Toronto’s Tasty Tours
Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows
I’m not usually one for taking city tours when I arrive in a faraway land. Granted, they definitely have their perks, especially when travelling with a short time frame. You get to cram in pretty much all the city’s attractions in one day of rushed photo ops and get a crash course on the history of each. My own personal preference is to take it slow and walk around the city streets, breathing in the experience and getting a sense of the concrete heartbeat of the city and its people. This usually involves me stopping into some local shops and street vendors and getting a real ‘taste’ of what the city’s all about. I’m not gonna lie – to me, that’s pretty sweet. That’s why this independent small group tour company differentiated itself, and I felt really helped in getting off the beaten path. Tasty Tours offers a downtown Toronto walking tour, with a tasty twist.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when arriving at Tasty Tours’ first location. It seemed simple enough, really. Over the next 3 hours, our tour guide Audrey, founder of Tasty Tours, would be bringing us to 6 different sweet shops around the trendy downtown neighbourhood of Trinity Bellwoods. I’ve always had a bit of a sweet tooth, but I’ll be honest in saying I didn’t realize there was even more than 1 of these shops in that area, and I lived in Toronto for over 6 years!
Upon arrival, we were all warmly greeted and positioned around a semi-round table. We were asked to briefly introduce ourselves, and being the tour which focused on chocolate primarily, we each described our most favourite chocolate. You could tell everyone had begun salivating at the table as the group went around the table. We were then given a quick lesson on the history of chocolate, its importance in many cultures, and how it’s produced (even with the ability to smell and examine some specimens from various stages of production). Audrey was clearly very passionate about the subject as she poured out her knowledge on the “food of the gods”. The welcome meeting was wrapped up by being shown how to properly taste, and savour, some pieces of delicious chocolate pieces. Semi-sweet was the chocolate of choice, to try to appeal to both the milk and the dark chocolate lovers. I never really thought of the science behind eating chocolate, but now I feel I have a deeper appreciation of the complexities of the flavours.
Throughout the tour, there were some walks of a decent distance between destinations. You should know that they’re not all next door to each other, and you can expect to walk about a Kilometer at most between one or two of the stops. That being said, each walk consists of some pretty lovely scenery, including a hike through the beautiful Trinity Bellwoods Park. The only deterrent to a tour of this nature is of course being subject to the natural elements. We happened to go on a cool, rainy autumn day, so it’s best to be checking the forecast to know what to wear as so you’ll be comfortable for the duration of the tour. There’s nothing worse than being cold and wet for long periods of time!
Each of the shops seemed excited to see us, and had a staff member welcome us with much enthusiasm. We’d often get a low down on what the shop specialized in, a brief history of the place, and any extras they offer (such as baking/chocolate making courses). Following each welcome meeting, we were given a delicious sample of something from the store, which is included in the cost of the tour. If it melts into your heart – and not in your hands – you’re given a bit of time afterwards to go explore what other unique tasty treats they make, and buy some souvenirs you may have trouble finding in your local grocery shops. It’s clear the relation Tasty Tours has with many of these shops is really ‘sweet’, as the warmness in the welcomes transcends through the whole experience of the tour.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that Tasty Tours footed the bill for this sweet ‘date’, but all delicious opinions are that of my own. Bad dates aren’t something you’d want to brag about anyway, right?
SEE – Photos & Videos
GO – Getting There
Both available tours take place in close proximity to each other, either in Kensington Market, or Trinity Bellwoods Park – a 5 mins walk from each other. The exact meeting location will be emailed to you at the time of booking, as this can vary from tour to tour, depending on the number of people or the schedule of the stores being visited.
In a city with so many different cultural areas, this a perfect way to end your eating tour of Toronto’s neighbourhoods!
Do – Activities & Attractions
Stay – Accommodation
Eat – Restaurants
Time – Seasonality & Schedules
Of course, as with any walking tours, there are perhaps more ideal times of year to be hiking around in the city, especially in a city with such extreme seasons as Toronto has. That being said, Tasty Tours operates on an annual basis. Rain or shine (or blizzard), the show must go on. How else would you be able to book a special valentines tour for your sweetheart in the dead of winter? Of course, one should be mindful that you will be outside for a few hours, so you should check the weather forecast and dress appropriately!
Safety – Possible risks
Please Note: Travel inherently comes with an element of risk (just like crossing the road does). You are putting yourself in elements that are unfamiliar and foreign to your usual lifestyle and with that, become more susceptible to fall victim those who try to play off those unfamiliar to their local scams. There are also potential dangers in the environments to which you may not be accustomed to.
Please take extra care in travelling, ensure that you have adequate medical insurance (accidents seem to happen when you least expect them), and have let a trusted colleague, family member or friend know your whereabouts and activities.
Where Sidewalks End travel advises you to travel at your own risk, and to be extra aware of your surroundings (without letting it spoiling your time).
Pay – How much does it cost?
Prices may vary depending on which tour you are choosing. At the time of this publication, the tour prices were as follows:
KENSINGTON MARKET SWEETS TOUR
$30 per person ($26.55 + 13% HST)
$10 for kids 7-12 years inclusive ($8.85 + 13% HST)
Free for kids under 7!
TRINITY BELLWOODS CHOCOLATE TOUR
$35 per person ($30.97 + $13% HST)
$15 for kids 7-12 years inclusive ($13.27 + $13% HST)
Free for kids under 7!
Private tours may also be booked. Please check the Tasty Tours website for the most up to date pricing information.
Responsible Travel – Best Practices
Reality Check – Be Aware
All in all, I had a great time with Tasty Tours, and would love to try out their other tour, the sweet shops of Kensington Market! It was a really fun way to enjoy an evening, and stay pretty guilt free, as you walk off pretty much all the chocolate you eat! I can definitely see this tour appealing more to women, than men. I’ve heard several lady friends say that chocolate is better than saxophones, and I mean really.. who doesn’t love to tap that brass? So fellas… if you’re looking for a way to swoon your special someone, this may be the answer to the perfect date night, without having to go to some cheesy chick flick, well… Just sayin. And at about $30 per head, it’s not going to break the bank either!
JOIN US! WSE Travel Packages
This sounds like quite the adventure, right? We thought so too! Though we realize it can be pretty intimidating to get out there into the world on your own, especially when travelling to some of these off the beaten path locations. We love it when our readers give it a shot and try it for themselves! In fact, please leave us feedback if you do!! If trying something ‘this’ adventurous on your own is just a bit outside of your comfort zone, WSE Travel is here to help!
Follow this link for our ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Tours – packages that are highly personalized and tailored at your request.
Have you been on any tasty tours that you thought were a deliciously unique way to see the city? Was the tour based around the sweet or the savoury?
Please feel free to share your stories and thoughts in the comment section below!