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May 7, 2018

5 reasons to discover (or rediscover) Toronto

For business or pleasure, Toronto is a prime urban destination. This multicultural metropolis has plenty of surprises in store for everyone. Here’s a sample.

1. Toronto culture

“Culture” is used here in the broadest sense of the word. Toronto is a cosmopolitan city and home to an impressive number of museums, art galleries, theatres and entertainment venues.

With a collection of close to 95,000 works, the Art Gallery of Ontario (http://ago.ca) is sure to impress fans of classical and contemporary art. The most famous Canadian artists share the spotlight with the likes of Andy Warhol, Picasso and Van Gogh.

An arts-and-culture hub of downtown Toronto is 401 Richmond Street West (http://www.401richmond.com/), with its more than 140 artists, cultural producers, social innovators, galleries, festival and shops. It’s a must-see.

Spend an evening of enchantment at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre (EWG) (https://www.heritagetrust.on.ca/en/ewg/ewg-home) – the entirely restored decor of this century-old building hosts a variety of theatrical productions as well as the world-renowned TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival).

Those who don’t think hockey is part of our culture haven’t been to the Hockey Hall of Fame (https://www.hhof.com/index_fr.html). Stand in awe before the Stanley Cup.

2. Fascinating structural design: from heritage to avant-garde

Concrete, glass, brick and stone – Toronto has a lot to offer architecture buffs, from the dizzying heights of the CN Tower (https://www.cntower.ca) to the eclectic and harmonious blend of contemporary and historical construction.

Casa Loma (http://casaloma.ca) is a majestic four-storey castle with 98 rooms, including 30 bathrooms. Its gardens, grounds with stables and view of Toronto make it a treasure to behold.

With its sleek lines and cleverly designed workspaces: the Ryerson Student Learning Centre (http://slc.blog.ryerson.ca/) is the perfect place to study. If you’re no longer a student, don’t worry. Daily guided tours are offered.

A favourite among movie producers, the R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant (https://torontoist.com/2011/01/unseen_city_the_rc_harris_water_treatment_plant/), is art deco at its finest. Symmetrical hallways, settling basin, vintage pipework: it’s the stuff great photos are made of.

3. Lounging around in the green city

Despite its hustle-and-bustle, Toronto has more than its share of greenery with hundreds of parks, open spaces and green roofs. In fact, trees cover 30% of the city – an average of 16,000 trees per square kilometer. A book, a sandwich and shade, and you’re all set!

The best way to explore the Toronto Island Park (https://www.torontoisland.com/) is on foot or by bike. Admire the view of the city from this calm and serene park. Take your kids to the farm, the amusement park or to one of the four beaches.

Veritable oasis in an urban jungle, the 161-hectare High Park (http://www.highparktoronto.com/) is located in the heart of Toronto. Explore the trails, picnic under the old oak trees and be sure not to miss the cherry trees blossoming in the spring: a feast for the senses.

4. Hip finds, stylish prices

Exploring downtown means window shopping. Whether you’re into the sublimely refined or fashionably eccentric, there’s something for everyone in Toronto’s upscale shopping districts.

Shopaholics will feel at home on Queen Street West and Yonge Street. Minimalist window dressings brandishing the latest haute couture are sure to turn a few heads.

Kensington Market is for rebels and deal seekers, with its thrift shops as well as retro and ethnic boutiques. Take a break in any one of the quaint little coffee shops.

5. Around the world in 80 meals

Foodies are sure to satisfy their cravings in this metropolis. From street vendors to five-star establishments, it’ll take more than three meals per day to taste it all.

And then there’s the colourful Distillery District. Come for the beer and stay for the restaurants, art galleries and Distillery Sunday Market.

Toronto is definitely known for its culinary diversity. Everyone knows about Chinatown and Little Italy, but what about the Greek, Indian, Korean, Polish and Portuguese neighbourhoods? Here, you won’t get the instant oatmeal versions of quintessential ethnic cuisine, you’ll get the authentic and flavourful meals as though you were actually there.

Enjoy!