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23 Hours in TO: An Epic Valentine’s Celebration

I wouldn’t be a true millennial, if I wasn’t blogging. And there is no place I’ve come to love more, than the City of Toronto. Toronto is exploding with amazing culture, food, and art. Through my series of blogs, I hope to help you see the beauty of Toronto and what keeps me coming back. This post will focus on my latest trip: An Epic Valentine’s Celebration.

1 King St W, Toronto, ON M5H 1A1

Reservations Department: 1-866-470-5464.

Surprisingly, Toronto hotels are reasonably priced for Valentine’s weekend. We stayed at the One King West Hotel and Residence. Upon checking-in, I received a text message from the Front Desk confirming our satisfaction with the room and they were available via text for continued communication through our stay. The hotel room was modern, decently sized, and contained a wet-bar with mini-fridge. Perfect for pre-going out champagne toast. The view from our room was under construction; but you get what you pay for. The most interesting part of the hotel was the stairs leading from the hotel lobby to the giant vault in the basement. Make sure you check it out! Overall, customer service and concierge were great. If you decide to valet your car with the hotel, I do recommend you note these extra costs and discuss your departure with the Front Desk. They were great about a late check-out the following morning, which allowed us some time to grab brunch. After getting settled into our rooms, we headed over to the CRAFT Beer Market for lunch.

Valet parking is available at the following rates:

  • $49.00 overnight (with in/out privileges), valid until check out time of 11am.

  • $35.00 3 hour visitor rate. 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM. No in and out privileges. Maximum of 3 hours. $5 each additional hour. Overnight rate applies after 7:00 PM.

CRAFT Beer Market is fabulous for a laid-back lunch. Their website advertises fresh food, and its truth. If you like art, there is a floor to ceiling display of what I will call – Keg Art. A series of 20 or so kegs wrapped in art from the brewery. With 6 adults, we headed straight to the bar, ordering a few pints of beer, flights, and a signature Canadian drink; Spicy Bloody Caesar. The Caesar was on point, and I recommend trying it with their grilled avocado salad. Overall, this place is perfect to kick-off the remainder of the day.

Next Step, the guys headed over to Toronto’s Distillery District for a private tour at Spirit of York Distilling Co. I can do an entirely separate piece on the Distillery District, but for now we will focus on Spirit of York. If you are interested in booking a tour of the distillery, I do recommend calling a few days in advance. The distillery does not book same day tours. The décor has a modern, yet old-school prohibition vibe. It was roughly a 30-minute tour finished with a tasting of their world-class vodka, gin, and whiskey. The most interesting part of the tour was the history of the district, and the story of the trials and tribulations that went into building the location of Spirit of York.

While the guys headed over to the Distillery District, the girls headed out to explore the city. Starting at Nathan Phillips Square. This area is most notoriously known for their giant Toronto sign and outdoor ice skating. The rink is a bit chaotic, so we grabbed a few pics of the area, and then headed on our hunt for Toronto Public Art. If you like public art, I do recommend checking out Graffiti Alley, the Paul Jackson Lives painting, and the Angel Wings on the side of the restaurant Calii Love. They are each unique curations by various artists, located on the sides of buildings. After wrapping up our adventures, our group met back at the hotel to prepare for dinner at KOST Toronto.

Dinner at KOST Toronto

Kost is located on the roof of BISHA Hotel, offering panoramic views of the city; including the CN Tower. It would be even better in the warmer months. The ambiance is airy, the food is inspired by Bajan cuisine, and the menu offers small and large plate items. With 6 adults, we decided to start with oysters, fried calamari, and the ahi tuna tartare, moving onto to several portions of the dry aged rib-eye as our main course. We then finished off the meal with the chocolate molten cake and a selection of their ice creams and sorbets: vanilla, chili chocolate, and passion fruit. Don’t skip the chocolate molten cake! Also, try out the Cali Spritz cocktail; a nice take on an aperol spritz. We then headed down to the lobby bar, which is where we found our recommendation for our next stop, MARBL Toronto.

Dancing at MARBL Toronto

There is no better way to have a Valentine’s Day celebration, than the party on the ground floor at MARBL. Vending machines full of Moet. Display cases stacked with Dom. WE WANTED TO DANCE, AND MARBL DELIVERED. The place is not huge, but the music, vibe and people watching was phenomenal. We partied like it was 2005. If you have a larger group, I suggest getting bottle service. There were 6 of us, and it was a better investment in the long run. Plus, it’s nice to have your own area for drinks and dancing. We spent the rest of the evening at Marbl, and then headed back to our hotel for a night-cap.

Brunch at Bannock

Following a heavy night of dinner and dancing; brunch was a natural next step the following morning. We needed energy for our 2 hour ride back to Buffalo, NY. Bannock was a short walk from our hotel and best described as Canadian comfort food. It was the perfect ending to our 23 hours in Toronto, and the Stampede Bloody Caesar was the hair of the dog that we were looking for. The food hit the spot and perfect energy to make our way back home.

Guest Blog By: Samantha Sowah

Located in Buffalo, New York. Samantha is a Project Manager and Co-founder of non-profit, Unite by Night. She enjoys traveling with her husband, Nii, to experience the culture and food each city has to offer. When she’s not traveling, you can find her running or hiking with her dog, Morgan.

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