Culture, Travel

Exploring Muslim-Friendly Toronto Like A Local With Halal Food

Exploring Muslim-friendly Toronto and Canada, in general, is a must in my opinion for every Muslim traveler.

Whether you are in a mood to explore the nature or historical sites or maybe a stroll through the most dynamic districts, Toronto has no shortage of places to visit and things to do.

Halal travel in Toronto with Halal food restaurants

This multiculturally diverse city is vibrant and easy to navigate. Every visit will give you a new reason to fall in love with the city; it could be witnessing the different seasons painting the city a disparate colours every time, or a new adventure that’ll give you an adrenaline rush.

With plenty of Muslim friendly and halal food restaurants in Toronto and mosques for prayers at easy reach, Canada is a great addition to breathtaking getaways around the world for Muslim travellers and families. Here are some tips and ideas to get you started with your travel planning to Toronto. By the end of this article, you’ll be convinced that Toronto is a Muslim friendly destination.

The Best Time to Visit Toronto

If you are looking at exploring the city and witnessing the street life come alive, I’d suggest you visit Toronto anywhere between the end of April to mid-October. You’ll witness the city switching through the spectacular colours during three climates: spring, summer, and autumn.

If you’d love to be a part of the festivity, lights, and experience snow then anywhere between November to March is a great time to visit the city. Just keep in mind that temperatures are very low and if you don’t like the cold, you should visit during the spring. I went in March and it was still zero Celsius.

Getting Around in Toronto

I loved driving around Canada and definitely found it easy to navigate, so highly recommend it if you want to explore the country. However, planning to get around the city through the bustling everyday traffic in Toronto may not be the best idea to use your time effectively. Although having a car gives you the freedom to get anywhere you’d like without depending on the set schedules, it is also an expensive and time-consuming affair.

muslim-friendly toronto

Parking during business hours is mostly paid and could potentially rip your travel budget off. Explore the city on your own using the Go trains, TTC subways, bus service, and streetcars. They pretty much help you get to most iconic landmarks and stops in Toronto and even outside Toronto if you don’t want the hassle of a car.

The other option is to keep the rental car in the parking for a few days while you are exploring Toronto before you move onwards. It was definitely an option I was contemplating.

Languages Spoken

The two official languages here are English and French. This city is all about diversity and welcoming all different nationalities under one roof, hence you’ll find Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Hindi, Tamil, Portuguese, and Spanish as common languages as well.

Money Matters

An approximate of CAD 100 a day is good enough for your holiday in Toronto. Breakfast for $15, Lunch $20 and dinner for $25, you could use the rest on picking up souvenirs for friends and family back home.

5 Muslim-Friendly Places To Visit

CN Tower

It’s impossible to visit Toronto and miss the CN Tower which was once the world’s tallest tower.

Niagara Falls

Don’t miss out on the eighth wonder of the world when you get a chance to. Just about a two-hour drive from Toronto, Niagara Falls is a spectacular site that’ll help you create a month-long content for Instagram.

Also, there are many halal food restaurants in Niagra falls so you won’t go hungry either. Just check them below.

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Experience Canada’s largest indoor aquarium with over 16,000 aquatic species and entertaining live shows. Every minute here teaches you something new about undersea life.

They are also on Groupon so you can find a good offer on entrance fees here.

Casa Loma

Discover Toronto’s majestic castle with a secret passageway, gothic towers, and huge lands of gardens.

Casa Loma is a legendary house with loads of history hidden between the walls.

Royal Ontario Museums

Toronto has many museums, but the Royal Ontario Museum is highly recommended amongst all of them.

From ancient dinosaurs to African art to natural history, the Royal Ontario Museum is Canada’s largest and has an enormous collection of cultural and historical items.

You can find opening hours and more information here. 

Free things to do in Toronto

aga khan museum toronto
Photo/ Aga Khan Museum

Delve into Islamic arts and culture at Aga Khan Museum which was a gift to Toronto from billionaire spiritual leader and philanthropist Aga Khan IV. Admission to Aga Khan museum is free every Wednesday from 4 to 8 pm.

You can enjoy a picturesque view of the skyline at Riverdale Park, the oldest park in Toronto.

If you have a real love for art, don’t miss the Art Gallery of Ontario, which features over 90,000 mesmerizing works. Free Admission is on Wednesdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

muslim-friendly toronto art gallery
Photo/ Owen Byrne
Kensington Market, the walkable bohemian neighbourhood has a long beautiful display of street art and a great view of the skyline. From vintage stores to funky stores and food markets, this diverse market multifaceted.
You can go window shopping or real shopping together in the historic building in St. Lawrence Market.

While all the above recommendations may sound very touristy, we have some unusual places that you could consider in your itinerary as well.

If you are a bookworm and you love to read then you would be fascinated by a visit to one of the most enchanting libraries in Canada, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.

Another one of our unusual recommendations would be the sewers of Toronto. These old yet well-maintained sewage tunnels in Toronto are right out of Marvel comics.

Another one of our unconventional recommendations would be to check out the Half House of Toronto, also known as the world’s nastiest spite house.

Touristy-Tips

muslim-friendly toronto tram

  • Get a Toronto CityPASS® which costs about $70 which includes five of the top spots in Toronto. You could visit CN Tower, Casa Loma, Royal Ontario Museum, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, and Toronto Zoo/Ontario Science Centre for as little as $70.
  • Another way of exploring the city and general sightseeing is to get on the Toronto City Hop-on Hop-off Tour. It will take you around from one prominent site to the other for as little as $38.00.
  • My favourite way of trying to cut cost on major attractions is always checking out what the local Groupon website has to offer. Sometimes they have great deals that can save you even more money than expected especially on the City tour buses.
  • Some of the best things in life are free, and there are plenty of free things to do in Toronto if you are looking at exploring the city in a budget-friendly manner. From parks to museums to cultural centres and markets, you’ll have many options to choose from. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy some Muslim friendly activities in Toronto without breaking the bank.
  • Take the public transport when you can rather than opting for a car rental. The connectivity through the streetcars, buses, and subways will help you get around the city without having to worry about the parking hassle and traffic hassle.
  • Keep the change and coins handy for smaller purchases or savouries on the go. A loonie and toonie could help you get through small purchases without the hassle of foreign exchange and credit cards.

Shopping

Photo/ Svetlana Grechkina

Shopping is an enjoyable affair in Toronto. There are some shopping centres like you’ll find in every city where visitors can shop. Some of the best shopping centres in Toronto are Toronto Eaton Centre, Pacific Mall, Yorkdale Shopping Centre, etc. Some other good places for shopping include Chinatown, Yorkville, Bloor St., Queen St., etc. But remember, the taxes are quite heavy, so pre-plan your purchase.

Mosques in Toronto

This culturally diverse city welcomes all nationalities and all religions

While there are numerous mosques in Toronto some of the best-known ones are Madina MasjidMuslim Association of Canada-Masjid Toronto, Islamic Information, and Masjid Ut Taqwa Mosque. Just use Google offline if you need to keep their addresses.

On their websites, you can also find the Toronto prayer times when you plan to visit.

Top Halal Restaurants in Toronto

Finding halal food in Toronto is definitely not a difficult task. While food has become a passion for most Toronto residents, thanks to the diverse population here, Halal food is widely available. These are our top 5 favourite picks of 5 halal friendly restaurants. Some of these are food chains and restaurants are available in multiple locations.

1. Bamiyan Kabob

2. Crave Grill House

3. Paramount Fine Foods (also have a branch  for halal food in Niagra Falls)

4. Pizza-la Rosa

5. Affy’s Premium Grill

6. Palms Shawarma Niagra Falls 

Accommodation and Flights to Toronto

muslim-friendly toronto accomodation

With so many travel deals there are many cheap flights to Toronto you can take advantage of. Recently there were options for as little as £250 return to. I usually search my flights on Skyscanner first to pick the approximate dates with cheap flights as they offer the calendar view and then book them on Momondo if there is a price difference.

Flights to Toronto for a Halal Holiday

Accommodation in Toronto is not a difficult task at all. The hotels in the city centre are close to everything, are affordable, and start from as little as £80 a night. Search here for the best hotel accommodation in Toronto. Also, Toronto has great Airbnb options that offer new flats with great views over the CN tower for as little as £100 per night for a 1 or 2 bedroom. My favourites list you can be found here.

If this is the first time you use Airbnb, you can receive £15 towards your first stay by using my referral link.

Toronto is a fascinating city and we personally find it a very Muslim-friendly cosmopolitan city where you can feel at home. Canadians are very polite and friendly, they are always happy to help, you get to see so many Muslims and meet local communities while also exploring a beautiful city. Enjoy your halal travel experience in Toronto.


This article was originally published here.

Elena is an international speaker and the brains behind MuslimTravelGirl.com a leading western travel blog for Muslim Millennials. She loves helping Muslim travellers explore the world in style without breaking the bank. Thrives on finding the best deals possible to the most desirable and Muslim friendly destinations.

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