As the largest city in Canada, you would expect Toronto to have plenty of high-quality visitor attractions – and it does not disappoint. A few days spent here as part of a tour of North America will certainly not be time wasted.
The capital of Ontario makes a great starting point from which to tour Canada and its beautiful countryside, but if you prefer to spend your holidays exploring cities, you can add it to an itinerary that also includes New York. You’ll be surprised by how well it compares to the Big Apple.
Toronto locals are friendly and you can spend many relaxed hours mixing with them in pubs and restaurants, but you don’t travel across the Atlantic just to enjoy a beer and a chinwag. You will also want to see and do things you can’t experience back home, and fortunately there is plenty of choice here.
You will discover lots of landmarks as you stroll around the city, but none are quite as eye-catching as the CN Tower. Built in 1976 as a communications platform, it dominates the city’s skyline and has become a major tourist attraction.
It may have lost its status as the world’s tallest tower to the Tokyo Skytree, but the views from the 1, 815 ft structure remain as breathtaking as ever. The vistas from the glass-fronted elevators or the glass-floored observation deck are great, but if you want a truly memorable experience, try tackling the Edge Walk. This is not for the faint-hearted, as it involves a hands-free stroll around a 5-ft wide ledge on the roof of the main pod, 116 storeys up from ground level – you will probably be grateful for the safety harness!
Entry to the CN Tower starts from C$24 (£15) for adults, but you can make substantial savings by purchasing a Toronto CityPASS. This entitles you to cheap entry to the tower, Royal Ontario Museum, Casa Loma, Toronto Zoo and Ontario Science Centre, and just as importantly, allows you to go to the front of the queues.
If you want a break from skyscrapers and shopping malls, try spending an afternoon at the huge Downsview Park on the shores of Lake Ontario. It has lots of green space and walking trails, as well as facilities for football, hockey, go-karting and a host of other sports. You can try your hand at beach volleyball or watch a roller derby match between bizarrely-named teams, such as Chicks Ahoy! and the Gore Gore Rollergirls.
If you have travelled with friends or are in Canada as part of a singles holiday with other young people, you will probably fancy a drink at some point. And there aren’t many better cities in the world for this than Toronto, which has a selection of craft breweries.
You can arrange a beer tour that involves visits to the Steam Whistle, Mill Street and Granite breweries – and their tasting rooms – in Downtown Toronto, as well as stops at some of the city’s oldest bars. It also includes a pub lunch, which is handy when you consider the number of ales and lagers you can sample.
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
Toronto has a huge selection of museums and you can see exhibitions on science, Inuit culture and even the history of shoes. Perhaps the pick of them is the McMichael, which features works from all of Canada’s most-important artists, including the Group of Seven.
Air Canada Centre
This rather nondescript arena isn’t worth visiting in its own right, but it comes alive when the Maple Leafs ice hockey or Raptors basketball teams are playing. Getting your hands on a ticket for a big match will allow you to enjoy sport the North American way – so you can look forward to beer, hot dogs and cheerleaders!