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Toronto

As Canada economic capital, Toronto is considered a global city and is one of the top...

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Toronto is the most populous city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. With over 2.5 million residents, it is the fifth most populous municipality in North America. Toronto is at the heart of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and is part of a densely populated region in Southern Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe, which is home to 8.1 million residents and has approximately 25% of Canada's population.

As Canada's economic capital, Toronto is considered a global city and is one of the top financial centres in the world. Toronto's leading economic sectors include finance, business services, telecommunications, aerospace, transportation, media, arts, film, television production, publishing, software production, medical research, education, tourism and sports industries. The Toronto Stock Exchange, the world's seventh largest, is headquartered in the city, along with a majority of Canada's corporations.

Toronto's population is cosmopolitan and international, reflecting its role as an important destination for immigrants to Canada. Toronto is one of the world's most diverse cities by percentage of non-native-born residents, as about 49% of the population were born outside of Canada.

History
The roots of Toronto are ancient, as the native Hurons named the city for the translated meaning “meeting place.” In the 1600s the French Jesuit Etienne Brule discovered portage routes along the Humber and Don rivers that spill into Lake Ontario. Toronto passed to British control in 1763, and the creation of an urban community began 30 years later when colonial officials built Fort York and laid out a town site.

When the British arrived they renamed their trading post to York and the locals dubbed the town “Muddy York” for its sloppy road conditions. That community became the capital of the province of Upper Canada (now Ontario). It also grew as an important commercial centre, and, in 1834, with 9,250 residents it was incorporated as the ‘City of Toronto.'

The population continued to expand: when Canada became a country in 1867, the city was home to 50,000 people. By 1901, 208,000 people lived there. Today, with well over two million people, Toronto is Canada's largest city, the heart of the nation's commercial, financial, industrial, and cultural life, and is one of the world's most livable urban centers.

Best Time to Visit Toronto:

June to September

Toronto Travel Attractions:

Air Canada Centre, Bata Shoe Museum, Bloor and Yorkville Area, Casa Loma, Chinatown, CN Tower, Design Exchange, Eaton Centre, Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, Financial District, Four Season Centre for the Performing Art, Harbourfront Centre, Ontario Science Centre, Historic Fort York, Kensington Market, Path, Rogers Centre, Royal Ontario Musueum, St. James Cathedral, St. Lawrence Market, Toronto Zoo, Toronto Islands

Toronto Travel Attractions:

Air Canada Centre: Experience the inner workings of Air Canada Centre, the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team & the Toronto Raptors basketball franchise. If you choose the 1- hour guided tour, the adventure takes you behind the scenes of North America's premier theatre of sports & entertainment.Visit the Executive and Platinum Suite level.

Bata Shoe Museum: Who would think of visiting a shoe museum when in Toronto? You'd be surprised how much fun 10,000 shoes can be. Not only for people with a foot fetish, the Bata Shoe Museum is a fun and different stop on the Toronto tourist trail. Housed in a unique building made of limestone and glass, the museum has a massive collection of shoes spanning 4,500 years

Bloor and Yorkville Area: Toronto's most exclusive retail district is located in the Bloor/Yorkville area. Once the place that you’d find barefoot flower children handing out flowers 30 years ago now is one of the most elegant shopping and dining sections in the city.

Casa Loma: Well, it seems that a lot of historic towns have an old mansion or castle tucked in their back pocket, usually attached with an intriguing story or two. Toronto is no exception, and tucked away in the corner of a downtown neighborhood is the very unique Casa Loma, dripping with old world charm. Even if you're not usually a Castle or Museum hopper, you'll appreciate the atmosphere and grandeur of Casa Loma. Take a walk along the winding paths through the beautiful gardens surrounding the mansion.

Chinatown: Along Dundas from Spadina Avenue to Nathan Phillips Square you’ll find Toronto’s original famed Chinatown. Toronto is the home of Canada’s largest Chinese population, so it’s not unusual to note that there are 5 other main Chinese areas in the city. This market area is home to shops and restaurants that reflect the diversity of Asian cultures and cuisine including Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai.

CN Tower: Take a trip to the top of the world. The CN Tower is Toronto and Canada's most recognizable and celebrated icon. Over 550 meters (1800 feet), it's the tallest building in the world. Each year, around 2 million people take the elevator ride to the top of the tower to hang out at the top of the world and take in the breath-taking view. Built in 1976, the CN Tower seems to inspire a sense of pride and inspiration for Canadians and a definitely a sense of awe for tourists.

Design Exchange: Once the home of the Toronto Stock Exchange (up until 1983), the DX is now a building reopened as a center devoted to promoting Canadian design, everything from graphic design to interior design, fashion, architecture and more. The building is clad in polished pink granite and smooth buffed limestone and welcomes its visitors with stainless steel doors.

Eaton Centre: Built in 1979, the Toronto Eaton Centre boasts $746 of sales per square foot of retail space - the highest in North America - and is the number one tourist attraction in Toronto with one million visitors a week. Stretching two full city blocks, The Toronto Eaton Centre is a historical landmark, and today one of Canada’s best-known retail shopping destinations.

Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre: This center is one of the last operating double-decker theater complexes in the world, being two former vaudeville halls built one on top of the other. This gem underwent a $30 million restoration, reopening to its once grand state at the beginning of the ‘90s.

Financial District: Toronto’s skyline shows one skyscraper after another. Those magnificent high-rises are probably banks, banks and more banks! Every one of Canada’s major banks is headquartered in downtown Toronto. Take a walk in the Financial District and notice the architectural variety of these skyscrapers – steel construction that reflects the prosperity of the steel industry in Canada.

Four Season Centre for the Performing Art: Four Season Centre for the Performing Arts, the city’s new home for the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada. The 2000 seat opera house opened in June 2006. Four Seasons Centre integrates the best features of the grand European opera houses with innovative technology in acoustics and sightlines.

Harbourfront Centre: This 10-acre waterfront community along Lake Ontario is lively, with:
• Theater
• Dance
• Films
• Art shows

Music fills the air, local artisans showcase crafts and children’s programs are held almost daily. The Harbourfront Centre is an innovative non-profit cultural organization

Ontario Science Centre: If hands-on activities are how you love to learn about the planet, then come to the Ontario Science Center for a day of fun and learning! The building itself is extraordinary: three linked pavilions float gracefully down the side of a ravine. There are 12 different theaters where you can view films that bring the natural world to life. Demonstrations of glass blowing, papermaking, electricity and more take place regularly throughout the day

Historic Fort York: Calling all history buffs! Visit Fort York and you’ll see the site of the 1813 Battle of York and the birthplace of modern Toronto. Fort York is home to Canada's largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings, which now house exhibits and restored period room settings.

Kensington Market: Kensington Market was known as the Jewish Market in the 1920s, and today it has evolved into a multicultural mix of shops, restaurants, vintage clothing shops, and eclectic cafes. An international feast for the senses, it's truly a great place to wander and get a sense of Toronto's rich cultural mosaic.

Path: The guinness book of world records hails it as the biggest underground shopping complex in the world. This underground walkway links 16 miles shopping, services and entertainment.It also provides links to some of Toronto's major tourist and entertainment attractions. City Hall and Metro Hall are connected through Path.

Rogers Centre: Rogers Centre is a great place for a tour of the world’s first stadium to be built with a fully retractable roof. It takes 20 minutes and $500 every time somebody wants to let the sun into this stadium! Over 2,000 events have been staged and more than 50 million people have visited Rogers Centre since its opening in 1989.

Royal Ontario Musueum: The mission of the ROM, when it opened in 1914, was lofty: “to inspire wonder and build understanding of human cultures and the natural world.” With more than 6 million objects, its collections have made it the largest museum in all of Canada. You’ll never get bored in this museum, as 67,000 objects are added each year!

St. James Cathedral: Record setting heights and the melodic peal of bells make this a wonderful place to note. Gothic spires on the St. James Cathedral reach to the heavens, and its illuminated spire once guided ships into the nearby harbor. Boasting the title of having the tallest steeple in Canada, St. James has beautiful bells that ring 30 minutes before the 11AM Sunday service.

St. Lawrence Market: Are you getting the idea yet that Toronto has some great neighborhoods that are very conducive to getting out of your car and going for a walk? Toronto's St. Lawrence Market is the perfect place to spend an afternoon wandering through the shops and stalls. Sit down with a cafe latte and read a magazine, or simply soak in the atmosphere and people watch.

Toronto Zoo: A trip to the zoo makes any day special; but a day spent at the amazing Toronto Zoo is one you will never forget. One of the largest zoos in the world, there are more than 5000 animals representing just over 450 species at the Toronto Zoo. Four large tropical indoor pavilions and several smaller indoor viewing areas, plus numerous outdoor exhibits compose 710 acres which can be explored on walking trails.

Toronto Islands: Just a short ferry ride across the harbour from the city, you'll find over 600 acres of parkland waiting to be discovered. The Toronto Islands are a 150-year-old community made up of 262 homes, 650 people, dogs, cats, gardens and protected parks. Walking trails, picnic areas with fire pits, supervised swimming beaches, bicycle and boat rentals, tennis, volleyball and much more await you.

How to reach Toronto:

By Air
Lester B. Pearson International Airport: Located just west of the city, the airport is accessible from highways 401, 427 and 409.

Toronto City Centre Airport: Located on the western tip of a series of islands in Toronto Harbour, the island airport handles scheduled, private and corporate flights. Major airlines operating from the island include Air Ontario, Trans Capital Airlines and Grand Aviation.

By Road
Whether approaching Toronto by car or by bus, the traveller will reach Toronto by one of several major routes paralleling the shore of Lake Ontario. Highways 401 and 2, and the Queen Elizabeth Way, enter Toronto from the west. Highways 401 and 2 also enter Toronto from the east. Hwy 400 runs from the north and connects with Hwy 401. Major bus routes converge in Toronto. Out-of-town buses arrive and depart from the Bus Terminal, located at 610 Bay St. Service to/from points all over Ontario, Canada and the U.S. National and regional bus lines serve the Greater Toronto area.

By Rail
Toronto is served by the VIA Rail System, the network that provides all rail service throughout Canada (with connections to the Amtrak system through Niagara Falls, New York). Union Station is located on Front Street, between Bay and University (across the street from the Fairmont Royal York Hotel). The station is right on Toronto's subway line, and is within walking distance of Rogers Centre (formerly Skydome), the CN Tower, the financial district and many downtown hotels, shops and restaurants.

Where to stay in Toronto:

Ainsley House Bed and Breakfast, Alan Gardens Bed and Breakfast, Annex Quest House, Elianas Bed and Breakfast, Indian Line Tourist Campground, Grayona Tourist Home, Victorias Mansion Guest House, Global Village Backpackers, Alexandra Hotel, Bond Place Hotel

 

Air Canada Centre, Bata Shoe Museum, Bloor and Yorkville Area, Casa Loma, Chinatown, CN Tower, Design Exchange, Eaton Centre, Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, Financial District, Four Season Centre for the Performing Art, Harbourfront Centre, Historic Fort York, Kensington Market, Ontario Science Centre, Path, Rogers Centre, Royal Ontario Musueum, St. James Cathedral, St. Lawrence Market, Toronto Islands, Toronto Zoo, Canada