Canada’s Hidden Gems: Travel to Toronto, Ontario with Mairlyn Smith

by | Apr 19, 2024

Nathan Phillips Square and Old Town Hall in Toronto Ontario
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Last updated on May 23rd, 2024

Featured image: Mairlyn Smith shares her hidden gems in Toronto, Ontario | Photo by diegograndi on Envato

Hidden gems in Toronto: Where to stay, eat and play from a local

by Kathy Buckworth

Next up in our series profiling notable Canadian women age 50+, Canada’s most famous and funny home economist and cookbook author Mairlyn Smith tells us about why she loves her hometown of Toronto.

Regular viewers of Cityline and Breakfast Television know that when Mairlyn Smith shares a recipe, there will be snorting. Hers, and the audiences as she draws on her Second City comedy training as she walks us through healthy and heart-smart recipes from one of her eight bestselling cookbooks, including her latest Peace, Love And Fibre. Online, she hosts a weekly live Facebook recipe demonstration, where she shares her passion for eliminating food waste and lives up to her self-appointed (and well-deserved) Queen of Fibre title. Recently, she has gone viral on social media for her after-dinner “fart walks“, which she says help aid digestion. She loves living in Toronto, and she shares why, here.

Mairlyn Smith shares hidden gems in Toronto, Ontario

Mairlyn lives and works in Toronto and that’s the city she is proud to profile.

Kathy: What unique experience should women seek out in Toronto?

Mairlyn: I always take anyone visiting us to the Bata Shoe Museum, Casa Loma, and the CN Tower; the Edgewalk is amazing and terrifying.

Kathy: Where’s a safe place for women to stay?

Mairlyn:  If they can afford it I suggest the Fairmont Royal York, which is a heritage hotel that has played a role in the making of Toronto. The Library Bar and the new Clock Bar in the lobby are both great for people-watching. The hotel is walking distance to most of the downtown core and it’s right across the street from the Union Station subway and the UP Express train to and from the airport.

Kathy: Where are your favourite places to eat?

Mairlyn: My two favourites are Terroni on Yonge and Price for lovely Italian that’s not too pricey and Richmond Station on Richmond Street, especially if you have any food allergies. I have a nut allergy and I feel totally safe eating there.

Kathy Buckworth and Mairlyn Smith at a bookstore in Toronto, Ontario

Mairlyn and Kathy at her book launch / Photo provided by Kathy Buckworth

Kathy: And what about a cocktail?

Mairlyn: I love old hotels. The bar at the Windsor Arms Hotel is steeped in history or if you want a view of the city the outdoor patio on the Rooftop Cocktail Bar at the Broadview Hotel in the summer, is wonderful. 

Kathy: Where do you go for “Play”?

Mairlyn: My idea of playing is walking in nature and there are so many parks in Toronto. My top three places to walk are: The Boardwalk in the East Beaches including the Ashbridge’s Bay loop, Sunnybrook Park starting at Edward’s Gardens, and taking the path south. Of course, High Park, or wander through Kensington Market if you’d rather see an eclectic neighbourhood.

Kathy: Do you have any special co-working spot suggestions?

Mairlyn: I’m a freelancer so it’s either at home or at a studio.

Mairlyn Smith wears a historical costume

The self-appointed Queen of Fibre / Photo provided by Mairlyn Smith

Mairlyn Smith's book "Peace Love and Fibre" at a Toronto, Ontario bookstore.

Peace, Love & Fibre on display / Photo by Kathy Buckworth

Upcoming travel plans

Kathy: What future travel plans do you have coming up?

Mairlyn: We are going to drive to Quebec City for a two-night stay at the Chateau Frontenac because one of the things on my bucket list is to stay in all the old CP Hotels and this is the last one on my list.

Kathy: Do you have experience with multigenerational travel (kids, grandkids) and if so, why is that special to you? 

Mairlyn: When my son was young we travelled with my parents. Taking a trip with three generations made me see everything through different perspectives: so amazing.

Kathy: Have you done solo travel? What lessons did you learn from that?

Mairlyn: Only for business, which was always food-related. I learned that I needed to plan out all transportation to and from the airport, pick a hotel that was downtown and within walking distance of the places I wanted to check out and to research and book restaurant reservations ahead of my arrival. Then when I got to my destination I’d ask what restaurants the people I was working with went to and if they matched my picks I’d go. If they suggested one I didn’t have on my list I’d cancel my reservation and check out their suggestion.

How to get to Toronto, Ontario

The closest airports are Billy Bishop (Toronto Island), and Toronto Pearson International Airport (Mississauga). Check Skyscanner for great rates on airfare here. Or, travel by car. Find a rental on Expedia.

Connect with Mairlyn: Instagram, Facebook, X, or visit her website.

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Kathy Buckworth is an award-winning writer, spokesperson, content creator and media personality. She is the author of six non-fiction books. Kathy is the creator, host, writer and researcher for the Zoomer Radio show and podcast, Go-To Grandma, which launched in 2021. She has interviewed hundreds of guests, and the show is in the top three sponsored shows on Zoomer. She is also the co-host of the Elder Wisdom Podcast, which has just reached 100,000 downloads.


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