Toronto, Canada
Nicole, 32
Campaign Manager, Branded Content
see her Toronto city guide

a bit about Nicole

What do you do and why do you do it?

I work in an online news organization but specialize in branded content. I like working with clients and coming up with creative ways to advertise their product on our website.

What are the best TV shows of all time?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, LOST, The Fall, The OA

Name some spots in Toronto that are good for a Tinder date.

Northern Belle, Pretty Ugly or Northwood cocktail bars, Snakes and Lattes boardgame cafe, The Wren restaurant and bar

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

I love Coal Minors Daughter (they have a few locations) and Aritzia.

What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

Yonge-Dundas Square. It is so touristy and just a chaotic representation of Toronto. I prefer to explore the hidden gems.

What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?

I love getting pampered at Body Blitz spa. It's a womens only spa with special water therapy pools that you can enjoy before your treatment. You could spend hours there. The environment is focused on wellness and they will hand-deliver a smoothie or juice drink to your chair by the pool.

What’s the most decadent / extreme dish you ever ate in Toronto and where did you get it?

I ate horse tartare at Black Hoof (sorry vegans). They are known for their offal and have some of the most unique whole-animal foods in the city.

Is there a hidden bar / hole in the wall in Toronto that you particularly like?

Hanmoto is awesome. It's unmarked and the food/drinks are delicious. There is usually a line.

What’s the most expensive restaurant / spa / hotel you’ve ever been to in Toronto? How much did it cost and what did you get there?

I went to George and did a 14 course tasting menu. I was taken out so I didn't pay but it was delicious. I also bought a $50 piece of cheese from The Cheese Boutique that was delicious.

What restaurant in Toronto looks crap, but the food’s amazing?

Harry's Charbroiled or Three Hands are tied for this one.

Where can you get the best cocktail in Toronto? Which one do you like?

Weslodge has a good tobacco tincture old fashioned. If you're looking for variety though, I love Northwood at Bloor and Christie.

Where would you take your partner in Toronto if you wanted to really pamper them?

The Four Seasons Spa and then to Alo for dinner (but good luck getting a table).

Which snacks can you only get in your country, and which ones do you recommend?

Poutine, Ketchup chips, Kraft dinner, Canadian bacon. I recommend Poutine - fries, cheese AND gravy all in one, can't go wrong!

What’s the one place you think is overrated in Toronto?

The Eaton Centre - they have a good selection but it's always so busy, crowded with tourists and expensive. I prefer street shopping to malls.

What’s the one place you think is underrated in Toronto?

The strip on Yonge between Rosedale and St. Clair stations. It's a nice neighbourhood with some fancy shops, nice green space and good quality restaurants.

What are the Toronto spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

In the summer - Boxcar Social on the Harbourfront and Steamwhistle brewery tour to be touristy and then head to West Queen West, Kensington Market or Roncesvalles and explore those less-touristy neighbourhoods.

Tomorrow’s your last day in Toronto. How do you spend it?

Head to the Danforth, eat some amazing Greek food then head South to Woodbine Beach, soak in the sun and sand and then head west and maybe grab a craft beer at a brewery on the patio like Bandit or Bellwoods.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

I like Europe. I've only been to London, Dublin and Paris but I loved them. I like the slow pace, the food and beverage culture, fashion and the diverse languages.

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nicoleabowden