With its star turn in the Olympics, Vancouver hogged the spotlight last year. But energetic Toronto, just a 90-minute flight from here, deserves a quick getaway, especially in spring when things have thawed but aren’t too humid. After all, how many cities have their own islands? Toronto’s got a collection of them a short ferry ride from the city’s shore on Lake Ontario. There’s a back-in-time feel (no cars allowed!) to the isles, and outdoorsy types can bike, hike and picnic the day away. Back in the city proper, don’t miss TIFF Bell Lightbox, the new high-tech headquarters for Toronto’s famous film festival where you can catch a movie or see special exhibits; the current one — on Tim Burton — runs through April 17th.
Stay: The new Hotel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square is Euro-posh, with a sleek lobby, spacious rooms, warm staff and a not-to-miss buffet breakfast. It’s near the subway and ferries to the islands. Rooms from $229 per night.
Visit: The Toronto Islands for bird-watching, English gardens, a kid-size amusement park, and the occasional clothing-optional beach. On the mainland, tour the sophisticated shopping scene with cultivated and companionable guide Barbara Captijn (prices from $100).
Eat: Kultura Social Dining sounds like a restaurant that could only exist in a country with national health care, but its menu of Indian-meets-Mediterranean-meets-delicious will make you utter, “What capitalism?” At Nota Bene, chef David Lee spotlights Canadian cuisine with B.C. black cod and Nova Scotia lobster salad.