Toronto is renowned as being one of the world’s most welcoming cities. A long history of immigration has meant that today the city contains an exciting wealth of ethnic and cultural diversity. Situated on the shore of the vast Lake Ontario, the name ‘Toronto’ is an ancient Indigenous Canadian name meaning ‘place where the trees stand in the water’. The first European settlers arrived in the mid eighteenth century, and the city has been growing rapidly ever since. Today it is Canada’s economic fulcrum, and its five million inhabitants make it the country’s most populous city.


The Toronto skyline is dominated by the famous CN Tower and this is the ideal starting point for any tourist. Standing at 553m in height it provides spectacular views of the sprawling city to the north and Lake Ontario to the south. The observation level features an area of glass flooring that looks straight down on the tiny cars and people half a kilometre below: not for the fainthearted!

The City Hall, completed in 1965, is a stunning example of modernist architecture. Its crescent shaped twin towers have been used as a backdrop in a number of feature films. Directly in front of the Hall, Nathan Phillips Square is also well worth a visit. The square’s central fountain is used as an ice rink when frozen in the winter. Completing the square is a massive bronze sculpture by Henry Moore.

Toronto offers an abundance of cultural and artistic attractions. The Distillery District (east of downtown), is a large area of once derelict industrial and domestic Victorian architecture. In the last five years the district has been filled with fashionable upmarket shops, restaurants and art galleries. Toronto plays host to many museums, including the grand Royal Ontario Museum, one of the biggest in North America. The city also has a thriving theatre and opera scene.

If you’re more of an outdoors person, Toronto certainly won’t disappoint. Towards the eastern end of the city, beautiful beaches on the shore of Lake Ontario offer the opportunity for sunbathing, beach sports, or strolls along the promenade. The city is regularly punctuated by well-maintained parks and gardens. Particularly notable is the western High Park, which features intricate horticulture, sports facilities, and in the winter, skating on the frozen lake.

A short ferry trip across the harbour will take you to Toronto Islands. This small chain of islands is one of the oldest parts of the city. It is perfect for interesting walks amongst the small cottages and their pretty gardens, or a visit to the legendarily haunted Gibraltar Point Lighthouse.


Toronto presents the keen shopper with myriad possibilities. PATH, a huge underground network of shops, restaurants and businesses, makes for a truly unique shopping experience. The city has several large malls, amongst them the Eaton Centre, which houses many hip boutiques alongside two well-stocked food halls. Head to Yonge Street for gifts, souvenirs and more mainstream shops. To the north, the fashionable area known as The Annex is full of quirky ethnic and artistic shops, as well as large book stores. Here you will also find Kensington Market, an excellent source of fresh food.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Nightlife in Toronto will satisfy the most serious theatre goer and keenest night-clubber alike. The best theatres can be found in the Entertainment District (Downtown), where you can catch everything from Broadway musicals, to classical concerts and operas. There are bars and clubs all over the city, but there are some areas that definitely deserve a visit. Again the Entertainment District is a great place to start, packed as it is with clubs and late night bars. The Gay Village, based on and around Church Street, is full of vibrant, welcoming places. The Little Italy area is particularly worth visiting in the summer, as the young bar crowds spill out onto the ‘patios’ in the warm night air.

The city’s rich history of immigration has led to the availability of an internationally broad range of cuisine. The Annex hosts an eclectic collection of small, authentic, and ethnically diverse restaurants. For Chinese and Far Eastern food, don’t miss the city’s large Chinatown. If you’re looking for an up-market meal before the theatre, King Street (Entertainment District) is the perfect place to start.

Tourist Information

Toronto Convention & Visitors AssociationP.O. Box 126, 207 Queens Quay WestToronto, Ontario.M5J 1A7 Canada+1 416-338-0338+1


Located to the west of the city, Pearson International Airport can be easily reached by bus, taxi or car.

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