Year after year, Toronto continues to surprise tourists with its ability to be a unique destination for food, culture, art, fashion, architecture and design. Iconic throughout the world because of the CN Tower, Toronto has so much to offer that tourists are often taken aback and tend not to prepare themselves for what most people see as a smaller version of New York City. At once the most populous and multicultural city in Canada, Toronto is also the fourth largest city in North America. The city, second only to New York in its multiculturalism, has such a wide range of things on offer.
Climb high to the top of CN Tower
Towering high above the city’s skyline and visible on almost any flight into the city, the CN Tower is easily Toronto’s most iconic image. Sitting pretty in the middle of a cluster of surrounding financial and business buildings, the tower is a terrifying 553.33 metres high. The third tallest tower in the world, it still remains the tallest freestanding structure in the Western Hemisphere - and any trip to Canada cannot be completed without a glimpse of this majestic building. One of the modern Seven Wonders of the World, the CN Tower has a range of attractions inside that entice tourists to not just stand and stare at it outside. In 2011, the CN Tower opened the EdgeWalk - a must for thrill-seekers, as they can walk on and around the main pod of the tower, directly above other tourists eating at the 360 degree restaurant just below. It’s the world’s highest full-circle, hands-free walk and is only open for four months of the year during summer.
Toronto’s art scene is established and diverse
Toronto is known as an artistic city having had major artists like Drake represent the city and hosting world renowned events like the Toronto International Film Festival. And nothing encompasses this mentality more than the neighbourhoods of Kensington and Queen Street West. Kensington Market is your go-to destination for all things bohemian. Located right outside the heart of downtown Toronto, it’s a small neighbourhood comprised of shops, restaurants, tiny bars and smoke shops that make you feel like you’re somewhere in Europe. With pop-up galleries, buskers on the street selling their individual paintings and many of the bars and cafes being meeting points for creatives, one can feel the creative energy in Kensington.
Queen Street West is the antithesis to that but they somehow complement one another. Situated a fifteen minute walk from Kensington, Queen street is your hub for shopping and eating genre-defining foods. One of the hottest streets for fusion foods, Queen Street also has a huge shopping area, which is situated right down the street from it.
Walk around Toronto to understand it best
Toronto is similar to New York, in that one needs to just walk around to understand the city. With two main streets that intersect one another: Yonge, which runs north to south, and Bloor, which runs East to West, it’s not easy to get lost in Toronto, as the downtown area is almost a perfect grid. With that in mind, pick a direction and walk. Each block of the downtown area will reveal a new neighbourhood from Little Portugal to Little India to Little Somalia - all different cuisines, ethnicities and nationalities are represented in their little section of the city. If one has limited time, Toronto’s Chinatown is unmatched - it is one of the largest in North America - along with its Distillery district, which is a pedestrian-only village dedicated to the arts and entertainment. The latter has fantastic restaurants, festivals and art galleries on offer.
Toronto’s safety is the epitome of why you should visit
Toronto is one of the safest cities you’ll come across. Like with any major metropolis, have your wits about you when walking at night, especially if you’re by yourself. But, you’re unlikely to encounter a criminal or any kind of criminal activity in the city.
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