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Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto

Great Destination:

4.5

Value for Money:

3.5

Total Stars:

8.0

Personality Types that Like it Best

Best liked by Centric-Authentics and Centric-Venturers

Did you know … ?

  • Toronto’s latitude puts it well south of Portland, Ore.
  • More than 60% of the U.S. population lives within 90 minutes of Toronto by air.
  • Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run in1914 at Hanlan’s Point Stadium.
  • The CN Tower, at 1,815 feet, is the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Nearly a tenth of Canadians live in Toronto.

A town called York

Toronto is the New York of the north: It is its nation’s largest city. It is rich in ethnic diversity. It is Canada’s most important financial capital. It is awash in cultural sites and activities. And it is not a national capital — although it is capital of Ontario province. And, there is the coincidence that, when founded in 1793, the fledgling town was called York; the name was changed in 1834.

These are parallels with a Canadian flavor, and that is what makes this city different from other large North American metro areas that boast diversity, culture and a bustling business environment.

Toronto is an important theater town, offering the big musicals and sought-after dramas. It hosts out-there events: the International Improv Festival and the Fringe of Toronto Theatre Festival. Performing arts also include ballet, opera and lots of music of varying types including more than one jazz festival.

For art, visitors do well to start with the Art Gallery of Ontario. For museums, the Royal Ontario Museum is Canada’s largest, but there are plenty of other, smaller alternatives for visitors who prefer more manageable themed exhibits.

Toronto boasts 19,760 acres of parklands, and it counts 3 million publicly owned trees. The Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail, with options for cycling, jogging and skating, also passes through the city.

Toronto sits on Lake Ontario’s north shore, and three rivers run through it en route to the lake. The city has problems with pollution along its waterfront, but Ontario is a large lake with plenty of options for leisure activities.

Toronto’s ethnic diversity (more than 100 cultures) translates into a number of readily identifiable ethnic neighborhoods. Then, there is the shopping. Aside from ordinary storefront shops, the city claims the world’s largest underground shopping complex, connected by a 6.8-mile underground walkway.

Visitors like Toronto because it is clean, it is easy to navigate and they feel safe there. The people are businesslike, but friendly when approached.

Toronto is almost the southernmost of Canadian cities, but winter can be brisk. Tourists generally prefer the warmer seasons unless they have winter, or indoor, activities in mind.

Things to do for Venturers

  • If you are fit enough, run in one of the city’s marathons, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon or the Toronto Marathon. Both events include half-marathons and 5K races, too.
  • Go sportfishing for salmon and trout on Lake Ontario.
  • Jog or work on your in-line skating on the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail. The 217-mile trail links 31 cities, towns and villages and, in Toronto, runs along the lakefront.
  • Decide if Crocodile Rock is to your taste. Often called the best party bar in Toronto, it generally draws a 25-plus crowd with an affinity for classic rock, retro ’80s, disco and dance.
  • Stroll ethnic neighborhoods and stop to have lunch or dinner in a local restaurant, whether Chinese, Greek, Italian, Portuguese or something else.
  • Do you like forward-leaning theater? Check out Toronto’s annual International Improv Festival. Or, schedule your trip to coincide with the Fringe of Toronto Theatre Festival.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Charter a luxury sailboat for private sightseeing of the city’s harborfront and islands. Charter a yacht for a special event.
  • Make an excursion to St. Jacobs Country, an area settled by Old Order Mennonites. Tour a Mennonite farm by horse-drawn trolley.
  • Plan your trip to coincide with one of several jazz fests occurring in the city each year. Or, arrange your schedule to attend the Sante the Bloor-Yorkville Wine Festival, held each May.
  • Tour Steam Whistle Brewing, maker of a local craft beer Steam Whistle Pilsner, then sample the product.
  • Enjoy dinner with entertainment. One popular choice is the Limelight Dinner Theatre. Your hosts stage mock murders then challenge you to solve the mysteries.
  • Join the fun at the annual Canadian Aboriginal Festival, the country’s largest aboriginal event. It features up to 1,000 dancers/singers and a large market area, among other attractions.

Things to do for Authentics

  • See musket, drill and music demonstrations at the Fort York National Historic Site. This was the site of the 1813 Battle of York and today accounts for Canada’s largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings, which house relevant exhibits and restored period rooms.
  • Charter a boat for a tour of the Toronto islands or as a way to have a front-row seat for special events, such as fireworks displays or the Canadian International air show.
  • And for the shoe fetishists, or anyone interested in cultural phenomena, see the Bata Shoe Museum, which houses more than 12,000 shoes and related artifacts covering 4,500 years in history.
  • Choose your next cigars from the wide selection on offer at Thomas Hinds Tobacconist. Smoke the Cubans before you head to the U.S.
  • Get high for dinner: Book a table at the 360, a revolving restaurant 1,155 feet above street level, in the CN Tower.
  • Book a romantic dinner for two on a cruise of Toronto’s harbor, then dance the night away.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult Tourism Toronto at www.seetorontonow.com