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The Toronto Ten

Toronto, the multicultural capital of the province of Ontario, is known for its open-mindedness; the city is getting ready to host visitors again with a slate of interesting attractions and outdoor activities. Here are ten ideas for enjoying a long-awaited escape.

By: Julia Henríquez  

Photos: Javier Pinzón

 

1. Ontario Science Centre

A must-see for both tourists and residents since it opened in 1969. This shrine to knowledge plunges visitors into an interactive multimedia experience, proving that science is fun. Raymond Moriyama’s bold architecture features six floors of captivating exhibits, live demonstrations, IMAX documentaries and, as you might expect, scientifically-proven health measures. 

For further information, reservations, and ticket sales, visit https://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca.

 

2. Casa Loma

Straight out of a fairy tale or a Monopoly game, the dream house of magnate Sir Henry Pellatt, built in 1914, is one of the city’s most striking attractions. Abandoned after the owners ran into financial difficulties, this lovely castle was on the point of being demolished when it was acquired by the city of Toronto. Later managed by Liberty Entertainment Group, it was turned into a tourist attraction and used as a film set and a site for meetings and special events. Visitors can tour everything from the beautiful gardens to the rooms occupied by the castle’s first inhabitants. The castle also offers special events, temporary exhibits and, for discerning palates, two of Toronto’s most exclusive restaurants. 

For further information, visit https://casaloma.ca

 

3. CN Tower

Communications problems requiring a new antenna-tower created an unforeseen challenge for the city of Toronto. Construction of the 1815.3 foot structure took forty months, with 1,537 workers laboring around the clock five days a week. CN Tower  is an adrenaline rush, what with its 1,465-foot-high lookout point, glass floor, high-speed elevators, revolving restaurant and —why not— a stroll along the Edgewalk, a wide ledge encircling the tower 1,168 feet above the ground. 

For further information on hours and prices, visit https://www.cntower.ca

 

4. Royal Ontario Museum

With twenty-one galleries bursting with history, art, architecture, science, and biodiversity, the Royal Ontario Museum is an attraction you don’t want to miss. Since the vast collection could consume many hours, if not days, we suggest you choose a couple of topics to explore and spend as much time as possible here before heading out for more adventures in this cosmopolitan city. As a bonus, the building stands out in the cityscape as an eclectic architectural gem where modern meets classic. All in all, this is a site worth discovering inside and out.

Tickets are available only online, and reservations are required; visit https://www.rom.on.ca/en

 

5. The Port

Outdoor activities were the first to be permitted after reopening, since they are not only safer, but also conducive to improved mental health. We took sun, breezes, and fresh air for granted all those years. So, a great way to return to normality would be to visit the Port of Toronto to savor a meal overlooking Lake Ontario; admire the city skyline from the ferry or a sailboat; head out for a bike ride; or settle down for a picnic in a waterfront park. What else do you need for a wonderful day in the sun?

Visit an official tourism portal for the list of daily activities. 

 

6. Museum of Illusions

The saying “A picture is worth a thousand words; an illusion is worth a million” could easily describe Toronto’s most “Instagramable” site. The galleries of the Museum of Illusions will make your head explode using science and a bit of magic to entertain anyone who dares to think outside the box. The Museum also has a playroom where you can undergo a digital detox (visit to see what that means), and attempt playful brain teasers, some of which you can purchase to take home. 

For further information on hours and admission, visit https://museumofillusions.ca

 

7. St. Lawrence Market

Since there is no better way to get to know a people than through their cuisine, you shouldn’t miss this historic market that dates back to 1850. The best local food havens are tucked away in St. Lawrence. With shops selling both handcrafts and food, visitors can taste the best of Canadian cuisine: cheeses, bacon, bagels, and much more. Now there is also The Market Kitchen, where you can take classes with top chefs and take home the recipes for their incredible dishes. 

For further information on classes and locations, visit http://www.stlawrencemarket.com. 

 

8.Hockey Hall of Fame

We can’t talk about Canada without talking about ice hockey; even if you know nothing about this sport, you can’t leave the country without an introduction to ice hockey, since it is part and parcel of Canadian history. If you’d like to better appreciate the national sport, the Hockey Hall of Fame presents the best collection of sporting gear and memorabilia, along with the history of the sport and its most notable players. 

For information on hours, tickets, and health and safety protocols, visit https://www.hhof.com/index.html

 

9. Distillery District 

Some twenty years ago, a group of young visionaries met at a Victorian-style industrial building, and dreamed of a community of artists, designers, chefs, and thinkers that could undertake an exceptional restoration. That dream resulted in the birth of the Distillery District in 2003. The glorious historic exteriors of the buildings have been preserved, while the interiors reflect the best of modern hipster style. The boutiques and the cuisine make this the perfect spot to see how art and local culture flourish among the brickwork. 

For information, maps, and the calendar of special events, visit https://www.thedistillerydistrict.com

 

10. Parks and Beaches

Canada boasts breathtaking natural beauty. Each province has its own dreamlike landscapes, and Toronto is no exception. Every season provides an excuse to get out and enjoy outdoor festivals and activities, or simply dip into whatever appeals to you, such as paddle-boarding or delighting in gardens or beaches. Island Park, High Park (the jewel of the city), waterways, and natural parks with glacier lakes, pine forests, and stunning sunsets create great picnic spots all around the city. 

For information on each place, visit the official channels at https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/parks-gardens-beaches/