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Toronto Travel Guide

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Welcome to Toronto, Canada

Introduction

Toronto is the largest city in Canada with a population of nearly 8 million in the greater Toronto area. It is known as being one of the world's most multicultural cities as half of the population of Toronto was not born in Canada. Like all of Canada, Toronto is clean, pleasant and a friendly city.

Toronto, recognizable by its iconic CN Tower (until recently the worlds tallest free standing structure), is one of the worlds financial centers, popular for shopping with its subterranean shopping arcades and hosts the third largest English-speaking theatre district in the world, behind New York and London.

A ferry trip out on Lake Ontario to the Toronto Islands is a great escape from the city. While a visit to the spectacular Niagara Falls, one of North Americas most popular tourist attractions, is only one hour away.

Travel to Toronto

Pearson International Airport (YYZ) is about 10-20 minutes by car from the downtown area and is serviced by most major international carriers. There are two terminals: Terminal 1 - Air Canada flights and a few other international (mostly Star Alliance) carriers. Terminal 3 hosts all other airlines (there is no longer a Terminal 2). Eventually Terminal 2 will be demolished as Terminal 1 continues to expand and Terminal 1 will be connected to the existing Terminal 3.

Transport to the downtown area:

Toronto Airport Express bus service is quick, convenient, and frequent (every 20-30 minutes). It picks up at both terminals, and stops at several major hotels in the downtown core. [Adult fares are $20 one way, $30 for return trips]

Taxi into the city will cost about $25-$30 and should take up to 30 mins. All taxis that serve the airport are required to use the meter and accept credit cards.


Toronto City Centre Airport (YTZ) operates short-range flights to New York (Newark), Ottawa, Montreal, Chicago, and Halifax. A free ferry service makes the short crossing between the airport and the mainland every 15 minutes. A free shuttle bus is offered for Porter Airlines' passengers between the airport and Toronto's central Union Station.


Greyhound Coaches connects Toronto with all other cities in North America.


Trains

VIA Rail provides the Canadian train service which runs from Vancouver to Toronto with three weekly departures.

Toronto Transport

Toronto City Hop-on Hop-off Tour allows visitors to experience the sights, sounds and history of multi-cultural Toronto at your own pace. A ticket on the Toronto City Hop-on Hop-off Tour allows you to see the city with professional drivers and commentary, all the while giving you the complete flexibility to visit some of Toronto's sights, major attractions, shopping areas or unique cultural districts. The Toronto City Hop-on Hop-off Tour runs in a continuous circle from 9:00am until 4:00pm with many stops near major hotels in the downtown area. Your ticket is valid for three touring days.

* North/South Loop Beginning at Nicholby's, located on the corner of Front and York Streets, this loop features stops at local attractions such as the Hockey Hall of Fame, CN Tower, Rogers Center, Air Canada Center, Toronto's Harbourfront, St. Lawrence Market and the Entertainment District, Casa Loma, the Royal Ontario Museum, Bata Shoe Museum, Eaton Center, Maple Leaf Gardens and includes stops along Yonge Street and trendy Yorkville. During the winter months, the North/South loop is operated with Trolley Buses.

* East/West Loop (June to September) Beginning at Nicholby's, located on the corner of Front and York Streets, this loop features some of Toronto's most popular neighbourhoods and attractions, such as The Beach, The Distillery Historic District, Little India,Toronto's world famous Greektown, the Royal Ontario Museum, Bata Shoe Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, Honest Ed's, Korea Town, Little Italy, Little Portugal and Chinatown.

Taxis are plentiful and safe, but relatively expensive. Try to negotiate a fixed fare to your destination.

Subway is the underground railway network which has three lines and is often the cheapest and fastest way to get around central Toronto.

Streetcars - Toronto is one of the few cities in North America to keep any of its streetcars although some lines are being replaced with high capacity LRT lines. The most useful route for visitors is route 501 which runs along Queen Street for most of its route, from the eastern end of the Beaches neighbourhood, through Leslieville, the Financial District, the Queen West shopping district, Parkdale, then along the Queensway and Lake Shore Blvd to the Long Branch GO Train station.

Toronto Weather

Toronto's climate has cold and icy winters where temperatures average 24F (-4C) in January. Summer can be warm and humid an average high of 80F (27C) during the daytime in July. Late spring and early autumn are generally considered to be the most pleasant times to visit, and summer is by far the busiest tourist season.

Toronto Hotels

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Toronto Attractions

Toronto

CN Tower is the tallest free standing structure in North America. Ride a glass elevator to the Look Out level to enjoy the breathtaking views of Toronto from a height of 346m (1,136 ft). One level down you will find a Glass Floor, which is scary to walk on, and the Outdoor Observation level. There is also a revolving restaurant which offers spectacular views as the sun sets over the city.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls Day Trip - Visit the mighty Niagara Falls on a day trip from Toronto. Many tour operators provide a full-day tour including a buffet lunch at Niagara Falls.The tour travels through the breathtaking scenery of the Niagara Peninsula to Niagara Falls. Enjoy a delicious buffet lunch at Niagara Falls, surrounded by panoramic views of the falls. After lunch, you'll take a wet and wild tour of the falls on the legendary Maid of the Mist boat at the base of the majestic Horseshoe Falls. If the boats are not operating (end October to mid-April depending on weather conditions), take a close-up "Journey Behind the Falls" to stand in the mist behind the thundering Horseshoe Falls, or experience the spectacular presentation on the falls at the Imax Theater. Next enjoy the view from the stunning Whirlpool Rapids observation deck and visit the Floral Clock, then drive through the picturesque historic community of Niagara-on-the-Lake. with a stop at a local winery with wine tasting before continuing back to Toronto.

Niagara Falls Night Experience Niagara Falls Niagara Falls is stunning by day but even more spectacular when illuminated at night. Take an afternoon trip to Niagara Falls from Toronto to witness the beauty of the falls colourful evening light show. The tour includes an exhilarating ride aboard the famous Maid of the Mist boat and you'll enjoy fabulous views of the falls with your buffet dinner at the Fallsview Dining Room. After dinner, stand on the brink of the falls to view the nightly multi-coloured illumination show. On Friday and Sunday the illuminations show includes a free fireworks display over the mighty Niagara Falls.

Inner Harbour and Island Cruise is a one-hour sightseeing cruise along Toronto's Inner Harbour. Accompanied by informative commentary on the city's past and present, a harbour cruise is the best way to enjoy breathtaking views of Canada's most dynamic city, from towering skyscrapers to Toronto's famous island parklands and lagoons. At night, see the lights of Toronto on a one-hour evening sightseeing cruise on Toronto's Inner Harbour. While you cruise the Inner Harbour and its picturesque island lagoons, you'll watch as Toronto lights up for the evening in a fantastic light show. Toronto Inner Harbour cruises allow an optional stop on Centre Island to enjoy a wide range of entertainment. Rrelax in Centre Island's gardens, rent a bicycle or boat, visit the petting zoo, dine at one of the restaurants, or spend time at the Centreville Amusement Park. Then re-board your tour at your convenience.

30,000 Islands Cruise - Enjoy a full day excursion to Midland. The tour begins with a 2.5 hour drive to the community of Midland, passing through Ontario's beautiful landscapes. On arrival in Midland, explore downtown, enjoy country shopping or perhaps choose to visit one of the local attractions. In the afternoon relax on the Miss Midland cruise (approx. 2.5 hours) and you enjoy the scenic wonders of the world-famous Georgian Bay, and the 30,000 Islands of Muskoka. At the end of the cruise, return to coach for the trip to Toronto.

Canada's Wonderland is a large theme park located in Vaughan, 30 kilometers north of downtown Toronto. As it is one of North America's premier amusement parks, with more than 200 attractions, it has something for everyone. The park is open May to October.

Toronto Zoo is a world class facility that inspires people to love, respect and protect wildlife and wild spaces. At 710 acres, it is one of the largest zoos in the world and is set in the beautiful Rouge Valley. The Main Entrance is located on Meadowvale Road, Scarborough, north of Highway 401 (Exit #389 eastbound and westbound). The Zoo is accessible by car and public transit.

Casa Loma, Canada's Majestic Castle, takes visitors back in time to a period of European elegance and splendour. The former home of Canadian financier Sir Henry Pellatt, Canada's foremost castle is complete with decorated suites, secret passages, an 800-foot tunnel, towers, stables, and beautiful 5-acre estate gardens (open May through October). A self-guided digital audio tour in 8 languages is available. Casa Loma is located at One Austin Terrace near the corner of Davenport Road and Spadina Ave [Open daily 9.30am 5.00pm]

The Royal Ontario Museum, located at 100 Queens Park, is among the worlds leading museums and a great place to explore an exceptional array of themed galleries spanning both world cultures and natural history. With six million objects in the ROMs collections, theres something new to discover around every corner.

Art Gallery of Ontario is the largest art gallery in Canada with a great Canadian paintings exhibit and the world's largest collection of Henry Moore sculptures [317 Dundas Street West]

Ontario Science Centre has many wonderful and educational science exhibits as well as Ontario's only Omnimax movie theatre. [Corner of Don Mills Road andEglinton Avenue East]

Nightlife and Entertainment

The majority of nightlife in Toronto is centered around Clubland and in the fashion district on Queen Street West.

The Clubland Entertainment District is an area of Toronto bordered by Bathurst Street to the west, Queen Street West to the north, Simcoe Street to the east and Front Street to the south. Clubland has North America's highest density of clubs, restaurants and bars. Dance clubs are located mostly along Richmond and Adelaide Streets

Outside the Clubland district are clubs: The Phoenix (on Sherbourne), The Guvernment (on the harbour east of Yonge Street) and the Docks (an extensive entertainment complex on Toronto's commercial port with views of the city).

Little Italys College Street, between Bathurst and Ossington is very popular with many cafes, bars and restaurants with excellent food.

360 Restaurant at the CN Tower, one of Toronto's finest, features unforgettable food combined with a magnificent revolving view of Toronto more than 351 m (1,151 ft) below. 360 offers market-fresh cuisine, featuring regional ingredients to ensure an incomparable culinary experience. Elevator to the restaurant is complimentary.

Chinatown located around Dundas and Spadina is one of North America's largest Chinatowns where visitors will find authentic Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean food at reasonable prices.

Toronto Shopping

Toronto Eaton Centre is a huge shopping mall located at Yonge & Dundas Streets in the downtown area hosting all the major franchise stores and fashion labels. There is a food court and the centre is easily accessed by subway.

The PATH System, according to Guinness World Records, is the largest underground shopping complex with 27 km (16 miles) of shopping arcades. It stretches from the Eaton Centre south to Union Station and was constructed for commuters to get from Union Station to their offices and back without ever going outside into Toronto's summer heat and winter cold. More than 50 buildings & office towers are connected through PATH. Twenty parking garages, five subway stations, two major department stores, six major hotels, and a railway terminal are also accessible through PATH. It also provides links to some of Toronto's major tourist and entertainment attractions such as: the Hockey Hall of Fame, Roy Thomson Hall, Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre, and the CN Tower. City Hall and Metro Hall are also connected through PATH.

Yorkdale Shopping Centre is located in the north of the city, accessible from Yorkdale subway station. This is a large mall with hundreds of stores, cafes and restaurants.

Yonge Street runs from the edge of the lake to about 100 km north of the city. The in-town end is a shopping district popular with tourists as there are many restaurants, souvenir and gift shops.

Yorkville is the up-market shopping district of Toronto. Located just north of Bloor and Bay Streets it is home to many designer boutiques and international fashion stores.

Queen Street West is the city's fashion district with many fashion boutiques and trendy stores.

St. Lawrence Market located at Jarvis and Front has the freshest foods in the city. There are fresh vegetables in season, spices and herbs, maple syrup and quality Ontario wines. The Market has many specialty vendors, with a large seafood section, butchers, bakeries, and cheese shops.

Pacific Mall, located in North Toronto, is the largest indoor Asian mall in North America. It is a shopping attraction that incorporates a traditional Pacific market style. It has 400 stores selling a large variety of retail goods as well as herbs, prepared Chinese foods and entertainment. Pacific Mall is located on Steeles Avenue and Kennedy Road in Markham.

Beyond Toronto

Montreal is a six hour drive or 4.5-hour train trip.