Tourists in Toronto

My husband and I have a tradition called ‘day of fun’ – it involves taking the day off (usually on one of our birthdays) and exploring the city we live in. When you live somewhere, you often take it for granted – and you may not pay attention to the amazing sites that other people are flying in to see. 

This past weekend, we decided to take our kids on a “day of fun” to Toronto – we’re so lucky to live near such a beautiful and historical city. We started the day at our local GO Station in the suburbs and hopped on a train heading for Union.

While hubby and I frequently travel on the GO Train for work, it still feels like an adventure for my kids. They love sitting on the second floor and looking out the giant windows.

After arriving at Union, we stepped onto the subway. Several stops and a short walk later, we were at our destination – Spadina Museum – a stately home belonging to the Austins – one of Toronto’s wealthiest families at the turn of the 20th century.

Nicknamed “Toronto’s Downtown Abbey”, the whole house has been restored to how it looked in the 1920s-1930s. The furnishings are so luxurious and ornate.

I love seeing how people used to live – to me, it feels like I’ve stepped inside a book. Here’s a behind-the-scenes peek into their spacious kitchen – I think the cream and turquoise color scheme is so charming.

I must have modest tastes, because one of my favorite rooms is this bedroom belonging to the housekeeper! It’s simply furnished and so light and airy with a beautiful window.

After our guided tour of the house, we headed out into the famous gardens – my daughter loved looking at all the beautiful flowers. Doesn’t this look like the French countryside? Who could guess that this is located in the heart of Toronto.

Here’s a pic of my son and husband as we walked back to the subway after our afternoon of exploring. We picked up some delicious chocolate croissants at Union Station and then took the GO Train back home.

I really enjoyed sharing my love of history with my kids and taking them to discover unexplored parts of the city. Traveling on the GO Train was a fun and easy option. We didn’t have to worry about traffic or finding parking, and it made it feel more like we were on a mini-holiday together.

Have you pretended to be tourists in your own city? What is your favorite spot to visit?

We live for the weekends, especially during the summer. And planning them is just half the fun. Exploring the big city or biking through wine country – it’s good to have weekend options and we give them to you. Toronto to Niagara. Barrie to Toronto. Either way, we’ll take you there. Seasonal weekend train service runs until Sept 7. Discover a different side of GO this summer at

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by GO Transit  via Mode Media Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Metrolinx.

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express.  



  1. Darcy
    July 13, 2015 / 2:09 pm

    That is such a fun idea! There is so much to do in our own city we never have time for, may have to steal this idea eventually!

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      July 13, 2015 / 9:03 pm

      So glad you like the idea Darcy – the best part is that it really feels like a mini-holiday 🙂

  2. Lilly Style
    July 13, 2015 / 8:54 pm

    Spadina Museum is definitely on my list for when I go back to Toronto again (which I can't wait to do). I tend to complain how there is nothing to do where I live (it's not even close to the size of Toronto) but we do tend to take things/places of the city/town we live in for granted. Lately, I've been trying to appreciate things around me more. Every place has many special things about it. :)Loved this post Ella, thanks for sharing!

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      July 13, 2015 / 9:10 pm

      I TOTALLY know what you mean about taking places for granted – it's funny because I always make a list of sites I want to see when I travel – and yet there are amazing places near me which are so easy to get to – but get overlooked. You're right – EVERY place has special things to discover :-)You'll love Spadina Museum – I can't wait for your next visit – hopefully we'll have time for a quick coffee <3

  3. Beautygirl 24
    July 13, 2015 / 10:36 pm

    Very pretty Zeba! I would love to visit Canada one day, in particular Toronto (then maybe we can finally meet). My town is rather small, so I like to explore nearby places like San Diego, Orange County, or L.A.

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      July 16, 2015 / 3:30 am

      Oh my goodness – I would LOVE it if you came to Toronto – I think you'd really enjoy it AND we'd have so much fun together – fingers crossed we can make it happen someday soon 😉

  4. Dana Wozenilek
    July 19, 2015 / 4:37 pm

    My husband and I try to do the same thing! It's so important to 'explore' where you live as cool new spots are popping up all of the time. Not to mention the oldies but goodies!

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      July 22, 2015 / 7:11 pm

      Hi Dana!! Thanks for commenting 🙂 And yes – it's so much fun to explore near where you live…and it's often such a bargain too 🙂

  5. Kquotes Com
    July 24, 2015 / 9:50 pm

    Very pretty Zeba! I would love to visit Canada one day, in particular Toronto. best friend quotes

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