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Philadelphia Union Travel & Tasting Tour: Toronto

Next stop, Toronto

LGBT pride flag seen during 2018 MLS Regular Season match... Photo by Anatoliy Cherkasov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

If you’ve been traveling with the team so far this season, congratulations! You’re 2 for 2 in the win category and you didn’t have to sit in 95 traffic while celebrating. Sure, Subaru Park is a great time for anyone going to enjoy a game. But why not try something new when cheering on the boys in blue?

Changes of scenery can be good for the soul. Luckily there’s plenty of games left to travel to and April has another journey across the border on the not-so-distant horizon.

News: Solar Eclipse Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY NETWORK

Toronto, ON Canada

While Toronto’s new Italian star won’t be on display this time around, the city offers so much to anyone willing to give it a shot. Fortunately, flights to Toronto for Union game day are the cheapest they’ll be until summer. If flying isn’t your thing, 8 hours on the road isn’t too bad considering you’ve got some scenic stops in Scranton, Syracuse and Buffalo along the way.

BMO Field is positioned along Lake Ontario on a beautiful campus that has its own hotel, dining, parks, marina, theater and most importantly, a Medieval Times. Yes, I’m aware these establishments are everywhere. That doesn’t make me any less of a sucker for some mutton and mead.

If you’re looking for something more attuned to the culture, one heavily recommended spot is Merci Mon Ami. French flare with a wide variety of other selections as well, walk less than 10 minutes from BMO and grab a baguette sandwich before kickoff. Wash that food down around the corner at The Craft Brasserie & Grill with over 120 different beers on tap and food sure to satisfy as well. Need a caffeine boost? Don’t we all… Right across the street is one of Liberty Village’s top spots, Balzac’s.

Yes these are all very fun names but the quality is undeniable. These are the memorable spots you’ll get to recommend to your friends when they ask for cool Toronto hot spots. Liberty Village is the main hub for Toronto FC fans and they will let you know loud and proud when it’s getting close to kickoff. Once inside BMO, treat yourself to the wide variety of in stadium food options that range about as far as you can imagine.

Union supporter and alt/indie aficionado Josh Black also highly recommends Steam Whistle Brewery for those who are looking for a truly unique experience. Ten minutes down the road across from the famous CN Tower is a brewery with simple options, only four natural ingredients in their beers and built out of an old train depot. It’s a cool vibe surrounded by a number of hotels and sights between the Fashion District and Old Toronto making it a must stop for beer fans.

Seltzers more your vibe? Oh I’ve got you don’t worry. Kensington Brewing Company offers a few seltzer options (the Mango Lychee is quite refreshing), Blood Brothers offers a variation on their Holy Ghost Lemonade seltzer now pouring in a tart blueberry round and while I haven’t been able to try this one myself, Godspeed Brewery makes a Green Tea & Japanese Citrus seltzer that is so up my alley it might as well be renamed “Paul Catrino Jr’s Bubbly Alley of Zen”. If anyone goes to Toronto and brings these seltzers back for me, there will be a reward for you; and that’s a promise.

If you’re not completely obsessed with edible things like me and want to take in some sights, Toronto really does have a lot to offer. Canada’s Wonderland, Royal Ontario Museum and Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada are all highly recommended by those who have visited in the past. Overall this is one journey that really holds value as a getaway worth doing. Not to mention when you get there, you’re guaranteed at least 2 hours of Philly soccer; and isn’t that what everyone wants? Travel wisely and stay tuned for May’s loaded docket as the Union visit 4 different cities spanning all across North America!