Toronto is metropolitan world-class city of 2.5 million people and growing and the longer I live here the more reasons I discover why I Love Toronto. There are so many wonderful things about this great city that I want to share with you. It was difficult to do, but I managed to narrow down a list of top ten things I love about Toronto. Here’s the list in no particular order. Please feel free to share in the comments below your favourite things.
- Toronto is foodie-friendly with over 7,000 restaurants to choose from. A stroll along Baldwin, Dundas or King Streets yields choices from around the globe including Korea, Japan, China, France and Italy.
- Your bike might not be decorated as nicely as this one we spotted in Kensington Market, but it goes to prove that anything goes with bikes in Toronto. There are over 563 km of bicycle lanes, off-road trails and signed routes in the city. My favorite is the Martin Goodman/Waterfront Trail that passes in front of the Boatel and covers over 55 km as it makes its way along the waterfront. Improvements are currently underway to join the east and west end with a multi-use path. No bike – no worries Bike Share Toronto (formerly BIXI) has rentals available for bike commuter access with pick-up/drop off stations throughout the city. Half day rentals are also available at the Boatel.
- Art Lovers fall in love with Toronto. Two of Toronto’s most notable destinations are the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) with over 4,000 works. There are over 160 art galleries in Toronto to visit including the Museum of Inuit Art which is pictured here to the right. While touring the city be sure to keep your eyes open for the 200+ pieces of city-owned Outdoor Art. Please see our blog post on outdoor art for more information. Be sure to put the Bata Shoe Museum on your list of things to do in Toronto. It’s not just for loafers!
- Multiculturalism is alive and well and living in Toronto. Visit Chinatown, Greektown, Little Italy, Portuguese Village, Koreantown, Little India and the list goes on. What other city in the world offers such diversity?
- One big city with 140 official neighbourhoods. Each neighbourhood has its own distinct personality and is worthy of visiting. You can do a walking tour of most of these neighbourhoods. I recommend the “Toronto Urban Strolls…for girlfriends” walking guide but don’t be fooled by the name, guys buy it too. My favorite neighbourhoods are Kensington Market and the Distillery District.
- A sports team for any fan – Blue Jays (baseball), Toronto Maple Leafs (hockey), Toronto FX (soccer), Toronto Raptors (basketball), Toronto Argos (football).
- Escape to the Islands is just a ferry away. The Toronto Islands Ferry runs year around and offers an escape to city dwellers and visitors on this 5.5 mile long island Park. The best way to tour the island is to bike or roller blade and plan a stop at a quiet spot to having a picnic and enjoy the view of the city.
- Toronto is a waterfront city! With a wide variety of choices of boats such as kayaks, paddleboards, canoes, dragon boats, voyager canoes, sailboats, tall ships, dinner cruises and ferries, getting on the water is part of the summertime experience in Toronto. You can rent power or sail boats at the Harbourfront Sail and Powerboat Centre or take a three hour introductory sail with Gone Sailing Adventures. If you can’t get out on the water, you get grab a chair at one of our two Urban Beaches and watch the boats go by. This one is near HTO Park just east of the Boatel.
- Great shopping finds from hiking gear to fabrics and designer clothing. Tip: Mountain Equipment Co-op is a Canadian store which supplies biking, hiking, rock climbing and camping equipment and is a sought-after store by our European and Scandinavian guests. Queen & Spadina is in the heart of the old textile district and is a great source for unique and well-priced fabrics. If you’re looking for designer clothing then head north on the subway to Bloor/Yorkville.
- Let’s face it, a top 10 list would not be complete without a mention of the CN Tower. Watching the tower change colours at night can be best compared with staring at a fireplace. Our aft deck is my favorite place to sit at night to watch the light show on the tower. For those that want you experience life-on-the-edge then you may want to consider the Edgewalk at the CN Tower where you get dressed up in orange jumpsuits and walk around the perimeter of the tower at 1,168 feet above the ground!
If your wondering why I spelled neighbourhood and colour with a “u”, that’s because I speak (and write) Canadian. We have Loonies (one dollar coins) and Twoonies (two dollar coins). We go to the Washroom (restroom or bathroom) and we wear Toques (hats) in the winter to keep warm. Our unofficial bird of Toronto is the (construction) crane. And a travel tip: the best way to get directions is to open a map on a street corner and someone will come to your rescue.
Please let us about why you love Toronto in the comments below.