Full of unique attractions, Toronto boasts plenty of things for you to see and do, no matter what you’re into. If you’re the outdoorsy type, hop on the ferry and head for the Toronto Islands; if culture is your thing, marvel at the collections in the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario; and if you want to get to the heart of what makes Toronto such a great city, spend some time wandering diverse neighbourhoods from Kensington Market to Yorkville.
One of Toronto’s top attractions is the CN Tower, which is visited by huge numbers of people every year. From the three different observation levels you will get amazing views of the city spread out all around you, and of the clear blue waters of Lake Ontario.
Not only is Toronto home to first-rate museums like the ROM and the Art Gallery of Ontario, it also boasts some quirkier offerings like the Bata Shoe Museum and the Hockey Hall of Fame. One of our favourite museums in Toronto is the Ontario Science Centre, which is well-worth the trip from the city centre thanks to its engaging collection of interactive exhibits.
For those of you looking to save some cash while visiting Toronto, there are plenty of free attractions to check out. You can stroll through some of the city’s beautiful parks and gardens, spend the day on the beach and lots more.
We love Toronto’s neighbourhoods, from alternative hangouts like Kensington Market to upmarket, celebrity-friendly Yorkville. Other neighbourhoods worth checking out include Chinatown (one of the biggest in North America), The Beach and Little Italy.
If you’re lucky enough to be in town during hockey season, it’s well-worth trying to get a ticket for a Maple Leafs game. The crowds are loud, the atmosphere is electric and the action on the ice is fast and fierce – a fantastic way to get a taste of a real Canadian pastime.
1 Blue Jays Way, Toronto, Canada
Built as the official home of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Toronto Argonauts, the Sky Dome was the world’s first multi-purpose stadium with a retractable roof. The roof which weighs 11,000 tons spans 674 feet across, is 31 stories high and covers an area of over eight acres. The interior of the dome contains three venues in one: the SkyTent Area seats between ten and twenty thousand people; the domed Skydome seats more than sixty thousand and is an all season venue and the Skydome Hotel is also located inside this remarkable structure. Tours operate daily and the cost is $9.50 per person.
1 Austin Terrace, Toronto, Canada
Sitting at the top of a hill in the north end of Toronto, Casa Loma is virtually impossible to miss. It’s appeal for many of its visitors lies in the fact that it’s a castle in the middle of a city, and in North America this is virtually unheard of. With secret passageways, sweeping staircases and medieval towers it really is an attraction which you should not miss if you are visiting the city. Attracting almost half a million tourists annually, it is a good idea to get there early in the morning where you can enjoy the building, and the five acres of gardens which surround it, at your own pace and in relative peace and quiet.
301 Front Street Wast, Entertainment District, Toronto, Canada
Soaring about the rest of the buildings in the Toronto skyline, the CN Tower is one of the tallest structures in the world at a total height of over 553m. Zoom up to top in a partially glass-floored lift and you’ll find incredible views awaiting you from three different observation levels – the Look Out, the Glass Floor and the Sky Pod.
Open daily 9am-10pm; admission $22.99 for basic package.
220 Yonge Street, Downtown, Toronto, Canada
Spanning two full city blocks, this huge mall will tempt everyone from the die-hard fashionistas to the more casual shoppers. Its big, bright interior attracts huge numbers of visitors each year and is home to in excess of 250 stores. These include Abercrombie & Fitch, Best Buy, Lacoste, Nike, Fossil, Zara and Sephora.
Open Mon-Fri 10am-9pm, Sat 9.30am-7pm, Sun noon-6pm.
100 Queen's Park, Bloor-Yorkville, Toronto, Canada
This treasure chest is home to a huge array of artefacts from dinosaur bones to glittering gems. Affectionately known as the ROM, this museum dates back to 1912 and is one of the most popular cultural attractions in Canada. It’s a hard place to miss, thanks to the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, a striking building with no right angles.
Open Sat-Thurs 10am-5.30pm, Fri 10am-9.30am; admission $24, Fri from 4.30pm-9.30pm $12.
770 Don Mills Road, Flemingdon Park, Toronto, Canada
A multitude of interactive exhibits make the Ontario Science Centre well worth the trip from downtown. Most of the five different levels here are underground as the building boasts a ‘living roof’ where you’ll often see native birds and animals. The displays cover everything from space to the human body and there’s also an IMAX theatre.
Open daily 10am-5pm; admission €20.
BCE Place, Toronto, Canada
Even for those of you who don’t like hockey or aren’t sure whether you do or not, the Hockey Hall of Fame is one attraction which should be visited during your stay in Toronto. Located in one of the most historical buildings in the city, the hall is split into sixteen different areas the most popular of which is the Bell Great Hall. Originally located within a building which served as a bank right up until 1982, the hall is home to the vault where the original Stanley Cup is stored. As well as the cup, there are also hundreds of other objects and images connected with the game as well as numerous interactive attractions where you can test your skills at the game. This is a really fun attraction which will only take up about three hours of your day to see everything on display.
327 Bloor Street, Toronto, Canada
The only shoe museum in North America, the Bata Shoe Museum houses over ten thousand objects from around the world. The shoes date from a period which spans over four and a half thousand years and include Chinese binding shoes, French chestnut crushing boots and ancient Egyptian sandals. As well as the shoes there are also numerous other shoe-influenced artifacts. And pieces from more modern times include Robert Redford’s cowboy boots from Out of Africa, John Lennon’s Beatle Boots and Elvis Presley’s blue patent loafers. While it may not suit everyone’s tastes, the museum is perfect for those of you who prefer something a little different.
100 Queen Street, Toronto, Canada
Toronto’s City Hall is the work of Finnish architect Vilio Revell. After the largest architectural competition ever held in which over five hundred architects vied for the honour of designing the structure, Revell triumphed and construction was finally completed in 1965. The building has received mixed criticism throughout the decades but while many had less than complimentary comments to make, it is worth going if only to form your own opinion. Most agree that it is best visited at night when it is lit up and at its most impressive. You will also see the reflecting pool in Nathan Philips Square which becomes a skating rink in winter and houses various events all year round.
Rutherford Road, Toronto, Canada
For those of you who feel that you’re missing out on the theme parks south of the border, this is Ontario’s answer to Disneyland. Featuring over sixty rides, a twenty-acre water park and hundreds of shows, concerts and attractions throughout the season, Wonderland is a good place to visit to get away from it all. Bring plenty of energy and adrenalin with you, however, as some of the rides will really test you. Eleven huge rollercoasters, the infamous Drop Zone which will lift you twenty three stories high and then drop you at one hundred kilometres per hour and Super Soaker, a rather speedy ride through a tunnel with back to back one hundred and eighty degree turns will certainly any cravings you might have had to do something exciting with your day.
Centre Island, Toronto, Canada
Consisting of Centre Island, Ward’s Island and Hanlan’s Point, this small island chain in Lake Ontario welcomes a huge number of visitors each year. There’s plenty to do once you disembark the ferry. You can visit the Centreville Amusement Park, check out the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, go swimming in the lake from one of the beautiful beaches or simply stroll through the gorgeous green parkland.
Ferries depart regularly, trip takes 15 mins approx; admission $6.50 return.
Bloor-Yorkville, Toronto, Canada
The section of Bloor Street West which stretches from Yonge Street to the ROM is filled with first-rate shopping opportunities and people looking to empty their wallets or simply stroll along and window-shop. Plenty of big name brands have branches here including Guess, Body Shop, GAP, and HMV. Lots of world-renowned designers are well-represented too, among them Louis Vuitton and Chanel.
317 Dundas Street, Chinatown, Toronto, Canada
One of the most impressive art galleries in Canada, the AGO is home to a remarkable collection encompassing some 79,000 works of art. Spread out across the gallery's various levels you'll see an impressive array of pieces by famous Canadian artists alongside masterpieces by Monet, Degas and Van Gogh.
Open Tues & Thurs-Sun 10am-5.30pm, Wed 10am-8.30pm, closed Mondays; admission $22, Wed from 6pm-8.30pm free.
Downtown, Toronto, Canada
One of the longest streets in the world, the shopping on Yonge Street is particularly good in the downtown area. Around 600 different stores all compete for your attention, offering a great selection of clothes, shoes, accessories, cosmetics and more. You’ll also find a concentration of music shops and jewellers in this part of town.
Bloor-Yorkville, Toronto, Canada
This quiet park near the ROM is the perfect place to take a bit of a breather from the fast-paced city. Established back in 1860 and dedicated to Queen Victoria, it’s also the site of Ontario Legislative Building. Along with lots of green grass to lie around on, it also has plenty of picnic tables and a couple of cool monuments.
The Beach, Toronto, Canada
One of the highlights of The Beach neighbourhood, this Blue Flag beach is extremely popular in fine weather. Go for a swim, sunbathe on the sand or simply stroll along the beach as you look out across the expanse of blue that is Lake Ontario.
Cnr of King & Church Streets, Toronto, Canada
The Gothic-style house of worship you see here today was opened back in 1853 and stands on the site of Toronto’s first church. Take a look at the beautiful collection of stained glass windows, which include the cathedral’s history. Other points of note include the elaborate organ and the eagle lectern.
Open Sun-Fri 7.20am-5.30pm, Sat 9am-5pm.
19 Horticultural Avenue, Toronto, Canada
Located at the heart of the beautiful Allan Gardens, this large Victorian-style conservatory is well-worth a look. It is home to a huge collection of plants which includes palm trees, cacti and all kinds of colourful flowers.
Open daily 10am-5pm.
Entertainment District, Toronto, Canada
Shopaholics will be delighted with the huge array of stores awaiting them in this area. Major retailers like Zara, Footlocker, H&M, Lush, Adidas, Guess and Mexx all have shops here so be prepared to get your cash out and spend, spend, spend.
Downtown, Toronto, Canada
PATH is Toronto’s underground walkway connecting lots of the city’s top attractions by means of a serious of subterranean tunnels cover 28km in total. Not just an easy way of getting around in bad weather, it’s also one of the best shopping areas in the city. A wonderful variety of chic boutiques rub shoulders with top brands like La Senza, Banana Republic and more.
High Park, Toronto, Canada
Covering 400 acres, this is the largest park in Toronto and it boasts a huge array of attractions for you to enjoy. Walk along the trails, visit the free mini-zoo, stroll around Grenadier Pond or check out the Chinese Gardens. Plenty of sports facilities are provided here, along with lots of places where you can sit around and enjoy a picnic.