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Discover Toronto!

by Jaclynn Fasken, Business Manager

Is it electrifying entertainment you’re craving, or browsing art galleries, or sipping a lattés at unique cafes, or cheering on a national team at an exciting sporting event, maybe endless shopping? All these, plus the lakes and forests of the great Canadian outdoors can be experienced in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Toronto, located on the shore of Lake Ontario, the easternmost of the Great Lakes is Canada’s financial, cultural, and entertainment capital, a clean city that in the past decade has emerged as one of the great metropolitan cities of North America. It attracts visitors from all over the world with its feel of a large, hustling city, always on the move, and its unique friendly atmosphere.

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Places Rated Almanac has rated the city, whose motto is “Diversity our Strength,” both one of the most multicultural cities in the world and the safest large, metropolitan area in North America. More than 100 languages and dialects are spoken in Toronto, and 49 per cent of its population was born outside of Canada.

The CN Tower, standing 1,815 feet tall, is the world’s tallest freestanding structure, and one of Toronto’s pride and joys. Built in 1976, the company Canadian National wanted to demonstrate the strength of Canadian industry. It towers over the city, giving visitors a 360-degree view of the city below. Two million people visit the tower every year, not only to stand on the glass bottom observation deck located 1,122 ft above ground, but to also to tantalize their taste buds with the fine dining offered by an award-winning rotating restaurant at the top of the tower. Diners complete a circle once every 72 minutes.

Just east of the CN Tower is the SkyDome, the world’s largest entertainment complex with the world’s largest retractable roof. It is home to major league baseball’s Blue Jays and it frequently hosts concerts and other special events.

Toronto has endless nighttime entertainment possibilities. The theater district has many beautiful, turn of the 20th century theaters that present Broadway hits including current productions of Mamma Mia, The Producers, Hairspray, and The Lion King. Not to mention the Canadian Opera Company, The National Ballet of Canada, and the Toronto Orchestra and Symphony. Restaurant and bars surrounding the theater district make it a convenient location for pre-show dining. Many restaurants will offer a quick theater dinner package. Quicker service, and discounted meals are regular perks for theater ticket holders.

A few blocks north of the theater district is the fashion district of Queen Street West, also known for its nightlife. A trendy, funky area where streets are lines with cool cafes, bistros, bars, contemporary art galleries and edgy boutiques displaying the latest, hippest fashions. Rob Lukas, a 26-year-old Torontonian said, “Toronto has amazing nightlife for anyone, of any age. Whether it’s pubs, clubs, or a martini bar, there is always some place to go that fits the mood your in.”

Toronto’s Younge Street is the longest street in the world. It meets Queen street west and there sits the Eaton Center, which has 285 stores to browse through, and numerous restaurants to choose from. Be sure to pick up a “Tourism Card” at the information booth to receive discounts at participating stores and restaurants.

If shopping at exclusive, one of kind chic boutiques is more your style, then a few blocks north is the area called Yorkville, located off of Bloor street. What was once the Bohemian center of Toronto is now the swanky exclusive area, much like 5th Avenue in New York City.

If walking from store to store turns you into an icicle (temperatures average below freezing during the winter months), walk through Toronto’s underground city in comfort. PATH is downtown Toronto’s underground walkway linking 27 kilometers of shopping, services and entertainment.

Follow PATH, and you’ll reach your downtown destination in warmth. Routes are simple to follow thanks to the color coded signs.

Most daily commuters take PATH during the winter months to hide from the harsh weather. Some, however embrace the cold and partake in fun winter activities such as ice-skating. Mel Lastman Square, located at the intersection of Bay and Queen streets turns into a large outdoor skating rink every year for Torontonians and tourists. Skates can be rented on site for a small fee, and the rink is open daily from 10 to 10. Hot chocolate and coffee venders can warm up chilly bones.

During the summer months, temperatures average around 25 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit), and everyone comes out of hibernation to enjoy Toronto’s numerous parks and outdoor summer activities. Since the city is right on Lake Ontario, sailing is a convenient and popular way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city .The Toronto Islands are popular sailing destinations attracting visitors with their small town, lakeside charm and great parks to bicycle and picnic in. Instead of renting a sailboat, relax, take a load off, and catch the ferry for $6. It departs every 15 minutes from Queen Quay.

Summer, or winter Toronto offers an array of sights to see and activities to do. With great nightlife, wonderful attractions, fabulous shopping, delicious dining, exhilarating entertainment and friendly people, what more could you ask for in a city.

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