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Toronto - Provincial Capital of Ontario

Standing on the northern shore of Lake Ontario, the view of Toronto city across the lake is outstanding and iconic with the CN Tower shooting upwards, dwarfing the other skyscrapers and buildings along the shoreline.

The densely populated downtown city area is easy to navigate and the scattering of leafy parks throughout makes it pleasant to walk around.

Toronto is Canada's largest city with over 5 million residents calling it home.

The city and it's people have a very cosmopolitan and international feel, perhaps in reflection to the 49% of the population who are from outside Canada.

With a continental climate, Toronto is an ideal location to visit in all seasons with hot humid summers and cold damp winters.

By night, its residents enjoy themselves at the city's many bars, restaurants and clubs, or at the opera and theatre.

Most of all, however, you will notice how friendly and pleasant Toronto and it's people are making your visit that extra bit special.

www.toronto.ca

Top 10 things to do in Toronto

CN Tower

Located in downtown Toronto, the CN Tower stands 553m tall and was the tallest free-standing structure on land in the world between 1971 and 2007 (surpassed in height by Burj Khalifa in Dubai).

The communications tower is the signature icon of the Toronto skyline and used as a symbol of Canada.

Seeing over 2 million visitors a year, it is certainly one of Toronto's top tourist attractions.

There are two observation decks, reached by elevator thankfully, the main deck at 346m and the higher Sky Pod at 446m just below the metal antenna. Of course if you're a fitness fanatic and don't mind getting very dizzy, you could always opt for the 1,776 steps up to the main deck.

In June 2007, the tower was outfitted with 1,330 super-bright LED lights inside the elevator shafts, shooting up over the "bubble" and upward to the top of the tower's mast to light the tower from dusk until 2 a.m.

Generally open from 09:00 to 22:30, with the 360 main deck restaurant open for lunches and evening dinners. Pricing information can be found on the website.

www.cntower.ca

Royal Ontario Museum

The Royal Ontario Museum or simply, ROM, is Canada's largest museum of world culture and natural history.

Containing more than six million items and over 40 galleries, it's notable collections include dinosaurs, Near Eastern and African art, East Asian art, European history, and Canadian history.

The building design itself is very striking thanks to the most recent Michael Lee-Chin Crystal extension. The post-modern crystalline-form, clad in 25 percent glass and 75 percent aluminium, has the appearance of a large crystalline structure which couldn't be more different from the original heritage building.

As well as the permanent exhibits and galleries, the museum also hosts a few temporary exhibitions that are detailed on their website.

Restaurant and food-court amenities are also available inside the complex.

The museum is open from 10:00 to 17:30 Sat to Thu and open until 21:30 on Fridays.

If you're planning to visit during the summer high season then it's worthwhile to book tickets in advance from the website to avoid the queues.

www.rom.on.ca

Ontario Science Museum

The Ontario Science Museum can be found near the Don Valley Parkway about 11km northeast of downtown Toronto and is built down the side of a wooded ravine formed by one branch of the Don River.

Opened to the public in 1979 the complex, which is made up of three separate buildings all connected by a series of bridges and escalators, follows the natural contours of the Don River ravine, into which the Centre descends.

At the time of opening the centre was very unique, opting for interactive exhibits rather than the usual static ones. A formula that has since been replicated worldwide by top visitor attractions.

The most recent exhibit to open in 2010 was Harry Potter which promises a "..world of magic and wonder.." and should light up the eyes of the kids and maybe even some of the adults too.

In addition to the many interactive items and showcases, you can visit the OMNIMAX theatre which is home to a large IMAX screen.

The centre is generally open from 10:00 to 6pm, although closing times do change seasonally.

www.ontariosciencecentre.ca

Art Gallery of Ontario

Found on the eastern edge of Toronto's downtown area, on Dundas Street West, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) covers a huge 45,000m² display area making it the 10th largest art museum in North America.

Its collection includes more than 68,000 works spanning the 1st century to the present-day and has the world's largest collection of Canadian art, which depicts the development of Canada's heritage from pre-Confederation to the present.

As well as the native items, it also has an impressive collection of European art, including the most important collection of Medieval and Renaissance decorative arts outside Europe and the United States.

The AGO is also home to the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre, which houses the largest public collection of works by this British sculptor.

In keeping with social trends, the AGO has initiated a social media website called Collection X, which provides users with a space to share ideas about life and art. Collection X showcases the work of contemporary photographers and visual artists and gives users the ability to discuss the works, create online exhibitions and upload their own content.

The gallery is closed on Monday's.

www.ago.net

Toronto Zoo

Opened in 1974, the Toronto Zoo is located in the Scarborough district, northeast of the city centre.

This is the third largest zoo in the world by area, covering 287 hectares, and is divided into six zoogeographic regions: Indo-Malaya, Africa, Americas, Australasia, Eurasia and the Canadian Domain.

The zoo is currently home to over 16,000 animals representing over 491 distinct species.

As well as the animals, the zoo also has special areas such as the Kids Zoo, Waterside Theatre and Splash Island which are educational play and interactive areas. Great for kids.

The zoo hosts special events throughout the year such as the Annual Spring Toad Festival, which adds just a little bit more fun and education to the day out. See the website for list of forthcoming events.

www.torontozoo.com

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Casa Loma

Casa Loma, which is Spanish for Hill House, is a historic house museum and landmark in uptown Toronto on Austin Terrace, at the north end of Spadina Road.

The house was built between 1911 and 1914 in a Gothic Revival style and was originally a residence for Canadian financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt.

At 98 rooms, it was the largest private residence in Canada when completed. Some of the more notable amenities included an elevator, an oven large enough to cook an ox, two vertical passages for pipe organs, central vacuum and two secret passages in Sir Henry's ground-floor office.

As well as the main building and outhouses, Casa Loma also has 5 acres of surrounding gardens to explore.

Due to it's very unique design, the house has often been used as a backdrop for films and TV including X-Men and Chicago.

Its situation on top of the hill affords great views down the escarpment and Spadina Avenue into the heart of Toronto.

www.casaloma.org

Harbourfront

The natural bay of Toronto is shielded from Lake Ontario waved by Toronto Islands making it an ideal calm harbour.

The harbour is generally split in half with the commercial side mostly towards the east and the recreational facilities to the west, known locally as Harbourfront.

It's here at the foot of Bay Street where you can catch a ferry from the terminal across to the Toronto Islands, or just leisurely cruise around the bay.

While down here, take a stroll to the Harbourfront Centre located at Queen's Bay for a diverse range of things to see and do. The Power Plant is a contemporary art gallery with permanent and temporary exhibits.

There is also an indoor and outdoor theatre, both hosting a special programme of events throughout the year and during the winter months, the outdoor area is converted into a large ice skating rink.

One of the more interesting areas is the Music Garden. The garden is a reflection in landscape of Bach's First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello and each area corresponds to a movement in the music score. In the summer months, the gardens are host to live concerts.

All along the Harbourfront you'll have chances to shop, dine and relax making it ideal for everyone to take it at their own pace.

www.harbourfrontcentre.com/thewaterfront/index.cfm

Canada's Wonderland

The Canada's Wonderland theme park is located in Vaughan, within the Greater Toronto Area.

Opened in 1981, it was Canada's first major theme park and now contains over 200 attractions and is open seasonally between May to October.

With over 3.2 million visitors annually the park is a top choice for families visiting the area and with 15 roller coasters, the park holds the record for the most roller coasters in one park outside the USA.

As you would expect, the park is is separated into several themed areas including International Street, Medieval Faire, International Festival, White Water Canyon, Splash Works, Action Zone and Children's area.

Of course the park has plenty of refreshment amenities, however, bring some food and drink with you to avoid paying the over-priced park costs.

www.canadaswonderland.com

Eaton Centre

If you're a shoppoholic then you'll perhaps be attracted to the Toronto Eaton Centre in the downtown area of the city, just off Trinity Square.

Named after the now defunct Eaton's department store change that once was it's anchor, in terms of footfall, this is Toronto's top tourist attraction with around one million visitors per week during peak seasons.

The mall houses a mixture of offices and retail outlets, over 230, and forms part of Toronto's PATH underground pedestrian network.

One of the most prominent sights in the shopping mall is the group of fibreglass Canada Geese hanging from the towering ceiling in the central area.

The mall is served by two subway stations, Queen and Dundas, located at its southernmost and northernmost points respectively

www.torontoeatoncentre.com

Niagara Falls

Straddling the border between the Canadian province of Ontario and the USA state of New York, Niagara Falls is a staggering continual roar of nature's awesome beauty and power.

Formed during the last ice age, over 168,000m³ of water falls over the rim every minute earning it the title of the most powerful waterfall in North America.

Although not the highest in the world, that's reserved for Angel Falls in Venezuela, the Niagara Falls is one of the widest

Niagara Falls is divided into the Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls. The Horseshoe Falls drop about 53m, the height of the American Falls varies between 21–30m because of the presence of giant boulders at its base.

The larger Horseshoe Falls are about 79m wide, while the American Falls are 320m wide.

As well as a place of natural beauty attracting millions of visitors every year, the falls are also a valuable source of national hydroelectric power.

In October 1829, Sam Patch, who called himself "the Yankee Leapster", jumped from a high tower into the gorge below the falls and survived; this began a long tradition of daredevils trying to go over the Falls.

Of course there are numerous types of tours and walkways available during the day and at night, including one which get you very wet and very close to the water.

The falls are illuminated in the evening until midnight, with powerful floodlights and lasers, giving it an ethereal glow from a distance.

wikitravel.org/en/Niagara_Falls_(Ontario)

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Temperature & Rainfall Guide for Toronto

Climate graph for Toronto

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City Centre Map

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Great Airfare Deals to Toronto

Book your airplane ticket to Toronto now. Use our list of airline providers to find discount flights to Toronto.


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