Hey, everybody! Who can give me some Toronto and Montreal tips? They're up for consideration as a place to meet some family (there will be two babies in the group) at a neutral location.
Some of us like craft beer, interesting hotels and hiking (the rest don't matter!). I'm also a former goalie, so any interesting hockey stuff could also be fun. This will probably be in August.
I've been to both. Montreal is very french... even the street signs are in both english and french. Many people consider Montreal to be the most "european" city in North America. I spent time down in the harbor in old town and went to Juliette & Chocolat as well. That was amazing... everyone was sitting around enjoying chocolate in many forms. I had a triple chocolate crepe (White, Milk & Dark Chocolate) and couldn't even finish it because it was so rich.
Of course, the Hockey Hall of Fame (see Wikipedia link) is in Toronto (Toronto was part of the NHL's "original six"). What amazed me about Toronto was the many facets of the city. Every "ethnic" distinction had it's own section in the town. I had lunch in Little Portugal, which is next to Little Italy and Chinatown. I also had fun going up in the CN Tower as I love tall buildings and it's the tallest in North America
Mentioned in this answer:
For craft beer in Toronto, I would suggest Bellwoods Brewery the beer is top-notch, and they're racking up the awards to prove it, which is all the more impressive considering they've only been around for a few years. Just a note: It's in a very hipster-y part of Toronto, and the beer garden/patio area is quite small and is always packed in the summer months.
If you're looking for the craft brewery tour experience, Amsterdam Brewing Company is a great choice. Tours are free on Saturdays, and they do free tastings at their taster bar.
It's not necessarily hiking, but a great place to enjoy the summer months is the Queen St E/The Beaches area of the city (in addition to the already mentioned Toronto Island Park, which is a great choice as well). It's a surprisingly long-winding beachfront with semi-secluded (short) trails throughout the park area, along with a botanical garden Kew Gardens. The Beaches neighbourhood also has, as the name suggests, a very beachy vibe to it, and makes for a great place to stroll for a cafe stop, etc.
The other major park area for hiking within Toronto would be High Park. Here you'll find denser trail networks that wind through the lakes and ponds within the park.
UPDATE: Hey Justin, I just wanted to update my hiking recommendations after stumbling onto your Iceland recommendations (I'll be there end of June). For proper hiking in nature parks, the best options are: Bruce Peninsula National Park by Lake Huron; Algonquin Park(it will be very crowded in the summer); and Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park. All are in the 2.5-3.5 hour range from Toronto.
Kawartha park is the least known of the 3 (it was formerly crown land), but it is also prime cottage territory due to the dozens of lakes in the area, so it'll still be busy, though not necessarily in the park. The park itself has dozens of canoe routes to explore (it is excellent for this; also, please note: there are no hiking trails as it's still a new park).
I would highly recommend Bruce Peninsula of the 3, though I've never been in mid Summer. The hiking and kayaking options are excellent.
Mentioned in this answer:
In Toronto, take the ferry going to Centre Island and see the city's stunning skyline. There's also an amusement park there which the kids would love. Like beer? Don't skip Steam Whistle, just across the CN Tower. Take their 30-minute tour for $10 bucks which include a glass of beer already. From there, walk to the Spaghetti Factory which is a family-friendly restaurant. Nearby is the St. Lawrence Market. Check out Distillery District, too. If you're coming around the Pan-Am Games, good luck with the crowd. 😀