Toronto is a vibrant metropolis that has over 2.8 million people calling it home – and there’s something for everyone to enjoy here, regardless of your tastes. While the big tourist attractions get the most attention and visitation, there’s a whole world of little-known things to do and places to see that you can easily miss if you don’t know about them.
With that in mind, today we’re going to share a little bit of local knowledge and tell you about a few of the most interesting and unusual things you can do on your next visit to Toronto. Let’s get started.
The Monkey’s Paw(1229 Dundas St. W)
The Monkey’s Paw is a bookstore like no other, it was named after a horror story written by W.W Jacobs and focuses on the unique, the unusual, and the downright bizarre.
There are 4 sections to the store, the beautiful, the macabre, the absurd, and the arcane – in each of which you’ll find books that will leave you with more questions than answers.
The star of the show here is the Bibliomat, which will dispense a random book when you insert a token (which can be purchased for $3 at the counter). The books inside are as strange as the books on the shelves, and they’re great conversation starters to place on your coffee table – if you get lucky.
The Half House (54 1/2 St. Patrick St)
As the name suggests, The Half House is literally half of a terraced house that has been cut right down the middle. Apparently, the owners of The Half House were reluctant to sell their property, at the same time the owners of the connected property next door needed to demolish the house they owned to create space for an adjacent lot.
It was discovered that an interior wall that separated these two properties was load bearing, which meant partial demolition with possible. With almost surgical precision, one half of the house was demolished while leaving the remaining half intact.
It’s only going to pique your interest for a few minutes, but if you’re nearby – it’s well worth checking out.
Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library (120 St George St)
This library contains a treasure trove of old, historical, and notable books that are mainly part of the University of Toronto’s collection. Any visitor can request to see and even handle the books – some of which are quite special.
You can take a look at things like Shakespeare’s first folio, genuine annotations made by Charles Darwin from his research on the Galapagos islands, and there are even a few Egyptian manuscripts that date back almost 2300 years here too.
Winter Garden Theatre(189 Yonge St)
This is probably the most well-known attraction, but it’s also one of the most unique. The Winter Garden Theatre is the world’s last functioning Edwardian double-decker theatre.
Most people find the upper theatre to be the most impressive, and it has been decorated in a way that tries to bring the great outdoors inside the theatre. It’s predominantly white and has countless stunning murals painted on the walls of trees, plants, animals, and other fantasy wonderland style depictions.
The star of the show is undoubtedly the otherworldly ceiling that has been intertwined with over 5000 beech branches. The sight of the leaves that hang down from these branches is something that has to be experienced in person to be fully appreciated.
There are tours available here on Saturdays and Thursdays, but we recommend you go and see a show here instead if you want to get the full experience.