Avocado sushi on a white plate

Vegan Travel: A Staycation in Toronto

February 23, 2024
Kimberly D'Oliveira

My ideal staycation in Toronto is all about food, culture and exploring the outdoors. It's a weekend full of delicious plant-based cuisine, exploring local markets, connecting with nature, and creating lasting memories. 

Friday Evening

After checking into our accommodations, let's kick things off with a cozy dinner at Bellona Kitchen. This family-owned restaurant does classic Italian dishes, vegan-style. Think mouthwatering plant-based pasta, pizzas, desserts and more, setting the tone for an epic weekend ahead. Check out their Cantina 3-course tasting menu for just $25.

Saturday Morning

I'll start my Saturday with an early visit to the Evergreen Brickworks Farmers Market. Strolling through the vibrant stalls, I love discovering locally sourced produce, artisanal vegan treats, and more. Connecting with local farmers gives me a greater appreciation of where my food comes from. Plus, this is a dog-friendly activity from spring-to-fall and family friendly all year long (hello skating rink!).

Saturday Afternoon

With brunch covered at the Brickworks, it's time to jump on the DVP and head to Farmhouse Garden Animal Home for their Saturday afternoon sanctuary tour. I love visiting their beautiful cows and other well-cared-for sanctuary residents. I couldn’t think of a better afternoon - connecting with animals, in nature.

If you get peckish often like I do, there is a conveniently located Odd Burger in Whitby that always hits the spot for an afternoon snack on the way back into the city.. My go-to is an order of ChickUn Pretenders and a strawberry shake!

Saturday Evening

As the sun sets, let’s head to Avelo Restaurant for a sophisticated dining experience. I dream of their delicious and inventive vegan dishes, paired with fine wines and crafted cocktails in the newly-opened Bar Avelo. This spot alone makes a visit to Toronto worthwhile, so it is the perfect way to cap off a splendid Saturday.

Sunday Morning

Sunday is a perfect day for a DIY vegan food tour through Toronto’s eclectic Kensington Market. Starting at newly opened Le Végétalien, for a coffee and croissant, then onto Kensington classics like Saigon Lotus, Veggie D’Light, King’s Cafe, Eat Nabati, Hawker and Bunners bakery - all 100% vegan. Kensington is a quintessential Toronto experience for me and the market's diverse cultural influences and creative spirit is a must for me!

Sunday Afternoon

The choice is yours- for me, a leisurely walk in the lush greenery of High Park or a forest bath in Rouge Urban Park is top on my list to walk off all of the good eating I did in Kensington Market. Bonus points that each of these parks will take you west or east respectively if you are heading home on either side of the city.

Sunday Evening Bonus

As a foodie at heart, I’d take the opportunity to sneak in one more fantastic vegan meal. If you are heading west, I recommend the Community Restaurant in Oakville or Mississauga for delicious, healthy fare. If you are heading east, try Tenon Markham (or spend another night and try their Toronto location). They do vegan sushi right and their expansive menu always hits the spot - the perfect conclusion to a perfect weekend.

Where to Stay 

For a serious splurge, check out 1Hotel, a LEED Gold Certified building, featuring interiors furnished with local and reclaimed materials.

If you are anything like me and on a budget, try a low or no cost house sitting or swapping option. Check out Trusted House Sitters. A Toronto staycation that includes caring for a companion animal in exchange for a home stay, yes please!

You don’t have to hop on a plane to have a memorable vacation. Toronto's vegan-friendly scene offers so much to do, see and of course, eat! I hope this itinerary inspires you with a blend of culinary delights, cultural exploration, and immersion into nature— an unforgettable retreat that is close to home.

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