With its wildly varying neighbourhoods, home to residents from a multitude of nationalities and walks of life, Toronto feels like an exciting enigma. The complex personality of this beautiful city takes some effort to grasp and appreciate. Tick off our ten not-to-be-missed experiences and you’ll be well on the way to falling in love with Toronto.
1. Old Toronto
This historic downtown precinct is where the action is. Shop along Queen Street West, where edgy meets trendy. Eat your way through Chinatown, Little Italy, Greektown, Little India and Little Portugal, and take in a free jazz concert in St James Park.
2. St. Lawrence Market
Wander through this food emporium frequented by locals and professional chefs. More than 120 vendors sell their wares, including fresh produce, meats, fish, herbs and spices. Stop to sample Kozlik’s Mustard – did you know that 90 per cent of the world’s mustard is grown in Canada?
3. Day trip to Niagara
Travel by rail or car to the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls, just 110 kilomtres from Toronto. Get up close to this natural phenomenon with a Niagara Falls Adventure Pass that includes a Hornblower Niagara Cruise, White Water Walk, Niagara’s Fury and Journey Behind the Falls.
4. Live life on the ledge
Adrenalin junkies love Toronto’s EdgeWalk, a hands-free walk along a 1.5 metre-wide ledge encircling the top of the CN Tower. The 20 – 30 minute ‘stroll’, with a safety cable attached to a body harness for security, offers thrill-seekers a breathtaking 360-degree city panorama.
5. Toronto Zoo
Visit the only place in Canada where you’ll meet twin giant panda cubs and four white lion cubs. More than 3.5 million people have visited Toronto Zoo since it became home to Er Shun and Da Mao, two adult giant pandas and their panda cubs, born in 2015.
6. Natrel Ice Rink
Learn to skate on one of the most scenic ice rinks in Canada, Natrel, on the harbour front of Toronto. Take in sweeping views of Lake Ontario as you glide across the smooth outdoor rink during the winter months. Free skate times and lessons are available.
7. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
For the perfect multi-generational experience, head to the enormous ‘Dangerous Lagoon’ at the base of the CN Tower. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada houses more than 16,000 marine animals, including the biggest shark collection in North America, alongside sawfish, barracudas, moray eels, spadefish and green sea turtles.
8. Neighbourhood Discovery Tour
Explore Toronto’s diverse neighbourhoods with a guide who can share the cultural history of each area and its unique architecture. Take advantage of the Tour Guys daily free tours or book a personalised jaunt that delves beneath the skin of the city.
9. Toronto Islands
Take a ferry and explore the Toronto Islands, North America’s largest car-free urban community. Bridges and boardwalks connect the islands of Centre, Ward’s and Algonquin, each with their own beaches, charming cottages and lighthouses. Family-friendly Centre Island features lush gardens, a maze, beach and paddle boats.
10. Royal Ontario Museum
Giant totem poles greet you at the Royal Ontario Museum heralding your entry to another world. Canada’s largest museum of world cultures, art and natural history should be top of your ‘to do’ list, with more than six million objects and 40 galleries to explore.