deeper with a trove of history and lore from the NHL and international hockey as well as an interactive zone.

· The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame at Glen Abbey Golf Club and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fameat Woodbine Racetrack add to the celebration of sport in Canada.

· Maple Leaf Gardens, the legendary home of the Toronto Maple Leafs until 1999 has been transformed into an innovative mix of sports stadium for the Ryerson University Rams and urban market, all commemorating the building’s rich history with artifacts and displays.

Get Active

· Toronto has dozens of public golf courses within an hour’s drive of downtown. Several local courses host the pros regularly; Glen Abbey, Angus Glen, and St. George’s have hosted the Canadian Open recently.

· A vast network of trails along the waterfront and throughout the city’s ravines enables cyclists and joggers to ride or run alongside nature in the midst of the city. Bikes can be rented at numerous shops and through the city’s public bike system, Bixi.

· Canoe and kayak the Toronto harbour and Islands with rental stations on both the mainland at Harbourfront Centre and on Centre Island.

· Skate on one of 53 outdoor ice-rinks open every winter in public parks and areas. Nathan Phillips Square and the Harbourfront Centre are amongst the most popular.

Sports Bars

· Be part of the action even when you’re not in the stadium at some of Toronto’s best sports bars: Real Sports Bar & Grill at Maple Leaf Square, Wayne Gretzky’s, the Futbol Factory, Brazen Head Pub, or any of the locations of Shoeless Joe’s.

Sports Stores

· Toronto team apparel can be found throughout the city, with the largest selections available at Sport Check in Maple Leaf Square, and the Jays Shop at Rogers Centre and its other location at the Eaton Centre.

· Sports memorabilia can be found at The SPORT Gallery in the Distillery District and Legends of the Game in the Entertainment District.


A unique blend of historical and contemporary design defines Toronto. From the Victorian grandeur of the Industrial Age to the sleek, minimalist designs of the twentieth century, Toronto’s skyline tells an eloquent tale of its colourful history and modern cultural Renaissance.


Remnants of the classical … Read More >>architecture of Old Toronto are well preserved in many of the city’s historic neighbourhoods. Cabbagetown, a Heritage District known for its collection of Victorian structures, holds a number of architecturally significant homes from a variety of periods including the Georgian period, Queen Anne and the Second Empire.

The industrial, red brick Distillery Historic District was once the largest whisky producer in the world. Carefully refurbished, it’s now home to a charming combination of art galleries, shops, restaurants and performance venues.

In the heart of the city, Old Town Toronto is a popular tourist destination.Purchased for the first mayor of Toronto, William Lyon Mackenzie, Mackenzie House is a Greek Revival row-house and museum that includes a recreated print shop, gallery and many changing exhibitions. Also in Old Town and open to the public since 1803, is the St. Lawrence Market. As one of Canada’s oldest continuously operating markets, it’s home over one hundred and twenty vendors offering everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to antiques and artisanal crafts.

With its distinctive, wedge or “flat-iron” shape, the iconic Gooderham Flatiron Building exhibits a combination of the modern Gothic Revival and the Romanesque Revival styles. Just down the street lies an iconic piece of Toronto’s skyline, the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. In 1929, when the hotel officially opened as The Royal York, the twenty-eight-story structure was the tallest building in the British Empire.

The Move to Modern

The sixties introduced modern facades to the cityscape, including the new Toronto City Hall – a much talked about structure with an unusual spaceship-like exterior, designed by Finnish architect Viljo Revell. The structure’s distinctive curving and asymmetrical towers that surround the saucer-like council chambers, gave rise to the building’s original nickname “The Eye of Government” – from the air, the building looks like an enormous, unblinking eye.

In the seventies, Toronto’s skyline began to change dramatically. Designed by German-born architect Eberhard H. Zeidler, Ontario Place added the futuristic, golfball-shaped Cinesphere (the world’s first permanent IMAX theatre) to the city’s waterfront. The CN Tower welcomed its first visitors in 1976 and remains the tallest freestanding structure in the Western Hemisphere at 553.33 metres high. Classified as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the tower’s 360 degree views offer visitors breathtaking vistas of the city, Lake Ontario and the surrounding area.

Featuring the world’s first retractable roof, making it the ideal sports venue in rain or shine,
Rogers Centre, formerly known as SkyDome, opened in 1989. It houses two of Toronto’s professional sports franchises: the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Argonauts.

Toronto’s Financial District is home to the works of world-renowned architects like Edward Durell Stone who designed the First Canadian Place. The Toronto Dominion Bank Centre, a cluster of gleaming black steel and tinted glass skyscrapers, a Mies van der Rohe signature, is highly coveted for its minimalism. Santiago Calatrava’s herring bone glass structure of the Allen Lambert Galleria elegantly stands next to the heritage buildings surrounding it. The RBC Plaza’s two towers refract and reflect light differently than other buildings in the city because of its unusual exterior: 24-carat gold leaf.

New-Century Renaissance

Other internationally celebrated architects have left an indelible mark on Toronto. Designed by Daniel Libeskind, the annex to the Royal Ontario Museum, an enormous glass addition called the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, was the talk of the town when completed. The geological artifacts in the museum’s collection were the inspiration behind the angular extension, which serves as a dynamic meeting spot for locals and visitors alike.

Toronto-born Frank Gehry’s renovation of the Art Gallery of Ontarioincludes a billowing façade of glass and wood, as well as the dramatic sculptural staircase and 40-foot glass ceilings of historic Walker Court. It’s the first building the prominent architect has designed in Canada.

Architect Bruce Kuwabara, the visionary behind high profile local architectural firm KPMB, continues to lead the collection of Cultural Renaissance projects in the city. His work includes the new home of the Toronto International Film Festival, the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the National Ballet School(with Goldsmith Borgal & Company), the Gardiner Museum,and the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Koerner Hall.

The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts is home to the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada. Architect Jack Diamond, of the Toronto firm Diamond and Schmitt Architects, envisioned the project as a way to tie together music and dance in an ensemble of glass and steel balanced with light woods against a minimalist backdrop. The structure is Canada’s first purpose-built opera house.

A focal point for art and creativity in Toronto is the Ontario College of Art and Design. Nicknamed by locals as the “floating table top” or “checkerboard on stilts”, the campus’s latest addition is the Sharp Centre for Design. Created by British architect Will Alsop, the Sharp Centre’s striking design was honoured with a Royal Institute of British Architects Worldwide Award. Another iconic British architect, Norman Foster, designed the University of Toronto’s Leslie Dan School of Pharmacy building, known for its luminescent “pill” floating in the main atrium and visible at night from the surrounding streets.

Toronto for Families

Kid-Sized Fun and Adventure:

· Explore how things work at the Ontario Science Centre with areas for all ages from toddlers to teens.

· Come nose- to-nose with thousands of animals at the Toronto Zoo, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Riverdale Farm and the dog-lover’sPawsWay Toronto.

· Become cultural immersed at the Art Gallery of Ontario and Royal Ontario Museum; both feature special children’s areas and lots of hands-on activities.

· Walk through history and around the world in somebody else’s shoes at the Bata Shoe Museum.

· Get a new perspective of the city from high above at the CN Tower.

· Play prince and princess at Casa Loma, a real 98-room castle complete with climbable turrets, private stables and secret passageways, or build your own castle at the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre.

· Step into history at Fort York National Historic Site and Black Creek Pioneer Village.

· Cheer on the Canadian game at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

· Hike, bike and wander through the outdoor conservation areas and parks of Evergreen Brick Works, Toronto Botanical Garden and the Allen Garden Conservatory.

· Root for a Toronto sports team with the Toronto Blue Jaysand Toronto Argonauts in the summer, Toronto Maple Leafsand Toronto Raptors in the winter, and Toronto FCthrough the fall.

· Ride the roller coasters at Canada’s Wonderland, the ferris wheel in August at the Canadian National Exhibition, the carousel at the indoor Fantasy Fair, the raging rivers at Wild Water Kingdom, or maybe just the simulators at Playdium.

· Bounce off the walls at the Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park.

Parks, Beaches and Squares

· A short ferry-ride away lie the Toronto Islands, a perfect spot for leisurely picnics, bike-rides, and beaches. Interact with Franklin the turtle at The Franklin Children’s Garden on Centre Island. Slightly west in the city sits High Park featuring gardens, a petting zoo and acres of open space to play.

· Birdwatch, walk, cycle and smell the wildflowers in the five-kilometre, urban wilderness peninsula of The Leslie Street Spit.

· Discover the water’s edge at Harbourfront Centre where kids love the sweeping wavedecks and signature yellow umbrellas, or opt for pink umbrellas and sand across from a working sugar refinery at Sugar Beach. The Beaches neighbourhood on the east side offer Toronto’s best and most popular sandy beaches for swimming and walking or biking the boardwalk.

· For big-city energy, Yonge-Dundas Square teems with people, lights, shows and a low-rise, run-through fountain. Nathan Phillips Square,just in front of City Hall, hosts events and concerts; in the winter, it’s home to Toronto’s most famous outdoor skating rink.

· The Toronto Railway Museum and Roundhouse Park at the base of the CN Tower offers a good place to rest with the skyline in view while kids ride the miniature railroad.

Arts and storytelling

· Young People’s Theatre produces year-round live theatre for children. Famous PEOPLE Players deliver black-light theatre in a dinner theatre for all ages.

· The world’s largest public film festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, also offers a dedicated kids festival called Sprockets: TIFF Kids in April.

· Gather under a tent at Artscape Wychwood Barns for an adventurous tale with Storytelling Toronto.

Worth knowing: On weekends and holidays, a Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) day pass provides unlimited travel for two adults and up to four kids for $11.00.