Whatever the reasons to come to Toronto, visitors are inevitably drawn to the downtown area, where majority of the city's most popular attractions can be found.
The most prominent of these is the CN Tower, a towering symbol of the city which stands 553 metres (1,815 feet) above the downtown waterfront. However, this tower is not solely for enjoying the scenery.
There are interactive rides, an arcade, and even a 3-D movie theatre. On the main observation deck is also the CN Tower 360 Restaurant, a revolving restaurant that features the world's highest wine cellar. Coming soon, the very bravest of visitors will even be able to walk around the outside of the tower; tethered in of course. Find out more on this great attraction at their main website, www.cntower.ca
The area around the CN Tower is also where the city's two biggest sporting venues are found. Located adjacent to the tower, the Rogers Centre is home to the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team, as well the Toronto Argonauts football team.
The stadium was the first in the world to have a fully-retractable motorized roof, and hosts a variety of large-scale concerts and events in addition to its regular sporting events. While the roof is designed to allow it to operate in bad weather, it's hard to beat spending a sunny day watching a game with a cold beverage.
The Air Canada Centre
, home of the National Hockey League's Toronto Maple Leafs and National Basketball Association's Toronto Raptors, is located nearby at the foot of Bay Street. Their website, www.aircanadacentre.com
, has more information on its shows, sports, and events.
This new arena is also home to the Toronto Rock lacrosse team, and plays host to concerts by some of the most popular musicians in the world. For those taking in a hockey game, the nearby Hockey Hall of Fame is an interesting stop to make as well. There you can learn about history of the game of hockey, while also checking out the Stanley Cup and other NHL trophies.
In recent years, a particular focus has been put into developing Toronto's waterfront. One of the attractions that has been greatly expanded is the Harbourfront Centre, situated where Simcoe Street meets Queen's Quay.
This multi-purpose waterfront park and cultural centre has several theatres, art galleries and exhibition spaces, cafés and restaurants. In the summer the Harbourfront Centre hosts a series of concerts and cultural programming, while in the winter visitors can enjoy the Natrel Rink, Canada's largest artificially cooled outdoor rink.
Looking out from the downtown waterfront, it's impossible to miss another popular attraction, the Toronto Islands
. The islands are reached by taking a short ferry from the harbour, usually to the main point of arrival on Centre Island.
One of the best ways to check out the island's trails and boardwalks is by bike, which can be rented on site or brought on the ferry. The islands are packed with activities for all ages, including an outdoor maze, beaches, and an amusement park for the kids.
Shopping is plentiful in downtown Toronto as well, with a huge selection of stores ready to tug at your purse strings. The city's number one tourist attraction is actually the Eaton Centre, a huge shopping destination with over 320 stores and restaurants.
This number does not include the dozens of retailers located nearby, especially in the area around Yonge Street and Dundas Square. That intersection was the subject of a massive revitalization project since the late '90s in order to create an attractive public plaza. Concerts and cultural events are held regularly in the large plaza, and the area is also known for its eccentric buskers.
St. Lawrence Market, located on the east side of the downtown core, is another of the city's most popular attractions. It was named among the top 25 markets in the world according to Food and Wine Magazine.
Go here to pick up great local fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses, or get a snack from one of the many vendors. On Saturdays the area also has a full farmer's market, while on Sunday an antiques market takes its place.
Downtown Toronto is also home to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), located on Dundas Street just west of University Avenue. The recently re-designed museum is home to the world's largest collection of Canadian Art, including numerous works by the Group of Seven.
The museum is also home to a significant collection of European, Contemporary and African Art, not to mention the high-profile exhibitions of world-famous art from around the world that also routinely pass through the AGO.
The city also has a booming theatre scene, anchored by the area along King Street downtown known as the Theatre District. Toronto features several large Broadway-style theatres, featuring top stars and many hit plays and musicals, some of which come straight from London and New York City.
Larger venues include the Royal Alexandria Theatre
, the Princess of Wales Theatre
and the smaller Second City Theatre
, which is famous in the world of comedy. Two other large historic theatres are found on Yonge Street adjacent to the Eaton Centre, the Canon Theatre
and the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres
Check out more great Downtown attractions through Totally Toronto.