Toronto, Canada's most famous landmark is the CN Tower, a 553 metres (1,815 ft) tall steel and concrete transmission tower and observation deck, the tallest free-standing land structure in the world. Directly west of it is the Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome), the world's first sporting arena to feature a fully retractable roof. It is currently home to the Toronto Blue Jays and the Toronto Argonauts. Nearby, the Air Canada Centre is the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors, and the Toronto Rock. It was originally built to replace the legendary Maple Leaf Gardens.

Toronto's City Hall is one of the city's most distinctive landmarks. Built to replace its predecessor now known simply as Old City Hall its modernist style still impresses today (it has been used as a backdrop in American films to depict a city of the future). Directly in front of City Hall is Nathan Phillips Square, a public space that frequently houses concerts, art displays, a weekly farmers' market, and other public events. It is also the site of a reflecting pool that, during the winter, becomes a popular skating rink. Dundas Square, nearby, is the city's newest and flashiest public square, located across the street from the Toronto Eaton Centre, a large, popular shopping mall long enough to have Toronto Transit Commission subway stops at both the northern and southern ends of the mall. Another popular shopping mall with subway access is Yorkdale, although this mall sits well outside of the city centre at the intersection of two highways, Allen Rd and the 401. Queen's Park, a historic scenic park and public space, surrounds Ontario's Legislative Assembly.

The Toronto Islands form part of the largest car-free urban community in North America. Accessible by ferry, "the Islands" include a public park and a children's amusement park, Centreville. The Islands are also home to the Toronto City Centre Airport. The city has several large forested urban parks, the best known being High Park to the west of downtown. The city is crisscrossed by a network of ravines that have remained almost wholly undeveloped. The Martin M. Goodman trail also traverses the entire lakeshore from one end of the city to the other, a section of this trail runs as a Boardwalk through the Beaches area, from Ashbridges Bay to Victoria Park Ave.

Other popular attractions include the St. Lawrence Market, Hockey Hall of Fame, the Panorama Lounge, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Ontario Science Centre, the Leslie Street Spit, the Toronto Zoo, Little Glenn, and the city's oldest cathedrals, the Roman Catholic St. Michael's Cathedral and the Anglican St. James' Cathedral, both on Church Street. The Distillery District is a collection of old and restored industrial buildings from the 19th century which now feature artworks and historical artifacts from Toronto early industrial past. Casa Loma, a castle overlooking downtown Toronto, is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions.

Don't Forget To See:

  • CN Tower the world's tallest freestanding structure on land, and has the highest public observation deck at 447m in the air
  • Royal Ontario Museum - fifth largest museum in North America
  • Ontario Science Centre
  • Rouge Park
  • Toronto Islands
  • Toronto Zoo
  • High Park
  • Yorkville
  • Distillery District
  • Ontario Place
  • Cabbagetown
  • Chinatown
  • The Danforth
  • Four Seasons Centre
  • Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Casa Loma
  • University of Toronto
  • Harbourfront Centre
  • BCE Place
  • Queen Street West
  • St. Lawrence Market
  • Allan Gardens
  • Bata Shoe Museum
  • Black Creek Pioneer Village

Toronto Travel Tips by
Sharon Stajda

One of my favorite vacation spots is Toronto, Canada. Coming from the city of Detroit, it is only about three and half hours away. It is a straight shot up the 401 highway once your cross the border in Detroit.

Toronto has often been called the New York City of Canada. I think it lives up to this comparison. However, Toronto is much cleaner and safer than New York City. I have been amazed at how clean the city is for such a large population. I have also never felt in danger even when walking around past midnight.

As far as things to see and do, you will never run out. I have probably made about twenty five trips to Toronto in my life and I have never been bored. There is always old favorites along with new things popping up all the time.

Below is my list of the top ten things you should see and do in Toronto. These are things that you should not miss on your visit.

1. Take a walk down Bloor Street. This is the Park Avenue of Toronto. You will find all of the fancy shops on this street. Including Gucci, Prada, and the amazing Holt-Renfrew department store. If you can afford $500 for a pair of jeans, this is the place for you. Beyond the expensive stores, it is a nice walk and great people watching. And as always, window shopping is free.

2. Visit the quirky shops of Queen Street. This street is synonymous with the term "Funky". You will find hip clothing stores, independent record shops, and other off the wall type establishments. Favorite bar to visit on this street is the legendary Horseshoe Tavern. Every great Canadian music act has played there.

3. Stroll through Chinatown. Looking for dim sum? Exotic Chinese herbs? Rare teas? Toronto's Chinatown is the place for you. Chinese restaurants shy away from the traditional "North American Chinese" menu. Instead, they serve up variety of authentic dishes that feed the over 400,000 people of Chinese background in Toronto.

4. Shop at the Eaton Center. I am not one for shopping malls. However, I do love the Eaton Center. The mall itself is a six storey glass ceiling structure modeled after Milan's Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. It has over 285 stores with a great food court on the lower level. Make sure to visit New York fries and order the Poutine. A blend of french fries, cheese curds and gravy.

5. Take a trip on the subway. The Toronto subway is clean, safe, and easy to navigate. There are two main lines, the Younge-University-Spadina and the Bloor-Danforth. From the subway, you can get to all of the main tourist hotspots.

6. Visit the top of the CN Tower. The world's tallest building at 553m (1815 ft). The view is amazing. At the top of the tower is the 360 restaurant. This is a world class restaurant. The floor does a complete rotation every 72 minutes. When dining, you will get to view the city below from each direction.

7. What would a visit to the great white north be without a bit of hockey? Toronto is home to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Hockey has a special place in the national conscious of the Canadians. Make sure to visit the Wayne Gretzky area.

8. Gourmets will love St. Lawrence Market. Considered in the top twenty five markets in the world, it has over 50 specialty vendors. Great vegetables, fruits, meat, cheese, and seafood abound. On the lower level, visit the St. Lawrence Market Juice Bar. They specialize in freshly squeezed juices of all kinds and related products.

9. Visit the eclectic Kensington Market area. Dating back to the original settlement of Toronto in 1790s by the British, you will now find a diverse area of shopping representing the cultures of Portuguese, East Indian, Ethiopian and Caribbean.

10. Eat in Little Italy. For my money, the restaurants in Little Italy represent are the best restaurants in all of Toronto. Beyond restaurants, you will find exciting night life in this area. This includes wonderful Italian coffee shops, gelato, music bars, and even Latin dancing.

I hope these tips will help you enjoy your visit to Toronto.

About the Author

Sharon Stajda loves to write about her travels. Visit Toronto, Canada for further information.