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Toronto

Feel at home in a major metropolis

The cultural landscape of Toronto is vibrant, diverse and welcoming, and you’re bound to fall in love with many of the city’s well-known — and not so well-known — destinations, hot spots and landmarks. Whether you prefer the arts or the outdoors, Toronto offers myriad opportunities for fun and adventure.

Encompassing 243 square miles on Lake Ontario, Toronto ranks as North America’s fourth largest city. But just because it’s huge doesn’t mean it doesn’t make visitors feel lost in the shuffle. On the contrary, this town’s welcoming neighborhoods and urban centers that make strangers feel at home. So take your time and get acquainted with this city that blends modern landscapes with century-old blocks.

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Tall in Toronto

Get an overview of the city by riding the elevator up CN Tower, which, at 1,815 feet, is the tallest freestanding structure in the Western Hemisphere. This communications tower features a viewing platform with panoramic city views and a revolving restaurant. Those traveling with daring teens may want to take them to the tower’s EdgeWalk, which allows visitors to get strapped in and walk along the exterior of the tower’s main pod.

Fun on Tap

Ready to get back down to earth? Few Toronto neighborhoods are Earthier than the Distillery Historic District, which aptly reflects the city’s ability to squeeze shopping, dining, culture and live entertainment into a neat little package. The district was born from a mass of abandoned Victorian-era industrial buildings that have since been repurposed into a walking district. Visitors enjoy live music in the summer, seasonal festivals and art galleries with compelling exhibits.

City Parks Aplenty

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle, visit the Alexander Muir Memorial Gardens. This outdoor space was built in several levels and leads to a ravine system with walking trails that are accessible year-round.

The city also proudly hosts Canada’s only national urban park, Rouge Park. This wilderness park offers guided walks through diverse landscapes. Families will find a slew of children’s activities and hikers can set out on miles of trails that follow old logging routes and offer up stunning views of the Rouge River and its adjacent bluffs.

Moving a Mound

Here’s a riddle: How do you move a 650-ton rock? The answer: One piece at a time. That’s exactly what the city did when it decided to bring in a massive, million-year-old mound of Muskoka granite from the Canadian glacial shield and plant it in the middle of Yorkville Park.

The stone was cut into pieces and reassembled, where it remains the centerpiece of the park. Yorkville Park itself is a testament to dedication: residents rallied to have an unsightly parking lot converted into a space that showcases plants and landscapes representing Ontario’s variety of landscapes. It’s an oasis of calm amid the busy urban landscape.

www.Torontowide.com

Structural Significance

Toronto is a city of inventive, eye-catching architecture; much of it traces its lineage to the 1800s. The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, built in 1808, is the city’s oldest stone structure and the oldest landmark in Toronto. The lighthouse served as a beacon to ships on Lake Ontario. The lighthouse is the site of one of Toronto’s great mysteries, as well: The first light keeper died under mysterious circumstances after just six years of service; his death remains unsolved.

When the weather turns wicked, Toronto residents know to take the PATH — a mostly underground pedestrian walkway that connects public spaces and office buildings, with links to public transit. Along the way, passersby can enjoy the variety of shops, restaurants and entertainment. These businesses also host an annual underground sidewalk sale — the largest of its kind in the world.

Homeowners in Toronto aren’t content with cookie-cutter residences. The extravagant Casa Loma castle was built in 1914 by financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt. Today, the 98-room castle serves as an event venue and tourist destination.

Equally intriguing is the Gooderham Building, located in Toronto’s financial district. Known as the Flatiron Building, the five-story structure is famous for its wedge shape and Romanesque cornice. It’s also one of the city’s most popular sights.

On a smaller scale, but just as intriguing, are the Little House and Half House. The Little House was built in 1912 and is sandwiched between two traditional-sized homes. At less than 300 square feet, the home barely passes for a playhouse, but the builder and his wife lived there comfortably for more than 20 years.

The Half House is exactly that — half a house — and all that remains of six identical, interconnected homes on St. Patrick Street that were built in the late 1800s. A development boom in the 1970s managed to eliminate all but one “half,” which the owners refused to sell. Many of the city’s uniquely designed houses are occupied, but they can still be enjoyed by passing visitors.

From the Skies to the Sea

As beautiful as the city may be, Toronto astronomers know that the skies can be just as mesmerizing. Head to the Dunlap Observatory — Canada’s largest optical telescope — and sit in on a Star Talk night or drop in on a clear night to take a peek at the stars.

Most anglers come to Toronto to cast a line into the icy waters of Lake Ontario, but there are also plenty of aquatic treasures dotting the cityscape in the form of public fishing holes.

More than 1.5 million fish are stocked in these urban rivers and park ponds, which feed the lake’s watershed. Cast a line and try your luck at bluegill, trout, carp, salmon and bass.

For More Information

Toronto Convention and Visitors Association

800-499-2514

www.seetorontonow.com

Ontario Travel

800-668-2746

www.ontariotravel.net