Hygge places: Toronto, Canada

I’d wanted to go to Canada for a very long time before I actually made the trip last month, and it. was. delightful. In Toronto, the hygge mostly comes in the form of the wonderful, wonderful people everywhere. It’s so comforting being in a city where everyone is nice and wants to help you (and it was an added bonus that the Canadians loved our accents). The people, and of course, Tim Hortons. I have never eaten so many doughnuts in my life. The photos can probably do it more justice than I can though (prettier, filtered versions on Instagram).

Lights in Downtown Toronto
First night, exploring Downtown Toronto. I don’t know why, but I find the brashness of neon weirdly comforting.
Loblaws supermarket, Toronto
Hanging out in Loblaws. All the nicely arranged fruit is so soothing.
At the St Patrick's Day parade in Toronto
Glittery green tat from Dollarama for the St Patrick’s Day parade. We had a gr8 spot at Yonge-Dundas Square. Frankly, we would’ve looked ridiculous without any tat
St Patrick's Day parade 2015 at Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto
St Patrick’s Day parade, as seen from Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto. It was very nearly warm on the sunny side of the street, and the festive atmosphere meant it was a hoot
Pecan pie in Swiss Chalet, Toronto
Pecan pie: the culinary epitome of hygge? Especially when the waiter gives you an extra piece because he thinks the first is ‘too small’ (it wasn’t)
View from Doubletree by Hilton in Downtown Toronto
We had a super cool view of Downtown Toronto from our hotel room. I always wonder what’s going on in all those other little windows. And when you’re outside in the cold Canadian night, those rooms look pretty bloody cosy.
Glass floor in the CN Tower, Toronto
OK, I’ll admit, this isn’t remotely related to hygge. But here I am, strutting around on the glass floor in the CN Tower.
Union Station, Toronto
I find stations are always hubs of hygge. They’re warm, there’s abundant food, and people are buzzing around hither and thither. Union Station gets bonus points for being pretty.
Drink in a jug at The Works, Toronto
One thing that really represents hygge for me is an abundance of anything. In The Works, drinks are served in jugs, with free refills. And who isn’t happy when there’s an abundance of Diet Coke/ iced tea/ lemonade available?
Eggspectation, Toronto
THIS PLACE just IS hygge. They show ice hockey on TV. ICE HOCKEY. It’s one of the best places in Toronto for breakfast, it sells mostly egg-based dishes, and it’s called Eggspectation. Need I say more?
Smoked salmon benny at Eggspectation, Toronto
Oh, you wanted me to say more about Eggspectation? OK then. Here is my smoked salmon benny (served with fruit, obviously), and in the distance, you can get a peek of Rachel’s choc chip pancakes. Because why wouldn’t we?
Spring table in Pottery Barn
Oooh, look, Friends fans, it’s Pottery Barn! This table would slip nicely into a hygge home.
Maple doughnut and hot chocolate in Tim Horton's
Maple doughnut. Mini hot chocolate. Tim Hortons? Tim Hygge.
CN Tower, Downtown Toronto
A thing I find comforting in a city I don’t know is having a landmark to help me navigate. In London, it was the BT Tower. In Paris, it’s the Eiffel Tower. In Canada, it’s the CN Tower.
Ice wine in a wine college, Niagara region
Ice wine from the Niagara region. We went to a wine college for a little tasting session. Ice wine is delicious and I brought a bottle home. I’m saving it.
Behind the Falls tour at Niagara Falls
We went behind the falls at Niagara. I was really snug in a ludicrous hat. The view from down here is gorgeous.
Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls
Nature is beautiful. In the same way I find Gullfoss a little hygge haven, so too is Niagara Falls. Just don’t look behind you at the row of casinos and hotels. These are the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side. It was a gorgeously crisp blue day.
Windchimes in a shop in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Niagara-on-the-Lake is so perfectly quaint and cute. Look at all these windchimes.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs San Jose Sharks at the Air Canada Centre, Toronto
We went to see the Toronto Maple Leafs play a home game. I haven’t watched live sport in about a decade, and the sense of camaraderie and community is so much fun. GO LEAFS GO (we lost 4-1, but I don’t care)

These are just the raw photos, no editing or anything, so maybe they don’t convey the hygge I felt at the time. But if you want to feel welcome, and like you’re immediately part of a community, Toronto is the place to go.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Mark Davies says:

    It’s an amazing expression I will something I will be practising with my Family here in Wales.UK. We had some similar tradition here in Wales but sadly most of it has been lost since the Coal Mines Closed. I love Canada its a very laid back country I have spent a lot of time over there. I will be in the Baltics and Denmark n 2017 with my friends I am sure by then we will be in good stead for Hyggie

    1. That’s the thing I love about hygge – I absolutely believe that you can find or create it wherever you are. How are you planning on introducing more hygge into your family’s life? Canada is beautiful, and embodies so many of the fantastic things hygge has to bring to the world. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Hello Kayleigh, I found your bolg via the BBC website article on hygge. Sweet! And you may like to know I am Torontonian by birth (1955), spent a few years of my childhood in England (Essex) with my British-born parents but most of my first 20 years growing up in Toronto. Did they teach you how to pronounce it like a local? Tronno, Trawna, T.O., all are acceptable. And it’s just hockey, drop the ‘ice’ when you’re there. Of course it’s played on ice! 🙂 There’s field hockey, floor hockey, road hockey as alternatives. After 40 years living in GB my Canadian accent has faded but I still say to-MAY-to (just can’t get my tongue round to-MAH-to, my favourite red fruit). Keep blogging love, Audrey xx PS Don’t take any wooden nickels,

    1. Hi Audrey! I can’t even express how much I loved Toronto (or, indeed, Tronno, as we were told to say!) I’d love to return one day, and to see more of Canada. I have relatives on Vancouver Island which also looks beautiful! Do you ever get a chance to go back? Have a very hyggeligt Sunday! Xx

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