Toronto is simply overwhelming and has everything to offer that is expected of a world-class city. As the capital of Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, Toronto has an impressive four million inhabitants, if one generously adds the catchment area of the metropolis. The city on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario also has a lot to offer tourists – the United Nations even named the metropolis the “most multicultural city in the world”.
If you are visiting Ontario’s capital for the first time, you will be impressed by the wealth of ethnic diversity. From Chinatown to Little Italy, from Greektown to Little India – the mix of cultures is not only reflected in over 1,700 restaurants, cafes and bars, a trip through the city’s neighborhoods actually feels like a little trip around the world.
Tip 1: CN Tower
The Canadian National Tower (CN Tower) is the landmark of Toronto with a height of 553 meters and was built between 1973 and 1976 (a remarkable achievement for that time). Its function is telecommunications and the broadcasting of over 30 television and radio stations.
The Canadian National Tower is considered an architectural masterpiece. After its opening in 1976, it was the tallest building in the world for a good thirty years. On the first day alone, it attracted 12,000 visitors, and now up to two million every year.
Since then, you can race up to the first observation deck at 342m in 58 seconds at a speed of 22 km/h. The glass floor of the elevator is in a class of its own. You really feel catapulted into the heights.
The tower houses a revolving restaurant and two viewing platforms, one of which has a glass floor since 1994. Don’t worry: The more than 6cm thick bulletproof glass panels support 38 tons and have been tested with elephants for stability.
The very brave can also dare a walk secured with a climbing rope at a height of 356m.
Tip 2: Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum is a museum of art, world culture and natural history in Toronto, Canada. It is one of the largest museums in North America, the largest in Canada, and attracts more than one million visitors each year, the second most for a Canadian art museum after the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal. The museum is located north of Queen’s Park in the University of Toronto district with its main entrance on Bloor Street West. The Toronto Transit Commission’s Museum subway station is named after the Royal Ontario Museum and, as of 2008, is decorated to resemble the institution’s collection. The St. George station is also located near the museum’s new entrance.
The museum was founded on April 16, 1912 and opened on March 19, 1914. The museum has maintained close ties with the University of Toronto throughout its history, often sharing expertise and resources. Today, the museum is Canada’s largest field research institution with research and conservation activities around the globe.
With more than six million exhibits and forty galleries, the Museum’s diverse collections of world culture and natural history contribute to its international reputation. The museum contains remarkable collections of dinosaurs, minerals and meteorites, Middle Eastern and African art, art of East Asia, European history, and Canadian history. It houses the world’s largest collection of fossils from the Burgess Shale, with more than 150,000 specimens. The museum also contains an extensive collection of design and art, including clothing, interiors and product design, particularly Art Deco.
Tip 3: Art Gallery of Ontario
The Art Gallery of Ontario is a modern art museum with more than 60,000 exhibits on 45,000 m2. Founded in 1900, the AGO today represents one of the most important art museums in North America.
The collection focuses on Canadian artworks, which make up about 40% of the exhibits. Other world-famous artists such as Rodin, Picasso, Van Gogh and Andy Warhol are also represented here.
However, the Art Gallery is also known throughout the world for the collection of works by the British artist Henry More, which is housed here. The Henry More Sculpture Centre represents the largest public collection of the artist in the world.
Located in Chinatown, the art museum was completely rebuilt in 2007/2008 and redesigned by Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry. The building now not only offers significantly more exhibition space, but also has a new façade made of wood and glass, as well as an additional gallery that overlooks Dundas Street and also allows visitors to see into the museum from the street.
Tip 4: Casa Loma
Castles and palaces are more commonly expected in other places, but not in North America. Casa Loma, with its 98 rooms and two-hectare garden, was once the largest private residence of its kind. The builder, Sir Henry Pellatt had this dream to call a medieval castle his own. Casa Loma was completed in 1914 according to European models.
In the basement of Casa Loma hang some posters of movies that were filmed at Casa Loma. You’ve probably seen Chicago, X-Men, The Tuxedo. The setting is very picturesque and is otherwise popular for events.
Sir Henry Pellatt made his money in mines, stocks as well as electric utilities. He was the man who gave Toronto light and electricity. The castle is very modern and comfortable by the standards of the time. There are elevators, modern bathrooms, central heating as well as telephones everywhere – 59 in all, even in the bathroom! The tragic side of the story – with the castle Sir Henry took over. With his wife he lived only about 10 years in the property before he went bankrupt. In 1924 the castle had to be auctioned. Today it belongs to the city of Toronto.
Tip 5: Ripley’s Aquarium
The underwater world is a mystical place that we humans are always trying to explore further. The Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto gives young and old an impressive insight into the diversity of this world and lets its visitors almost literally dive down. Many different aquariums guide you through the underwater worlds, with over 16,000 animals. The highlight is the largest underwater tunnel in North America. On a conveyor belt, one travels through the huge tunnel of the main basin, where even great white sharks can be found.
Visitors are invited to try out many things for themselves or even touch them. The underwater world is very varied and visually interesting. An experience that makes not only children’s eyes shine. The aquarium is located in the immediate vicinity of the CN Tower, so that both attractions can be combined very well.