The Big Smoke. Hogtown. The 6. T-dot. Whatever you call it, Toronto’s reputation as Canada’s metropolis is unparalleled. The fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is the place to be. Known for its hustle and bustling mixture of diverse cultures and neighbourhoods, this megacity is built on influences from all around the world.
Get ready to explore this thriving concrete jungle with Andrew, a former EF Tour Director who now works behind the scenes in EF’s production department to create unforgettable experiences for travellers.
Here’s Andrew’s list of the top ten things you’ll want to see and do on your next visit to Toronto:
1) CN Tower
Standing tall as the iconic figure of Toronto’s skyline, the CN Tower remains the city’s quintessential tourist attraction. Built by Canadian National Railway at a cost of $63 million and scaling 147 stories high, the CN Tower remains the tallest freestanding structure in the western hemisphere. Test your bravery by walking on the glass floors 115 stories up, or take in the scenery from the observation deck. If you’re feeling extra-adventurous, you might want to try the CN Tower Edgewalk, which gives you the chance to do a hands-free, harnessed walk on an outdoor platform high above the city. Edgewalk or no, the CN Tower is a must for any first-time visitor.
2) Ripley’s Aquarium
Having opened its doors in 2014, Ripley’s Aquarium is a new addition to the list of Toronto attractions. This watery wonder has become a favourite for visitors of all ages. Get an up-close view of underwater predators and take the opportunity to pet a friendly fish. This is a great place to learn about what goes on under the sea (cue the Disney music).
Travel Tip: The jellyfish section is mesmerizing with its beautiful colours, and is an amazing photo opportunity to impress all your friends.
3) A Blue Jays Game
The Blue Jays are the pride and joy of Toronto, and seeing them play gives you a great chance to rub elbows with the locals. As Canada’s sole professional baseball team, the Blue Jays represent an entire nation and offer a fun-filled evening of cheers, entertainment and big hits. So paint your face, wear your blue and white with pride, and come out to proudly root for the hometown team!
4) The Royal Ontario Museum
The ROM will catch the eye of any passerby with its unusual design and architecture. Not just known for its looks, it’s what’s inside that counts at this intriguing museum. Find yourself face-to-face with a T-Rex or marvel at the size of an Apatosaurus. Roam the floors of the ROM to discover prehistoric fossils, nature displays, and ancient artifacts from civilizations long gone.
5) Take in a theatre show
New York isn’t the only city to offer world renowned performances and breathtaking theatre. Toronto’s song-and-dance scene is rich with plays and musicals held at the historic Royal Alexandra, Mirvish, and Princess of Wales Theatres. This is one of the best ways to wrap up your day with glamour and class, so sit back and enjoy the show while top actors, dancers, and singers dazzle you with their talent and skill.
6) Ontario Science Centre
Looking for a few words to describe a visit to the Ontario Science Centre? Try fun and interactive for starters. Filled with engaging exhibits for all ages, you’ll marvel at the science behind space exploration, the natural world and the human body. If you wonder how the world (and the universe) works, then this is the place for you.
7) Casa Loma
Toronto’s very own castle, Casa Loma was designed by the famous architect E. J. Lennox for the financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt. You may recognize this unique building from movies such as X-Men, Chicago, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and The Pacifier. Now a museum and local landmark, Casa Loma offers visitors a chance to experience the lifestyles of the rich and famous from the year 1914.
8) The PATH
Spanning 29 kilometres long and connecting hundreds of shops and food markets, Toronto’s PATH is the largest underground network in North America. If the streets look empty above, it’s still busy underneath with people keeping out of the cold, and staying dry in the rain. Take a stroll and enjoy some great shopping in the city below, especially in the winter months.
9) Hockey Hall of Fame
If you love Canada’s favourite pastime, you’ll have a blast at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Get a chance to explore historic hockey memorabilia and take a picture with the Stanley Cup! The interactive games are favourites for guests of all ages—try shooting a puck at a goalie, announcing a play-by-play from an NHL game, or try and save a shot from The Great One! This is a must for any hockey fan.
10) St. Lawrence Market
Named the world’s best food market by National Geographic, the St. Lawrence Market is something every visitor to Toronto must experience. Dating back over 200 years, the market still thrives today with its many shops, fruit stands, butchers, bakers and food stalls. You might even have to make it back for a repeat visit.
Travel tip: The market is one of the best places in the city for deli sandwiches and baked treats, so bring your appetite! Some great places to try are Carousel Bakery for its iconic peameal bacon sandwich, Buster’s Sea Cove for fried seafood, and Kozlik’s mustard for a tasty made-in-Toronto souvenir for friends and family.
Tempted by Toronto’s many sights and sounds? Learn more about educational trips to Toronto.
Toronto skyline, CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium and ROM: Andrew MacFarlane
Rogers Centre: Stephanie Pagnotta
Ontario Science Centre: Roland Tanglao via flickr
Royal Alexandra Theatre, Hockey Hall of Fame: City of Toronto via flickr
PATH: Diego Torres Silvestre via flickr
Casa Loma: Matt Howry via flickr