As I was writing this, I was thinking “O Canada…“, swiftly followed by the realisation that I don’t know any of the rest of the words to this national anthem… but with a place as beautiful as this, none of that really matter now, does it? 😉
With Canada, most people’s thoughts tend to go for the more natural attractions (case in point – this beauty) with relatively little consideration going to its cities yet Canada is home to some of the most exciting and vibrant cities in all the land…and they certainly don’t come more exciting than Toronto! (Though I have to admit, I have a huge soft spot for Vancouver and its amazing sights!)
Ontario’s capital city, Toronto, is undoubtedly a fantastic place to visit in Canada! Located right on Lake Ontario, the city is a multicultural hub, with lots to see and do. If you’re heading over to Toronto soon, here are 10 things you have to do when you’re in this incredible city.
1.) Brave the glass floor in the CN Tower
Since the CN Tower is probably going to be the first thing you notice upon arriving in Toronto, it might as well be the first thing to actually go visit! The views from this communications tower will not disappoint! Standing 1,815 feet (553 m) tall, visitors are able to see Toronto and the entire surrounding area from the LookOut Level of the tower.
There is also a Glass Floor for visitors to brave walk upon, and for the tallest viewing point, head to the SkyPod, which offers views from a height of 1,465 feet (447 m). Feeling a little dizzy yet?
2.) Admire the Hockey Hall of Fame
Since hockey is the national sport of Canada, you better believe that anything related to the sport in Toronto is going to be impressive.
Situated in Old Toronto, the Hockey Hall of Fame is great for all things hockey. It houses a large collection of hockey memorabilia, and visitors can even play one-on-one against life-sized, animated versions of some of the greatest professional players in the sport. If hockey is your game, then the Hall of Fame is for you.
3.) See the Royal Ontario Museum
For something a little (ok…a lot!) less rough than ice hockey, head to the Royal Ontario Museum. Perfect for lovers of world culture, as well as natural history, the Museum offers the largest collection of pieces and artefacts in Canada. The museum is open daily from 10AM-5:30PM, with a late closing on Fridays at 8:30PM.
4.) Visit Casa Loma
A castle…in Toronto? It’s true! Built between 1911-1914, the city’s Casa Loma was originally a massive residence for a financier named Sir Henry Mill Pellatt.
Today, this Gothic Revival style castle is home to a museum, as well as a garden and stables area. 98 rooms, secret passageways, and a few towers await the visitors of Toronto’s Casa Loma.
5.) Wander through the Eaton Centre
Shopaholics, rejoice! Toronto has a stunning mall for you to peruse, complete with a stunning glass ceiling. Eaton Centre, located right between downtown and Old Toronto, is a massive, multi-level shopping centre, with both high street brands, as well as more local shops.
Be sure to check out the St. Lawrence Market that is situated approximately 15 minutes walk from the Eaton Centre for the best, fresh produce and some gorgeous antiques.
6.) Dive into Kensington Market
For even more shopping, head to one of the best-known neighbourhoods in the city. Distinctly multicultural, Kensington Market is perfect for vintage shopping, viewing some street art, and finding über-cool hipster coffee shops in the city.
A unique mix of styles and cultures, Kensington Market has recently become recognised as a National Historic Site of Canada. (A good enough
excuse reason to visit really…;-) )
7.) Scream in Canada’s Wonderland
Any place called ‘Wonderland’ is definitely worth checking out, especially if that place has roller coasters! Canada’s Wonderland is arguably the best amusement park in the country. Located about 25 miles (40 km) north of downtown, Wonderland is actually in Vaughn but is close enough to Toronto’s city centre (and soooooooo much fun!) that you need to pop in when you visit Toronto.
The amusement park is perfect for visitors in the summertime (understandably) but if you happen to visit Toronto around Halloween, though, Canada’s Wonderland Halloween Haunt is absolutely the place you need to go to.
8.) Explore the Distillery District
What was once the Gooderham & Worts Distillery was later left to be an abandoned area of Victorian industrial buildings. That is until a few developers came up with the idea to turn the old distillery into a super stunning shopping and dining area!
With what seems like the love-child of European’s charming yet quaint streets and the more modern trendy atmosphere of New York City’s SoHo neighbourhood, the Distillery District is the perfect place to peruse over 80 different shops and boutiques, as well as try a multitude of different restaurants – effectively, its one of the best spots to begin your night out on the town and it has quickly become one of the most popular places to visit in Toronto.
9.) Walk the Toronto Waterfront
To take in some of the most beautiful sights in the city, head for the waterfront. Stretching from the Rouge River in the east to the Etobicoke Creek in the west, the waterfront allows for 28 miles (46 km) of walking along Lake Ontario.
Don’t expect to just walk aimlessly forever, though; there’s quite a bit to see and do on the waterfront! Between June – October, stop by the Waterfront Artisan Market for delicious food and speciality crafts.
Or, maybe you’d prefer to take a beach break on one of the many beaches along the way. Whatever your interests are, you’re sure to have a grand time along the waterfront.
10.) Take a trip to Niagara Falls
Technically, Niagara Falls is not right in the city of Toronto. If you’ve come all the way to Toronto though, you might as well make a side trip to one of the greatest natural wonders in the world.
Just 90 minutes driving from Toronto will bring you to the Falls, where you can easily spend the day taking in the sights as well as exploring the surrounding area.
Here you can take a walking tour behind the falls, where you can get close enough to them to even get soaked by them (don’t worry, you’ll be handed a poncho prior to avoid you getting properly soaked) or hop aboard a boat ride to get a very different a very powerful perspective of the waterfall.
Be sure to stay until it gets dark when the Falls are lit up in beautiful colours every night of the year.