Toronto is a city rich in history; yet, it is also a city that never grows old. Canada’s most cosmopolitan city is the cultural heart of south central Ontario and of English-speaking Canada.
One of the greatest benefits of living in or visiting Toronto is its location. From the United States, it is just a 90-minute drive along the Queen Elizabeth Way. Weather-wise, the location is ideal. Toronto is situated on beautiful Lake Ontario. A walk along the waterfront leads to beaches, marinas, boating facilities, parkland, bike trails, and tennis courts. The lake’s influence keeps the winters in Toronto from being severe.
The heart of the city is adorned with millions of plants and trees. It is also filled with galleries, museums, restaurants, music halls, theaters and sports facilities. Toronto is the economic capital of Canada, with all major banks and most corporations headquartered there as well as a Stock Exchange. The city has been called the Hollywood of the North because of the number of movies and television shows that are filmed within it. The retail sector is enormous, with major shopping centers, both in malls and in every neighborhood.
Recreation is never hard to find in Toronto. There are miles of paths for hiking and bicycle riding, easy access to golf, tennis and swimming in summer and to skiing and ice skating in winter. There are over 2,000 public parks and gardens as well as secluded woodland nature reserves to explore.
Toronto’s 2.4 million residents welcome 22 million visitors each year. Families are honored guests with many hotels providing special services for guests with children, including separate child-sized registration desks, separate recreation areas and pools just for families and playrooms and games for families with children. There is even an entire museum designed just for children. The Toronto Zoo, Paramount Canada’s Wonderland Amusement Park, Children’s Village, and Wild Water Kingdom are popular family attractions.
Toronto is a favorite convention city and gathering place. Toronto’s streets are safe, the air is clean, and the water is safe to drink. The city is strikingly cosmopolitan and vital in every aspect. In recent years, the United Nations named Toronto as the most ethnically diverse city in the world. Its residents have come to Canada from 170 different countries and speak more than 100 different languages and dialects. Within Toronto, the visitor will pass through neighborhoods that are Italian Asian, Greek, Portuguese, Jewish, Polish, West Indian and Pakistani. Toronto has welcomed its immigrants and the vitality with which they have infused the culture, religion, customs and cuisine of the city.
The Toronto Eaton Centre is more than just a shopping centre. It is an architectural model for shopping malls around the country. Built in 1979, and given a new facade in 1999, it is the third largest mall in Canada and is recognized as one of the city’s most popular attractions. The 3 million square foot building with its over 300 stores and services extends along the west side of Yonge Street all the way from Queen Street to Dundas Street (with subway stops directly entering and exiting it at each end). The Eaton Centre, and in fact the whole metropolitan area, are easily accessible by public transportation. The city’s PATH system connects miles of downtown buildings by a unique underground walkway lined with attractive shops and restaurants.
Toronto is the capital of the performing arts in Ontario. The Canadian Opera, the Mendelssohn Choir, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the National Ballet of Canada, and the Canadian Stage Company are all based in Toronto. The theater scene rivals that of London and New York.
While in the city, be sure to spend some time at Harbourfront Centre, the recreational and cultural expanse of shoreline that stretches from York Street west to Bathurst. Boutiques, theaters, restaurants, an antique market, art gallery, and playgrounds are permanent features. From the harbor, tour boats and private charters take tours of the harbor and Toronto Islands.
Toronto Islands are only a 15 minute ferry ride from the foot of Bay Street, yet a world away from the bustle of city life. No cars are allowed in this island paradise. The islands are perfect for a picnic, a walk or bicycle ride, or a swim at the beach. There is a farm to visit, rides, playgrounds, tennis, and boat rentals. A free trolley provides island transport.
Just outside Toronto is the region of Peel with its many picturesque spots for a day trip. The Caledon Hills are a pleasant destination for antique shopping, country auctions, or just admiring the scenery.
Toronto is the fifth largest city in the world, yet one of the most pleasant and welcoming and most easily accessible to visitors. There is something in Toronto for every interest and every budget. Few visit only once. It is a city to return to again and again. Come and see for yourself!