It’s the Thanksgiving long weekend here in Canada and what better way to celebrate the holiday than with a beer and history tour in Toronto?
Russ and I celebrated the holiday with family on Saturday and toured Old Toronto with Toronto Urban Adventures, an Intrepid company, on Sunday. The tour was a belated birthday gift for Russ. I bought it in July knowing that with the busyness of the summer season it would likely be fall by the time we could take advantage of it. And that’s one of the great things about buying one of the company’s tours as a gift – you can use it anytime within 365 days of purchase.
We met Mike, our tour guide, in front of the Hockey Hall of Fame at 2pm and basked in the warm October sunshine while we waited for the rest of our tour to arrive. Our group of 10 was a mix of Americans visiting for the weekend, a Calgarian, and five Torontonians (none of whom were Canadian-born as we discovered at the first pub) playing tourists in our own city for the day.
We spent the next four hours between Front and King Streets and Yonge Street and the Distillery District. The tour itself covered everything from the history of the name Toronto to the impact of the Great Fires on the architecture of the city to Prohibition and some of the laws that still exist today. As a group we discussed American politics, baseball, more politics, immigration, and more politics. Hard to avoid in October of an American election year, especially with this particular election.
We stopped at two pubs and a brewpub. Each had extensive beer listings which Mike walked us through, highlighting the make-up and the pros and cons (depending on your palate) of lagers, ales, wheat beers, pale ales, stouts and porters, and any unusual drafts on tap. We chatted about Ontario craft brewers, IBUs, and historically who in society drank which beers.
Russ and I picked up a few new-to-us nuggets of beer and Toronto history along the tour (which I won’t spoil here in case you want to take the tour yourself). If you aren’t from the city, the tour is a great crash course in what Toronto is all about at the reasonable price of $47 per person (beer not included). Intrepid runs urban adventures in 60+ countries. Check them out at urbanadventures.com.