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The Toronto list of attractions can range from shopping to theatre, sports events to theme parks, and museums to zoos. For quick reference many options are listed here in alphabetical order and related articles will be added for each category.
Toronto Amusement Parks – A variety of amusement parks can be found in Toronto ranging from the permanent home of Canada’s Wonderland in Vaughan, to Ontario Place down at the Toronto Harbour, both of which are of course seasonal.
As Toronto is a four season destination, outdoor amusement parks are only in operation from late spring to early fall. Toronto boasts a plethora of amusement parks in various settings throughout the warmer months as Conklin visits and sets up in parks and parking lots throughout the city.
The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is an annual Exhibition/Amusement park as such that runs for a couple weeks every year from mid-August to Labour Day. The Toronto Island is also host to Centre-Ville that is also amusement to toddlers and up, running from June to early September.
Art Galleries – The Art Gallery of Ontario is not only a famous landmark in the City of Toronto; it houses many beautiful works of art that no one should miss. Smaller art galleries are scattered throughout the city including the works of Canada’s own Group of Seven on display in Bolton at the Kortright Centre.
The Power Plant art Gallery at the Harbourfront houses much innovative and contemporary artwork.
The Gardiner Museum includes lectures, films and events along with drop-in clay classes.
Toronto Events – Throughout the year there are many events happening all over the city of Toronto. Among such events are parades such as Caribana, the Gay Pride Parade, many walk, bike, run challenges, pet events and other organized group activities.
The Harbourfront hosts a calendar of events running throughout the entire year with cultural fairs every weekend during the summer and many art and book readings at the Harbourfront Centre throughout the year. For you and your pet PAWSway offers obstacle courses and training sessions to enhance a pet/owner meet and greet.
At the Beach there is another calendar of events including a Jazz festival in July. Ontario Tennis Association Junior Provincials in July along with local artists displayed each year in early fall.
Toronto Museums – From the well known Royal Ontario Museum to the collection of ceramics at the Gardiner Museum at Queen’s Park, Toronto houses many interesting exhibits to set your sights on. A Textile Museum on Dundas, the Bata Shoe Museum, Colborne Lodge Museum among others make up an interesting array of museums throughout the city.
Toronto Parks and Nature Attractions
- High Park
- Christie Allen Park
- Moss Park
- Riverdale Park
- Trinity Bellwoods Park
- Saint James Park
- Allan Gardens Conservatory
- The Beach Skateboard Park
- South Stanley Park
- Oriole Park
- June Callwood Park
- Music Gardens
- H2 O parks
- Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat
All parks in Toronto enjoy a no smoking policy and the Private Tree By-law is in effect. This is a by-law that protects trees in public areas from intentional human harm.
Shopping in Toronto
- Dragon-boat races
- Volley ball
- Swim Meets
Riding / Running Trails
- Humber Arboretum and West Humber River Valley
- Lambton House Hotel & Lower Humber River
- Western Ravines and Beaches
- Garrison Creek
- Downtown Toronto
- Uptown Toronto
- Central Ravines, Belt Line and Gardens
- Northern Ravines & Gardens
- Don Valley Hills & Dales
- Eastern Ravine and Beaches
With over 10 theatres or playhouses, Toronto and the GTA also boasts close to 75 movie theatres. Ranging from Cineplex, AMC and SilverCity to smaller screens, Cinesphere options and drive-ins the Toronto moviegoer has many options to choose from.
Plays and/or musicals can always be found playing at any of the following:
- Princess of Wales
- Theatre Passe Muraille
- Factory Theatre
- Second City Theatre
- Elgin & Winter Garden
- Hart House Theatre
- Tarragon Theatre
- Tourist Attractions
Also to be included in Toronto attractions would be the SkyDome, the CN Tower, Hockey Hall of Fame, St Lawrence Market, the Flat Iron Building. Ontario Science Centre and of course Union Station.
With over 710 acres and 5,000 animals the Metro Toronto Zoo is a must see. Often featuring dynamic displays of exotic animals, there is a continuous timetable of feedings and seminars throughout the zoo.
Toronto art galleries are a popular attraction in the city. In the late 1940’s and early 50’s an influx of Europeans set up studios in Toronto drawing attention to their artwork, then locals became more comfortable showing off their creations.
Before long an art community was born. Today the city of Toronto has a huge art audience with over 60 art galleries.
Toronto’s galleries show a wide range of exhibitions. Paintings, photography, glass art, sculptures, gothic art, textiles, and ceramic are examples. Some of the finest galleries in North American can be found along Toronto’s Queen Street West and in the Bloor/Yorkville area.
Over the last 25 years music, fashion and visual arts has taken over the Queen West area. Today art dominates the community and it is known internationally as an artistic destination. It draws millions of tourists.
The Bloor/Yorkville neighbourhood has always been synonymous with style and culture so it only makes sense that some of the cities outstanding galleries would be set up in this area.
While Queen West and Yorkville are obvious art neighbourhoods, keep the Distillery District in mind as well. Not only is this area host to a number of great galleries, the restored Victorian industrial buildings are interesting to look at. Check out www.thedistrillerydistrict.com for more details.
Toronto’s art community has always been able to sustain itself due to the pool of talented artists, as well as the support of city officials.
In fact, the City of Toronto has its own art collection; over 2 thousand paintings, prints and sculptures. City Council has been helping sponsor art exhibits since the late 1800’s.
Popular Toronto Galleries
It would take too long to describe every gallery and museum in Toronto that carries and sells artwork. However, when art enthusiasts think of the city there are a few places that automatically come to mind; the Art Gallery of Ontario or AGO, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art; referred to as MOCCA, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and Masluk McLeod Gallery.
Perhaps Toronto’s most famous gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario was founded in 1900. It is one of North American’s largest art facilities, with over 80,000 works in its collection, including pieces from Canada and around the world. For more information visit www.ago.net.
Established in 1999, this modern day museum exhibits and promotes contemporary art by Canadian artists. Close to 1,000 people have displayed their creative work at this Queen Street West museum.
Located on the outskirts of the city of Toronto, in the beautiful rural setting of Kleinburg, is the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. It has the largest collection of Group of Seven paintings. The gallery is built on one hundred acres of picturesque conservation land.
Masluk McLeod Gallery
This fine art gallery in Toronto’s trendy Yorkville is a popular place to go for Inuit art. Paintings, carvings, sculptures and other forms of native art from Masluk and McLeod are shipped to art lovers all over the world.
While the above mentioned may be some of the well-known art destinations in the city, Toronto has many other galleries that are equally impressive. Here’s a list of some other popular galleries in the city.
- Stephen Bulger Gallery
- Le Gallery
- Monte Clark Gallery
- Diaz Contemporary
- Gallery 44
- Sleeping Giant
- Allison Smith Gallery
- Gallery One
- Edward Day Gallery
- Ingram Gallery
- The Lilith Gallery
- The Power Plant
- The Market Gallery
- Mayberry Fine Art
Like most metropolitan cities, Toronto has developed an audience for new media galleries. These galleries focus on artists who use non-traditional objects for their creations or utilize computer technology.
One example of this would be art created through computer animation. Currently, Toronto has 3 new media galleries. Since new media is a relatively young art form, galleries often offer classes in addition to viewing artwork. The owners are eager to educate the public about new media art.
The Greater Toronto Area is also a hot-bed of artistic expression. If you live in the city or are visiting, it will take just a short drive for you to get to one of the many GTA art galleries that are open to the public.
A quick search on the internet will lead you to great collections in communities like Mississauga, Unionville, Aurora, King City and Ajax for example.
Toronto’s art community beams with pride so it is always ready for visitors; always open to new eyes.
Toronto is considered one of the most captivating cities in the world and it is easy to see why, when you climb aboard one of the cities popular boat cruises. Boat cruises in Toronto offer spectacular views of the skyline, local landmarks and the city lights.
There are several companies offering boat cruises off Toronto’s waterfront. Medium and large size vessels run out of the harbour, providing one, two, three and four hour cruises. You can take part in a lunch, brunch or dinner tour.
For those who simply want to observe, there are short, sightseeing cruises in Toronto. In some cases your captain will dock at places like Centre Island so that you can enjoy the sights and sounds on foot.
Cruising doesn’t have to break the bank. It can cost as little as $21 for some sightseeing tours. Toronto’s special event cruises, which include meals, drinks, dancing and other entertainment, can be up to $100 per-person.
Many of the cruisers operate out of Queens Quay West. Most expect you to make reservations ahead of time. When you plan to take a special boat cruise in Toronto you are advised to book well in advance because spaces fill up fast.
If you miss out on one opportunity though, don’t worry, there are plenty of special events to choose from. Check out the list below for examples of special themed cruises.
- Singles Night
- Canada Day Celebrations
- Casino Night
- New Year’s Eve
- Mother’s Day
- Father’s Day
Summer Boat Cruising
Summer boat cruises in Toronto are popular. They allow passengers to bask in the sun, watch other water activity and view gorgeous sunsets.
You can get a clear view of Toronto landmarks like the Skydome, Ontario Place, Harbourfront Centre, Rogers Centre, Sugar Beach, Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, and the Air Canada Centre.
Winter Boat Cruising
Boat cruising in Toronto also takes place in the winter months. You can enjoy the beautiful views of snow swept tree-tops and office towers, and the many twinkling lights that both city staff and building managers put up at this time of year.
There are companies in the city that act as private charters. For instance, it is not uncommon during the holiday season for a company to book their office Christmas party on a Toronto cruise boat.
Private boat charters in Toronto often incorporate themes, a customized menu, games and other entertainment.
Here is a list of other private events that take place on boat cruises in Toronto.
- Engagement parties
- Retirement parties
While some food for the trips is prepared ahead of time and delivered to the boat steaming hot, many other Toronto vessels have full kitchens and chefs right on board to prepare meals for you.
They try to use whatever fruits and vegetables are in season to give you the best in terms of flavour. Whenever possible, they rely on locally grown produce.
Your safety is of the utmost importance to the city of Toronto. Vessels should be Transport Canada Safety Certified, and you’re on board staff extensively trained and certified. Toronto boat cruise managers should have no problem demonstrating proof of certification.
There are limitations on the number of passengers allowed on each boat, depending on the size of the vessel; again this is strictly for your safety.
All cruisers are equipped with life jackets, as well as other equipment to help passengers safely exit the boat if necessary. Toronto boat cruises have an excellent safety reputation.
Whether you are interested in a quick sightseeing experience, a romantic dinner for two, a family outing or want to take part in one of the special event cruises, one of the best ways to secure a spot is online.
Dinner cruises have always been big in Toronto. You can begin your research by browsing websites. One popular site is www.torontodinnercruises.com.
If you’re not sure what kind of boat cruise you want to take then check out some examples at www.torontotours.net. Keep in mind that some cruise experiences are not designed for children. Certain web sites will stipulate that you have to be over the age of 16 to climb aboard the boat.
Once you book your Toronto boat cruise the only looking back you will do is on the stunning Toronto landscape as your vessel pulls away from the dock.
Canada National Exhibition
Toronto’s most loved attraction for summer is the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). In August as the weather gets cooler and back to school shopping starts, Toronto waits patiently for the Canadian National Exhibition to open.
Admission to CNE
And who can blame them? For an admissions price of around $12 (not including the ride bracelet), you can walk around this huge playground and be a kid all over again.
Amusement Park Rides
The amusement park rides are of carnival quality, which for some might add to the thrill along with haunted houses, fun houses, rollercoaster’s and more of the old favourites.
This is just the beginning though, for as you walk past the rides you enter the game zone. The jumbo stuffed game winning prize animals are only half the fun. The other great part about the game zone area is the Tiny Tom Donut carts scattered throughout offering a treat for young and old alike.
If you don’t have much of a sweet tooth, do not fret. When you make your way to the Exhibition Place buildings, the unmistakable smell of glorious (some deep fried) food hits your nose. They have booths covering the entire warehouse floor of different foods including Chinese, Greek, Mexican, Japanese, and Hungarian for starters. If it’s a good old-fashioned hot dog or hamburger and fries you are craving, you can be sure it will be the best meal you have ever eaten.
CNE Shows and Exhibits
Since you should already be at the Exhibition Place buildings at this point, the shows and exhibits they offer during the Toronto Canadian National Exhibit are fantastic. In one building, there are vendors selling goods from around the world. In another building they put on shows for entertainment, and if you are lucky you will be just in time for the dog show!
History of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE)
Every year since 1878, Toronto has celebrated the end of summer with rides, games, fried foods and exhibits at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE).
In 1878, Toronto decided to hold a fair. Amazingly, it attracted over 100,000 visitors, and the people of Toronto decided to hold it every year as a tradition. From that date forth, at the end of every summer, Toronto has held the CNE. Every year more and more people arrive in August to enjoy the rides, play the games, and watch the shows at the largest Toronto summer festival.
It’s located on the shore of Lake Ontario, in what previously was referred to as the Toronto Industrial Exhibition. It is now named the Exhibition Place, offering its large space to many different events and festivals in Toronto throughout the year. The name Exhibition Place was given in honour of the Canadian National Exhibition.
During the CNE (which is always held mid-August to Labour Day) the Exhibition Place extends an amazing 260 acres, including parking lots and parks in the area. Due to the major increase of attendees over the years, the Exhibition Place has had to push its boundaries further and further almost every year. The latest average number of visitors to the CNE is estimated at 1.3 million attendees.
The Canadian National Exhibit wasn’t always at this state of perfection. At the start of World War 2, the Department of National Defence removed the grounds for the Exhibition Place from civilian administrators. What once was a joyful, magical place in the Toronto summer of 1942 to 1946 became the training field for the military.
By 1947, Toronto was overjoyed to hear that their beloved CNE would be returning . Staying true to tradition, the Canadian National Exhibition boomed back to life in an explosion of Tiny Tom donuts, popcorn and performances!
Every year since, Toronto has seen hundreds of thousands of visitors and effectively making the Canadian National Exhibit the largest fair in Canada. It has also brought a new level of sustainability to Toronto, offering jobs to locals during the exhibition times and bringing in $48 million in profits.
From one smart decision back in 1878, the CNE became something more than your typical city fair and became a tradition one can look forward to all year. If you ask the average Torontonian “what is the best part of Toronto summers”, they will probably say the Canadian National Exhibition.
Make sure you get a chance to be part of the celebrations and fun this year. Visit the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) and make memories that will last a lifetime.
You can feel the energy and excitement the minute you step foot inside a Toronto area casino. Since the mid 90’s millions of residents and tourists have enjoyed all the challenges and thrills that come with the casino experience in the Greater Toronto Area.
The word Casino is Italian. It comes from the root word “casa” meaning, house. It originally referred to a small villa, but over time the word changed to mean a structure built for pleasure.
In the 19th century casino came to include any kind of event that involved music, dancing and gambling. Today Canada has casinos in over 20 major markets including the Toronto area.
Casino’s in Toronto fall under the jurisdiction of Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). Established in the late 90’s, the AGCO makes sure that the sale and consumption of alcohol is conducted properly and that casino gaming is carried out in a way that is socially and financially responsible.
Although there isn’t a commercial casino located in Toronto’s downtown core, there are casinos on the outskirts of the city that are known around the world as premier spots to try your luck at games like roulette, blackjack and slots.
Casino Rama is often referred to as Toronto’s Casino. It is located just a short drive north of the city and is Ontario’s only First Nation’s commercial casino.
Rama has built a strong reputation around gambling, entertainment, dancing, dinning and excellent service. The casino draws some pretty big acts like, KISS, Michael Bolton, and Foreigner; to name a few.
A special rotunda links Rama Casino to a luxury hotel for those who wish to spend the night before heading back to Toronto. The suites have been described as plush and spacious.
They naturally are accented with native artwork. For more information on casino Rama go to www.casinorama.com.
Tourists visiting the city of Toronto will often take day trips to places like Niagara Falls. In Niagara there are two casinos for your enjoyment, Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino.
Located near the famous Clifton Hill is Casino Niagara. Here they cater to every level of gambling enthusiast from long-time players to newcomers. During the week they even have “learn to play” sessions.
Just 5 minutes drive away and overlooking Horseshoe Falls is Fallsview Casino. It is considered one of the most elegant casino’s in the country. Visit www.fallsviewcasinoresort.com for details.
All Charity Casinos in the province are regulated by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. The OLG monitors activity at the facilities, as well as handling all other forms of gambling in the province on Ontario related to charity. The OLG is also in charge of slot machines at commercial casinos in throughout the province.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation have 6 Charity Casino’s under its jurisdiction. They include: Brantford, Point Edward, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Thousand Islands, and Great Blue Heron Casino.
Great Blue Heron Casino is less than an hour drive from Toronto; to the northeast is the quaint and picturesque community of Port Perry. Great Blue Heron is situated in First Nations territory, overlooking Scugog Island.
Although it is described as more intimate than many other casinos in the Toronto area, there are 60 game tables here and well over 500 slot machines. This charity casino also has an award winning buffet restaurant. Check out the casino at www.gbhcasino.com.
The Ontario Lottery Corporation regulates casinos as well as other gambling opportunities such as horse racing, bingo and lotteries.
They generate close to 4 billion dollars annually in economic activity. Some of the proceeds go towards education, research, prevention and treatment of problem gambling.
Money also goes to local and provincial charities, to support amateur athletes, as well as to health related programs in the province of Ontario.
If you have never been to a casino, but are interested in giving it a try, Toronto just might be a good place to start. The OLG tries to make it easy for newcomers to not feel intimidated.
For starters, their website includes a section on how to play certain games. There are interactive tutorials to get you started before you actually hit the casino.
The charity casinos in the Toronto area also provide opportunities to win prizes like televisions and other valuable products. Visit www.olg.ca for more information.
Whether it is a commercial or charity casino in Toronto, the fun and entertainment is non-stop.
Centre Island is a popular attraction within Toronto; it is a place for locals and tourists to escape the busy city. Centre Island, which is also known as Toronto Island, is occupied by residents year round, yet during the summer months the island really comes alive.
For visitors who enjoy peace and quiet, it is important to note that Centre Island is a family oriented destination and there are always children around.
Centre Island is an ideal day trip idea for a person looking to spend a day relaxing on the beach or in a park. There are also many fun outdoor activities like the children’s amusement park, bike tours, sailing, kayaking and canoeing.
The Toronto Island also has ample green space for picnicking and sports games. You can find more information on the Island at www.torontoisland.org.
On Centre Island, there is a great opportunity to get a full body tan at Hanlan’s Point Nude Beach. Also, quietly nestled on Ward’s Island is a residential community where over 250 locals live year round.
Getting to Centre Island involves an entertaining method of transport – a ferry ride! Visitors to the city can take the GO Train or the TTC to Union Station and from there a short walk to the bottom of Bay Street.
The Toronto Ferry Company ferry docks are located at 9 Queen’s Quay W. The ferry brings visitors, residents and commuters to the island with relatively frequent services — in the summer season the ferry departs every 15 minutes.
For late night departures, a water taxi is available to shuttle guests back to the city. For more information on Toronto Water Taxi rates call 416 203 8294. You can also find out more at their official website, www.torontowatertaxi.weebly.com. Motorized transportation on the ferry or Centre Island is not allowed, however bicycles are allowed.
Travelling around Centre Island is best done at a leisurely pace; most people on Centre Island walk, jog, bicycle, skateboard and rollerblade. Sporting activities on Centre Island include volleyball, horseshoes, tennis and swimming.
The Centreville Amusement Park is a family favourite; with a collection of traditional park rides that are situated on 600 acres of parkland and green space — Centreville is an entertaining way to enjoy a sunny day!
The amusement park has more than 30 rides; every child’s favourite is the Log Flume — a perfect wet ride for those hot summer days. All aboard the Pony Express, where children can ride a gentle pony around a paddock.
The Centre Island’s Antique Carousel was built in 1907 is a treasured park experience — guests also have an opportunity for a stunning city view from the Windmill Ferris Wheel ride. The Centreville Amusement Park website offers more information on their rides, prices, and services — www.centreisland.ca.
On Toronto’s Centre Island there is ample opportunity to eat well. Restaurants like The Carousel Café, the tasty Funnel Cake Shop or the famous Toronto Island Shopsy’s Island Deli Bar & Grill are all great places to enjoy a bite to eat.
For groups who enjoy eating at their own pace; there are over 21 picnicking sites and 6 fire pits on Centre Island — picnicking is an enjoyable outdoor meeting idea for large groups.
Centre Island provides guests with amenities like music, linens, tables and chairs. With more than 14 food outlets, washrooms and drinking fountains, there are enough facilities available to make you visit to Centre Island comfortable.
Hanlan’s Point Beach at Centre Island is a more unique then most beaches because it is a Clothing-Optional (CO) location, an attraction exclusive to the Island. In 1999, the CO Hanlan’s Point Beach Pilot Project was launched and in spring of 2001 the southern section of the beach was granted an approved CO status.
Hanlan’s Point Beach requires visitors and Naturists to follow etiquette when visiting the beach; visitors should treat other beach-goers with respect, intimate behaviour is not allowed and CO visitors may not leave the designated nude areas. Any person who cannot follow the designated beach etiquette will be asked to leave.
Beach facilities include a sand box with beach toys, as well as water games like volleyball and water polo — there is also sand volleyball, horseshoes, badminton, body painting and the annual Centre Island Bare Buns Fun Run held each summer.
In addition to the leisure activities available on Centre Island, the Eastern section of Ward’s Island is a community with about 250 residents who live year round in one of the only car free urban community’s in North America. There is one church, one public school, The Toronto Island Public School, and two daycares.
Originally it was a cottage community, where Torontonian’s went to escape the summer heat. Today, residents live year round in the colourful cottages that line the streets and water’s edge.
Centre Island is a great destination for people who live in the Greater Toronto Area and want to experience a unique corner of Toronto — get excited to go to the island!
Whatever the reasons to come to Toronto, visitors are inevitably drawn to the downtown area, where majority of the city’s most popular attractions can be found.
The most prominent of these is the CN Tower, a towering symbol of the city which stands 553 metres (1,815 feet) above the downtown waterfront. However, this tower is not solely for enjoying the scenery.
There are interactive rides, an arcade, and even a 3-D movie theatre. On the main observation deck is also the CN Tower 360 Restaurant, a revolving restaurant that features the world’s highest wine cellar. Coming soon, the very bravest of visitors will even be able to walk around the outside of the tower; tethered in of course. Find out more on this great attraction at their main website, www.cntower.ca.
The area around the CN Tower is also where the city’s two biggest sporting venues are found. Located adjacent to the tower, the Rogers Centre is home to the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team, as well the Toronto Argonauts football team.
The stadium was the first in the world to have a fully-retractable motorized roof, and hosts a variety of large-scale concerts and events in addition to its regular sporting events. While the roof is designed to allow it to operate in bad weather, it’s hard to beat spending a sunny day watching a game with a cold beverage.
The Air Canada Centre, home of the National Hockey League’s Toronto Maple Leafs and National Basketball Association’s Toronto Raptors, is located nearby at the foot of Bay Street. Their website, www.aircanadacentre.com, has more information on its shows, sports, and events.
This new arena is also home to the Toronto Rock lacrosse team, and plays host to concerts by some of the most popular musicians in the world. For those taking in a hockey game, the nearby Hockey Hall of Fame is an interesting stop to make as well. There you can learn about history of the game of hockey, while also checking out the Stanley Cup and other NHL trophies.
In recent years, a particular focus has been put into developing Toronto’s waterfront. One of the attractions that has been greatly expanded is the Harbourfront Centre, situated where Simcoe Street meets Queen’s Quay.
This multi-purpose waterfront park and cultural centre has several theatres, art galleries and exhibition spaces, cafés and restaurants. In the summer the Harbourfront Centre hosts a series of concerts and cultural programming, while in the winter visitors can enjoy the Natrel Rink, Canada’s largest artificially cooled outdoor rink.
Looking out from the downtown waterfront, it’s impossible to miss another popular attraction, the Toronto Islands. The islands are reached by taking a short ferry from the harbour, usually to the main point of arrival on Centre Island.
One of the best ways to check out the island’s trails and boardwalks is by bike, which can be rented on site or brought on the ferry. The islands are packed with activities for all ages, including an outdoor maze, beaches, and an amusement park for the kids.
Shopping is plentiful in downtown Toronto as well, with a huge selection of stores ready to tug at your purse strings. The city’s number one tourist attraction is actually the Eaton Centre, a huge shopping destination with over 320 stores and restaurants.
This number does not include the dozens of retailers located nearby, especially in the area around Yonge Street and Dundas Square. That intersection was the subject of a massive revitalization project since the late ’90s in order to create an attractive public plaza. Concerts and cultural events are held regularly in the large plaza, and the area is also known for its eccentric buskers.
St. Lawrence Market, located on the east side of the downtown core, is another of the city’s most popular attractions. It was named among the top 25 markets in the world according to Food and Wine Magazine.
Go here to pick up great local fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses, or get a snack from one of the many vendors. On Saturdays the area also has a full farmer’s market, while on Sunday an antiques market takes its place.
Downtown Toronto is also home to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), located on Dundas Street just west of University Avenue. The recently re-designed museum is home to the world’s largest collection of Canadian Art, including numerous works by the Group of Seven.
The museum is also home to a significant collection of European, Contemporary and African Art, not to mention the high-profile exhibitions of world-famous art from around the world that also routinely pass through the AGO.
The city also has a booming theatre scene, anchored by the area along King Street downtown known as the Theatre District. Toronto features several large Broadway-style theatres, featuring top stars and many hit plays and musicals, some of which come straight from London and New York City.
Larger venues include the Royal Alexandria Theatre, the Princess of Wales Theatre and the smaller Second City Theatre, which is famous in the world of comedy. Two other large historic theatres are found on Yonge Street adjacent to the Eaton Centre, the Canon Theatre and the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres.
Check out more great Downtown attractions through Totally Toronto.
St Lawrence Market Attraction
Fun Places to Visit
If you’re a kid, or a kid at heart, then you are likely looking for fun. In Toronto, you will find fun activities to suit all ages and interests. Amusement parks, musical events, physical action, technology, gambling, scientific wonders and stimulating outdoor events; Toronto is ready for those who want to play.
There are some attractions that are designed specifically for children, others are more adult oriented and some are geared towards the whole family.
There are really popular amusement parks in the Toronto area. Open in the summer months, the Canadian National Exhibition (C.N.E) is an institution in Toronto. Also known as the Ex, this ranks very high among Toronto amusement parks because of its long standing reputation.
Open from mid August to early September it offers midway rides, an interactive zone, as well as concerts and special events. The C.N.E started way back in 1879.
For those who won’t be in Toronto when the Canadian National Exhibition is running, there is a similar option in the city, it is called Centreville. Located on Toronto Island, it is open daily from June to September. The kids will love Leapin Lilly Pads, Rockin Ferry Ride, The Pony Express and Barrels of Fun.
There is much more to Centre Island than just fun for the kids so check out www.centreisland.ca for more information. The world’s first permanent IMAX Theatre is at Ontario Place.
Recognized for its great big white sphere in the water of Lake Ontario, this amusement facility doesn’t just have thrill rides and water activities, it boasts one of the hottest concert lineups in the country.
A marina makes it easily accessible to boaters. The web site for Ontario Place is constantly being updated as new attractions and events are added. Visit www.ontarioplace.com.
When the most daring rides are on your agenda take a short trip north of the city to explore Canada’s Wonderland. A free-falling drop tower, inverted coaster and Minebuster will test even the strongest thrill seekers.
This amusement facility includes a kid’s play area; complete with larger than life cartoon characters and a water park called Splash Works. For directions and ticket information visit www.canadaswonderland.com.
Yoga 4 Kids is a well-established yoga centre designed to teach kids all the right moves and meditation techniques. The program encourages kids to utilize the benefits of yoga throughout their lives.
For toddlers, consider Gymboree Play and Music. The centre staff helps kids develop social, cognitive and physical skills as they play. There are several conveniently located Gymboree centres across Toronto. Go to www.gymboreeclasses.com for details.
Toddlers and teenagers need to keep their body and mind active. Teens can attend technology camp. Check out www.cyberartcamp.org for program details.
Some of the best camps in North America are offered in and around Toronto. For a list of camps you can consider for your children try www.ourkids.net/camps.
What parent doesn’t like the idea mixing fun and education? Toronto’s Ontario Science Centre offers just that. Here your kids can experience all sorts of engaging science and technology. The Science Centre has been fascinating tourists for 40 years.
You can do a lot of fun in Toronto with the whole family. How about a trip back to Medieval Times? There is no place on earth like Medieval Times and Dinner Tournament.
You and the kids will enjoy a four course meal based on culinary themes from the 11th century while you peer from a balcony at an arena below. What you see is an authentic medieval battle. The knights and the horses have been delighting audiences for over 25 years.
Equally fun, but also a testament to history; the Hockey Hall of Fame. It isn’t just an exhibit; it offers educational programs and a few physical challenges as well.
Another Toronto attraction that is high on the list of fun family places is Harbourfront. Great food, entertainment, special events, art and of course the beach, is all part of Toronto’s waterfront experience.
Over the last several years the popularity of Famous People Players Dinner Theatre has soared. This is not your typical theatre. At Famous People Players, you and the kids can enjoy a 3 course gourmet meal and a fabulous puppet performances. For information go to www.fpp.org.
Here are a few other suggestions for family fun;
- Bata Shoe Museum
- Hanlan’s Point
- C.N Tower
- The Toronto Zoo
Grown up Fun
If you are in the mood for a mix of delicious food, great music, and dancing, then Toronto is a good city to be in. You can find a number of clubs downtown that are fun and entertaining.
Pop, rock, jazz, country, Latin, hip-hop; there is no shortage of clubs so you will have no problem finding a genre you like. Visit www.clubcrawlers.com for an extensive list of clubs.
If you’d like to have a drink in a more laid back setting then try Steam Whistle Brewery. You can get a tour, a taste and learn how Canada’s premier pilsner is made.
If you’re the betting type, then a trip to Woodbine Race Track is a fun outing. Woodbine is about horse racing, dining and a whole lot more. Check the track out at www.woodbineentertainment.com.
Sometimes grown-ups just want to shop so here are 2 great suggestions: The St. Lawrence Market located on Front Street East is all about local specialty food and the freshest produce.
Kensington Market just west of the downtown core, has everything from groceries to great fashion and furniture. Kensington Market is not just a fun shopping area, it is a neighbourhood. In fact, it was the subject of an award winning Television show called The King of Kensington.
Below are more fun suggestions.
- Textile Museum of Canada
- National Ballet of Canada
- Canadian Opera
- Toronto Symphony Orchestra
- Dave and Busters
Summer, winter, spring or fall, if you are looking for some fun and adventure, Toronto is a great place to be. Take a look around Totally Toronto for more great destination ideas!
You have a variety of choices when it comes to gambling in Toronto. Whether you are an avid gambler, just a beginner or want to try your luck for the first time, Toronto is a good place to lay down your bets.
While some people enjoy all types of gambling, others zero in on one specific genre. Below are examples of the different types of gambling activity you can participate in if you are in the Toronto area.
- Horse Racing
- Casinos & Slots
One of Canadaâ€™s most recognized horse racing tracks is located in the Toronto area. It is called Woodbine Race Track and draws millions of visitors every year. Here you can watch some of the finest animals in the world compete; both standard and thoroughbred horse racing.
Major events like the Queens Plate, the Canadian International, and North American Cup take place at Woodbine Race Track. Woodbine has three different dining areas, as well as event and meeting rooms you can rent.
The track is located on Rexdale Boulevard. In the downtown area of the city you will find Greenwood off-track wagering. If seeing the action close up is your preference though, the other option you have aside from Woodbine Race Track is Mohawk. Itâ€™s located just west of Toronto in the community of Campbellville.
Mohawk has a dinner theatre in addition to regular dining facilities. Woodbine Race Track, Greenwood off-track wagering and Mohawk all fall under the umbrella of Woodbine Entertainment. For more information you can go to www.woodbineentertainment.com.
Casinos & Slots
Toronto is surrounded by both commercial and charity casinos. The most well known commercial casino is just north of the city, close to cottage country. Rama Casino is a First Nations casino that operates 24 hours a day with over 190 thousand square feet of game and entertainment space.
In addition to providing gaming and fine dining, the casino is attached to a luxury resort. You can read all the details by going to www.casinorama.com.
Great Blue Heron Casino is a charity casino located just on the outskirts of Toronto in the picturesque community of Port Perry. It is a much smaller casino, but has a lot of character and charm. Proceeds from this casino go to local and provincial charities.
Most Ontario casinos, including those in the Toronto area also have slot machines. Slots pay off based on patterns of symbols displayed on the front of the screen when the machine stops. Slots are a popular form of gambling across North America and Toronto is no exception.
There are numerous lotteries in Toronto that you can participate in. The most popular ones are run by the Ontario Lottery Corporation. The organization is careful to ensure that the lottery is played in a safe and equitable manner.
The better known lotteries are: Lotto Max, Lotto 649, and Lottario. You can pick up a lottery ticket at a long list of locations including malls, shopping centres, food markets, convenience stores, pharmacy outlets, and magazine stands.
Toronto residents love their sports so it isnâ€™t surprising that they have embraced the sports lottery called Pro-line. This lottery predicts who will win the game.
Each week the Ontario Lottery Corporation publishes an event list that explains all the events and odds for waging. You have to pick 3 to 6 outcomes from 2 or more events in order to play. For more details visit www.proline.olg.ca.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario regulates gaming laws in Toronto. The commission makes sure that operators are being socially and financially responsible, and are functioning with the best interests of the public in mind.
All gaming hosts must have a license and registration from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. When gambling laws are broken by a host, the license can be taken away or a fine can be issued.
The Toronto Police Department operates an illegal gambling unit and enforces a zero tolerance police when it comes to illegal gambling. They do not hesitate to lay charges when they discover underground gambling in the city.
Toronto has a number of fun, entertaining, and perfectly legal gambling opportunities for you to take part in. Whether you are a fan of horse racing, like slot machines or want to work the floor of a casino, you are sure to have a great timeâ€¦ and who knows, you could walk away with a little more than what you came with.
For more on entertainment and attractions in Toronto, browse around Totally Toronto.
Mix Chivalry, rivalry, powerful horses, and a hearty meal and you have Toronto’s Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. It is a combination of live, action theatre and a banquet set in the medieval period.
There are only a handful of places in the world where you can enjoy such an evening and Toronto is one of them.
Since 1993 the Toronto Castle at Exhibition Place has been the setting for the Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament that has dazzled audiences of all ages. From the very beginning the shows created a buzz and the castle has always been full to capacity.
The entertainment began with simple jousting and over the years has expanded to include more actors, more horses and more complicated maneuvers; performances that amaze onlookers.
Medieval time was a period around the 11th century when knights and soldiers were involved in all sorts of adventures, as pilgrims and peasants struggled with daily life.
The wealthy lived in castles, while the less fortunate helped formed small communities that answered to a lord or master. Tales of romance and bloody conflict dominated this time in history.
Medieval Times in Toronto brings all the historical elements together so that you start to believe that you really are in a castle witnessing a ferocious duel.
As a member of the audience it is easy to get caught up in the action. You find yourself choosing sides as you watch the actors battling it out in an arena, while you enjoy a meal from a balcony above.
In true medieval fashion the shows include a prince, princess, king, brave knights and a team of strong stallions.
The clothing the actors wear helps bring the time period to life. For example the women’s dresses and gowns are covered in pearls, hand sewn beads, lace, and have rich colored velvet and brocade. The men wear traditional cloaks, vests, tunics, tights, and of course various pieces of body armor for times of battle.
Swords, Bola’s, Mandobles and other weaponry from the middle ages are incorporated into the performance, adding to the intensity and drama.
The horses at Medieval Times are often described as strong and majestic. They are highly trained animals that practice for performing from a very early age. They are advanced when it comes to dressage.
They can perform complicated, physically demanding tasks. When they retire from acting in Toronto they return to their home; a ranch in Texas. They are said to be pampered for the rest of their lives.
Perhaps it is there turn to be treated like royalty. Audiences at Toronto’s Medieval Times have used words like “mesmerizing”, “flawless”, and “effortless” to describe the horse’s performances.
Staff at Medieval Times treat all their customers like royalty; however, if you have a special event to celebrate they will go even further to make sure that you have an evening that you will never forget.
They offer special packages for events such as birthdays, and they can make specific arrangements for small or large groups of people who want to come enjoy the dinner/show experience.
The coordinators for Medieval Times want to keep the experience as authentic as possible. This means that the meals are hearty and similar in style to the middle ages.
Oven roasted chicken and spare ribs are part of the meal for example. The entire meal is served on metal dishes just as it would have been in medieval days.
In order to accommodate everyone, vegetarian meals are available upon request, but need to be ordered ahead of time. By the way, there were no utensils at this time in history so you will be eating with your hands.
- Dance floor
- Hall of arms
- Medieval torture museum
You can purchase tickets for Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament in Toronto online or by calling the castle box office directly.
Once you have your booking, plan to show up well ahead of the show to choose your seat. Some special packages come with a designated seating area, but generally it is first come, first serve seating.
When you are looking for something lively; something that will keep you on the edge of your seat and entertain the whole family, check out Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament Toronto. The main web site is www.medievaltimes.com/toronto.
Ontario Wine Country
Wine country is one of Ontario’s pride and joys and the Ontario Wine Country is one of Canada’s greatest treasures. Ontario is the largest wine producing province in Canada aside from British Columbia, with its France-like temperatures in southern Ontario.
Unfortunately, there are some issues that arise in Ontario wineries during the winter season.
Regardless of how great the wine is, if it’s not approved by the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA), then it will not classified as an Ontario wine.
The VQA use a high quality system, which measures the soil, temperature and the correct ratio of Ontario grapes used when making a wine. If you see a bottle without the VQA logo on it, they have probably used a portion of imported grapes.
Ontario Wine Country is divided into four sections based on temperatures and soil grade recognized as the VQA. Within each section, there are more sub-appellations within these four as well.
The main four regions considered best for wine grape growth in Ontario wine country are:
- The Niagara Peninsula
- Lake Erie
- Pelee Island
- Prince Edward County
The Niagara Peninsula is between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie and stretches across Hamilton, Ontario to the Niagara River.
Agriculture was an important part of the Niagara Peninsula from its beginnings back in the early 1800’s and continues to be a significant aspect to this day.
The wine region has also helped in tourism and hospitality for the area. People visit Niagara Falls and the wonderful wineries. Lake Erie region in Ontario wine country is situated below Lake Erie.
The wine region was started in the 19th century and continued to do well in the Alcohol Prohibition in the early 20th century by illegally selling grapes. Unfortunately the Lake Erie region has gone downhill in the past, but wineries have started to rebuild the area and make a better quality of wine.
Pelee Island is the largest island located on the west side of Lake Erie and has a (permanent) population of 256 people. Pelee Island in Ontario wine country has one of the mildest climates in Canada, which makes it one of the best locations for growing grapes and other produce.
Pelee Island has been making wine since 1860. Unfortunately, Lake Erie freezes during the winter making it difficult and very cold for wineries during that season.
Prince Edward County is located on the east side of Lake Ontario towards the south. Most of the year the weather is relatively mild and is considered the future main location for Ontario Wine Country.
What once was well known for the shorelines and beaches, has now become an explosion of wineries and restaurants. Vineyards are bursting at the seams of Prince Edward County and it doesn’t look like it is slowing down.
Ontario wine country produces grapes for wines in all varieties.
- Popular Ontario grapes for white wines include Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Vidal and Chardonnay.
- Popular Ontario grapes for red wines include Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Baco Noir and Zweigelt. Ontario wines that are considered some of the best are Riesling and Chardonnay.
Ontario Ice Wine
Then there is the matter of ice wines, which you can add to the list of Ontario’s best. Luckily (in some ways) for Ontario, the cold winter means a better display of ice wines.
Ice wine is a dessert wine that is made from grapes that are frozen while they are on the vines. Therefore the sugar is still a liquid but the rest of the grape is not, making it very concentrated. It also means you need more grapes then you would require for a regular bottle of wine. It also means ice wines tend to be more expensive as well.
Canada has become the largest ice wine distributer in the world and has been producing it in Ontario wine country since 1983. What started on Pelee Island has expanded and given Ontario wine country international acclaim. In 2006, Royal DeMaria created the most expensive bottle of ice wine in the world. Only five cases of their Chardonnay ice wine were made and it was priced at $30,000 CND per bottle.
Ontario wine country has bounced back from prohibition, freezing vineyards, to humid fungus-producing weather. There are also wineries in the centre of downtown Toronto. They know their grapes, and you can taste it. So sit back and enjoy some of Ontario wine country’s greatest.