Hey guys. So I decided to come up with my personal short guide for all those who want to visit Toronto or those who just wonder what it’s like (in case you still haven’t grasped the idea seeing hundreds of photos uploaded by me in Instagram). Aaand… my mum is coming to visit me in two weeks, so I’m super excited to show her the best of the 6ix 😏
I’ve been in Toronto for 3 months, which is not that much, but I feel like I have already seen quite a number of interesting places. And while there are still more to come, I’d like to share with you my list of TOP-10 PLACES you should see if you are in Toronto for the first time 🙌🏼
Here we go.
The CN Tower is the most famous landmark in Toronto and Canada in general, I think. You’ll most likely see it from whatever part of the city you are in (the CN Tower is watching you people!). It’s like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Empire State Building in New York or Big Ben and London Eye in London or… well, I guess you got it.
Quite reasonably it was my first Toronto sightseeing choice. You get in there, you take one of six glass-faced elevators and in less than a minute (!) you find yourself at the observation deck. There, on a clear day, you can admire not only Toronto but also a part of New York. Actually, it doesn’t matter what time of the day you go there, what time of the year or what weather conditions are outside – it’s worth visiting in all of these cases.
I went there one foggy afternoon and could only see Toronto itself which still impressed me a lot. And I will definitely visit it again. This time in the evening probably when the city is filled with magnificent lights of the skyscrapers, cafes, clubs, traffic and billboards.
Mind that there are two cool places to eat with THE view – the Horizons and 360 restaurants. 360 is a luxury choice and it offers the best view of Toronto. It is called so because the restaurant rotates completely every 72 minutes (no, you won’t feel sick).
Horizons is a lot less pompous and expensive choice, though the view is only a little less impressive. It’s up to you to choose.
Oh, and there is a window floor at the observation deck, which was the first window floor EVER (it was built in 1994). However, there isn’t much to see when you look down except from the ground, so I didn’t step on it. Who am I kidding, I am just a coward lol.
Okay, so from my impressions I’ll pass it on some curious facts that I found about the Tower.
What the Internet says
- When construction of the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada was complete in 1976 it became the tallest tower in the world as well as the tallest free-standing structure. It held both titles until 2010 when the Canton Tower and Burj Khalifa were completed and it lost the claim of the world’s tallest free-standing structure.
- It got the name CN because it was built by the railway company Canadian National.
- The CN Tower is almost perfectly vertical.
- More than 2 million people visit the tower every year.
Go visit, you can be one of these 2 million!
Believe me, you don’t want to miss the heart of the city! It’s worthwhile just roaming around all the streets in the city centre. They may seem all the same at first, but when you move from one street to another you’ll notice how different many of them actually are. Impressive skyscrapers mix up with old-fashioned houses, rows of shops and cafes with Gothic-style churches, big university campuses with nice and cozy parks.
So what should you do?
Get lost in King, Queen and nearby streets to peer at the business core of this busy city. And ladies, dress up. There are so many elegantly outfitted “opportunities” here 🌚🤓. Everywhere. Literally.
While you are here, don’t forget to drop by Eaton Shopping Centre. Apart from offering great shopping (though mind that clothing is not cheap in Canada, the U.S. is better for that!), it just looks great and grand. Oh, and it is the biggest local shopping mall.
p.s. Especially beautiful and exciting in winter, during the holidays season. Check out the website.
Explore Nathan Phillips square and Osgoode Hall (particularly, Old City Hall). One of my friends said Toronto’s Old City Hall looked like a smaller version of London’s Parliament with its Big Ben tower (sorry, Tower of Elizabeth, like anybody calls it this way lol). So I checked the history of the place.
On its completion in 1899, Toronto’s third city hall, now known as “Old City Hall,” was the largest building in the city, and at that time the largest municipal building in North America. Its architect, E.J. Lennox, often called “the Builder of Toronto,” was obsessed with showing that his building, complete with a clock tower soaring over Bay Street, could compete with the best that American architecture had to offer.
So you see, they were trying to compete with the U.S. primarily, not England. Interesting.
Now about Osgoode Hall itself.
Osgoode Hall is a heritage building located at Queen Street, Toronto. It occupies six acres. The name honours the first Chief Justice of the province, William Osgoode.
Osgoode Hall withstood more than ten major restorations, but the front façade maintained its originality since 1860 and is basically unaltered.
What the Internet says
Mirvish Productions owns and operates four magnificent theatres in downtown Toronto – the Royal Alexandra, the Princess of Wales, the Ed Mirvish and the Panasonic – each offering its patrons a unique theatre-going experience.
Harbourfront is a neighbourhood on the northern shore of Lake Ontario (yes, there is a lake in Toronto, surpriiise). Walking here along the numerous quays just makes you forget about all your problems.
Seriously, Harbourfront looks equally peaceful and lively, urban and rural, rich and common. And always beautiful.
p.s. If you travel to Toronto in autumn, this is an absolute MUST SEE!
What the Internet says
Harbourfront Centre, housing galleries and performance spaces is located at the foot of Lower Simcoe Street. Queen’s Quay Terminal, next to Harbourfront Centre, is a former warehouse converted into a mixed-use building including a shopping centre designed for high-end retailers, commercial office space, and a residential condominium development. Today, the mall houses some stores and restaurants, predominantly catering to tourists.
Harbourfront is the site of the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal which provides transportation services to the Toronto Islands from the foot of Bay Street.
Speaking of the islands…
The Toronto Islands is a group of small islands approximately 5 km long, connected by pathways and bridges and located just south of downtown Toronto. Lake Ontario encloses the islands, and you can get here by taking a ferry from Jack Layton Ferry Terminal.
The Toronto Islands is a magnificently beautiful park area. There are beaches, large areas of green fields, ponds, canoe and kayak rental, bike rental, yacht club, sports facilities, cafes, amusement park and even a small theatre. Oh, and a wonderful pier. I believe that people of all ages can find something exciting to do here. Or just come and relax and have a perfect day-off.
p.s. Beware that this is, unfortunately, a seasonal option. The best time to visit the islands is between May and October.
Okay, there is no way you miss this attraction! Casa Loma is actually the one and only castle in North America, and even if you’ve already seen dozens of them in Europe, you will enjoy this particular no less. Gracefully perched on top of a hill in the northern part of Toronto, Casa Loma is an impressive Gothic-style mansion which used to be Sir Henry Pellatt’s home. Pellatt was a successful Canadian financier, obviously keen on English culture. Having a mansion-castle was his childhood dream. Just a tiny $3.5 million dream with five-acres gardens, two marvellous towers, secret passageways, lots of stylish rooms, big organ and stables.
What the Internet says
After World War I, Sir Pellatt lost his fortune and was forced to auction off his prized possessions, including Casa Loma in order to pay off his debts. For years the stately house sat unoccupied while the city tried to decide whether to tear it down, or turn it into a museum, high school, art gallery or veteran’s home. Finally, in 1937, the Kiwanis Club of West Toronto suggested turning Casa Loma into a tourist attraction. Today, Casa Loma is owned by the City of Toronto and is operated by Liberty Entertainment Group. It is one of Toronto’s top attractions.
Admission includes the use of a digital audio guide (available in eight languages and American Sign Language) and viewing of a documentary film about the life of Sir Henry Pellatt, the builder of Casa Loma.
Stay tuned for more Toronto attractions. Part Two coming soon 😉
See ya, my curious friends 👋🏽