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Complete Guide to Toronto’s Harbourfront

Ultimate Travel Guide to Harbourfront in Toronto

If you ever find yourself drowning in school or work stress, then it might be time to visit Toronto’s Harbourfront – the city’s playground by the lake.

Whether you’re a local in need of a calming retreat or a newcomer seeking a fun and chill spot, the scenic vistas and the gentle lapping of the water may be the perfect remedy for those burnout blues! Here’s a handy guide to exploring the Harbourfront..

What is Harbourfront in Toronto?

What is Harbourfront in Toronto

Harbourfront in Toronto is a scenic downtown neighbourhood nestled along the shores of Lake Ontario. With Spadina Avenue to the west and Yonge Street to the east, this area offers a perfect blend of city-meets-lakeside charm. 

From outdoor spaces like parks and trails to diverse activities such as skating and biking, there’s something for everyone and every season. Its central location also makes it easily accessible from downtown hotels, making it a must-explore destination. 

History behind Harbourfront, Toronto

History behind Harbourfront, Toronto

Back in the early 1900s, much of the area was filled with water lots to expand the harbour district. As shipping habits changed and the Toronto harbour saw less action, the space transitioned from its industrial roots to become residential and leisure areas.

The real turning point happened in 1972 when Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau unveiled the Harbourfront project. This plan aimed to transform the industrial port lands from York Street to Bathurst Stree to create a cultural and residential haven for Toronto.

How to Get to Harbourfront

How to Get to Harbourfront

Location: Northern shoreline of downtown Toronto along Queens Quay West

Website: Harbourfront Toronto

Instagram: Toronto Harbourfront (@harbourfront_to)

Hours: Mon-Sun: Open 24 hours

By Bus: Catch bus routes 19, 72B, and 202 to get to Queens Quay East from Union Station on Bay Street to George Brown College.

By Car: The Gardiner Expressway runs along the harbourfront, just a block north of Queen’s Quay, with exits at Spadina, York, Bay, and Jarvis. 

By Streetcar: Take the 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina streetcars from Union Station to an underground stop at Queen’s Quay West. The 509 goes west to Exhibition, while the 510 heads north to Spadina Station.

By Subway: The closest subway station is Union Station on Line 1. To reach Queen’s Quay, you can either hop on the 509 or 510 streetcars or take a stroll south along Bay Street from Front Street, passing under the Gardiner Expressway.

Parking Info: Parking options include a garage beneath the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel. There are also commercial surface lots at Queen’s Quay and York St., Rees St., Bay St. across from the Air Canada Centre, and next to the Redpath sugar refinery.

Tips for Exploring Harbourfront, Toronto

Tips for Exploring Harbourfront, Toronto
Tips for Exploring Harbourfront Toronto

Capture the Moments: Don’t forget your camera or smartphone! The Harbourfront offers stunning views and unique photo opportunities, so capture the moments and make lasting memories.

Prepare Cash for Streetcars: Some streetcar fares are cash-only, so ensure you have some change or bills on hand for a smooth journey.

Check Harbourfront Centre Events: Before your visit, check the Harbourfront Centre’s schedule for any ongoing events, performances, or festivals. You might catch something exciting!

Wear Comfortable Footwear: Wear comfortable shoes, especially if you plan to stroll along Queen’s Quay or explore the Harbourfront trails. Sneakers are a great choice for a leisurely walk.

Explore the Underground Path: If the weather isn’t cooperating, explore the Underground PATH from Union Station to the waterfront to stay dry and warm.

Pack a Picnic: Take advantage of the beautiful outdoor spaces by packing a picnic. There are several green areas and parks along the waterfront, offering perfect spots to relax.

Make Waterfront Dining Reservations: If you plan on dining at one of the waterfront restaurants, consider making reservations in advance, especially during peak times.

Wear the Appropriate Attire: Toronto’s weather can be unpredictable, so check the forecast before heading out. Bring a light jacket or sweater, even in summer, as the waterfront breeze can be cooler.

What to do at Toronto’s Harbourfront

Visit the Harbourfront Centre

Address: 235 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2G8

Website: Harbourfront Centre

Instagram: Harbourfront Centre (@harbourfrontcentre)

Hours: Wed-Sun: 12 PM–6 PM

Contact: (416) 973-4000

The Harbourfront Centre is a year-round cultural haven, hosting over 4,000 events every year. With shops, restaurants, exhibits, and communal spaces, this 10-acre waterfront gem attracts around 12 million people annually. 

If you have a penchant for the arts, events, and exhibits, Harbourfront Centre is your playground. Every week unfolds with special events showcasing artists, film, dance, crafts, theatre, and much more – check out their website for upcoming events!

Hang out at HTO Park

Address: 339 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5V 1A2

Website: HTO Park West – City of Toronto

Instagram: HTO Park West on Instagram

Hours: Mon-Sun: Open 24 hours

Contact: (416) 392-8188

HTO Park is a clever play on H2O – the symbol for water – fittingly situated along Toronto’s waterfront. Designed by esteemed landscape architects, this unique park seamlessly blends elements of a park, beach, and golf course.

Its standout feature is a sandpit adorned with comfy Muskoka chairs and striking yellow umbrellas, inspired by the iconic Georges Seurat painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” As night falls, LED lights illuminate the park knolls.

Check out the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit

Address: 1 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5E 1E5

Website: Van Gogh Exhibit

Instagram: Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit (@immersivevangogh)


  • Wed, Fri: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Thursday: 1:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Contact: Contact – Immersive Van Gogh

The 600,000 cubic ft Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit is crafted by the brilliant minds behind the Paris blockbuster that captivated over 2 million visitors. The venue was once home to the Toronto Star’s printing presses and has been custom-designed for this space.

As you stroll through the exhibit, giant projections will unveil the intricate details of brushstrokes and explode with vivid colours. You can marvel at his iconic works like “The Potato Eaters,” “Starry Night,” “Sunflowers,” and “The Bedroom.” 

Play at The Rec Room

Address: 255 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3M9

Website: The Rec Room

Instagram: The Rec Room Canada (@therecroomca)

Hours: Mon-Sun: 11 AM–12 AM

Contact: (416) 815-0086

Canada’s go-to “eats & entertainment” hotspot, The Rec Room – a 60,000 sq ft space – redefines the meaning of fun. It offers Canadian-inspired cuisine, virtual reality adventures, arcade games, or live entertainment – mostly on Fridays and Sundays.

If you’re planning a gathering where you can grab a pint, host an event, or simply play, make reservations for 13 guests or more. Note that they’ll do their best to accommodate large groups, but they can’t guarantee seating together for multiple reservations.

Sail to the Toronto Islands

Website: Toronto Islands

Instagram: Toronto Islands (@toronto.islands)

Ferry Schedule: Toronto Islands Ferry Schedule & Info

Ferry Prices:

  • Adults: $9.11 
  • Students & Seniors: $5.86 
  • Under 14: $4.29
  • Under 2: Free

Toronto Islands is just a quick 13-minute ferry ride from downtown Toronto! Often referred to as the Island or Toronto Island Park, this picturesque destination is a collection of 15 interconnected islands, offering a myriad of experiences.

From beaches, sports facilities, and bike rentals to a historic community, nature paths, and charming 150-year-old homes, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy walks, runs, or bike rides, bring your leashed dog, visit a 200-year-old lighthouse or a trout pond.

Explore The Power Plant

Address: 231 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2G8

Website: The Power Plant

Instagram: The Power Plant (@thepowerplantto)


  • Wed, Fri-Sun: 11 AM–6 PM
  •  Thursday: 11 AM–8 PM

Contact: (416) 973-4949

The Power Plant is Canada’s foremost public gallery dedicated to contemporary art, ideas, and conversations. As a registered Canadian charitable organisation, it  thrives with the support of its members, sponsors, donors, and government funding.

In 2012, the gallery celebrated its 25th anniversary by providing free admission to the public for all exhibitions. It also hosts an array of free public programs, educational events, and workshops – check out our complete guide to The Power Plant here.

Where to eat at Toronto’s Harbourfront


Website: BeaverTails

Instagram: BeaverTails (@beavertails)

Address: 145 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2H4


  • Mon-Thurs, Sun: 12 PM–9 PM
  • Fri-Sat: 12 PM–10 PM

Contact: (416) 360-8245

Since 1978, BeaverTails has been crafting irresistibly delicious, artisanal Canadian hand-stretched whole-wheat pastries made with their original recipe. With 40 years of successful franchising, it’s a must-visit destination for lovers of yummy flat donuts. 

In fact, their donuts even earned approval from President Obama during his 2009 visit to Canada! You can choose from over 120 donut topping combinations, and beyond pastries, you can get savoury snacks like fries, poutine, and their BeaverDog. 

Harbour 60 Toronto

Address: 60 Harbour St, Toronto, ON M5J 1B7

Website: Harbour 60

Instagram: Harbour 60 Toronto (@harboursixty)

Hours: Mon-Sun: 11:30 AM–2 AM

Contact: (416) 777-2111

Harbour 60 Toronto is housed in the historic Harbour Commission Building that dates back to 1917. After an extensive redesign in August 2009, this quintessential Toronto steakhouse seamlessly blends historic charm with modern luxury in its decor.

We recommend Harbour 60’s Japanese Wagyu steak—an insanely delicious choice, especially if you’re a steak connoisseur. Cap off your meal with the exquisite Baked Alaska – a perfect treat, complete with a personalised touch of your name on the plate. 

Church’s Texas Chicken

Address: 33 Harbour Square Unit 49, Toronto, ON M5J 2G4

Website: Church’s Chicken

Instagram: Churchs Texas Chicken Canada (@churchstexaschickenca)


  • Mon-Thurs, Sun: 11 AM–12 AM
  • Fri-Sat: 11 AM–1 AM

Contact: (416) 361-1120

Church’s Texas Chicken is a chicken joint that is authentically Texan. Their journey began in 1952 in San Antonio, Texas, and since then, their crunchy fried chicken has delighted guests not only across the U.S. but also in 25 international countries.

Their menu boasts fresh-fried chicken sandwiches, meals, tenders, and wraps – get their fried chicken with their unique and tasty Jalapeno bombers and flavorful biscuits. They’re open all week, and for the night owls, they’re open until 1 AM on some days!

Miku Toronto

Address: 10 Bay St. #105, Toronto, ON M5J 2R8

Website: Miku Toronto

Instagram: Miku Restaurant Toronto (@mikutoronto)

Phone Number: (647) 347-7347

Business Hours:

  • Monday: 12 PM–9 PM
  • Tue-Thurs: 11:30 AM–10 PM
  • Fri-Sat: 12 PM–10 PM
  • Sunday: 12 PM–9 PM

Miku Toronto specialises in flame-searing seafood to create unique textures and flavours. IHead Sushi ChefJunnosuke Nakagawa is guided by the Japanese philosophy of Ningenmi or ‘the human flavour,’ and he finds joy in bringing happiness to others.

We recommend their Miku roll, a delectable blend of salmon, uni, snow crab, and cucumber, rolled with tobiko. As a bonus, try their Japanese and European-inspired desserts – such as their ichigo mochi dome – crafted in-house by their pastry team. 

Impact Kitchen

Address: 88 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 0B6

Website: Impact Kitchen

Instagram: Impact Kitchen | Impact Everyday (@impactkitchen)


  • Mon-Sat: 8 AM–9 PM
  •  Sunday: 9 AM–8 PM

Contact: (416) 306-1986

Impact Kitchen believes in the transformative power of food. Established by former personal trainer and nutrition expert Josh Broun, along with Frank Toskan, co-founder of M·A·C Cosmetics, it’s perfect for those seeking real, wholesome ingredients.

It collaborates closely with farmers and suppliers to source the freshest, local, and organic ingredients, and its menu is crafted with chefs, nutritionists, and wellness experts. We recommend their zesty Mexican bowl with falafel – very filling and delicious!

Don Alfonso 1890

Address: 1 Harbour Square 38th Floor, Toronto, ON M5J 1A6

Website: Don Alfonso 1890

Instagram: Don Alfonso 1890 (@donalfonsoto)

Hours: T

  • Tue-Thurs, Sun: 5 PM–11 PM
  •  Fri-Sat: 5 PM–12 AM

Contact: (416) 214-5888

Don Alfonso 1890 is the city’s most internationally acclaimed restaurant, proudly awarded a Michelin Star in the inaugural Michelin Guide – Toronto 2022. This extraordinary dining experience is exclusively situated atop the Westin Harbour Castle.

You can indulge in the $220 per person signature menu for a culinary adventure that unfolds with impeccable dishes, each artfully presented. We love the complimentary bread selection, featuring three options, served alongside truffle butter and olive oil.

Where to stay at Toronto’s Harbourfront

Radisson Blu Toronto Downtown

Address: 249 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2N5

Website: Radisson Blu Toronto Downtown

Instagram: Radisson Blu Toronto Downtown (@radissonblutoronto)

Contact: (437) 886-9667

Price: From $166 per night for two people

Radisson Blu Toronto Downtown is a stylish hotel that serves as your perfect launchpad to explore the hottest spots at Toronto’s harbourfront. Whether you desire a leisurely stroll or a shopping spree at the chic boutiques, the Radisson is just steps away.

They also offer luxurious amenities, including an inviting outdoor swimming pool, convenient on-site parking, and complimentary WiFi. You can even maintain your fitness routine at their fitness centre or savour meals at the hotel’s on-site restaurant.

The Westin Harbour Castle

Address: 1 Harbour Square, Toronto, ON M5J 1A6

Website: Toronto Waterfront Hotel | The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto

Instagram: The Westin Harbour Castle (@westinharbourcastle)

Contact: (416) 869-1600

Price: From $188 per night for two people

If you’re looking for a more luxurious stay, try The Westin Harbour Castle, a distinguished 4-star hotel that sets the standard for upscale accommodation. It offers stunning views of Lake Ontario and Toronto’s captivating city skyline.

You can take advantage of the indoor pool, rooftop tennis courts, and a fitness centre to elevate your stay, and each spacious room features the exclusive Westin Heavenly Bed. As a cherry on top for fur parents, it’s also a well-known pet-friendly waterfront retreat! 

Novotel Toronto Centre

Address: 45 The Esplanade, Toronto, ON M5E 1W2

Website: Novotel Toronto Centre

Instagram: Novotel Toronto Centre (@novoteltorontocentre)

Contact: (416) 367-8900

Price: From $177 per night for two people

Novotel Toronto Centre – just a 6-minute walk from Union Station – has unassuming rooms featuring free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, desks, and tea and coffeemakers. For added comfort, suites offer separate living rooms and additional TVs.

Welcoming pets at no additional charge, it boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, a chic bar, and a cosy fireplace. Guests can stay active at the gym, take a dip in the indoor pool, or rejuvenate in the hot tub; it also offers a business centre and meeting space.

iHost Suites 

Address: 14 York St, Toronto, ON M5J 2Z2



Contact: (416) 848-6981

Price: From $152 per night for two people

The iHost Suites at Ice Condo is another place to stay at the Harbourfront. Perfect for extended stays, business travel, romantic getaways, employee relocations, and more, it offers cost-reduced alternatives to suite hotels – perfect for those on a budget!

Offering breathtaking views of the CN Tower and the lake, it’s also close to the Union underground station, Longo’s grocery store, and an LCBO. The smoke-free condos have fully-equipped kitchens and also allow easy access to the Harbourfront Centre.