From massive towers and royal museums to 200-year-old markets and more, Toronto is a visitor’s paradise.
If you’ve never visited Canada, it’s high time you planned a trip. From the prairies of central Canada to the vast coastline and frozen tundra, the country is as large and diverse as they come, both in the varying topography and in the demographics of their cities. Yep — while you might not think of bustling metropolises when you think of the northern state, Canada is home to a slew of unique, booming cities. The biggest of which (and in our opinion, one of the most exciting to explore) is Toronto.
As Conde Nast Traveler notes, Canada’s largest city is “home to one of the most multicultural populations in the world, which means there is a diverse, ever-evolving set of activities to choose from across all forms of culture.” That also means excellent food and art scenes, for foodies and anyone looking to soak up some culture. However, as much as we want to, we can’t all spend a month taking in everything the city has to offer, and for tourists passing through on a short visit, there are some attractions that shouldn’t be missed. That’s why we put together this short list of five top things to do while you’re in Toronto. So, what are you waiting for? Get packing!
St. Lawrence Market – As the most famous market in Toronto, St. Lawrence Market is a great place for visitors to check out while in town. Meander through the aisles and be sure to sample all of the delicious food stalls with some of the best produce, meats, and cheeses the city has to offer. They’re open every day of the week except Monday, and they’ve been going strong at the market for over 200 years, so you know they’re doing something right! Plus, the second floor of the South Market is home to the Market Gallery, an exhibition space for the City of Toronto’s Cultural Services.
Scarborough Bluffs – Along Toronto’s east side — on Lake Ontario — is a miles-long stretch of cliffs called Scarborough Bluffs. Home to 11 different parks, the bluffs’ scenic views over the lake draws loads of tourists and locals to the area each year. For hikers looking for an adventure, the 300-foot cliffs are hard to beat. (Or you can just drive up.) Plus, there’s a sandy beach with picnic areas at Bluffer’s Park, too.
CN Tower – You’ve probably seen this massive structure somewhere — whether it’s in postcards, paintings, pictures, or even album covers. The CN Tower is the defining feature of Toronto’s mighty skyline, with its unique shape and stature. Built as a communications and observation tower in downtown Toronto in 1976, the name “CN” referred to Canadian National, the railway company that built the tower. This thing is truly giant — in fact, at 1,815.3 feet high, the CN Tower held the record for being the world’s tallest free-standing structure for 32 years, (from 1975 until 2007), until it was overtaken by the Burj Khalifa. It’s currently the tenth-tallest free-standing structure in the world and remains the tallest free-standing structure on land in the Western Hemisphere. For tourists, this is a must-see destination. There are restaurants, observation decks, and more. (It was literally declared one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers, people!)
Royal Ontario Museum – For fans of art and architecture, look no further than the Royal Ontario Museum, founded way back in 1914. The museum showcases art, culture, and nature from around the world, and is known as one of the top 10 cultural institutions in North America. Home to a massive collection of 13 million pieces of art and cultural objects, the museum serves as a national landmark and a can’t-miss cultural destination in the heart of the city for locals and visitors alike.
The Hockey Hall of Fame – Hockey fans could spend a day in this interactive temple to the sport — in fact, for fans of the game, this might take the first spot on the list. Famous for their hockey and the incredible players that have come out of the country, Canada’s Hockey Hall of Fame was established in 1943, and the non-profit organization has been inducting legendary players and other hockey professionals to its halls each year since 1945. It’s the home of the Stanley Cup, and houses a museum and formidable gift shop, as well.
And, if you still have an hour to spare and are interested in taking in some more killer views, we recommend the 60-minute Toronto Harbor Sightseeing Tour. On it, you’ll take a break from seeing Toronto by land to see it from the harbour aboard City Cruises Toronto. You’ll discover the historic and contemporary sites and nuances of Toronto Harbour during this fun, informative and fully narrated journey. Enjoy the relaxing breeze, spectacular skyline, and harbour views, plus a fully licensed beverage and snack bar. With the option of an indoor deck, you’ll be comfortable in any season.
Or, if you worked up an appetite visiting all of the places above, why not take it easy at night with a Signature Dinner Cruise in the Toronto Harbor? Aboard the Northern Spirit, you’ll embark on a special dining experience as you stroll the outer decks and soak up the amazing views of Toronto’s iconic skyline and waterways before the buffet is opened. Watch the sunset, dine, and enjoy the evening under the starry skies, and soak up the sights and sounds of the city’s waterfront and breathtaking skyline. Oh, and there’s plenty of dancing, too!