The capital city of the Canadian province of Ontario is the main city of a sprawling metropolis that surrounds the western end of Lake Ontario. While the Greater Toronto Area has nearly 6.5 million inhabitants, the entire metropolis is home to over 9.2 million people, the largest in Canada.
The city is considered one of the most multicultural cities globally, something emphasized by the fact that over 50% of the city’s population belongs to a visible minority group and over 160 languages are spoken here. This immensely diverse group of people live in a city full of interesting places to visit for tourists.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best things to do in Toronto, attractions that you simply have to visit when you make it to the most populous city in Canada.
1. CN Tower
The CN Tower in Toronto isn’t just one of the most fascinating landmarks in the largest city of Canada, it’s also one of the most iconic structures that were ever built. It was named after the railway company that commissioned its construction, “Canadian National,” but the tower has been privatized since 1995. The American Society of Civil Engineers listed it as one of their 7 Wonders of the World in the 1990s.
With a height of 553.3 meters (1,15.3 feet), this incredible tower was the tallest free-standing structure in the world for over 32 years until it was surpassed by Burj Khalifa in 2007. It’s still the 9th-tallest in the world, a remarkable achievement since it was completed way back in 1976. Today, it’s one of Toronto’s most popular tourist attractions and offers multiple entertainment options, including an observation deck and an “Edgewalk” for daredevils.
Read more on Listerious: 32 facts about the CN Tower
Official website: CN Tower
2. Art Gallery of Ontario
The city of Toronto is home to a large number of art museums, but the one that sticks out in terms of the quality of its collection if you’re into fine art is the Art Gallery of Ontario. The museum was established in 1900 as the “Art Museum of Toronto” and was renamed in 1966. It has been located in its present location, a complex called “The Grange,” which has been expanded multiple times in its history.
Today, the museum welcomes about a million visitors every year and has over 98,000 items in its collection, ranging from the 1st century to modern times. It features some of the best works from renowned Canadian and European artists, as well as work from modern and contemporary artists from all around the world, making it a must-visit museum when you’re in the city.
Official website: Art Gallery of Ontario
3. Casa Loma
Right in the heart of Midtown Toronto, we can find one of the most fascinating structures in the city. Casa Loma, which translates from Spanish to “House on the Hill,” is a Gothic Revival style mansion that was constructed between 1911 and 1914 for a rich Canadian financer named Sir Henry Pellatt (1859-1939). It’s located on a little hill at an elevation of 140 meters (460 feet) above sea level, making it a prominent landmark in the city.
The building features a distinctive architectural design which has resulted in it being featured in multiple movies, including X-Men (2000) and Chicago (2002), to name just a few. During the day, this mansion serves its purpose as a historic house museum, and it can be transformed into an event location when the museum closes at night. Weddings are one of the most popular events held here, and what an amazing location to get married it is, don’t you think?
Official website: Casa Loma
4. Nathan Phillips Square
Nathan Phillips Square is the most famous square in the city of Toronto and is located right in the heart of the city. It’s the largest urban square in Canada with an area of 4.85 hectares (12.0 acres) and it forms the forecourt to Toronto City Hall, the official seat of the government of the city. This structure is known as “New City Hall” because the Old City Hall is located on the other side of this fascinating square.
The square was named after the mayor of Toronto Between 1955 and 1962 named Nathan Phillips (1892-1976), a man who was the city’s first Jewish mayor. It opened in 1965 and has become one of the most popular spots in the city. It’s the location of concerts, art exhibitions, and a reflecting pool which is transformed into an ice rink during the cold winter months.
Official website: Nathan Phillips Square
5. Toronto Old City Hall
Just to the southeast of the fascinating modern structure known as the “New City Hall” we can find the Old City Hall, an equally fascinating historic building in the center of the city. As the name implies, it was the seat of the Council of Toronto between 1899 and the completion of the new building in 1962.
One of the most distinctive features of this fascinating building is the bell tower. Even though it’s overshadowed by the numerous skyscrapers surrounding it today, it was one of the most imposing landmarks in the city for multiple centuries as it stands 103.64 meters (340.0 feet) tall. Today, this Romanesque Revival-style building serves as a courthouse and plans are being made to turn it into a museum in the future.
Official website: Old City Hall
6. High Park
What better place to spend a relaxing afternoon in Toronto than in one of the city’s most amazing public parks, right? If that’s your plan then High Park is the best place to go. This amazing piece of nature was opened in 1876 is the second-largest public park in the city after Centennial Park and is located just west of downtown Toronto.
It covers a total area of 161 hectares (400 acres) of which one-third remains in a permanent natural state. The most popular attraction in the park is the Japanese cherry trees which can be found in multiple locations inside High Park. The oldest was planted here way back in 1959 and over 2,000 have followed since. The best place to visit is when these trees are in full bloom between late April and late May which is when these trees are in full bloom and create an amazing natural spectacle in the heart of Canada’s largest city.
Official website: High Park