Toronto might not be the capital of Canada but it’s still its largest and arguably its most diverse city. Perched on the shore of Lake Ontario, year-round there’s a plethora of activities to do and sights to see. Whether you enjoy watching sports, eating great food or appreciating art, history and culture, this is the place you’ll find it. Discover more with Mundana’s guide to must see Toronto.
The CN Tower
You can’t fail to miss this exceptionally tall landmark which dominates the city’s skyline. The stats are impressive: the CN Tower stands 553 metres (1815 feet) tall and was once the tallest freestanding structure in the world. As you’d expect, the views from its observation deck are unrivalled. On a clear day you can see for around 160km (100 miles) – you might just pick out Niagara Falls if you’re lucky. Step out if you dare onto its glass floor (check online to see if renovations have been completed) and peer down. Don’t be afraid that it will crack – it can withstand the weight of 35 moose, not that they’d fit in the elevator.
St Lawrence Market
Appreciate Toronto’s cultural diversity through its food. Take a stroll around historic St Lawrence Market, spread across three buildings. The main St Lawrence Hall dates from 1850. Adjacent North Market has hosted a farmers’ market since the start of the 19th century – catch it on Saturday. Visit on Sundays for a thriving antiques market. Meanwhile, nose around South Market to see what its 120 vendors have to offer.
Royal Ontario Museum
Toronto is crammed full of museums but the Royal Ontario Museum is world-class. Take in a vast and eclectic collection, which contains more than 13 million items spanning art, culture and natural history – everything from fossils to First Peoples’ art. You’ll also find three Martian meteorites, just some of the many space rocks that have landed on earth. The building itself is also a treat, thanks to its fabulous architecture. Other must see Toronto museums include the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Aga Khan Museum dedicated to Islamic civilisations.
Toronto’s Flat Iron Building
If you’ve already visited New York City, you will probably be aware of Manhattan’s Flat Iron Building. But did you know there’s a similar building in Toronto? This red brick structure is correctly called the Gooderham Building. It was built in 1892, ten years before its American lookalike. The building houses offices, but is often used as a filming location thanks to its distinctive shape. Grab a selfie and see if your friends can guess the city.
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The Distillery District
This pedestrianised historic district was once home to a whiskey distillery. Today, this 19th century area of Toronto is crammed full of cool eateries, trendy bars and independent boutiques. It’s a hub for the arts too, with streetscape sculptures and a handful of theatres staging music, dance and plays. We’d suggest you come early during your visit as you’ll probably want to return before you leave for home. If you’re here in December, check out the Distillery District’s atmospheric Christmas market as well.
Hockey Hall of Fame
Ice hockey is a big deal throughout Canada and Toronto’s no exception. The city’s passion for the game has translated into the Hockey Hall of Fame. This is where to come if you’re keen to learn about the NHL’s history and see some of the game’s most prestigious trophies, including the coveted Stanley Cup. Check out the teams, the players and the stories – a must for all sports fans. To cheer on the Toronto Maple Leafs, time your visit for autumn, winter or spring when matches take place at the Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto.
The Toronto Islands
Summer visitors to Toronto should hop on a ferry to the Toronto Islands. This small group of barrier islands is a great place to admire the city skyline but there’s plenty to see right here too, not least the oldest lighthouse in the Great Lakes, known as the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse. The islands are also the ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. If you’re here on a warm day, pack a picnic, take a walk along wooded trails or relax on the beach. Alternatively, rent a bicycle beside the pier and pedal leisurely along a network of cycle paths. Kids will love the Centerville Amusement Park and Franklin Children’s Gardens.
No self-respecting article on must see Toronto could ignore the fact that Niagara Falls lies right on the city’s doorstep. This magnificent waterfall straddles the border between Canada and the USA. Take in the awesome spray of Horseshoe Falls from the Maid in the Mist boat trip, one of the area’s most iconic attractions. Don’t overlook the smaller but still impressive American Falls and take the opportunity to step behind the falls too. Come back after dark to admire the falls lit up. You can do this as a day trip but it’s well worth staying overnight to give you more time to explore.
If you’re keen to see Toronto for yourself, then why not let Mundana help you flesh out an itinerary? It’s an easy add-on to a longer trip to Canada. Perhaps you’re considering a trans-Canadian rail trip to witness the majesty of the Rockies or the vast Prairies. Maybe you’re more at home following a multi-city tour with places such as Montreal or Quebec City. Toronto is easy to combine with the USA too, with cities such as Boston and New York within easy reach. Crossing the border is straightforward so consider going overland rather than flying to see more of the scenery. We can recommend the best Toronto hotels and suggest memorable activities and experiences. The possibilities are endless. Why not get in touch today and start a conversation?