Things to Do in Toronto - page 2
True to its name, the Entertainment District hosts Toronto’s extensive performing arts, club and sports scene. The Roy Thomson Hall, home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, might look like a big glass container, but once inside is an architectural and acoustic marvel. At the Royal Alexandra Theatre, famous productions such as Mamma Mia! and the LionKing have been performed and for more shows, musicals and plays, head to the Princess of Wales theatre. At that venue, you will find amazing views from all angles and it is said, that there isn’t a single bad seat in the whole theatre. Sport fans should visit the Air Canada Center, an indoor sporting arena and home of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors, as well as the Rogers Centre, the gigantic baseball stadium where the Blue Jays play.
The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, built in 1808, is the oldest landmark in Toronto as well as one of the earliest lighthouses built on the Great Lakes. Originally, sperm whale oil and later coal were used to light the lantern and guide ships through York Harbour, but today the lighthouse is no longer in operation. It eventually got replaced by a fully automated, electric tower and the historical grey stone building with the bright red door and railings is now only occasionally opened to the public during special events. As the island has grown and evolved over the centuries, the lighthouse moved further away from the water and now, it stands in a quiet meadow surrounded by a thicket of trees.
Local legends portray the hexagonal lighthouse as being haunted, blurring the line between facts and myth, and most locals have heard some camp fire stories or other about the events having seemingly transpired here.
Yorkville is a very urban and chic neighborhood in Toronto, which, over the past decades, has become a hotspot for first class galleries and elegant designer stores mixed with a young urban crowd and gourmet restaurants. Yorkville wasn’t always so upscale and trendy though. Once only a small residential suburb on the outskirts of Toronto, Yorkville grew into a bohemian culture center in the ‘60s and was even called the hippie capital of Canada. It fostered such well-known artists as Neil Young, Margaret Atwood and Dennis Lee and it was only in the past decades that sky scrapers and department stores popped up, boutiques and galleries moved into residential homes and the neighborhood turned into the high-end shopping district of today. Especially Bloor Street is home to luxury designers such as Tiffany & Co, Chanel, Gucci and Hermès, but many more boutiques can be found throughout the neighborhood.
What used to be Toronto’s largest storage facility is now a condominium apartment, office, entertainment and shopping mall complex in named Queen's Quay Terminal. Built in 1926, it was used as both a docking area and a storage facility, thanks to over 100 docks and 1 million square feet of storage for packaged and dry goods, specialized cold storage, international imports, bonded goods, such as tea and tobacco. Interior train tracks eliminated the need for transport to other storage facilities, making the Terminal Warehouse a one-stop shop for imports and exports. It was converted into a large multi-function development in 1983, and is now often cited as one of the most successful and clever revitalization works in the world, receiving several awards to that effect. It has masterfully preserved the area’s history while adapting to new commercial and residential realities, all while maintaining the building’s iconic Art Deco architecture.
The name Little Italy might actually be a little bit deceiving as this Toronto neighborhood is not the exclusively Italian quarter one might expect. While the area around College Street became the commercial and residential center of Toronto’s Italian community in the 1920s, many families actually began to move away in the ‘60s and were replaced by other immigrant families mainly from China, Vietnam, Portugal, Spain and Latin America. Today, Little Italy is a very international and multicultural neighborhood that is popular with the young crowd. Although there is still that Italian atmosphere including lots of soccer fans, old Italian Nonnas and some shady Mafioso hangout spots, the name is more a nod to the role the neighborhood has played as the starting point for many Italian immigrant families in Toronto.
A futuristic amusement park, Ontario Place offers something for everybody inside its five steel-and-glass pods, suspended on columns 105 feet (32 meters) above Lake Ontario. Kids and adults can go from pod to pod and see a multimedia theater, a children's theater, a high-tech exhibit, multimedia displays, and the Cinesphere - an IMAX theater. Parents watch a movie while kids go berserk at soft-play areas like the H2O Generation Station, with its twisting slides, towers, and walkways, and the Atom Blaster, a huge foam-ball free-for-all.
Additional attractions include the human-sized MegaMaze and MicroKids, which is a play area for little ones. At First Flight, you can a ride up in the air in a replica hot-air balloon. If you need a break from the attractions and rides, spend a little downtime browsing the gift shops. In the evening, the Molson Amphitheatre host a variety of concerts.
Greektown, also known as The Danforth, has a European sensibility, with its sprawling restaurant and cafe patios, cluster of markets and heavy street traffic. However, over the years, you’ll find it’s just as easy to get Sushi or Indian food among the Greek tavernas.
The Danforth has two identities - north of the Danforth is the concentration of traditional Greek and Italian families; south of the Danforth are more modern Canadian families and a hippie demographic. This is also reflected in the geography of the street: from Chester to the east end of the Danforth there is more of a concentration of Greek Restaurants; the centre of the Danforth, at Chester, is known as The Carrot Common, home to one of the oldest Vegetarian markets, The Big Carrot; west on the Danforth are a plethora of cafes, yoga studios and a mix of restaurants and classic pubs like the Auld Spot, Allens and Dora Keoghs.
More Things to Do in Toronto
Sugar Beach is an urban beach that was opened in 2010 in an attempt to make the shoreline more accessible to the public and to revitalize the space. The name Sugar Beach is a reference to the Redbath Sugar Refinery, which can be seen just opposite the beach and the park was clearly designed with that sugar theme in mind. The fine, white sand looks almost a bit like sugar, the large granite rocks are painted in red and white stripes similar to a bonbon and then there are the patio umbrellas in that perfect shade of pink candy floss. Contrary to what the name “beach” might actually suggest, the area does not allow for swimming or bathing in the Lake Ontario water and instead is a recreational and relaxation space. Beneath the pink umbrellas, white beach chairs dot the sand and invite for a relaxing afternoon with a book or some good company.
The Toronto zoo is the premier attraction in Toronto for animal lovers, featuring over 5,000 animals and 10 km of walking trails.
The newest attraction to the zoo is the Xie Shou Giant Panda experience where you can meet pandas Er Shun and Da Mao, shipped from China. Other exciting attractions include the 10-acre Tundra Trek which includes a five-acre Polar bear habitat and underwater viewing area; the African Penguin exhibit; the Gorilla Rainforest; and the Great Barrier Reef, a replica filled with many species of fish native to Australasia. There are plenty of interactive exhibits for kids, such as the Kids Discovery Zone, which includes an interactive Kids Zoo, Splash Island and animal/bird shows at the Waferside Theatre.
Little India is home to the Gerrard India Bazaar, North America’s largest South Asian ethnic market. This is the place to get a sari - you can buy an array of silks, embroideries and ornately sequined pieces ready-to-wear or materials to sew yourself. Add to your jewelry collection: The Bazaar brings gold from places like India, Pakistan, Singapore and Dubai. Plenty of grocers sell Halal meat and an array of Indian foods and spices.
The restaurants are the real draw here - with the buffets and large restaurants here, you can feast for an affordable price. While Indian buffets still dot the heavily Sikh and Hindu eastern edge of the bazaar, halal restaurants are taking over the west. Vegetarians will be delighted at the options and popular restaurants include Udupi Palace, Bombay Chowpatty and Motimahal. Every July, the TD Festival of South Asia celebrates South Asian culture. Tastes cost $1-5 and participants can be entertained by live Indian and Banghra music.
The Ontario Science Centre is home to interactive experiences with science and technology to educate and inspire visitors to create a better future for our planet.
Built into the slope of the Don Valley --and a great way to commute if you like to bike--the Science Centre contains a variety of inspiring space. The West Family Innovation Centre has 50 open ended experiences to discover new trends and innovations in science and technology. The Living Earth exhibit is one of the most exciting exhibits because you can experience a life-like rainforest and other natural wonders like a simulated tornado. The Science Arcade is a fan favorite with a complete hands-on science experience that includes the famous electricity demo. If you don’t want to walk around, you can watch an inspiring or educational film in Ontario’s only IMAX Dome theatre. There are also a number of new exhibits such as The Human Edge.
LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is an interactive and fun filled activity for the whole family, where visitors can delve into the colorful and creative brick world of Lego. The first stop upon entering the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is the Lego Factory. A tour takes visitors through different stations showing how Legos are designed, manufactured and tested. And, just in case you were ever wondering, you can find out your weight and height in Lego bricks. Afterwards, the Miniland, a perfect replica of the Toronto skyline and waterfront in miniature awaits, including many well-known landmarks and attractions such as the CN Tower, City Hall and the Rogers Centre. The attention to detail is incredible and includes little Lego pedestrians and spectators, moving vehicles as well as daylight and nighttime adjustments.
The LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is mostly geared towards children between the ages of 2 and 10.
Located 47 miles (75 kilometers) southwest of Toronto, the Royal Botanical Gardens unfolds with color, especially during the spring, summer, and autumn months. With in its 3,000 acres (1,200 hectares), the Gardens are a stunning nature sanctuary, with more than 1,100 species of plants thriving within its boundaries. The Royal Botanical Garden’s Rock Garden blazes with chrysanthemums in October, while the Laking Garden flourishes in summer with peonies, irises, and lilies. The Centennial Rose Garden is a must-see during late June through early September. Other attractions at RBG include the Arboretum, the Nature Interpretive Centre, and a network of trails and outdoor floral arrangements. The Royal Botanical Gardens hosts many festivals throughout the year, including the Ontario Garden Show (the second-largest garden show in Canada) and the Mediterranean Food & Wine Festival.
Canada’s Wonderland is Ontario’s premier theme park with over 200 attractions, 68 rides, Splash Works, great live shows and more. Due to the number of roller coasters--sixteen in total-- and known for premiering a new ride every year, Wonderland is known as one of the top roller coaster destinations in the world.
You can guess the type of popular rides through their names: The Bat, Skyrider, Top Gun, Vortex, Drop Tower and The Behemoth. The Leviathan is Wonderland’s latest attraction and Canada’s tallest and fastest roller coaster to date. Riders climb to riders climb to a record breaking 306 feet (97.7 metres) followed by an exhilarating 80 degree drop!. Dinosaurs Alive! is a seven acre dinosaur park, which was introduced in 2012, features more than 40 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs and an interactive dig site.
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