Toronto is one of the world’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities. The largest city in Canada has soaring skyscrapers, world-class museums and theatres, and an exciting culinary scene and nightlife. But it can be hard to catch it all in a single visit. This guide will help you see the best of the city in even the briefest itineraries.
Toronto’s Skyline and Unique Architecture
If you want to explore the city’s skyline, the CN Tower is the city’s most famous site. This 553 meter tall tower was the world’s tallest structure for 32 years. The tower is always worth a visit even if you don’t want to take an elevator to the top and it’s incredible views of the city.
For a slice of Canadian history and old Toronto, stop by the Fairmont Royal York. This luxury hotel at the end of the Financial District overlooks the city’s waterfront. The hotel was originally built by the Canadian Pacific Railway as a way to market Canada’s major cities to tourists.
And if you want to get a good feel for the architecture of Toronto you’ll also have to step away from just the city’s skyline. The Victorian Bay-and-Gable house is a hallmark of the residential neighborhoods of the city. These houses are usually built of red bricks with large bay windows that cover more than half the front of the house. Similar to the row townhouses of other cities, the Bay-and-Gable is well suited to the physical constraints of inner Toronto. Cabbagetown and Little Italy are good neighborhoods for finding this kind of housing.
Art and Culture
As the cultural capital of Canada, Toronto has plenty of cultural sights to see. There is the Casa Loma, a stately redoubt with seasonal gardens to explore. Another great spot to visit is the Royal Ontario Museum, a cultural museum with a huge collection and nature exhibits. For art aficionados, the Art Gallery of Ontario is another popular spot. It features works from famous and prominent Canadian artists and is one of the most-visited museums in Canada.
Of course you can’t leave Toronto without seeing its incredible theatre scene. Toronto is the third largest centre for English-language theatre in the world. The city has theatres such as the Royal Alexandra Theatre, the oldest continuously operating theatre in North America, as well as the Princess of Wales Theatre.
Sports and Nightlife
The sights and sounds of Toronto don’t have to leave you indoors. For an outdoor adventure, the Toronto Islands are a great choice. These offshore islands have calm waters and sandy beaches perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
Toronto is also a great place for sports. There’s the Rogers Centre, Scotiabank Arena and BMO Field to see all of Toronto’s major teams. if you want to play a game of your own in the park, Toronto has plenty of public space for that as well. There’s Harbourfront Square, High Park, Centennial Park, or Nathan Phillips Square.
Toronto also has an excellent nightlife if you’re looking for a good way to enjoy your evenings. For live-music there’s the Roy Thomson Hall, the Toronto Centre for the Arts, as well as smaller venues such as the Horseshoe Tavern, the Mod Club and Lee’s Palace. The city’s place as “Hollywood North” also ensures there’s plenty for cinema fans as well. The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the world’s most prestigious, and the Toronto Student Film Festival is a free submission film festival screening films created by students.
As the city with the world’s largest diversity of ethnicities and foreign languages, it should come as no surprise that Toronto has every cuisine to possibly choose from. From Italian in Little Italy to Vietnamese in Chinatown, to the food trucks spread out all through the city, Toronto is a dining paradise.
For incredible curry and jerk pork, stop by Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen. This Caribbean restaurant takes staples to the next level with a Jamaican twist such as the passion fruit coconut cream pie and saltfish fritters. FAT Lamb Kouzina is great for authentic Greek cuisine like beef and veal gyros to a slow roasted leg of lamb. For a fusion of cultures and taste buds, Mister Frenchy makes tacos with a classic French take. These French bread tacos are made with marinated meats, tomatoes, sweet peppers and Emmental cheese.
Another great way to sample Toronto’s culinary scene is through a food tour. These tours can focus on a specific cuisine or neighborhood, and take you through the best it has to offer. The Kensington Market International Food Tour takes you through all the different cuisines that are available at Kensington Market. Another great one is the Historic Distillery District Food Tour. This five course meal takes you through the historic distillery and finishes with a visit to what was once the largest distillery in the world.
As you can see, a weekend is plenty of time to experience Toronto and create some lasting memories. If you’re planning a sightseeing getaway to Toronto, visit Expedia to explore Toronto hotels and make the most of your vacation.