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15 Hidden Gems to Discover in Toronto

15 Hidden Gems to Discover in Toronto

Think you’ve conquered Toronto because you’ve checked off the CN Tower and explored High Park? While these are undeniably the city’s headline acts, there’s so much more to check out in the city!

So, set aside your Toronto know-it-all badge and let’s explore the uncharted corners of the 6ix.

Monkey’s Paw

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Address: 1067 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1M5, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-531-2123

Operating hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM | Sunday: 12:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Are you a book lover in search of a unique bookstore experience in Toronto? Head over to Monkey’s Paw, where you can thoroughly enjoy a long afternoon of book shopping. 

This bookstore specializes in old, uncommon, and unusual books from the 20th century, which is what makes it unique. But that’s not all that makes them special – when you’re there, what you should start looking for is their Biblio-Mat.

It’s a one-of-a-kind vending machine, the first in the world, dispensing vintage books for only $3. The best part? Customers receive a randomly selected surprise vintage book with each purchase which makes it more exciting. 

Monkey’s Paw actually doesn’t stock anything from after 1989, so it’s like a mystery treasure trove every time you step in. A real hidden gem in Toronto for all you book buffs that prefer past literature!

The Vog Vault

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Address: 686 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1E7, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-581-1420

Operating hours: Monday – Saturday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM | Sunday: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

There’s this hidden gem in the city that’s perfect for Instagram – The Vog Vault. You might not have heard of it, but it’s a small room that used to be a TD bank vault, now transformed into a vintage reading space with bookshelves and a comfy Victorian sofa. 

It’s tucked inside the Fluevog shoe store on Queen Street West. But don’t be fooled by its size; this room is anything but ordinary. 

They’ve turned it on its side, so the sofa and carpet are on the wall, letting you take unique photos that give the impression of “anti-gravity.”

It’s free to snap some pics here, but the stuff inside is for purchase. So, why not pick up something to remember your visit to this cool spot? 

Arthur Conan Doyle Room

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Address: 789 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4W 2G8, Canada

Contact details: 416-393-7158

Operating hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00 AM – 8:30 PM | Saturday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM | Sunday: 1:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Did you know that the Toronto Reference Library hosts a special room dedicated to Sherlock Holmes? It’s called the Arthur Conan Doyle Room, named after the creator of this famous detective character. 

If you’re a big fan, you’ll notice they’ve set it up to look like Holmes’ pad at 221B Baker Street in London. It has that classic English vibe with tall bookshelves full of rare Doyle books, wooden floors, and antique furniture.

And it’s not just for show –  you’ll find all sorts of stuff there too, from manuscripts and letters to cool collectibles like posters, original art, and old newspaper clippings. 

Want to check it out? Head up to the fifth floor of the library and find it inside the Marilyn & Charles Baillie Special Collections Center.

The Scarborough Bluffs Beach

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Address: 1 Brimley Rd. S, Bluffers Pk Rd, Scarborough, ON, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-338-0889

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Nothing beats the vacation vibe in Toronto like checking out the beautiful scenic spots in the city, and one gem you shouldn’t miss is Scarborough Bluffs Beach. It’s this amazing spot that guarantees a relaxing and scenic experience, just about 30 minutes from downtown.

The beach boasts beautiful sandy shores, perfect for sunbathing and, of course, taking a dip during the summer months. You can hang out here for as long as you like, depending on your interest in hiking and beach fun. 

Some visitors might just spend a few hours soaking up the sun, while others go all out, spending a full day exploring the parks and hiking trails along the bluffs. Or hey, why not do both?

Chester Hill Lookout

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Website: Chester Hill Rd, Toronto, ON M4K 1V4, Canada

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

Ask any Torontonian about their secret observation deck, and they’ll spill the beans on the Chester Hill Lookout. 

It has all the vibes of a small-town hilltop car park but with the bonus of panoramic views of the big city landscape and the Don Valley. 

Okay, it might just be a semi-circular concrete observation deck at the end of Chester Hill Road, but when you gaze out from there, especially at night with the city lights shining, the view is pretty stunning. And the best part? It’s free to visit!

Getting there is a breeze as well, just a ten-minute walk north from Broadview Station. It’s even quicker if you hop on the bus, so take note for your first visit. 


Address: 37 Bertmount Ave, Toronto, ON M4M 2X8, Canada

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

Will you believe us when we say you can visit a real-life dollhouse in Toronto? Just swing by at 37 Bertmount Avenue in the Leslieville neighborhood and you’ll see a house there decked out with an eclectic collection of dolls!

Now, you can’t play with this dollhouse, but you can catch a glimpse of this strange, eerie display anytime during the day. Of course, you can also take a picture with the dollhouse with superheroes, Hello Kitty, trolls, and mermaids as your backdrop.

The display keeps growing and changing, so you won’t get tired of stopping by whenever you want. And don’t worry, you won’t be alone – there are visitors strolling around from the neighborhood and beyond, hoping to catch sight of this unusual Toronto landmark.

Campbell House Museum


Address: 160 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 3H3, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-597-0227

Operating hours: Tuesday – Friday: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM | Saturday: 12:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Sure, you’ve heard of the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto, but have you discovered the hidden gem that is the Campbell House Museum in downtown Toronto? 

A visit here is a haven for tourists, especially history buffs, as it’s one of the city’s oldest surviving buildings from the early 19th century. It was constructed in 1822 for Judge William Campbell and his family.

Beyond the typical collections and exhibits found in museums, this one boasts beautiful gardens open for all visitors to stroll through. 

Additionally, they don’t fall short on events, including plays that you wouldn’t want to miss. The catch is that you need to make an appointment to stop by the museum, although same-day appointments are often available so look out for those!

Necropolis Cemetery

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Address: 200 Winchester St, Toronto, ON M4X 1B7, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-923-7911

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM

You don’t typically include a cemetery in your vacation plans, right? But in Toronto, the Necropolis Cemetery is so picturesque that even if you don’t have a loved one resting there, you might want to pay it a visit!

You don’t have to go solo or just stick to your friends group – there are actually Toronto cemetery tours you can join. This way, you’re not only in for the views but also to hear intriguing stories about ghosts and other paranormal activities.

Speaking of the views, which are, of course, the highlight of your visit, you’ll get to see Gothic Revival architecture. You’ll see it especially in the restored cemetery entrance, chapel, and the office. 

This means beautiful stained glass windows, sculptures, and Victorian-style buildings to check out. So of course, if fright with a bit of architectural flair is your thing, the place should definitely be your must-visit. 

Redway Road Staircase

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Address: 11 Redway Rd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (head up Redway toward Millwood, less than 200 meters away, and you will find the hidden access to the wooden staircase on your right)

Tucked away near a busy intersection in Leaside is this set of stairs in Toronto that’s uniquely special. You won’t easily spot it because it’s almost hidden, as it sneaks off on Redway Road just before it meets Millwood. 

Initially, these stairs were built as an escape route for the sewage treatment plant down in the valley, but now they’ve become a bit of an urban attraction. To be honest, not many people use these old, light blue wooden stairs, but they’re pretty awesome as a photo spot.

The stairs guide you down through a charming forest with over 200 steps, leading straight to a gate for the plant. From there, you can either head back up or keep exploring Crothers Woods.

Don’t worry; along the way, there are some cool platforms to check out, and about halfway down, you’ll come across a bench where you can take a break.

The Grange Park


Address: 26 Grange Rd W, Toronto, ON

Craving a green escape away from the city hustle? With numerous parks in Toronto to choose from, the lesser-known Grange Park is surely a must-visit. 

Here, you can unwind under the shade of trees, appreciate the well-kept gardens, or take a leisurely stroll along the winding pathways. 

The park also features art you have to check out – hosting various installations, performances, and community events throughout the year.

But the hidden gem in the area? The picturesque Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, an architectural masterpiece that’s home to a vast collection of rare books and manuscripts. Find that one-of-a-kind book you’re looking for here!

Half House

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Address: 54 St Patrick St, Toronto, ON M5T 1V1, Canada

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

Quirky properties are scattered across the city, but none quite like The Half House. Situated on St. Patrick Street in downtown Toronto, this dwelling appears as if it were literally sliced in half, making it easy to be overlooked, but hard to look away when you see it. 

From the right angle, it offers a captivating photo opportunity too. Snap a photo in any style you prefer – whether a selfie, groupie, or an illusion photo that makes it look like you’re holding the half house.

Now, you might wonder why a half house exists in Toronto. Apparently, developers bought and demolished most of the surrounding houses, but the owner of 54 1/2 refused to sell. 

Through careful demolition, only the adjoining house was removed, leaving 54 1/2 standing alone. Talk about persistence!

Humber Bay Park East


Address: 100 Humber Bay Park Road East, Toronto, ON M8V 3X7, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-392-2489

Operating hours: Monday – Friday: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

For a peaceful lakeside retreat, head to Humber Bay Park. Nestled along the shores of Lake Ontario, this hidden gem provides breathtaking panoramic views of the skyline and a serene atmosphere. 

There’s plenty to do here: hike the park’s nature trails, savor the calming sound of lapping waves, catch the breathtaking sunsets, and indulge in some bird-watching. 

Additionally, there’s a picnic spot in the area where you and your family can unwind and reconnect with nature while savoring the beauty of Toronto’s lakeside.


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Toronto boasts a myriad of enticing restaurants, and while you might have explored many, consider adding a touch of intrigue to your dining experience by attending a secret supper club. 

Enter L.U.S.T., named one of the top 15 secret supper clubs globally by The Food Network. It’s helmed by Chef Luke Hayes-Alexander and unfolds in undisclosed locations throughout the city. 

It’s like a dinner party but cooler, with flavors from around the world. And each meal has a theme – picture a ’70s dinner or a Rock and Roll feast!

To get in on Toronto’s L.U.S.T., just hit up their website or sign up for their newsletter. That’s where they spill the beans on dates, dinners, and how to snag limited tickets. 

Final details, including the address and the arrival time, will be sent via email two days before the dinner.

Museum of Illusions


Address: 132 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5A 1E2, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-889-2285

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Discovering the quirky side of Toronto? Make sure the Museum of Illusions is on your list! 

This hidden gem houses over 80 mind-bending experiences that play with holograms, illusions, and various exhibits, creating an entertaining escape for the whole family.

But that’s not all – you can also try out their brain-teasing logic games and see if you can handle their vortex tunnel. Or let the kids check out other cool spots in the museum, like those tilted rooms that mess with your sense of gravity and size.

Can’t get enough of this place? The Museum of Illusions is up for rent for your event – maybe the perfect spot for your kid’s next birthday bash – or yours!

Odin Café and Bar


Address: 180 John St, Toronto, ON M5T 1X5, Canada

Operating hours: Monday – Friday: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM | Saturday – Sunday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

No city trip is complete without a visit to a good coffee spot, and Odin, a Nordic-Canadian cafe and bar, should be your go-to! 

This beautiful and spacious cafe boasts a Scandinavian-inspired minimalist design, providing a fantastic work environment that sets it apart from the sea of cafes in the city. 

If you spend your afternoon here until early evening, you’re in luck because Odin offers a full bar with a small wine, beer, and cocktail selection.

Feeling a bit peckish? They’ve got you covered with a comprehensive snack menu featuring sandwiches, avocado toast, and other plant-based options. Simply put, whatever brings you here, this coffee shop has it all.