Last updated: 05:13 AM ET, Tue May 23 2023
The Toronto skyline at dusk.


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The Toronto skyline at dusk.
The Toronto skyline at dusk. (Photo via diegograndi / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Toronto, Canada’s most-populous city, sits on the northwest corner of Lake Ontario and equals, in wealth and diversity of experience, any of the more recognizable North American metropolises. Very clean for a city of over 2.5 million people, Toronto impresses into the clear air with the landmark CN tower and over 2,000 high-rise buildings. Not to be outdone by its conspicuous skyline, the city offers plenty of diversity in arts, food and entertainment.

It takes only a stroll into Toronto’s Old Town district to find a representative mix of diverse cosmopolitan life and old-time atmosphere. Authentic 19th century schoolhouses and churches can be found in Old Town’s Corktown neighborhood while the Distillery District, site of the former Gooderham and Worts Distillery, boasts the best selection of well-preserved Victorian Industrial architecture in North America. More than a beautiful architectural display, the Distillery District is a pedestrian-only mall rife with bistros, cafes, art galleries and boutique retail shops. The shopping and dining in The Annex district, particularly on Yorkville’s Bloor Street, are world class, as are the fabric selections of Toronto’s Fashion District.

Vertigo can be ignited at the CN tower, at one time the tallest free-standing structure in the world. Closer to the floor, over 50 ballet and dance companies are spread throughout Toronto. One of history’s great examples of personal indulgence, Casa Loma, the personal “castle” of Sir Henry Pollat completed in 1914, is also on display in Toronto as a museum and landmark.

Building in downtown Toronto with CN Tower on background - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Building in downtown Toronto with CN Tower in the background. (photo via diegograndi / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Foodies will find delight in the Torontonian gastronomic choices. A past and present of variegate immigration have gifted Toronto with a plethora of worldly dining options. Hunger can be satiated by fries from a street truck, a giant burger (fully dressed with fried egg and beetroot) at Gourmet Burger Co., salumi and fresh pasta off wooden door tables at Local Kitchen and Wine Bar, or world-class fine dining fare atop a high rise at Canoe, to name just some favorites.

Within the city TTC (Toronto Transportation Commission), subways and el trains are a reliable way to get around. The best option for getting into Toronto is by plane into Toronto Pearson International Airport. Toronto can also be accessed by rail from throughout Canada and from the Northeast United States via Amtrak’s Maple Leaf line. Driving is an option, but not an attractive one. Plenty of roads run into Toronto, though they can be extremely crowded; Kings Highway 401 is one of the busiest in North America.

No matter how travelers get into Toronto, they will want to be aware of the season when they do. Summers are warm and humid, often comfortable with the breeze from the Lake Ontario. Winters can be brutal and include cold snaps of days or weeks hitting highs no greater than 14° F, so bring a sweater or two and stay warm at the Hockey Hall of Fame. No trip to Canada’s largest city would be entirely complete without it.