A #YUBlog Guide to Spring Activities in Toronto

Posted by Shahroze Rauf on April 23, 2019

Student Life

Exams are over and as students, we are ready to relax and jump into vacation. This year, let’s take a moment to look forward and plan ahead on things we can do in Toronto during the Spring!

Being a student at York University gives you a different experience than other universities in the GTA. Why? As a commuter school, we’re close to all the action north of the city as well as downtown[MM1] . From festivals to amusement parks, you’re just a short subway or bus trip away from activities and fun! This week’s #YUBlog post will show you how you can make the best out of the first few weeks out of school!

A beautiful shot of the sunset – a view you’ll catch right outside of the Vaughan Mills shopping mall.

Head up north!

Some people may think there isn’t much to do in or around Vaughan or Richmond Hill. But north of the city you may find fun things to do! Living in Vaughan for over a decade now, I often think I’ve exhausted all the stuff to do up here, but there’s always something to be done!

From malls to restaurants you’re quite close to some good and well-priced fun! You can head to shopping centres such as:

  • Vaughan Mills: This is Canada’s premier outlet mall and offers a variety of stores from fashion, electronics, and even entertainment from Pro Hockey Life, to outdoor equipment from Bass Pro Shops. It’s easy to find what you need here, no matter what it is!
  • Promenade: A large and spacious indoor shopping mall with two floors and a wide variety of clothing and electronic retailers. With the amount of ground you can cover by walking through this mall, it truly does live up to its name!
  • Hillcrest Mall: Finally open after major renovations, this new glowed-up mall offers a huge variety of retail stores and an overall clean experience for shoppers. It’s a nice break from the extremely busy malls in the heart of downtown.

 If you’re up for some food, there are also some awesome restaurants for you to choose from. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • Shogi Sushi: One of my personal favorite sushi places, this small and quaint restaurant provides a great menu of all-you-can-eat sushi options for a weekday lunch buffet under $15! Other than Shogi, there are other great sushi buffets in the area such as Maple Sushi and Yang’s Teppanyaki and Sushi!
  • Pollo Loco: This small shop is a classic in Vaughan. Perhaps one of the oldest non-franchise restaurants, Pollo Loco offers authentic Portuguese food at a great price. But if you’re not up for that, there’s a Subway two shops down from it.
  • Tandoori Time: If you have a taste for spicy Indian food, then Tandoori Time will become your favorite. From classic dishes like Butter Chicken, to Chicken Tikka Masala, you’re bound to come to Vaughan for more!
The Wonder Mountain at Canada’s Wonderland is just one of the many attractions you can find north of York University in Vaughan

After heading to one of these or any other restaurants, one of Vaughan’s most famous attractions, Canada’s Wonderland will open on May 3! Grab a season pass so you can enjoy it multiple times. There are hundreds of rides and games to choose from, the newest one being the Yukon Striker, which features a 90-degree drop! Or you can head over to the Splashworks water park to cool off! Also make sure you check out Wonderland’s beautiful fireworks display – the next show will be coming up on Victoria Day, on May 20! Aside from that, there are plenty of other events happening such as:

  • 125 years of Slovak Immigration Exhibit: A fee exhibit for all ages which explores the immigration of Slovak immigrants in the early 1800s – a great experience if you’re just looking for a chill time that’s easy on your wallet!
  • Newmarket Farmer’s Market: One of the biggest events in Newmarket! Buy everything from fresh produce to homemade baking and crafts. The Market is a fun place to meet up and relax with your friends. Entry is free!
  • Saturday Night Live Jazz: Enjoy some delicious oriental cuisine at Go for Tea while listening to a live jazz band. Performances are every Saturday night of each month!
One of the prettiest intersections downtown, near the Harbourfront, featuring one of Toronto’s oldest buildings, the Gooderham ‘Flatiron’ Building.

Heading down south!

Though regions north of the city may have a lot of activities, nothing really beats the exciting events in downtown Toronto. Around spring-time, especially in May, Toronto is brimming with a bunch of festivals and events!

  • By brimming, I mean literally brimming with the Spring Beer Fest TO near the end of May.
  • If you’re in the mood for something a little less rowdy, check out Artfest in the Distillery District around the same time.
  • Halloween isn’t the only time people dress up in costume –  check out some amazing costumes from the cosplayers at one of Toronto’s biggest events of the year, Anime North!

After a long and busy day of festivals and events, why not take a relaxing stroll to one of the many colourful districts in Toronto?

  • The Harbourfront area is always a nice place to wind down. Whether it is a stroll through the picturesque boardwalk along the water or through the famous Toronto Music Garden, you’ll find a relaxing end to your day on the constantly-evolving waterfront!
  • The Distillery District gives off European vibes with its closed off streets free for pedestrians to walk without a worry. Around this time of year, there are multiple events to attend, such as this year’s Artfest on May 18!
  • The Gay Village on Church and Wellesley streets is a great place to experience a lively part of the city. From bars opening up with fabulous drag performers, to clubs with great music, there is always something to lose yourself in as the night passes over!
Summer Tip: Don’t forget to check out Toronto’s Pride events this June!

Aside from pretty places to walk or fun events, downtown Toronto also has a great array of places to eat!

  • The Old Spaghetti Factory – a student-friendly restaurant, the menu ranges in price from $16 – $30 with each dish including a starter salad or soup, tea or coffee, your choice of ice cream, and an endless supply of fresh bread with garlic butter! What better place to fill up?
  • The Vegandale Brewery – a restaurant and bar, this all-vegan establishment with it’s extensive vegan menu even has the option of a Vegan Big Mac (a secret item)! So, you can enjoy the humble charm of fast food without the meat!
  • The Lockhart – one of the coolest bars in Toronto, this Harry Potter-themed bar serves magical drinks. This is Toronto’s very own haven for all you Potter-heads!
Being at York, we’re lucky to have a great variety of things to do in the comfort of our campus!

Right here at York!

At York, we’re lucky to have a large variety of restaurants and opportunities right on our campus, even if its away from busy municipalities. Here are some you should check out, if you haven’t already:

  • Underground: Enjoy a huge array of varied dishes, all student-friendly and well-priced. It’s a nice and cool place for you to unravel and treat yourself, whether it is with food, drinks, or even games! And the best part – its right on campus. So, go ahead! Pamper yourself!
  • Shopsy’s Sports Grill: One of the most famous restaurants to wind down on-campus, Shopsy’s now has extended its seating area, allowing for a wider space for students to enjoy drinks, food, and sports! Make sure to keep an eye out for daily deals!
  • Indian Flavour: I may be biased when talking about Indian flavour, but it is truly underrated and so delicious! Authentic Indian food, that isn’t too spicy, served with rice, vegetables, and their famous naan! My personal favourite is the butter chicken!

Other than great places to eat, you can stay closer to home and enjoy something a little less hectic and energy-consuming. And if you still have to exams to complete, get over to our other blog post on How to De-Stress During Exam Time for some relaxing and student-friendly ideas. Whether you’re out eating good food, shopping at the mall, or just sitting in for a movie and some snacks, have fun with it!

Prepare yourself for summertime, you deserve it!