Toronto is Canada’s largest city and is widely considered to have one of the best standards of living in the world, and it’s an equally fantastic destination for traveling. The city is a dynamic, fresh and exciting environment that is a product of its diverse population and laid-back attitudes.
Toronto is home to over 200 cultures, and this is represented in the city’s streets, which boast three Chinatowns and two little Italy’s. The art and culture scenes in Toronto are also some of the most vibrant and well-preserved in North America and visitors are encouraged to explore all that this creative city has to offer.
Many would also class Toronto as one of the best destinations for gay tourism in North America and the city’s iconic gay village is a bustling hub of inclusive and passionate LGBT+ culture. Gay travelers will notice the signs of LGBT+ pride, nightlife and community around every corner. Read More: A Gay Guide to Toronto.
Standing at a mind-blowing 553 metres, the Canadian National Tower has been a fixture of Toronto’s skyline since it’s opening in 1976. The tower functions as a broadcast and telecommunications centre and is also one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations.
Offering uninterrupted views across Toronto and beyond, the CN tower is home to three observation levels, including the LookOut level with floor to ceiling panoramic windows and the famous Glass Floor observation area, which offers visitors the chance to gaze down onto the streets of the city. Guests can reach the top of the tower by an exhilarating 58-second ride in a glass-fronted elevator and can also enjoy award-winning Canadian cuisine at the tower’s restaurant.
St Lawrence Market
Since 1803, the St Lawrence Market has been the beating heart of Toronto’s community and food scene. Named the world’s best food market by National Geographic in 2012, the market is one of the best places in Toronto to sample fresh produce and artisan creations.
The St Lawrence Market comprises three large buildings and the South Market is where visitors will find over 120 vendors selling everything from spices and vegetables to seafood and meats. The upper levels of the market are home to a revolving selection of exhibitions that illustrate and showcase Toronto’s unique art, culture and history.
A number of festivals and events are held at the St Lawrence market throughout the year, including live performances, cookery classes and workshops. The market is open Monday-Saturday and tends to get busy in the early afternoon, and this is when the classic bustling atmosphere can be experienced
Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum has been showcasing historical art and culture from around the world for over 100 years and is often regarded as one of North America’s top cultural institutions. Home to 13 million artefacts, artworks and cultural pieces spread through 40 galleries, the Royal Ontario Museum boasts one of the largest collections and is a leader in innovation and research.
The outside of the museum is just as stunning as the relics it holds, combining the original design of the building with a striking ultra-contemporary extension, the Royal Ontario Museum is an example of the architectural innovation that is so typical of Toronto.
The museum is home to a range of temporary and permanent exhibitions. Located in the centre of Toronto, the institution is close to many of the city’s most popular hotels and other attractions making it a convenient and worthwhile visit for any traveler.
Toronto’s gay village is home to an eclectic and exciting mix of gay bars and clubs for tourists to enjoy and the area is considered one of the best destinations in North America for gay travelers.
Woody’s bar was made famous by the USA version of the cult TV show ‘Queer as Folk’ that featured the venue as the main gay hangout for the show’s characters. This expansive multi-level club is known for hosting amazing drag shows from resident and touring queens and also boasts a diverse and varied crowd of all ages, tribes and styles.
Read More: A Gay Guide to Toronto.
Art Gallery of Ontario
Situated in Toronto’s bustling downtown area, the Art Gallery of Ontario is an institution of culture and creativity in the city. Displaying a range of artworks and installations from through time and across the globe, the gallery has a diverse and representative collection.
Boasting works from the likes of Dianne Arbus, Pablo Picasso and Yayoi Kusama, the gallery is home to a selection of paintings, photographs, drawings and sculptures. The collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario includes 95,000 pieces and specialises in contemporary and modern works.
The area of downtown Toronto that is host to the gallery is the city’s main fashion, theatre and entertainment district, meaning there’s plenty to do and the area is well connected to the rest of the city by Toronto’s efficient bus and rail networks.
Casa Loma is renowned for being one of the city’s most popular attractions. It looks a little like a castle – though not as old as a traditional British castle! – and the Gothic style mansion and garden is now a historic house that is open to the public. Built in the early 20th century as a home for financier Sir Henry Pellatt, it is a popular filming location for movies such as X-Men. It’s also a great wedding venue.
The largest public park in Toronto, High Park is known for its dense vegetation, serene lakefront promenade and zoo. The park offers a quiet and relaxing space to escape from the noise and action of Toronto’s city centre and its sheer size means visitors can wander the grounds for hours.
Visitors can explore High Park’s mini-zoo which is home to llamas, buffalo, bison, deer and peacocks or alternatively stroll along the Sakura Tree-lined avenues and watch the falling blossom. The stunning white and pink cherry blossoms come into fall bloom around April or May every year and attract thousands of visitors.
by George Pizani | On: Gay Toronto