The Toronto skyline by Martin St-Amant – Wikipedia – CC-BY-SA-3.0
Toronto is the biggest and most populated city in Canada. There is plenty to see and plenty to do in Toronto – a day is probably not enough to experience everything this city has to offer. We were short on time and covered a pretty good part of Toronto. A great way to explore the city is with CITY PASS. You get a bundle discount for a the CN tower, Ripley’s Aquarium, and Casa Loma at a considerable discount.
Toronto in a day
We first started off at the CN tower. Getting here earlier can definately help you beat the crowds. The CN Tower, or the Canadian National Tower, is 147 stories tall was the world’s tallest tower till 2009 after being overtaken by the Canton Tower in China. It was built as a tv and communication tower in the mid 1970’s. The observation deck in the tower was one the highest point which is called the skypod, which is an observatory area that is an additional 12 stories higher than the main viewing area.
Being one of the tallest structures in the world, it does sway in high wind. A device in the skypod can actually show visitors how much the tower is resonating at a particular time. The CN tower gives you an unobstructed view of the skyline of Lake Ontario. On a clear day you can even see as far as the Niagara Falls and northern New York. Tickets are around $32 a person, which are discounted with the bundled CITY PASS.
Old Toronto & the Lawerence Market
Old Toronto is lined up with breweries and boutiques, St. James Cathedral and Toronto’s First Post Office. Home to the famous St. Lawrence Market Complex, this neighborhood features historic architecture, exciting theatre, quaint shops, charming restaurants, the Hockey Hall of Fame, a sculpture and Victorian garden and unique landmarks.
The Lawrence Market is a great spot in old Toronto to catch a bite or buy maple syrup. (yes we insisted on buying Canadian maple syrup only to discover the same bottle being sold at whole foods back in California). The market has a striking resemblance to the Boston market in the United States. We sampled some of the best cheese here.
Extending from Victoria Street to River Street, Queen Street East is a vibrant, multicultural area containing a wide range of boutiques and restaurants.
In the early 20th century, numerous textile and fabric factories and warehouses were located here due to the proximity and easy access to shipping and rail lines. Today most of the warehouses have been repurposed to house studios and apartments. It is also famous for its nightlife and high-end dining and numerous rooftop bars. You can catch a great view of the skyline from Lavelle and dance all night at the Citizen.
Attractions We Missed
The Toronto Islands
The islands are a popular recreation destination for locals and also has an amusement park, small airport, hotel and a beach. They can be reached by ferry departing from the Jack London terminal on the mainland.
Toronto’s very own castle, known for its extensive gardens. It is a gothic revival style house that has appeared in many movies and TV shows, most recently the X-Men Series. The house is now a museum and the venue is a popular location for events and shows.
Royal Ontario Museum
We were sad that we missed out on visiting the museum even though we stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel right in front of it. The Royal Ontario Museum has a beautiful modern crystal-like facade on Bloor street. With more than six million items and forty galleries, the museum’s diverse collections of world culture and natural history contribute to its international reputation. It contains notable collections of dinosaur fossils, minerals and meteorites, near eastern and African art, art of East Asia, European history, and Canadian history.
The museum also contains an extensive collection of design and fine arts, including clothing, interior, and product design, especially Art Deco. It is one of the attractions included in the CITY PASS.
Toronto is an extremely well planned city. It was surely one of the cleanest places we have visited. The subway system is a great way to get around and will save you a lot of $$$. The people here are wonderful and some of the nicest folk we have ever met.