BY CRAIG MOY
The campus of Canada’s largest post-secondary institution comprises a significant portion of downtown Toronto. Naturally, many storied public institutions pepper its ground.
1 On the university’s outskirts, longstanding Splendido serves two nightly tasting menus ($90 and $150) by chef and owner Victor Barry. The price and concept ensure it’s far from a student hangout, though it’s certainly worth the splurge to celebrate convocation. 88 Harbord St., 416-929-7788; splendido.ca.
2 Tucked away in University College, the U of T Art Centre boasts a diverse collection of everything from Byzantine icons to Group of Seven paintings. Currently it’s showing rare photos by beat poet Allen Ginsberg. 15 Kings College Cir., 416-978-1838; utac.utoronto.ca.
3 Campus and community come together at U of T’s Hart House, a neo-Gothic building that’s home to a well-regarded restaurant (the Gallery Grill), a top-quality contemporary art centre (the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery), and regular theatrical performances. 7 Hart House Cir., 416-978-2452; harthouse.ca.
4 Drawing on its peerless collection, the Bata Shoe Museum uses footwear to explore sociocultural, economic, technological and, of course, fashion trends throughout history. 327 Bloor St. W., 416-979-7799; batashoemuseum.ca.
5 Fully aware of its neighbourhood, Brooks Brothers’ “flatiron” shop emphasizes the brand’s Ivy League roots, catering to collegiate customers with polos, sweaters, letterman jackets and more. 262 Bloor St. W., 416-925-5878; brooksbrothers.com.
6 The Royal Conservatory is not only ground zero for classical music education and performance in Canada, its 133-year-old home—including the late-Victorian Ihnatowycz Hall and modern Koerner Hall auditorium—is one of Toronto’s most elegant examples of architectural restoration. 273 Bloor St. W., 416-408-0208; rcmusic.ca.
7 A classy throwback vibe pervades at Museum Tavern, where both youthful and more mature imbibers nurse barrel-aged cocktails or partake in tasting flights of Scotch, bourbon and rye. 208 Bloor St. W., 416-920-0110; museumtavern.ca.
8 The only North American location of Strellson proffers the Swiss brand’s contemporary Euro-chic sportswear and accessories for men—from snazzy suits to superior sweaters. 170 Bloor St. W., 416-927-7070; strellson.com.
9 The Royal Ontario Museum built its renowned collection and expertise through collaboration with U of T—indeed, the university directly managed the ROM until 1968. The museum’s academic ethos carries on: it’s the largest field-research institution in Canada. 100 Queen’s Park, 416-586-8000; rom.on.ca.
10 Equally respected but far more specialized is the Gardiner Museum, which houses a top-shelf collection of functional and decorative ceramics, including Ancient American pieces dating back more than 2,000 years. 111 Queen’s Park, 416-586-8080; gardinermuseum.on.ca.
11 At the south end of Queen’s Park sits the stately, Richardsonian Romanesque Ontario Legislative Building, the province’s seat of government. Public tours, providing a peek into the workings of parliament, are held Monday through Friday. 111 Wellesley St. W., 416-325-0061 for tour info; ontla.on.ca.
12 Adorned with chandeliers and Grecian columns, Crown Princess Fine Dining offers a regal take on Chinese cuisine, including a dim sum that’s somewhat more refined than the typical Chinatown options. 1033 Bay St., 416-923-8784; crown-princess.ca.
GET THERE! U of T’s downtown campus and its surrounding environs are accessible from all angles: take the subway to Queen’s Park, Museum, Spadina, St. George or Bay stations, or travel across the neighbourhood’s south end on the 506 Carlton streetcar.