Toronto is well-known as the most populated and diverse city in Canada. With over two million residents, this bustling capital city sits perched atop Lake Ontario and makes up the bulk of the Greater Toronto Area. Nearly half of the city’s residents have immigrated from countries outside of Canada, making Toronto one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in the world. Well-defined neighborhoods break the city up into distinctive districts, each maintaining its unique character and culture. That means you’ll have lots of opportunities to explore from your Toronto hotel, wherever you choose to make your home base. Here I have assembled a guide to the most important districts.
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The Downtown district, which encompasses Old Toronto, is the economic and cultural center of the city. Here you’ll find monolithic skyscrapers and intriguing architectural structures as well as the most important concert halls, theaters, and sport stadiums of Toronto. You can watch a concert at the Royal Alexandra, visit the Canadian Opera House for a moving performance, or get your blood pumping at an NHL Maple Leafs match at the Air Canada Centre. For something really exciting, ride to the top of the tallest free-standing building in the Americas, CN Tower, where you can get a 360 degrees view of the Greater Toronto Area.
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Downtown Toronto also houses the Art Gallery of Toronto, which has famous works by Monet and Warhol, as well as the largest collection of Henry Moore sculptures in the world. For something a bit more quirky, check out the Distillery District or take the Steam Whistle Brewery Tour. Toronto is well-known for its thriving beer scene, so you’ll have your pick of great cafes and pubs serving up top-notch beers. There are also a variety of historic walking tours you can take throughout Old Toronto. Lastly, head to St. Lawrence Market for an unforgettable shopping experience, where you can pick up anything from fresh produce to artisanal goods.
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North York became part of Toronto quite recently and offers its own set of tourist attractions. One of the most marked is Black Creek Pioneer Village, where you are transported to life in Toronto in the 1800’s, complete with period actors, heritage houses, and artisanal goods that you can taste and touch. You can also visit the Ontario Science Center, which offers great interactive exhibits for children. Lastly, many immigrant communities have settled in North York, where you’ll find ‘Little Moscow’ and a large Persian and Korean population, which means fantastic international food and great shops for perusing.