Toronto Ontario Tourist and Visitor Tips information, listings and links
Here are some quick suggestions for visitors with limited time in Toronto:
The schedule is only a suggestion -- you may have more fun, or wish to take more time than mentioned below.
Here are our picks for the must-see attractions in downtown Toronto, taking a walking tour that covers the territory in a clockwise direction:
- Starting at the New City Hall, now over 30 years old, you see Nathan Phillips Square in front of you, Odgoode Hall (law courts) to the west and the century-old Old City Hill to the east.
- Head a block east to hit Eatons Centre, once Canada's largest shopping mall, and still a shopping and visual spectacular. There is a large B ay store to the south of the mall, but exit the north end (by H&M) for this tour
- Across Yonge Street is Dundas Square a popular location for various festivals and live concerts.
- Yonge Street is Canada's most popular shopping street, and is the world's longest street, heading north turning to highway 1 to North Bay and then arcing west to Thunder Bay a distance of over 1900 kilometres. Checkout the stores a few blocks north, and then head back south past the Eaton Centre.
- There are a number of historical theatres on or just off the east side on Yonge, including Massey hall and the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatres
- South of Richmond is a cluster of office towers, the headquarters of banks, law firms, stock brokers, and many public companies. The old Toronto Stock Exchange building is now the Design Exchange Museum. The art deco CIBC Tower used to be the tallest building in the British Empire.
- At the foot of Yonge (at Front) is BCE Place (look inside!) and the Hockey Hall of Fame (a perfect rest stop for hockey fans).
- Head west along front to pass Union Station (VIA Rail and GO Train station) and the historic Royal York hotel across the street.
- Follow University Avenue to the right and King Street and the heart of Toronto's Theatre District, The Royal Alex, the Pearl, and Roy Thomson Hall, as well as Canada's Walk of Fame (modeled after Hollywood's)
- On John Street you can head north to CHUM City, home of MuchMusic and all their "VJ" antics, or you can had south past CBC's national headquarters (the building looks like its gift-wrapped in red ribbon)
- Across Front Street is the CN Tower, for 30 years the world's tallest free standing structure, worth the elevator ride up (bring binocs-you can watch the baseball or football game for free, if the Rogers Center/Skydome roof is open, through the glass floor!)
If you survived Day One, your second day should be spent more uptown.
- Start at Queen's Park, the Ontario Legislature, on a pretty oval in the middle of University Avenue. There are several hospitals to the south of Queens Park
- University of Toronto is on the west side of University Ave, and worth a short walk to explore the architecture
- At Bloor Street and University is the Royal Ontario Museum, which recently received a "Crystal" makeover by architect Michael Libeskind, and home to a collection of 3 million artifacts.
- Along Bloor Street is Canada's best high-end shopping including Holt Renfrew's flagships tore, and many world class designer boutiques.
- North of Bloor is Yorkville, once headquarters of the 1960s anti-war hippie movement, now headquarters of the "retail therapy" practitioners and visiting Hollywood celebrities.
- head west along Bloor Street (or jump on the subway for 4 stops west to Bathurst) to Honest Ed's shopping emporium, home to Canada's bargain shoppers. The surrounding Mirvish Village also has lots of theatres, shops and restaurants, which might be a good end-of-day stop after detouring to the next attraction
- head 4 blocks north to Davenport Rd, and then east a few more to Casa Loma, and house that looks like a castle built a century ago by a wealthy businessman, who had to sell it when his fortunes turned.
Attractions Very Nearby
These attractions are worth a short detour if you are in the area., and worth a half to a full day each.
- High Park, in Toronto's west end (High Park station on Bloor Subway line). A great park, with a pond, and historical site, a zoo, a pool, and lots more. In summer, you can cross the Gardiner Expressway and head to Sunnyside Park on the lakeshore with a beach and an outdoor pool.
- East of Highway 400 on Steeles, is Black Creek Pioneer Village, the metro area's best showcase of mid-1800 structures and pioneer living, complete with period-costumed interpreters and guides.
- The McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg (from downtown take the Gardiner/QEW to the 427 north pas the airport and then #27). This is home to one of the largest selections of paintings by Canada's famous Group of Seven, with peaceful parklands adjacent
- Paramount Canada's Wonderland in Vaughan (take Highway 400 north) has over 60 rides, live entertainment and the world's greatest variety of roller coasters. There are public transit options from Mississauga and Brampton!
- From downtown Toronto, take an old-fashioned ferry for the Toronto Islands (very inexpensive) with beaches, boardwalks, and midway. You can also cruise the harbour on a tour boat. While along the water, you can also check out the galleries, shops, theatres and restaurants in the Harbourfront development
- East of downtown Toronto is the Distillery District, once the world's largest distillery. Now it is a cluster of theatre, galleries, restaurant and shops.