Toronto City Guide
Toronto is located on the north shore of Lake Ontario and is an energetic and cosmopolitan city. It is the financial, commercial and cultural center of Canada and a dynamic hub for entertainment, culture, sports, high fashion and big business. This vibrant city is also renowned as the home of multi-cultural population comprised of eighty ethnic groups who speak more than 100 languages.
The origins of Toronto can be traced back to the 17th century when it was founded as a small French colony. It was then inhabited by the British loyalist families who fled north to escape the American Revolution. These families established a town beside the lake, which they called York and it went on to become a center for manufacturing. In 1834, the name of the town was changed to Toronto, which translates as ‘meeting place’ in the language of the Native American Indians. Soon after the city began to experience waves of immigration which helped shape its multi-cultural character.
Today Toronto is known as a prominent business and vacation destination that offers a cityscape littered with avant-garde architecture, excellent restaurants, museums and art galleries, verdant parks and first-class shopping and entertainment options.
Where to stay in Toronto
Downtown Toronto is the heart of the city. This area is home to the city’s financial district and also hosts prominent landmarks like the CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum, the NHL stadium and major retail along downtown Yonge Street and the Yorkville district.
Downtown Toronto also features heritage buildings, theatres, music, dining and various other entertainment options and accordingly this area hosts a wide range of hotels that include luxury hotels, business oriented hotel properties, family-centric hotels and even discount hotels all of which are immensely popular with visitors on a business or leisure trip to Toronto. Yet another attraction of the area is its PATH system that is North America’s largest system of underground pedestrian walkways that extends over 16 miles. This system connects most of the major buildings in the downtown area, stores, restaurants, hotels and five subway stations. The PATH system is a boon during Toronto’s frigid winters as visitors can go about their business within the downtown area and be completely protected from the elements.
Near the airport
Many visitors on a visit to Toronto elect to stay at a hotel located near the city’s Pearson International airport, which is located 16 miles away from downtown Toronto. The area near the airport hosts an important business travel destination, the Toronto Congress Center. This is the city’s premier tradeshow and convention spot that is equipped with more than one million square feet of exhibition space. This area near the airport then accordingly hosts several business-oriented hotels which cater to these business travelers.
Places to see in Toronto
A great way to see many of Toronto’s most famous landmarks like the CN tower, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Toronto Zoo etc is to invest in a Toronto CityPass before you get to Toronto for your vacation. With a Toronto CityPass, you get great savings on your admission fees to six major Toronto attractions. The Toronto CityPass booklet can be bought online and it contains the admission tickets to each attraction along with useful information. The best advantage of a Toronto CityPass is that it enables you to jump the long queues that are invariably found at the popular attractions. The Toronto CityPass is valid for nine days after it is first used.
The CN Tower is one of the most popular attractions in Toronto. This tower was built as a TV transmission antenna and soars to a height of 1815 feet. It is the tallest tower in the world. This tower serves several TV and radio stations and offers many attractions like a nightclub, a virtual reality zone, a café and a restaurant, shops, a laser tag game and a simulator theater. It is no wonder then that is such a hit with tourists on a vacation to Toronto.
Art Gallery of Ontario
This excellent museum offers 50 galleries that showcase all media and various schools of art including the Impressionists and the Canadian group of seven (landscape artists from the 1920s).
If you are on vacation in Toronto with kids in tow, you may want to take them on a day trip to the premier Canadian amusement park called Canada's Wonderland, which is simply known as 'Wonderland' and is located in Vaughan about 30 km north from downtown Toronto. You can even use public transport to get to the park, which has more than 200 attractions including several terrifying but thrilling roller coasters. Some of the best roller coasters in the park include the Behemouth, the Mighty Canadian Minebuster, Flight Deck, Time Warp, and the Bat, the Fly, the Skyrider and rides like the Psyclone, Riptide and the Drop Tower. The park also has an aqua park called Splash works, which has water slides, wave pools and the works within its environs.
Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum is Canada’s largest museum that offers six million exhibits from the worlds of art, archaeology and natural sciences. Dinosaur bones, arts and antiquities, interactive exhibits, the museum has them all.
Hockey Hall of Fame
Ice Hockey is Canada’s national sport and Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame is an ode to the sport, its greatest players and best teams. The museum catalogues the history of the game through ever era and features hockey artifacts, interactive displays and much more. A visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame is a definite must-do for any hockey enthusiast on a vacation to Toronto.
Royal Botanic Gardens
The Toronto botanic gardens received a Royal Charter in 1930 from King George V and were opened to the public a couple of years after. These gardens are Canada’s largest botanic gardens that feature 8000 species of plants, which include 100,000 spring blooms, 3000 rose bushes and the world’s largest collection of lilacs. The gardens are also equipped with 30 miles of nature trail and play host 25 annual festivals.
Best time to visit Toronto
The climate in Toronto is affected by its proximity to Lake Ontario. Summers in Toronto are generally hot and humid while winters are usually extremely cold and are characterized by much snowfall.
The coldest month in Toronto is January which experiences average daily highs of 28F (-2 C) while the warmest month in Toronto is usually July when daily highs of 80 F(27C) are a common occurrence. The best times to visit Toronto are during the summer and autumn months when the city experiences mild days and cool nights, which are ideal for taking in the sights and enjoying one of the many festivals that the city hosts.
Getting around in Toronto
Toronto is accessed via it Toronto Pearson International airport, located northwest of downtown Toronto. The airport welcomes a whole host of carriers from all over the globe, which makes getting to Toronto an absolute breeze.
In fact we at Fare Buzz, periodically announce several cheap flight deals for Toronto. So if you have been toying with the idea of a Toronto vacation and are looking for cheap air tickets, you would do well as to contact Fare Buzz for your requirements.
Toronto is equipped with an extensive and excellent public transport system, which is made up of subways, buses, streetcars, the Light Railway Line, taxis and ferries. Most visitors on a business trip or vacation to Toronto don’t usually rent a car for the duration of their stay in Toronto as the city center is quite congested and parking is expensive. However if you want to rent a car for your Toronto vacation, you should probably reserve your car rental before you arrive in Toronto. Fare Buzz can be of assistance at this instance for it offers a wide array of affordable car rentals for Toronto, which can be booked via its normal booking platforms.
Where to shop in Toronto
Toronto is undeniably one of the major shopping capitals of North America. The city offers a diverse mix of trendy and, vintage, antique and modern, luxurious and budget shopping delights, bound to meet the needs and desires of all shoppers.
Queen Street West is considered to be Toronto’s main shopping drag, located here are various boutiques, outlets of mass retailers and store-filled malls like the giant Eaton Centre and the flagship store of the famed Canadian department store chain, the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Other popular districts for shopping in Toronto, include the upscale neighborhood, Bloor-Yorkville (home to stores like Holt Renfrew, Prada, Hermes, Gucci, Tiffany & Co and Hazelton Lanes), the Yonge and Eglinton neighborhood (a yuppie enclave offering trendy boutiques, cafes, restaurants, art galleries and more), Kensington Market (vintage and one of a kind finds), Chinatown (cheap and cheerful tourist-friendly knick-knacks) and Parkdale (more vintage finds).
Yet another shopping locale worth pursuing, in Toronto is the Yorkdale Shopping Centre, situated in the north-end of the city, which hosts more than 240 shops belonging to well-known mid-range retailers like Holt Renfrew, the Bay, Sears, Top Shop, Aritizia, H&M, Zara, Crate and Barrel and so forth.
Where to eat in Toronto
Toronto like New York City is renowned for its vibrant dining scene. This city, which is home to a vibrant multi-cultural population, hosts a wide array of restaurants offering almost every kind of cuisine known. The restaurant scene in Toronto is constantly evolving and some of the city’s best ranked eateries include culinary hotspots like Shoto (an Asian eatery by renowned chef David Chang of Momofuku fame), Edulis (French bistro fare), Daisho (yet another eatery from the Momofuku stable), Hopgood’s Foodliner (offering regional Canadian cuisine), Farmhouse Tavern (farm to table cuisine), Khao San Road (Thai cuisine), Ursa (innovative healthy fare) and Bent (East-West Fusion eats).
Nightlife in Toronto
Toronto comes alive after dark and the city offers numerous venues to take in a pro sport event, a play, a show or even a concert. Popular entertainment centers in Toronto include concert venues like the Rogers Centre, the Air Canada Centre, Massey Hall and the Phoenix. All these venues host a wide array of events all year round and offer much opportunity for nocturnal entertainment in Toronto.
Other highly-ranked nightspots in Toronto include bars like the Northwood, the Black Hoof, the Dakota Tavern, the Avro, Barchef and the Caledonian and clubs like the Hoxton, the Thompson Toronto, Bar 244, Footwork and Fly Nightclub.