• By: Dan Donovan

Stay Classy – Le Germain Hotel Maple Leaf Square

Photo credit: Jeff Hitchcock via flickr

If you are visiting Toronto on business, Le Germain Hotel Maple Leaf Square (Germain) will not disappoint. Located in the heart of Toronto's sports and entertainment district, adjacent to the city's financial centre, this classy eight-storey boutique hotel is stylishly integrated into the Maple Leaf Square complex which is the home of Toronto Maple Leafs and the Raptors. Besides hosting home games, the arena books big-time, live entertainment acts and events year round. Steps from the waterfront, Le Germain is just blocks away from Ripley's Aquarium and some of the most popular food and pub hotspots in Toronto including the famous Harbour 60 Toronto steakhouse. It is connected to the PATH system, Union Station and is conveniently located a short walk from the Union Pearson Express (UP Express), the rail service between downtown and the Toronto Pearson International Airport. 

Hotel rooms offer a perfect mix of elegance and warm, cozy comfort, with all the best amenities

With valet parking, driving to Le Germain is easy. I suggest you park and walk or take the subway as part of your Toronto experience. The hotel is very popular with guests attending Jays, Leafs or Raptors games, but it’s also a destination site for business travelers who love it for the its contemporary European style designed suites from which Germain has built its successful brand. The hotel has dedicated one entire floor to meeting spaces equipped for conferences and private receptions and decorated with high-end finishings. In keeping with the professional sports theme of the immediate locale, the meeting rooms have been given names such as The MVP Zone, The Penalty Box and All Star Room. Germain even coordinates the hues of exterior red and blue lighting to match the hometown teams (blue lights come on when the Leafs play and red light kick in for the Raptors). Germain is popular for group and family events as the hotel coordinates activities and special deals with several vendors including a promotion with the Hockey Hall of Fame (their friendly staff will provide the details).

Event spaces can accommodate a wide variety of gatherings and meetings

Of the 167 rooms, some feature private balconies while others boast living and dining room spaces that can comfortably accommodate 10 people. There is free Wi-Fi, a fitness centre, lobby bar and restaurant that serves a great breakfast. You can access the downtown Toronto pathway system from the hotel. The LCBO, grocery store and a handful of restaurant are steps away from the lobby.

Le Germain Hotels are all about creating intimate accommodations while providing exceptional professional services. Whether you are visiting The Big Smoke on business or for a leisurely weekend, Le Germain Hotel Maple Leaf Square really hits the mark for comfort and style. It doesn’t get any better.

Top Twelve Things to do in Toronto, Courtesy of Timeout Toronto

1. CN Tower: Once the world’s tallest tower, this 553.33-meter (1,815.4-foot) structure is still super impressive. It’s impossible to visit Toronto without seeing the CN Tower, mainly because its spire dominates the landscape. Take in the view from the LookOut Level at 346 meters (1,136 feet), walk on air on the Glass Floor at 342 meters (1,122 feet) and check out the views from the highest perch of all: the SkyPod at 447 meters (1,465 feet) above the city. If extreme thrills are your thing and the incredible height alone isn't enough to get your adrenaline pumping, then book onto one of the tower's ‘Edgewalks’.

2. Hockey Hall of Fame: Go one-on-one against animated versions of today's greatest goalies at this museum dedicated to Canada's national pastime. Hockey is more than a sport in Canada: It’s a national obsession. And even though they’re currently experiencing a 50-year Stanley Cup drought, the Toronto Maple Leafs still draw a crowd. 

3. The Original Haunted Walk of Toronto: Although many of the stories here may be exactly that – fictional – this spooky walk is enough to make even the most hardened horror-lover shudder. This macabre walking tour is also a great way to acquaint yourself with the place’s nooks and crannies. A cloaked tour guide carrying a lantern will lead you to Toronto's spookiest spots, including haunted theatres and the Mackenzie House, supposedly one of the city's most active paranormal sites. Not worried about nightmares? Grab a ticket for a night-time seance, where the Victorian supernatural awaits you.

4. St. Lawrence Market: Go for a trip down to the St. Lawrence and you'll be taken on a rather impressive journey of market-based delights. Hungry? There's over 120 vendors peddling their wares, which means you can pick up anything from freshly baked bread to straight-outta-the-soil veggies. Even better? A farmers' market hijacks the North market on Saturdays, and on Sundays, antique dealers tout a tantalizing range of trinkets that you never knew you needed.

5. Casa Loma: This brash 18th-century Gothic Revival castle—turret and all—stands out from the city's otherwise Victorian architecture. Designed by grandiloquent architect EJ Lennox for Sir Henry Pellat and finished in 1914, this ostentatious masterpiece includes marble floors in the stables and room after lavish room. 

6. Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres: North America’s only double-decker theatre complex puts on an impressive array of theatre. Toronto bills itself as ‘North Broadway’, and with many touring companies coming through town, the city has plenty to offer drama lovers. There are theatres aplenty but two of the most popular are Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre and Young Centre for the Performing Arts—three stages in 19th-century tank houses in the Distillery District.

7. The Toronto Zoo: As the largest zoo in Canada, there are an impressive 450+ different species on show here and you can even become a keeper for a day.

8. The National Ballet of Canada: Canada’s premiere ballet company performs the full range of classics. You'll see ballerinas and ballerinos (including Sonia Rodriguez, Greta Hodgkinson, Guillaume Côté and Xiao Nan Yu) who are truly at the top of their game.  Past performances featured greats like Karen Kain, Rex Harrington and even Mikhail Baryshnikov.

9. Canada’s Wonderland: If rollercoasters are your thing, look no further than Toronto’s top amusement park. Located just outside the city, Canada's Wonderland offers loads of rides, from the delicious drops of the Behemoth to the side-winding turns of the Mighty Canadian Minebuster. The park is only open during the warmer months—try going mid-week to beat the crowds. 

10. Kensington Market: In a city full of diverse neighborhoods, Kensington Market might be our favorite. An eclectic and totally bohemian jumble of the weird and wonderful. Seek out charming vintage stores, record shops and chilled out cafes for coffee breaks. Quirky hipster hangouts and underground speakeasies more your thing? No worries, Kensington has long been an artists’ hub, a fact that's apparent from the counter-culture performance spaces and art galleries. 

11. The Distillery District: Formerly the home of the largest distillery in the world, now it’s a bustling pedestrian neighbourhood. Where are some of the best pubs in Toronto hiding? The Distillery District. There's more than just local watering holes, too—the nabe is full of trendy shops, art galleries, top-notch restaurants and many, many patios. The developers maintained the industrial Victorian aesthetic, making it a fun place to wander, if a little more pre-packaged than other neighbourhoods.

12. Black Creek Pioneer Village: As though you just entered a wormhole, transcend through time at this 19th-century village just outside of Toronto. Black Creek Pioneer Village is a restored village (many of the buildings were moved from other sites or reconstructed on the original locations) inhabited by costumed historical re-enactors. Ever wanted to know how they dipped candles, churned butter or fought for temperance in 19th-century Canada? Black Creek Pioneer Village knows, and they’re telling!