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Visiting Toronto – Things to See In Canada’s Biggest City

Home of an NBA team, NHL team, MLB team, CFL team, NLL team, the world’s tallest freestanding structure, Canada’s largest museum, a beautiful harbourfront, Canada’s largest theme park, Canada’s largest zoo…what more could this city possibly offer? So much more.

Toronto has become Canada’s arts, entertainment and cultural centre. The city has something for everyone of every taste or interest.

Shopping in Toronto

Toronto has over 20,000 retail stores located throughout the city. The main hub of shopping activity is the Eaton centre located in the heart of downtown. The Eaton centre is a city block full of shopping destinations from your favourite retailers. While shopping the day away at this incredible location, one can’t help but notice the incredible architecture as the centre was modeled after the Galleria in Milan, Italy.

If you are looking for something a little more exclusive, then journeying down to the Bloor/Yorkville area will be sure to please you. Enjoy the boutiques, the allure of international retailers, art galleries and high-end gift and specialty shops while experiencing another fabulous part of the city.

The Markets

While continuing your shopping experience, the Markets experiences from across the globe. At Jarvis and Front Street, The St. Lawrence Market is located in the heart of historic Old Town Toronto. Experiencing different cuisines of gourmet food, perusing photography and art shows, enjoying the farmer’s market and antique market, all while breathing in the past of the St. Lawrence Market is a must stop on a trip to the city.

However, if you can’t make it to the St. Lawrence Market, it would be tragic to visit this incredible city without stopping in at one of the fantastic marketplaces. Toronto boasts of its five Chinatowns, The Kensington Market, Little Italy, The Danforth (Greek district), Little Portugal, and the Gerrard India Bazaar.

The Festivals

If you happen to land in Toronto during festival time (which is more than just a little bit likely as the city hosts over 30), a trip to any of Toronto’s festivals will not be regretted. The Taste of the Danforth (beginning of August) offers an adventure in Greek (and other ethnic) cuisines as well as entertainment for all ages throughout the day. The sights, smells, and sounds of The Beaches International Jazz Festival (end of July) will make you want to tap your toe and bob your head as performers from across the world display their talents. From mid-July to mid-August, Toronto hosts the Toronto Caribbean Carnival (Caribana) each year as the city highlights the rich Caribbean community. From the sounds of calypso music and the smells of fine Caribbean cuisine, the festival comes alive with the Caribana parade. The Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival (end of June) brings to town some of the biggest names in jazz. 2007 will feature Etta James and Dave Brubeck. The wintertime is not to be neglected for festivals either, as WinterCity Festival takes place from the end of January to early February and Winterlicious accentuates the incredible cuisine the city has to offer year-round. Festivals often allow for inexpensive and highly enjoyable days experiencing culture and great food.

Entertainment/Sports

With some of the best-loved musical performers from across the world making their stop in Toronto from Billy Joel to Billy Talent, you can be sure that a great concert is going to be playing any time of the year. Concerts are housed in a range of venues from concert hall like The Mod Club (with a capacity of approximately 600) to Molson Amphitheatre (capacity 16,000) or the Air Canada Centre (more commonly known as the ACC with a capacity of 18,000).

Many sporting events are also housed in the ACC as it is home of the Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), and Toronto Rock (NLL). The Roger’s Centre (formerly known as the Skydome located beside the CN Tower) is home to the Toronto Blue Jays (MLB) and the Toronto Argonauts (CFL). Toronto is a perfect destination for any sport enthusiast.

Arts and Culture

From ballets to Broadway plays, The Hummingbird Centre, The Princess of Wales Theatre, Massey Hall, Royal Alexandra Theatre, Roy Thomson Hall, Canon Theatre, Four Seasons Theatre, and more host world class productions year round. Toronto has played host to such productions as CATS, Les Miserables, The Lion King, Annie, Beauty and the Beast, and other much-loved musicals and performances.

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) are two other main attractions to the arts and cultural sites of Toronto. Inside the ROM, you can discover thousands of years of history, interact with your children in some of the kids’ zones, and enjoy learning about the history of our planet.

Toronto also boasts of its own history as the Distillery District and Old Town Toronto display some of the best-loved locations for tourists (or Torontonians) who have a love of history and interesting architecture.

Casa Loma is another favourite location of travelers. Built from 1911-1914, the “House on the Hill” still holds some of the most elegant pieces from the early 1900s. As well, Casa Loma has been used as the location for several different movies, including X-Men.

Family Fun

It can be guaranteed that Toronto is a premiere location for family fun. Ontario Place is located on the waterfront and includes an IMAX theatre, cultural displays, rides, games, and much more.

The Ontario Science Centre allows for kids (and big kids) to discover the joys of science in an interactive atmosphere.

The Canadian National Exhibition (also referred to as the CNE or the Ex) is hosted in Toronto each year and draws tourists from across the world. The CNE has exhibits from wildlife to technology, incredible selections of foods for low prices, games, rides, shopping, interactive activities for kids and adults, shows, and more. The CNE is a family tradition for many living in southwestern Ontario.

The Toronto Zoo is the largest zoo in Canada housing lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!). The Zoo has enjoyable shows, displays, and of course, thousands of animals to view and learn about.

Located on the outskirts of the city, Paramount Canada’s Wonderland is an adventure for young and old alike. With dozens of roller coasters, games, live shows, vendors, food, and more, Wonderland is more than a day’s worth of family fun.

To enjoy some of the beautiful scenery that Toronto has to offer, the Islands on Lake Ontario are an incredible sight. With sailboats in the distance and a twisting shoreline, the islands are a place to visit or to take time out of an adventure packed day to sit down for a picnic or a breath of fresh air.

Accommodations in Toronto

Stay downtown, uptown, near the airport, in a B&B, hostel, wherever you choose, Toronto has many hotels to choose from. The Drake Hotel and the Royal Fairmont Hotel are two of the city’s finest, but if you don’t quite have the budget for such elegance, there are still tonnes of incredible hotels, motels, inns, or hostels to choose from at affordable prices.

Like No Where Else on Earth

The CN Tower is of course one of the biggest attractions in the city…literally. The CN Tower and the city of Toronto are synonymous with one another. At 1,815 feet and five inches, it towers over the city. The incredible view is unparalleled anywhere else in the city and for travelers who love having their breath taken away, a trip to the top is a trip to Toronto necessity.

In a city where over 100 languages are spoken, with the longest street in the world (Yonge Street), and the tallest freestanding structure, if you haven’t been to Toronto yet, what are you waiting for? With so much to offer, Toronto is a city that shouldn’t be missed out on.

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