Toronto is a city of many museums, theatres, events and sports. It is also one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Canada and the world. This means that there are many cultures which bring along their traditions and music. It is also home to the Canadian National Exhibition one of Canada's largest outdoor fairs.

 

Exhibits

Toronto has a world-renowned museum, the Royal Ontario Museum (frequently referred to as "the ROM"), and one of North America's largest art galleries, the Art Gallery of Ontario (also known as the "AGO"). Exhibition Place is the home of the Canadian National Exhibition (the CNE or "the Ex"), an annual event that takes place in August which also hosts the Canadian International Air Show. Nearby Ontario Place is a popular amusement park on the waterfront.

It has a vibrant visual arts scene, with artist-run venues such as Mercer Union and YYZ Artists' Outlet presenting important exhibitions of contemporary art from both the local area and abroad.

 

Performing arts

Toronto is home to Canada's most active English language theatre scene, and is considered to be the third largest centre for English language theatre in the world, behind New York City and London. It is home to both acclaimed works by companies as the Soulpepper Theatre Company, the Canadian Stage, and Tarragon Theatre and large Broadway style musicals. Several Broadway theatrical hits originated in Toronto, such as the 1993 revival of Show Boat and Ragtime. Venues for theatre include the Canon Theatre (formerly Pantages Theatre and Pantages Cinema), the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres, the Princess of Wales Theatre, the Royal Alexandra Theatre, the Poor Alex Theatre, and the Harbourfront Centre. It is the mandate of Theatres such as The Factory Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille to produce distinctly Canadian Theatre and support local artists. Canadian artists that have started in these theatres include George F. Walker, Michael Healey and Ann-Marie MacDonald.

Musical venues in Toronto include the Toronto Centre for the Arts in North York; Roy Thomson Hall, home to Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO); and Massey Hall. The National Ballet of Canada is based in Toronto and performs at the Hummingbird Centre and formerly at the Walter Carsen Centre. It and the Opera will move to the Four Seasons Centre in 2006.

As Canada's largest city and the main centre of its recording industry, Toronto is also home to many Canadian pop, rock, and hip hop artists. This includes both musicians native to Toronto and those who have moved to Toronto from other towns and cities. The live music scene in Toronto is centred primarily in the Queen Street West area, part of what is known as the Entertainment District, although not all of Toronto's music venues are in this neighbourhood. More established acts play at venues such as Lee's Palace, The Opera House, The Horseshoe Tavern, The Mod Club, The Phoenix Concert Theatre, The Guvernment, and Kool Haus (formerly known as the Warehouse). Major concert tours by stars are usually booked into larger venues such as Air Canada Centre, Hummingbird Centre, the Rogers Centre and the Molson Amphitheatre at Ontario Place.

 

Literature

The Greater Toronto Area is the centre of English Canadian literature and many of Canada's best known writers, such as Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje, write and set their books in Toronto. Other prominent Toronto-based writers include Rohinton Mistry, Morley Callaghan, Michael Ignatieff and George Elliott Clarke. Canada's English language publishing industry is mostly based in Toronto. It is home to major companies, such as McClelland and Stewart and smaller firms like House of Anansi Press, Key Porter Books and Coach House Books. The Toronto Book Awards honor authors of books of literary or artistic merit that are evocative of Toronto. Pen Canada, based in Toronto, was formed in 1926 to defend freedom of expression and is one of 141 centres of International PEN. North America's largest literary festival, the annual International Festival of Authors takes place each fall in Toronto.

Both of Canada's English language national newspapers (the National Post and the Globe and Mail) are based in Toronto, as is Canada's largest-circulating daily newspaper (The Toronto Star) and many other major magazines and periodicals. The city is thus home to a large number of Canada's journalists. As a nexus of multilingual activity, Toronto has 79 ethnic periodicals.

 

Events

Main article: Events in Toronto

Toronto plays host to a variety of different events year-round. In September, Hollywood celebrities, actors, writers, directors, and producers from around the world descend on the city for the Toronto International Film Festival, which, according to a variety of sources, has surpassed Cannes as the number one film festival in the world. The last week of June is Pride Week, where LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer) community members gather from national and international backgrounds to celebrate sexual diversity. The week is celebrated with both a Pride Parade and Dyke March along with various other pro-LGBTQ events. It is one of the largest Gay Pride celebrations in the world, together with Montreal, San Francisco, California and Parada do Orgulho GLBT de São Paulo. Gay Pride Week is organized by Pride Toronto, a non-profit volunteer organization. In July, Caribana, the largest Caribbean festival in North America, attracts more than one million celebrants for the concerts, the food, the King and Queen of the Bands competition, and the very popular Caribana parade. The Molson Indy is also held in Toronto every year in July. The Ontario civic holiday which is called Colonel By Day in Ottawa, Peter Robinson Day in Peterborough and Simcoe Day in Toronto and in most of Ontario, named after the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe.

 

Festivals

  • Toronto International Film Festival - September
  • Hot Docs, North America's largest documentary film festival
  • World Stage International Theatre Festival
  • Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children - April
  • International Children's Festival of the Arts - May
  • Le Salon du Livre de Toronto- French Book Fair
  • Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival - June
  • Beaches International Jazz Festival - July
  • Celebrate Toronto Street Festival - July
  • Toronto Fringe Festival - July/August
  • Caribana - August
  • Toronto Pride - June
  • International Festival of Authors - October - North America's premier literary festival
  • Contact Toronto Photography Festival
  • Word on the Street - Canada’s largest, annual outdoor book and magazine festival
  • Fête de la Musique (World Music Day) - June 21 annually. Musicians from all over the world perform free concerts throughout the city
  • Subtle Technologies Festival - May.
  • Mcluhan International Festival of the Future
  • Idea City
  • Toronto International Dance Festival
  • Canadian Music Week
  • North by Northeast - June
  • Luminato, Toronto's Festival of Arts and Creativity - annual festival which will premiere in June 2007
  • Nuit Blanche Toronto - an all-night free celebration of contemporary art September 30 - October 1, 2006
  • Canada Blooms

 

Tourism

Toronto has a thriving tourism industry as it has many landmarks and attractions, the most popular of which is the CN Tower. The city has largely recovered from the 2003 SARS outbreak; however, the tourism industry had to make certain cuts, with some elements not having yet returned to the status quo. The strong Canadian dollar and tighter border security have both resulted in a drop of US visitors, while tourists from overseas continue to increase.

One of Toronto's major annual attractions is the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), attendance to which is a family tradition for some. Regular sporting events, such as home games of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Marlies, Toronto Rock, and the Argonauts, also bring many tourists to the city every year.

 

Music

 

Indie

  • The legendary Horseshoe Tavern has been a live music venue for 52 years. Although its stage plays host to big name acts, the venue strives to be an artist- and industry-friendly venue, booking emerging Canadian and international artists.
  • Sneaky Dee's is another staple rock venue in the city. It boasts punk karaoke and occasionally known as Sneaky Disease. The stage plays host to shows for Canadian Music Week and the Wavelength Music Series, a weekly live music series started by independent musicians to foster the indie scene. Wavelength also includes a zine and an indie rock drop-in centre.
  • The Queen West Art and Design District offers the hip Gladstone Hotel with venues for a cross pollination of scenes. These stages are perfect for indie acts about to emerge from under the radar.

Source: "Indie nation," Canadian Geographic Online

 

Sports

Further information: List of sports teams in Toronto

 

Current professional franchises

Club League Venue Established Championships
Toronto Argonauts Canadian Football League Rogers Centre 1873 15
Toronto Maple Leafs National Hockey League Air Canada Centre 1917 13
Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball Rogers Centre 1977 2
Toronto Raptors National Basketball Association Air Canada Centre 1995 0
Toronto Lynx USL First Division Centennial Park Stadium 1997 0
Toronto Rock National Lacrosse League Air Canada Centre 1999 5
Toronto Marlies American Hockey League Ricoh Coliseum 2005 0
Toronto FC Major League Soccer National Soccer Stadium 2006 0

 

Current semi-professional franchises

Club League 'Venue Established Championships
Toronto Maple Leafs (baseball) Intercounty Baseball League Christie Pits 1969 7
Toronto St. Michael's Majors Ontario Hockey League St. Michael's College School Arena 1996 4
Toronto Eagles Ontario Australian Football League Humber College Park 1989 9
Toronto Downtown Dingos Ontario Australian Football League Humber College Park 1996 3

 

Major sporting venues

  • Air Canada Centre - home of the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs, the NBA Toronto Raptors and the NLL Toronto Rock.
  • Maple Leaf Gardens - Former home to the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs.
  • Allan Lamport Stadium - named after Toronto Mayor Allan Lamport, City-owned facility
  • Beatrice Ice Gardens - York University
  • Birchmount Stadium - City-owned facility
  • Christie Pits - home to the Toronto Maple Leafs (baseball), City-owned facility
  • Esther Shiner Stadium - former home to York University Yeomens Football team
  • Greenwood Racetrack - demolished and replaced be Woodbine Park and housing development
  • National Soccer Stadium - Construction began at Exhbition Place in June, 2006
  • Rexall Centre - home to National Tennis Centre at York University
  • Ricoh Coliseum - formerly home of the AHL Roadrunners and current home of the AHL Marlies. On City land.
  • Rogers Centre - Owned and used by MLB Toronto Blue Jays and also home to the CFL Toronto Argonauts
  • Toronto Track and Field Centre at York University
  • Varsity Stadium - University of Toronto, since demolished
  • Varsity Arena - University of Toronto Varsity Blues Hockey
  • Woodbine Race Track - owned by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission