Why a ‘gut-friendly’ travel guide? Well, as someone with IBS and endometriosis, it doesn’t take much to knock my body off balance. Travelling can be tricky – never knowing how your bod is going to feel and the anxiety this brings. It could put you off going away altogether! But I love seeing new places and try not to let either IBS or endometriosis keep me from doing the things I love. Long live travel, I say!
This gut-friendly guide is a suggested itinerary for three nights and two days in Toronto; short but sweet. It includes the places we visited, the sights we saw, and importantly for someone with gut issues, the food I came across. You’ll notice that breaks in each day are included – not overdoing it is very important. It’s all about the balance – abroad!
Travel Guide Toronto – Day 1
First things first, take plenty of snacks for the flight
It’s always best to be prepared and take IBS-friendly snacks away with you. I’d kindly been sent some samples from FODY Foods and their snack bars made a tasty treat en route to Canada (they didn’t last long!) My boyfriend, a non-FODMAPERR also enjoyed.
Arrive and settle into the hotel
We stayed at The Grand Hotel which I can highly recommend. Lovely large rooms and a great breakfast choice, suitable for those with IBS – with porridge, fruit and cooked breakfast options available. There’s also a gym and pools but with such a short stay there was no time for that – besides, we’d be doing enough walking over the next few days!
Have dinner at Keg Steakhouse
We booked ahead for this place and a good job too – it was already really busy at 6:30pm! They have a great menu and also cater to those with gluten sensitivities. They do a delicious steak and were really accommodating to my dietary request of no garlic – offering an alternative dressing for the salad. After a long day of travelling and feeling lovely and full, it was time to catch some zzzzz.
Travel Guide Toronto – Day 2
Take a tour to Niagara Falls
There’s plenty to see and do in Toronto, but knowing Niagara Falls was just a couple of hours drive away we were keen to make the trip.
We’d looked ahead to tours before heading to Canada and had booked onto one who unfortunately let us down the day we arrived in Toronto! So the first thing we did when touching down was head to the tourist information and book onto a different one. I’m generally not one for structured tours but public transport was too much of a mission so it was the best option.
The tourist information team were really helpful and booked us onto a tour with a company called the Chariots of Fire – reasonably priced compared to the majority of other companies and we’d be back by early evening which is what we were after.
We met at a meeting point close to our hotel at just before 8am (an early one, folks!) and were greeted by our very friendly tour chap called Mel. There were only four of us booked onto the tour that day (perks of going off-season!) and so we travelled by car. We learnt lots about Toronto en route – Mel was a fountain of knowledge and cracked a good few jokes which added to the whole experience.
The tour included:
- Going up the Skylon Tower to get a full view of Niagara Falls and all their beauty
- Walking alongside the Falls on the promenade
- A driving tour of the area of Niagara
- Stopping for lunch (not included in price) in Niagara-on-the-lake. Mel recommended Old Town Goodies which did lovely freshly prepared food. I had their Greek salad with a raspberry balsamic glaze – onion and garlic-free. It was also the perfect opportunity to sample poutine – a well-known Canadian dish which is essentially chips, cheese and gravy – but special!
- Visiting a local distillery for a wine tasting session – which included sampling Canada’s famous ice wine (so sweet and delicious)
It was a great day. Due to traffic being on our side, we actually made it back by mid-afternoon – ideal as meant time for a rest and freshen up before heading into Toronto centre to have a mooch.
Time for a break..!
Wander around the town to get your bearings ready for a full day of exploring the next day
We’d already planned roughly what we wanted to do, so it was a case of having a wander, taking in the city and finding somewhere for dinner.
Grab dinner at Basil Box
Pleased to have stumbled across this place – perfect eatery for those with sensitive tums. It’s basically healthy fast food that’s really tasty. You choose your base – rice noodles/rice, etc. and then choose a protein, sauce and toppings. They also have a full list of the ingredients upon request – handy for the sauces to check there’s nothing that could set your stomach off. I really enjoyed the meal – kind to the tum and so full of flavour. I’d choose this type of meal over a fancy restaurant any day.
Try the different flavours of Dairy Milk that you don’t have at home
I know, I know – I can hear you gawping. But you can’t get these flavours at home, so naturally had to sample. 😉 Well, that balances out the healthy dinner, eh!!
Travel Guide Toronto – Day 3
Go to St Lawrence Market
This place is well worth a stop-off. I love a good market – had we not had lunch planned already we’d have grabbed a bite here for sure.
Head to the Distillery District and stop by Arvo for a hot chocolate, before exploring the other quirky shops/foodie places
One of my highlights of the trip, the Distillery District is a gem of Toronto with a range of independent shops – in fact, no chain businesses are allowed to set-up shop there which makes it all the more unique. It was raining heavily so to take a break from being drowned rats, we took haven inside Arvo – a place which knows its coffee. Not coffee drinkers ourselves (although the smell is divine), we opted for hot chocolate – I had the almond milk version which was yum and the lady who made them had serious milk skills.
After warming up, we continued to explore the Distillery District, stopping by Soma Chocolatemaker. You have to go in here, even if just to take in the smell. One for you chocolate fans.
Go up the CN Tower in the Entertainment District and have lunch while enjoying 360 views of the city
There wasn’t a huge difference in price between going up the tower with lunch included, versus without so we opted for the former. What a special experience it was. The restaurant is on a revolving floor (don’t worry – at a slow pace!) so as you munch your lunch you get to enjoy 360 views of the city. The food was really tasty. I requested no garlic and opted for dishes lower in FODMAPs. Washed down with a glass of the Niagara white wine. When in Canada…
Head to Nathan Phillips Square and have a photo in front of the ‘Toronto’ sign
Buy some maple syrup and other maple-inspired souvenirs
Maple tea, maple chocolate, maple fudge and not forgetting ice wine chocolate too..! I found the supermarket was the best place to buy maple syrup as opposed to more touristy spots which tended to be quite expensive – but it all depends on the size you’re after.
Take a break..!
Go and watch a lacrosse game
Well worth doing. We watched a league game at the Air Canada Centre (booked before the trip) and it was so entertaining! Fun to do something different (without breaking the bank at around $20) and do like the locals do.
Grab a bite on the way back to the hotel
We hot-footed it back to Basil Box (so nice we wanted it twice!) but we were too late and the food was being packed away. So we stopped by Chipotle instead – limited options for low-FODMAPers but depends on tolerances. I got tricked by there being small bits of raw onion in the avocado so tum felt on the sensitive side the next day.
Travel Guide Toronto – Day 4
…Time to pack. We were heading to the Big Apple from here! Watch this space for the blog… 🙂
What a city! The small taste of Toronto has certainly left me wanting more of Canada. And managed to keep the balance throughout – phew!
Have you visited Toronto before? Where were your favourite spots?