Best things to do in Toronto!
When talking about Canada, generally speaking, the first cities that come to mind are Montreal, Quebec City, and Vancouver. But do we really know Toronto? Usually, tourists only visit Toronto for a few hours and then go directly to the famous Niagara Falls. But visiting Toronto reveals much more than that, and it is much more than just a city passing through: even if this city is located in the English-speaking part of the country, it remains the fourth most pleasant city to live in the world, behind Vancouver, Melbourne and Vienna. But then what to do in Toronto? What to see? Come and visit Toronto, a city unlike any other.
1. Queen Street West
Probably one of the favorite neighborhoods of tourists but especially of the inhabitants. Come for a walk and discover its terraces, its restaurants, its stores of all kinds, its street art. Especially in the summer period, it is the place to be!
2. The Toronto Islands (or Toronto Islands)
When you get off at Union Station and want to get to Queens Quay, you will have to cross the bridge and walk along the highway, but if you walk along the lake, the scenery will appear enchanting. To get to the Toronto islands, you will have to take the ferry at Queens Quay: the crossing takes 15 minutes and you will enjoy an unimaginable panorama with the famous Toronto skyline. A unique, magical moment. Toronto Islands is an archipelago of small islands that protect the Toronto Harbour. There are many activities to relax on the beautiful spring and summer days.
3. The CN Tower
Can we talk about Toronto without mentioning its most emblematic monument, the CN Tower? With its 181 floors, this elevator tower transports you to the 114th floor of the world’s largest freestanding structure in just 58 seconds. The elevator offers you a breathtaking view with a vertiginous panorama thanks to its fully glazed bay window. On a clear day, it is even possible to see as far as the border with the USA! For those with nerves of steel, you can try to walk on the glass floor.
4. The Eaton Centre
For shopping enthusiasts, the Eaton Centre is the best place in the world; it’s simply the largest downtown mall where you’ll find all the major American chains and nearly 300 stores. During the month of December, it is essential to discover the fairy-tale decorations of the mall, which is called a “mall” here. Finally, to prolong the magic of this extraordinary space, exit from the north side of the Eaton Centre and you will come across Dundas Square, Toronto’s mini Times Square. That’s when you will realize that you are in North America and that everything is necessarily bigger, more imposing.
5. China Town
Like all major cities, Toronto also has its own Chinatown, its famous China Town. It is certainly less impressive than New York City, but once you set foot in this world, you will feel completely disorientated, as if you have been transported to a new part of the world. Of course, this is where you will find the best Chinese restaurants, but it is also a perfect place for those who want to buy vegetables and fruits at unbeatable prices.
6. The Distillery District
This is a historic area of Toronto: in the 19th century, the Gooderham & Worts distillery was located here. Today, this neighbourhood is home to the largest collection of Victorian-style buildings in North America and 10 historic heritage streets in Canada.
7. Bloor & Bathurst Neighbourhood
A very nice area if you want to find a place to eat. Try the excellent New Generation Sushi restaurant and take a bento that will give you unforgettable flavours. For those who like to discover new typical places, why not let yourself be tempted by the Guu Sakabar, a Japanese tapas bar that transports you in a 100% Japanese atmosphere. Finally, for those who love vintage, who listen to their music with vinyl records, go to the Sonic Boom store, you may stay there for a few hours.
8. La Casa Loma
This medieval castle, which was completed only in 1914, is recognizable from several kilometers away because it overlooks the city center from a hill. This castle was the home of Sir Henry Pellatt who was a renowned financier and industrialist in Toronto and also in business around the world. After financial ruin, he had to give up his fantastic 98-room mansion. To discover without further delay to understand the excessiveness of such a man!
9. The Royal Ontario Museum
Also known as ROM, it is one of the largest museums in all of North America. It is a natural history museum that contains a very impressive collection of dinosaur skeletons. Chinese and Japanese works are also very present. Curiosity: the museum is transformed, on Friday evening, into a gigantic dance floor… who wants to dance in the middle of the T-Rexes? This weekly event is called “Friday Night Live”.
10. The St. Lawrence Market
This market, even if it is not very important, is very original because you can find all kinds of stores such as a fishmonger, a cheese maker, a pork butcher but also grocery stores, bakeries or even a store specialized in the sale of different kinds of mustard. A clean place where the presentation of the food suggests a certain taste for gourmets and gourmands.
11. The Art Gallery of Ontario
By the diversity it offers, this museum is recognized by all art lovers. Founded in 1900, it now has up to 79,000 works, including remarkable pieces of Canadian art. In addition to the paintings of the Group of Seven (Canadian painters of the early 20th century) which are a national treasure, the museum offers paintings by Tintoretto, Van Gogh, Picasso and Henry Moore. Architect Franck Gehry designed the main renovations.
12. The Kensington Market district
A place where you will find all the sores of the city. A hippie-chic neighborhood where it is good to walk, a multi-cultural neighborhood, one of the oldest and most famous, in the center of the city.
13. Niagara Falls
It’s impossible to miss one of the most beautiful natural attractions in the world! With its large whistling arches, the waterfalls crashing onto cliffs at least 20 stories high, the Falls are a fantastic, dazzling spectacle. Note that the waterfall on the Canadian side is 188 meters high and is called “the horseshoe”. It is the most powerful of the three cataracts that make up Niagara Falls. Note that it is possible to visit Niagara Falls thanks to an excursion from New York.
14. High Park
High Park, the green lung of the city, is located in the heart of Toronto.
This gigantic 160-hectare park is the perfect place to take a nice walk and rest on a bench after the hustle and bustle of the city.
And if you get tired of walking, a little train goes around the park, a fun activity to do with the kids. They will also be able to let off steam in the playgrounds provided for this purpose and see the animals in the park’s small free zoo.
Don’t forget to bring your picnic.
15. The Ontario Science Centre
The entrance to the Science Centre is also included in the City Pass, so it would be a shame to miss it during your stay in Toronto.
The museum offers a very playful and interactive approach to the themes of nature, geology, science, music and astronomy. For example, you can touch many objects to experiment in the Science Gallery or play the piano in a fountain. The children will not be outdone with an entire section of the museum dedicated to them.
If you want to know more about access, prices and work schedule, please visit the official website.
16. Fort York
Fort York is one of Toronto’s few historic sites.
It was built in 1793 to protect the harbour from enemy invasion during wartime. It contained several military installations including a stone powder magazine and wooden barracks.
Today, you can visit several of the original buildings as well as the brand new Visitor Centre which features an exhibit on the history of the Fort. If you are interested in history, this is one of Toronto’s places of interest not to be missed.
17. Roy Thomson Hall
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir have both taken up residence at Roy Thomson Hall, a futuristic building with a large concert hall with exceptional acoustics. You have to attend a performance to discover the superb view offered by the corridors that seem to float between the hall and the futuristic glass roof. Its hall is incredibly luminous.
18. Hockey Hall of Fame
This sanctuary dedicated to Canada’s favourite sport celebrates all phases of field hockey, including players who have reached the top. Housed in part in a former bank, a fine 1885 facility incorporated into Brookfield Place, this Hall of Fame contains the most comprehensive collection of field hockey memorabilia and artifacts in the world, including the first ever Stanley Cup. Interactive exhibits, ranging from a range of multimedia kiosks to test your field hockey knowledge to a virtual penalty shoot-out game, allow visitors to compete against legendary players one on one.
19. Canada’s Wonderland Amusement Park
The main star of the amusement park, the Leviathan, is the highest roller coaster in the park. The brave participants will fall 306 feet at an angle of 80 degrees and reach speeds of up to 148 km/hour. Children will love the rides at Planet Snoopy and KidZville. Dinosaurs Alive! is a Mesozoic experience for the whole family, featuring over 40 life-size robotic dinosaurs.
20. Toronto Ripley Aquarium
The Ripley Aquarium has the largest underwater tunnel in North America. Measuring 100 meters long, it allows you to cross a gigantic aquarium filled with sharks. In addition, the Ripley Aquarium has three handling tanks where you can touch rays, horseshoe crabs and sharks.
21. Canada’s Walk of Fame
Walk in the footsteps of Canada’s most inspiring stars. To see the stars of celebrities such as Neil Young, Wayne Gretzky, Ginette Reno, Linda Evangelista, Pamela Anderson, Ryan Reynolds and Rachel McAdams, head to downtown Toronto, along King Street West (between John Street and Simcoe) and along Simcoe Street (between King Street West and Wellington Street).
22. The restaurant with the most breathtaking view in Toronto: One Eighty.
Located on the 51st floor, taking the stairs will certainly allow you to enjoy your meal without worrying about calories. With two of the highest terraces in Canada, acrophobes will have to move on to the next one! For others, you’ll be delighted to learn that One Eighty restaurant serves reasonably priced dishes (main courses starting at $17) with a 180 degree view. Chef Zack Jacobs’ award-winning menu combines tapas-style appetizers with seasonal main courses and desserts.
23. The Bata Shoe Museum
In addition to slippers, clogs and shoes from different civilizations, you will see shoes made of human hair and a pair of platforms that belonged to Elton John. The Bata Shoe Museum holds no less than 13,000 shoes and artifacts, making it the largest shoe collection in the world.
The Bata Shoe Museum is one of the strangest museums in Canada.
24. Toronto’s LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Park
This indoor amusement park brings together more than 3 million LEGO blocks under one roof. Discover the MINILAND facility in and around the city of Toronto, take a tour of the plant, hop on a wagon to save the princess on the Kingdom Laser Quest Ride. Be prepared to eliminate the dangers that will suddenly appear in front of you with your laser guns.
25. Toronto Zoo
Many charming encounters await visitors to the Toronto Zoo. Whether it’s Twiga, a Masai giraffe, or his giraffe Mstari, or the two giant pandas Er Shun and DaMao. You can also take a four-hectare tundra tour that includes award-winning polar bear habitat as well as snow geese, reindeer, owls, polar foxes and wolves.
26. Toronto’s Indian Quarter
Meet us on Gerrard Street between Greenwood and Coxwell for an incursion into India. Amidst garlands of colorful light bulbs and bright saris, sniff the exotic aromas, fill your baskets with mustard seeds and sugar cane and give in to the festive rhythm of Bollywood’s most popular songs. Despite the textile stores full of colorful silks and the various items you can buy, the main attraction is still food. Treat yourself to an authentic tandoori chicken or indulge in the many vegetarian alternatives.
27. The Waterfront
The downtown lakefront is a popular spot for tourists and Torontonians alike. Bordered by a long boardwalk, it is the ideal place to stroll. In addition, the urban beaches are perfect for relaxing on hot summer days. The Waterfront also includes several trendy boutiques for window shopping.
The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Toronto
This sumptuous Hindu temple is an architectural masterpiece. Handmade according to age-old traditions, the Mandir was built in a record time of 18 months by more than 400 dedicated volunteers. Made of real hand-carved Italian marble, the Mandir is a unique monument of its kind in Canada.
28. The Rogers Centre
A tour of the City of Toronto is incomplete without a stop at the Rogers Centre. The prestigious amphitheatre offers many options under one roof, from sporting to cultural events. It is also the first stadium in the world to be equipped with a motorized retractable roof.
29. The Yorkville district
Luxurious and upscale, Yorkville is Toronto’s most upscale neighbourhood. It’s the place to be if you’re looking for fine products to spend your paycheque. Since the neighbourhood includes the University of Toronto, you can also expect to meet students and nerds through the wealthy people. Speaking of celebrities, your chances of running into them at the Toronto International Film Festival held there every year will increase dramatically.
30. Black Creek Pioneer Village
Have you always dreamed of time travel? Your fantasies will be fulfilled in this village that recreates the authentic atmosphere of the Ontario countryside in 1860. Discover more than 40 restored homes, stores, public and farm buildings, actors and artisans in period costume. Wondering how beer tasted in 1860? Stop by the historic Black Creek Brewery and see for yourself.
31. The Yonge-Dundas Square
Inaugurated in 2002, Yonge-Dundas Square was created to bring more life and energy to the city. The urban space features granite surfaces, an elevated stage and 22 computer-programmed fountains. Yonge-Dundas Square hosts events, exhibitions and concerts of various sizes almost every day.
32. The comedy clubs
Do you feel like doing something foolish? Head light-heartedly to one of Toronto’s many comedy clubs, where comedians like Jim Carrey took their first steps. The three main reference points are Yuk Yuk’s, Comedy Baret and Second City.
33. Graffiti Alley
Also known as Rush Lane or Rick Mercer’s Lane, Graffiti Alley is the equivalent of a kilometer long. Urban art enthusiasts and amateur photographers will enjoy the artwork unfolding south of Queen Street West, from Spadina Avenue to Portland Street.
34. The Rising Sculpture
This $5 million sculpture, over 20 meters high, was created by one of China’s most influential contemporary artists, Zhang Huan. The sculpture resembling the body of a dragon is made of stainless steel. It is composed of countless peace pigeons and twisted tree branches. It took the artist two years to complete his work in his studio in Shanghai. Weighing 22 tons in total, Rising was shipped to Toronto in five containers and assembled on site. The sculpture aims to advocate the protection of the environment and the harmonious relationship between man and nature.
35. The Canadian National Exhibition
This national fair is one of the largest in the world. It is a true end-of-summer ritual for many Canadians. Indulge yourself with fair trade food or one of the many eccentric specialties offered on site such as “Timbits Poutine”. On the program: horse and dog shows, rides, typical fairground attractions, casino, concerts and culinary demonstrations.
36. The Marylin Monroe Towers (Absolute Towers)
Nicknamed so because of their voluptuous curves, these condo towers located in the suburbs of Mississauga represent the natural lines of life. The building’s creators had the ambition to awaken the desire of metropolitans for nature, like the sun or the wind, as well as the human body. In contrast to typical skyscrapers, the Marylin Monroe Towers avoid rigid vertical lines. Their uninterrupted balcony enveloping each floor of the building gives them a soft and dynamic appearance.
37. The Humber Bay Arch Bridge
This pedestrian bridge offers an excellent view of the lake and the western end of the city. It was completed in the mid-1990s and is 139 metres long.
38. The smallest house
The smallest house in Toronto is located on a lot just wide enough for a car to drive through, making it very popular with fans of tiny houses. The modest home was built in 1912 when Arthur Weeden noticed a tiny lot available on Day Avenue and decided to build a house on it.