Toronto Destination Guide
Welcome to Canada’s city within a park. This green space by the lake is home to 1,600 public parks and 600 kilometres of trails – and its natural assets blend seamlessly with its many urban attractions in sport, art and dining.
A city of neighbourhoods; a lakeside landscape of beaches, sailboat-dotted marinas and a skyline of glittering skyscrapers. Canada’s largest city defies just one description. We call it the Big Smoke – it is the capital of the province of Ontario, and it hugs the Great Lake of the same name.
In early 2015, Toronto was named the world’s best city to live in by the Economist magazine. It is North America’s fourth-largest city (after Mexico City, New York City and Los Angeles), with nearly three million people, with its greater metropolitan area supporting more than five million.
Perhaps the friendliest city in North America, it is definitely the most diverse – a multicultural tapestry of nations, languages and cuisines, with plenty of ways to experience it all.
- Country: Canada
- Currency: Canadian dollar (CAD)
- Official languages: English and French
- Tipping: 15 to 20 per cent is expected
- Electricity: Canadian outlets run on 120V and use Type B plugs
Beneath this modern metropolis is a charming old town with historical and architectural marvels lurking around every corner. At 553 meters high, the iconic CN Tower soars above Toronto’s skyline and is the Western Hemisphere’s tallest freestanding tower.
High-speed elevators, observation decks and a revolving restaurant offer sweeping views and for those with a head for heights, take a stroll around the tower at 356 metres on the thrilling Edgewalk.
Jump on a ferry and enjoy a refreshing break from the city on the picturesque Toronto Islands just 15 minutes away. Offering stunning skyline views as well as peaceful lake panoramas discover walking trails, cafes, an amusement park, beaches and a historic lighthouse said to be haunted.
Toronto revels in a rich multi-cultural history, especially when it comes to food. From the Brit gastro pub, Mediterranean classic and north-eastern European cuisines of the last century, to the new millennium’s embrace of Latin and Asian fusion, there’s a menu to suit every taste and budget.
Home-grown stars such as Mark McEwan (Bymark), Susur Lee (Canada’s Iron Chef), Lynn Crawford (Ruby Watchco), and Dufflet Rosenberg (Dufflet Pastries, three locations) continue to carve out the definition of Canadian cuisine with delicious results, while others raised here are setting the bar internationally - Alvin Leung of Toronto’s R&D is also behind Hong Kong’s three Michelin-starred Bo Innovation.
Paris and New York come here for dinner, too, with global culinary superstars Daniel Boulud (Cafe Boulud at Four Seasons) and David Chang (Momofuku, adjacent to the Shangri-La). And don’t forget dessert! At Richmond Station, the pastry chef wunderkind gets the city’s sweet tooth on. Need it to go? Say mais oui to Nadege Patisserie for French-inspired confections.
Where to Stay
Toronto is the sum of its neighbourhood parts, all 140 of them! Families should head to the Harbourfront neighbourhood, where they can stay at global branded hotels, get gorgeous harbour views and have easy access to shoreline walks and the ferries that take visitors and residents to the Toronto islands and beaches.
Those with a taste for nightlife will be drawn to the entertainment and fashion districts of King and Queen streets West – where you can eat from a multi-culti mix of cuisines, party after dark and stay at luxury international hotels – and the financial district, where power shopping and power lunches take place, with brand-laden shopping malls and top chefs serving it up.
From fashion’s luxury labels and the most popular high-street brands from America and Europe, to made-in-Canada designs, there’s something for every taste and budget in Toronto.
Some neighbourhoods are even defined by what they sell: King Street East is a haven for home and decor, while Queen Street West mixes local quirky with internationally recognised brands. Joe Fresh, a Canadian fast-fashion chain that dots the city, rivals the best of them with its take on runway trends.
The Toronto Eaton Centre, at Yonge and Dundas streets, one of the city’s vibrant hubs, is home to more than 230 shops, including Coach, Zara, Mendocino, Banana Republic, Williams-Sonoma and Lululemon Athletica.
Bloor Street, aka “Mink Mile”, is a passport to the world’s fashion capitals: Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Tiffany & Co, Louis Vuitton and Hermes can all be found here, anchored by Holt Renfrew, Canada’s high-end department store. And don’t miss cosmetics one-stop shop Sephora.
Toronto like a Local
Formerly the grounds of the Gooderham & Worts whisky distillery, the historic, pedestrian-only cobblestoned Distillery District is home to unique retailers and restaurants, including Soma, a chocoholics paradise, and Mill Street, where they brew the amber fluid and offer beer tasting tours. Soulpepper Theatre Company also presents its live line-up here.
Abrickworks factory, Evergreen Brickworks is a bit of eco-friendly, urban calm in the city. Children’s gardens, green-space trails, historic kilns and clay works, a weekend farmer’s market and a cafe make this an afternoon respite from the hustle and bustle, easily accessible by public transit.
Did you know...? Also known as Highway 11, Yonge Street, the city’s main north-south thoroughfare, holds the reputation as the longest street in the world, at 1,895 kilometres long.
Temperature (max C)
J -1, F -1, M 3, A 10, M 17, J 23, J 26, A 25, S 21, O 13, N 6, D 1
Rainfall (max mm)
J 69, F 61, M 66, A 64, M 74, J 69, J 74, A 69, S 74, O 61, N 71, D 66