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Things to do in Toronto

Avoid a faceoff and grabs tickets for a hockey game

The Canadians are obsessed about ice hockey and the biggest games of the season take place at Toronto's Air Canada Centre (+1 416 815 5500; www.theaircanadacentre.com). During tussles between league giants, the atmosphere at the Centre is electric – tickets can be scarce, so book in advance if you want to enjoy this uniquely Canadian experience.

Join the crowds on an outdoor ice rink

Canadians learn to ice skate virtually from birth, but don't let that stop you gliding across an outdoor rink. Winter sees super-sized ice rinks at the Harbourfront Centre and Nathan Phillips Square, but if you prefer fewer witnesses as you slip on your backside Toronto has around 50 smaller rinks.

Paddle through Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Provincial Park, north of Toronto, is Ontario's biggest and most beautiful adventure playground – and the best way to explore it is by kayak. Wilderness Adventures (+1 416 746 7427; http://wildernessadventures.ca) organise three to seven day trips that explore Georgian Bay's 30,000 islands. In winter, their dog sled tours are an adventurous alternative.

Take a tour of Toronto's first class craft breweries

Once the alcohol distillation centre of North America, Toronto still has a thriving craft brew scene. The Steam Brewery (www.steamwhistle.ca) is one of the most famous microbreweries in the city and runs an insightful tour. For a more traditional session, Granite Brewery (www.granitebrewery.ca), offers 10 beers brewed on site along with pub grub.

Take to the skies with a helicopter tour

Toronto presents an impressive spectacle when seen from above, and flying over the city in a helicopter is a treat that's worth the price tag. National Helicopters Inc (+1 800 491 3117; www.nationalhelicopters.com) arranges day tours in the Toronto area. For an extra thrilling experience, Niagara Helicopters (+1 905 357 5672; www.niagarahelicopters.com) fly over the falls 1.5 hours away.

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Featured Hotels

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Hazelton Hotel

Since opening in 2007, the Hazelton in the ritzy Yorkville district has drawn a steady stream of actors and hipsters, many attracted by its proximity to luxury boutiques and Toronto International Film Festival events. Amenities include a lap pool, fitness centre, spa, private screening room and 24-hour room service.

The Westin Harbour Castle

This is a mammoth 38-storey, twin-towered hotel with 977 rooms that looks straight out onto Lake Ontario. As well as boasting spectacular views, the Harbour Castle features 70,000 square foot of meeting space, tennis courts, an indoor pool, whirlpool and giant windows throughout. The rooms are exceptionally comfortable and well equipped.

Fairmont Royal York Hotel

The tallest building in the British Empire when it opened in 1929, the massive Royal York even now is a prominent feature of Toronto's Lake Ontario skyline. Amenities include a business centre, indoor lap pool, 24-hour fitness centre, spa and children's wading pool.

The Strathcona

A popular budget hotel, The Strathcona is located directly across from the city's main railway hub, Union Station. Aiming itself at the budget business traveller, it provides corporate rooms with Wi-Fi access and has a full service meeting room and 24-hour business centre. All rooms are en suite.

The Gladstone Hotel

Built in 1889, The Gladstone is the oldest continuously operating hotel in Toronto and is now one of the city's most exciting, with artist-designed rooms and exhibition spaces. Guests have instant access to the Toronto art scene - either by going outside to enjoy the city's art and design neighbourhood, or simply by enjoying the paintings in their rooms.

Eaton Chelsea

Canada's largest hotel, the glass-clad, sky-high Eaton Chelsea tries to cater for everybody within its 1,590 guest rooms. For families, there are Nintendo games, a bottomless cookie jar and kids' discounts in the restaurants. While for business travellers, there is a dedicated floor of rooms equipped with cordless speaker telephones, faxes, well-stocked desks and back-friendly chairs.