Top 10 Must See Attractions in Toronto
By Rachel McGreevy
Toronto is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Canada. Travelers of all ages will find plenty of things to do while visiting Toronto. As with any vacation, it is a good idea to plan ahead.
Before traveling to Toronto, visitors should pack appropriate clothing, use the Internet to find information about local restaurants. If driving to Toronto from the United States, visitors should consider short term international car insurance. If renting a car while visiting Toronto, rental car insurance is always a must. The following is a list of ten of Toronto's best attractions to help with one part of the planning process.
1. The CN Tower
The CN Tower was the world's tallest building and freestanding structure until 2010 and is currently the world's tallest tower. The 553-meter tower took nearly four years of 24-hour workdays for the 1,500 workers to complete. The CN Tower is open daily throughout the year with the exception of Christmas Day.
The tower is handicap-accessible and strollers are encouraged, although the special entrances off of John Street can be easily overlooked.
2. The Eaton Center
Tourists who are looking for the best shopping that Toronto has to offer need look no further than the Eaton Center. There are more than 250 shops in this four-story shopping center. There are budget-friendly stores and more expensive boutiques that guarantee that everyone will find the perfect souvenir.
The Eaton Center is located in the middle of Toronto's bustling downtown. The building itself is topped with a striking glass dome and features a mobile of Canadian geese that was designed by the famous Michael Snow.
3. The Bata Shoe Museum
Visitors who would like to see something truly unique while in Toronto should visit the Bata Shoe Museum. The museum has an impressive collection of more than 10,000 shoes, some of which date back 4,500 years. The Bata Shoe Museum has one permanent exhibit and three that change often, ensuring there is always something new to see.
4. The Hockey Hall of Fame
Sports enthusiasts should not miss the world's only hall of fame dedicated to hockey. The Hockey Hall of Fame contains memorabilia, games and multimedia stations throughout the building's 60,000 square feet. Nestled among the many exhibits are a mock National Hockey League locker room and several trophies; including the Stanley Cup.
5. African Lion Safari
Families will love visiting Toronto's African Lion Safari. This family business is home to more than 100 species, with a total of over 1,000 animals. Visitors can travel through the safari in their own vehicle or on the Safari Tour Bus. Other activities include a scenic boat cruise, animal shows and an interactive water area for children.
6. Wild Water Kingdom
Another family friendly destination is the Wild Water Kingdom. With more than a dozen water attractions and six activities for those who prefer to stay dry, Wild Water Kingdom is one of the best places to spend a day in Toronto. Highlights of the theme park include two mini-golf courses, several exciting water slides and plenty of safe areas for small children.
7. Steam Whistle Brewery
One of the best-known attractions in Toronto is the Steam Whistle Brewery. While not suitable for a family vacation, this destination is one place that adults should not miss during their stay in the city. The Steam Whistle Brewery is renowned for its stellar beers, informative tours and friendly staff. Complimentary beer is offered at the beginning and end of the tours, as well as at a few points along the way.
8. The Art Gallery of Ontario
Also known as the AGO, the Art Gallery of Ontario was recently renovated and reopened to the public in 2008. The renovation was done by the local architect Frank Gehry grew up not far from the museum. The building has 110 galleries, 30 of which are filled with a selection of donations from Kenneth Thomson, a late newspaper magnate. The AGO contains the world's largest collection of Henry Moore sculptures open to the public and many landscape paintings by Canada's famous "Group of Seven."
9. St. Lawrence Market
The St. Lawrence Market is one of Toronto's oldest buildings. It served as Toronto's City Hall for 54 years, starting in 1845. Today, the market is made of three buildings; the North Market, the South Market and St. Lawrence Hall.
The North Market holds a weekly Saturday Farmers' Market that can be traced back to the early 1800s and is filled with antique dealers on Sundays. Fresh foods and unique non-food items are sold at the South Market daily.Toronto's Cultural Services also maintains a gallery on the South Market's second floor. St. Lawrence Hall is home to businesses, city offices and several rental spaces.
10. Casa Loma
Casa Loma was built between 1911 and 1914 by Sir Henry Pellatt. The famous Canadian financier spent $3.5 million dollars fulfilling his dream of living in a home reminiscent of a medieval castle. Sir Henry lived in Casa Loma for only ten years before going bankrupt, selling his prized possession.
Casa Loma was briefly used as a luxury hotel before being transformed into one of Toronto's best-known tourist attractions. Casa Loma has been featured in many popular films, such as "X-Men," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," and "Chicago."
Toronto is a large city, and there are many more attractions than those featured in the above list. Toronto is also home to some of the world's best restaurants, hotels and parks. There are enough activities to keep tourists entertained, whether they are visiting for a weekend or a week. Visiting Toronto can be a memorable experience that will make travelers want to come back again.