Visiting Toronto, Canada can be overwhelming due to the wide selection of things to do and attractions in the city. Whatever else you have planned, you don’t want to miss the following top five places to visit in Toronto.
The CN Tower
At one point, the CN Tower was the largest free-standing structure in the world. It has now been surpassed by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai; however, the CN Tower is still impressive. Make sure you take a ride to the top if you don’t have an issue with heights to see a spectacular 360 degree view of Toronto, as well as Lake Ontario. You’ll be able to see New York State to the south on a clear day. You can also eat dinner under the clouds at 360, the CN Tower’s revolving restaurant. If you’re a thrill seeker, the CN Tower EdgeWalk was recently added, which allows you to walk outside around the circumference of the pod while strapped to a rail. The cost of EdgeWalk is $175 and includes certificate of achievement, video and printed photos as well as access to the Glass Floor, SkyPod, movie and Motion Theatre Ride. CN Tower general admission is Adults (13-64) $27.20, Seniors (65+) $20.40 and Child (4-12) $20.40.
Toronto Eaton Centre
Even if you’re not doing much shopping, you still should check out the Toronto Eaton Centre located downtown at Yonge and Dundas Streets since the mall is not merely a shopping centre, it’s a Toronto icon, plus all your friends back home will ask if you visited it. Toronto’s largest mall on three levels has anchor stores including The Bay, Sears and Indigo, as well as 230 stores and restaurants to explore. Recently, the mall was renovated to include the Urban Eatery featuring 24 food outlets. You can access Toronto Eaton Centre via both the Queen and Dundas subway stations.
Harbourfront and Centre Island
Toronto’s Harbourfront is definitely one of the top five places to see in Toronto especially in the summer. You can take part in the cultural festivals hosted by Harbourfront Centre that often feature live music and activities for families or dine or walk along the boardwalk along Lake Ontario. You’ll enjoy people-watching or watching the boats, sailboats, party cruise ships, ferries and kayaks in the harbour as well as the planes landing at Billy Bishop Airport across the lake. Be sure to take the ferry at the foot of Bay Street across Toronto Harbour to Centre Island or the Toronto Islands as they are also known. This huge parkland oasis in the city is great for walking, biking or picknicking. There’s Centreville for the kids, with rides and amusements and a petting zoo. You can also rent a single or tandem bicycle and cycle among the cottages and yacht clubs on the island. In the summer, you can rent a kayak and paddle among the lagoons. You’ll also find three beaches including Hanlan’s Point, which is a clothing optional beach. If you love lighthouses, the Gibraltor Point Lighthouse still stands on the island. Rumour has it that the lighthouse is haunted by its first keeper, who was murdered. Adult $7, Student and Senior $4.50, Junior under 14 $3.50 and under 2 Free.
Royal Ontario Museum
Visiting the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is at the top of the list of of things to do in Toronto due to its extensive collection: it’s Canada’s largest museum. You’ll find more than six million items in 40 galleries including a substantial dinosaur collection, Eastern and African art, fossils, artifacts from European and Canadian history and a textile and design collection. In 2007, the museum underwent a renovation and expansion to include the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, which caused controversy among Toronto residents since many argued that its imposing Deconstructivist form did not suit the museum’s Italianate Neo-Romanesque and Art Deco architecture. The ROM is open every day except December 25. Adults $15, Seniors (65+) $13.50, Students (15-25) $13.50, Children (4-12) $12 and 3 and under Free.
Art Gallery of Ontario
The Art Gallery of Ontario at 317 Dundas Street West (and within walking distance of the Toronto Eaton Centre) underwent a $254 million renovation in 2008 overseen by architect Frank Gehry. The result is a stunning space for the 80,000 works housed in the AGO. The AGO is definitely one of the top five places to visit in Toronto due to its large collection of Canadian art including the Group of Seven, Tom Thomson and Cornelius Krieghoff. You’ll also find extensive collections that include Cézanne, Rodin, Degas, Rubens, Rembrandt, Monet, Gainsborough, Gauguin, Dali, Matisse and O’Keeffe. The AGO is home to the Henry Moore Sculpture Collection and also has a good selection of prints and drawings from the Renaissance period. Stop for lunch at Frank, an acclaimed upscale fine dining room, visit the espresso bar or pick up some momentos at the AGO’s gift shop. Adult $19.50, Senior $16, Student and Youth $11.