Thriving and bustling Toronto may not be Canada’s official capital, but most Canadians see the city of 2.7 million people as the financial, entertainment and cultural heart of the country. So what makes this city so special and why do I think that we all should be heading there soon? Obviously it’s getting easier to grab a cheap flight to Canada, but here’s why I think the destination you choose for that flight is Toronto.
Situated on the shores of Lake Ontario first impressions of the city are those of a busy concrete maze. It may take a short while to become accustomed to the size of Toronto and the sheer scale of its architecture. 1,800 buildings soar above the skyline at over 98ft and the largest of them, the CN Tower, is one of the world’s tallest buildings. Toronto is renowned for its multicultural neighborhoods and art. From public sculptures to street art there is always something to see, perhaps starting with the wonderful Monument to Multiculturalism on Union Street, closely followed by the vibrant wall art on Kensington Market. There are also some glorious examples of contemporary architecture, especially the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) on Dundas Street West in the downtown area of the city. Toronto will certainly strike newcomers as a city that is devoted to all cultures and tastes. The city also boasts some older buildings in the Old Town district and a visit to the St Lawrence Market on Jarvis and Front Streets should not be missed.
The city itself is relatively easy to navigate, thanks to its excellent public transport system. Anyone using private hire cars should be aware that parking can sometimes prove to be a problem. For ease of travel throughout the city, Toronto also has an ingenious underground pedestrian subway system, PATH, which protects visitors from the hardships of the Canadian snowy winter climate.
Toronto is blessed with many outside recreational facilities. The Harbourfront, on the shores of Lake Ontario, is a perfect place to wander around, stopping off to sample local delicacies at one of the many cafes and restaurants that populate the area. The Harbourfront is also home to numerous annual festivals; anyone who enjoys literature might want to pay a visit to the Autumnal International Festival of Authors or if dancing is more appealing, the summer time ‘Dancing on the Pier’ festival may prove to be more appealing. Most Canadians are sports mad and Toronto is no exception to this rule. The Toronto Blue Jays play their home baseball games at the Rogers Center on Blue Jays Way, while hockey aficionados should head off to the Air Canada Centre (ACC) to see the Toronto Maple Leafs in action.
Whether traveling as a solo explorer or with a family, Toronto has enough sights and activities to satisfy all interests. The city has a zoo and a stunning aquarium, as well as a plethora of museums and fantastic shops. A trip out to the Toronto islands will take the visitor to the Centreville amusement park, while an active family can hire a bike and discover the islands for themselves. Toronto inhabitants are very proud of their city and are happy to help with directions or just pass the time of day with a stranger. Most visitors will find themselves returning to explore even more of this wonderful metropolis.