As a matter of fact, Toronto is the industrial and business centre for the country and a cultural centre, with exciting festivals, events, theatres, restaurants, nightspots and countless visitor attractions.
The City of Toronto and its surrounding suburbs joined together to form the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto in 1998, usually referred to as Metro. Metro consists out of the cities of Etobicoke, Scarborough, North York, York and the Borough of East York, with the City of Toronto in the centre.
Toronto never sleeps. At daytime, Toronto is one of the largest financial centres in North America and home to the Toronto Stock Exchange, second largest in North America by volume and dollar value traded. After Detroit, U.S.A., the Toronto area is the second largest automotive centre in North America. Toronto is the 3rd largest film and television production centre in North America, after New York and Los Angeles. At night, Toronto becomes a centre of entertainment and arts. Toronto is the 3rd largest live theatre centre in the English-speaking world, after London and New York, with a commercial theatre scene that averages 50 different productions a month.
A range of galleries and exhibition spaces contributes to the city’s diverse art scene. Sightseeing never ends, with some of the most interesting attractions Canada has to offer. The CN Tower, the Eaton Centre, Yonge Street, Toronto’s Underground City, Toronto Islands and many more attractions are waiting for you to discover.
Located on Lake Ontario, Toronto is a waterfront city complete with its own set of idyllic islands. The Islands offer a paradise away from the metropolitan hustle and bustle for Toronto’s residents and visitors alike. The Islands provide the most spectacular view of Toronto’s impressive skyline. The Islands house Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, which is the oldest structure still in its original location.
Toronto in figures
Toronto is Canada’s largest city, with a population of 4.2 million.
Toronto is the 5th-largest city in North America, after Mexico City, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.
One-quarter of Canada’s population is located within 160 km (100 mi) of the city.
Toronto is home to more than 100 cultures.
Toronto is one of the southernmost cities in Canada.
Toronto is 172 m. (566 ft.) above sea level.
The top 12 languages spoken in Toronto are English, Cantonese, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Spanish, French, German, Greek, Tagalog, Punjabi, and Ukrainian.
The CN-Tower is the tallest freestanding structure in the world, standing at 553 m (1815’5”).
Yonge Street, Toronto’s main strip, is the longest street in the world at 1,900 km (1,190 mi).
Toronto is easily accessible by air, car and rail. Lester B. Pearson International Airport ranks among the top 25 airports in the world in terms of passenger traffic and aircraft movement. The airport is located about 24 km (15 mi) northwest of the downtown area in a part of the city known as Malton.
For more information visit the Pearson International Airport website
The train station is conveniently located on 65 Front St. W. (between Bay and York streets) at the south end of the city. Regular daily departures to and from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Windsor.
For more information call 416-366-8411 or visit the VIA Rail website
Arriving by car is easy; however finding a parking place might be costly. Highway 401 runs southwest to Detroit and northeast to Kingston. Highway 400 connects you north to Barrie; QEW runs south to Niagara Falls.
Traveling within Toronto
GO Transit offers train and bus service across the Greater Toronto Area.
For more information call 416-869-3200 ext. 5328 or toll free 1-888-GET-ON-GO or visit the GO Transit website
Toronto Transit Commission (TTC)
The Toronto Transit Commission has a wide network, with almost 4,000 kilometres of subway, bus, streetcar and light-transit routes. It is one of the largest safest and cleanest systems in North America.
For more information call 416-393-4636 or visit the Toronto Transit Commission website
Toronto’s location on the shore of Lake Ontario effects its climate, with temperatures that are surprisingly moderate. Average daily temperature in July is 25 ºC (77F); and in January, 0 ºC (32F).
Parks and protected areas
Located at Parkside Drive off Bloor St. West, High Park is Toronto’s largest park, popular for strolling, cycling, jogging, and picnics in summer. The park’s lake offers fishing in summer and ice-skating in winter. Also on site is a restaurant and Colborne Lodge, a historical site with costumed workers.
Kew Gardens are located between Queen St. East and the Boardwalk. The large public garden offers many festivals, craft shows, concerts and exhibitions. Every July, The Beaches International Jazz Festival, the largest free jazz festival in Canada with more than 400 musicians performing, is held in Kew Gardens.
Martin Goodman Trail
The Martin Goodman Trail is a 22 km trail along the waterfront that is popular with walkers, cyclists, and rollerbladers alike.
A ten-minute ferry ride takes you out to Toronto’s three Toronto Islands: Ward, Centre and Hanlan’s Point. The no-car paradise offers a picturesque summer amusement park, paddleboats, in-line skating, cycling, and sunbathing and picnic at the beaches. Most facilities can be found on Centre Island including two restaurants. Hanlan’s Point offers the best beach.
Things to do
Toronto Museum Passport
The Toronto Museum Passport is a wonderful opportunity to explore Toronto's past. Purchasers enjoy one-time admission to 9 museums:
Toronto’s prime market, Kensington, is located along Baldwin St. and Augusta Ave off Spadina Ave. Fishmongers, street musicians, and shoppers in a colourful and lively multicultural atmosphere crowd the streets. Started as the “Jewish Market” in the 1920’s, the market today comprises an eclectic mix of cultures. The market’s unusual variety of shops attracts local people and visitors alike.
St. Lawrence Market
St. Lawrence Market is located at the corner of Front and Jarvis Sts., at a place, where the very beginnings of Toronto were established in 1793. The market comprises two buildings, one of which is open Saturdays only featuring fruits, vegetables, and other agricultural products. The south building is open Tuesdays through Saturdays and houses permanent vendors. Even if St. Lawrence Market is often referred to as Toronto’s “yuppie” market, it offers a wide range of products and good quality.
Casa Loma is located at 1 Austin Terrace. This 98-room castle features elegantly decorated suites, secret passages, towers, and an 800-foot tunnel connected to luxurious stables. A self-guided audio tour in German and seven other languages is included with admission.
For more information call 416-923-1171
Campbell House is situated on the northwest corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue, only steps away from "Osgoode" subway stop. Campbell House was built in 1822 for William Campbell, the sixth Chief Justice of Upper Canada. He lived in this house that was moved to the present location in 1972, with his wife Hannah. The beautifully restored house is an excellent example of Georgian architecture and gives an inside into the early life of the Town of York that is today known as Toronto. Guided tours are available.
For more information call 416-597-0227
Historic Fort York
Historic Fort York is located off Fleet Street, east of Strachan Avenue, west of Bathurst Street. Historic Fort York is a National Historic Site, where Toronto’s founding took place in 1793 and the Battle of York in 1813. Today, Fort York contains Canada's largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings. Guided tours are available. In the months of July and August, military demonstrations can be witnessed hourly.
For more information call 416-392-6907
Spadina House is located at 285 Spadina Rd. just east Casa Loma. Spadina House is the magnificent mansion of local businessman James Austin, built in 1866 on 6 acres. The house offers 35 rooms, 10 of which are open to the public showcasing an impressive interior with fine furnishings and art collected over three generations. Guided tours are offered.
For more information call 416-392-6910
Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum is located at 100 Queen`s Park. Canada’s largest museum houses exhibits of natural science, the animal world, archaeology and decorative arts. There is a newly designed room for dinosaur and mammals that is really worth a visit. There are five floors for you to discover and you will find shops, cafeteria and a restaurant on site.
For more information call 416-586-8000
Art Gallery Of Ontario
The Art Gallery of Ontario is located at 317 Dundas Street West. The Art Gallery of Ontario is the eighth-largest art museum in North America. Explore the extraordinary collection of more than 24,000 works, representing 1,000 years of European and Canadian modern and contemporary art.
For more information call 416-979-6648
A wonder of the world, Toronto's CN Tower is the world's tallest building and freestanding structure at 1,811.5 ft high. CN Tower attractions include 144-seat cinema, four motion simulator rides, themed arcade, shopping, refurbished observatories, the Glass Floor plus fresh market cafe. 360 Restaurant and Horizons Cafe top it off.
For more information call 416 868 6937
Canadian Broadcasting Centre
The Canadian Broadcasting Centre is located across from the CN Tower on the corner of Front St. and John St.. Tour the Canadian Broadcasting Centre, home to CBC English Radio and Television in Toronto. Guided tours take you behind the scenes. Explore broadcasting history at the CBC Museum.
For more information call 416-205-3709
The Hockey Hall of Fame
The Hockey Hall of Fame is located at the north-west corner of Front and Yonge Sts.. The Hockey Hall of Fame is the ultimate tribute to the fastest of sports and gives fans of all ages all they could possibly ask for and even more. Breathtaking interactive displays and games, background and history and revolutionary technology explain everything about hockey, even for visitors unfamiliar with the game. Also on site, the world’s finest collection of hockey artefacts and memorabilia.
For more information call 416-360-7735
Ontario Science Centre
The Ontario Science Centre is located at 770 Don Mills Road in North York. Explore the fascinating world of science and technology through 800 interactive exhibits and demonstrations. Attractions at Ontario Science Centre include the mini planetarium, a bobsled simulator, a limestone cave, electricity demonstrations and much more in ten halls, ranging from space, sport, the living earth and more.
For more information call 416-696-3127
Bata Shoe Museum
The Bata Shoe Museum is located at 327 Bloor St. West. Explore the wonderful aspects of the world at your feet through an impressive collection of more than 10,000 shoes and related historical artifacts. 4,500 years of history, one step at a time. From Chinese bound foot shoes to Elton John's silver-sequined platforms, come discover the treasures in this highly acclaimed architectural space.
For more information call 416 979 7799
Redpath Sugar Museum
The Redpath Sugar Museum is located at 95 Queens Quay East. Learn all about the history of sugar with displays and education programs. The museum showcases the Redpath Sugar Company, antique and modern refining technologies and nutrition/health issues.
For more information call (416) 366-3561
Textile Museum of Canada
The Textile Museum of Canada is located on 55 Centre Avenue, one block east of University Ave., south of Dundas St. The Textile Museum of Canada is the only museum in Canada exclusively devoted to the collection, exhibition, and documentation of textiles from around the world.
For more information call (416) 599-5321
Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art
The Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art is located at 111 Queen`s Park, at Bloor Street and Avenue Road, Museum Subway Station. The Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art is the first museum in North America devoted to ceramics and ceramic research. The Gardiner Museum collection contains ceramics from Europe, Asia and the Americas. The Museum now houses more than 2,600 ceramic works, including recent gifts of blue and white Chinese porcelain and contemporary ceramics.
For more information call 416-586-8080
The Toronto Zoo is located North of Hwy 401 on Meadowvale Road. The Toronto Zoo is one of the largest and best in Canada, with over 5,000 animals representing just over 450 species. The Zoo is 287 hectares (710 acres), and is divided into zoogeographic regions. There are four major tropical indoor pavilions and several smaller indoor viewing areas, plus numerous outdoor exhibits. In total, there are 10 kilometres of walking trails to explore.
For more information call 416-392-5900
Stock Market Place at the Toronto Stock Exchange
The Stock Market Place at the Toronto Stock Exchange is located at 130 King St. W. in the heart of Toronto's financial district. Stock Market Place at the Toronto Stock Exchange brings the excitement and intrigue of the stock market and the world of finance to life through interactive games, entertaining exhibits and information kiosks.
For more information call 416-947-4676
Out of town attractions
Cullen Gardens & Miniature Village
Cullen Gardens & Miniature Village is located in Whitby, just 45 minutes East of Downtown Toronto. Cullen Gardens & Miniature Village consist out of 35 acres of floral gardens, a Bird Sanctuary, the Ontario Wildflower Garden, and 160 miniature buildings, kids water slide, splash pools, miniature golf, and Fun Maze. There are several festivals throughout the year.
For more information call (905) 668-6606 or toll free 1-800-461-1821
Parkwood, The R.S. McLaughlin Estate
The R.S. McLaughlin Estate is located in Oshawa, Ontario. Parkwood Estate and Gardens is a National Historic Site that had been the home of R.S. McLaughlin, who founded McLaughlin Motor Car Company in 1907, which eventually became General Motors of Canada. Build in 1915; this spectacular 55-room mansion was created by the best-known architects, landscape designers, artists and craftsmen. Even today, visitors stare in awe at its beauty.
For more information call 905-433-4311
Markham Museum & Historical Village
Markham Museum & Historical Village is located on Markham Road at 16th Avenue, North-West corner. The 25-acre site contains historic buildings and is home to one of Ontario’s largest collection of horse-drawn vehicles. The museum features modern exhibits and special events.
For more information call 905-294-4576
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is located just north of Toronto at 10365 Islington Avenue in the village of Kleinburg. The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is a premier Canadian destination showcasing impressive works by Group of Seven, Inuit, First Nations and Contemporary Canadian artists. Besides a permanent exhibition, there are special exhibitions. On site you will find a restaurant, café and gallery shop.
For more information call 905-893-1121 or toll free 1- 888-213-112
Each of the streets in the Entertainment District, which is known by this name since the mid-19th Century, offers its own flavour, with theatres and many restaurants in King St. West, the Skydome and the CN Tower in Front St. West and many funky retail stores in Queen St. West. However, there is something for everybody and you will soon find your favourites
Festivals and Events
Toronto’s entertainment scene is as diverse as its citizens. Year round Toronto boots a variety of cultural and ethnic festivals and events. Some of the major events are:
Festival of Lights, Cullen Gardens & Miniature Village
Toronto International Boat Show
Toronto Winterfest, Nathan Phillips Square
The Spring Fishing Show
Toronto Sportsmen's Show, National Trade Centre
Canada Blooms, The Flower and Garden Show, Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Computer Fest, International Centre
Sante, The Bloor-Yorkville Wine Festival
Milk International Children's Festival, Harbourfront Centre
Victoria Day Doors Open
Downtown Jazz Festival
Gay & Lesbian Pride Day
Celebrate Toronto Street Festival
Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition
Beaches International Jazz Festival Caribana
Fringe Festival of Independent Dance Artists
Canadian National Exhibition
Canadian International Air Show
Toronto International Film Festival
Canadian Hockey Show
Canadian International Marathon
International Festival of Authors
Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
The Travel & Leisure Show, International Centre
Canadian Aboriginal Festival
Antiques Canada - Winter Antique Show
Designs in Ice - Toronto Ice Sculpture Competition, Nathan Phillips Square
For details and further information on any of those events call Toronto Convention & Visitors Association at 416.203.2600
Little Italy (College Street just west of Bathurst) and Corso Italia (St. Clair West just west of Bathurst) offer upscale dining experience and romantic little cafes. Greektown (Danforth Avenue between Chester and Jones) presents authentic Greek cuisine. East African gastronomy can be found in the Bloor West area (between the Dufferin Street and Dundas Street West subway stations).
Little Poland (Roncesvalles Ave. between King St. and Dundas Street West) gives traditional cuisine, bakeries, cafes, and special events. The Portugal Village (bordered by Trinity Bellwoods Park, College St. West, Spadina Ave and Ossington Ave) has many restaurants, bake shops and fish markets. Korean restaurants can be found in Koreatown (Bloor Street West, between Bathurst and Christie St.).
Toronto is a shopper’s paradise with many friendly neighbourhoods and villages to shop in. Toronto is also home to some shopping meccas:
There is endless shopping in a radius of twelve blocks stuffed with the best the world has to offer, including world-renowned brand-name boutiques and all of Canada’s top retailers. (bounded by Bloor St. West, Avenue Rd., Davenport Rd. and Yonge St.)
Shop till you drop in Toronto’s Eaton Centre, the city’s premier downtown shopping destination with more than 360 shops and more than one million visitors each week.
Go underground to shop in Toronto’s Downtown Walkway system PATH, which is indeed the world’s biggest underground shopping complex, according to the Guinness Book of Records. More than 10 kilometres of pedestrian walkways connect shops, hotels, restaurants, and attractions. Maps are available in many hotels.
During the War of 1812, York was twice occupied by the Americans. In 1814, when the war ended, York began to expand. By 1834, its citizens, mostly British and Scottish immigrants, numbered close to 10,000. They were joined by Jews from the United States, Russia and Germany, as well as from Blacks escaping slavery in the USA. The infrastructure increased with the population. In 1843, the University of Toronto was founded.
As many big cities, Toronto had its Great Fire, one in 1849 and a second one in 1904, when five hectares of the inner city burned.
When Canada was born in 1867, Toronto became the capital of the new province of Ontario. Between 1908 and 1915, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Royal Ontario Museum opened their doors. The 1920s saw the first population boom, with waves of immigrants from all over the world coming to Canada.
The opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the 1950s gave way for further expansion of Toronto. In 1955, Canada’s first subway system was opened. With the opening and expansion of Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Toronto became Canada’s major gateway and entry point.
Around 1970, Toronto became the largest city in the country, by surpassing Montreal. In 1984, Toronto celebrated 150 years as a city. In 1998, the downtown core and 5 surrounding suburban cities were merged into the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.
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