After visiting the Niagara Falls the day before, we now continue to explore Toronto. Although Toronto is a large city, the number of worthwhile sights is quite manageable. So you can explore the most important points and photo spots of the city on your own in 1-2 days.
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Things to know about Toronto
Toronto has around 3 million inhabitants, making it the largest city in Canada and the capital of the province of Ontario. The Greater Toronto Area has a population of over 6 million. The city is located on the north-western shore of Lake Ontario, which, with an area of around 19,000 km², is the smallest of the five Great Lakes (Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie) in the border area between the USA and Canada.
Toronto is Canada’s trade and financial center and one of the world’s leading financial centers. There are nearly 2,000 buildings in the Greater Toronto Area that are over 100 feet tall. Toronto has the second highest number of skyscrapers on the North American continent after New York City. Winters are cold and snow can be expected from November to mid-April. The summers are pleasantly warm and usually vary between 20 and 30°C. Autumn and spring often have mild or cool temperatures with alternating dry and wet periods.
15 interesting Facts about Toronto:
– Due to the numerous districts (over 140), the city is sometimes referred to as the “City of Neighborhoods”.
– With nearly 4.5 million foreign visitors, Toronto was the 58th most visited city in the world in 2018
– Toronto has the third busiest public transit system in North America after New York City and Mexico City
– The road system is largely laid out in a chessboard pattern
– In downtown Toronto alone there are over 100 skyscrapers that are more than 100 meters tall
– South of downtown are the Toronto Islands, four artificially expanded islands in Lake Ontario
– The landmark of the city is the Canadian National Tower, CN Tower for short, which was completed in 1976
– Yonge Street is one of the longest roads in the world: it begins in Toronto and ends after 1,896 kilometers as a provincial road in northern Ontario
– Toronto has very strict non-smoking laws that prohibit smoking in any public building
– Toronto is one of the most expensive cities in North America
– The Royal Ontario Museum is Canada’s largest museum
– York was the original name of today’s city of Toronto until March 6, 1834
– The Toronto Zoo is the largest in Canada
– Toronto’s coastline is 43 kilometers long
– 18% of the total area of the city is parkland
Our campsite “Bronte Creek Campground”
Finding a good campsite near Toronto wasn’t easy at all. Either the ratings were very bad, for example because they were right on the highway or near the airport and were accordingly loud. Or the campsites were closed at our time, for example, for renovation. In the end we decided on the Bronte Creek Campground , which is located just outside of downtown Toronto about 40 kilometers southwest.
The nice thing about the campsite was – it was totally quiet! We had a pitch with lots of space and lots of nature around us. We also had water and electricity connections. The dumping station is located at the entrance to the campground. For 2 nights we paid a total of 118.35 CAD. The campground has a total of four different loops: The Prairie loop is designed for larger RVs, but can also easily be navigated with smaller caravans or tents. The Savannah, Woodlands and Ravine loops are ideal for smaller RVs under 25 feet and tent camping. All campsites have an electricity connection for each pitch. Amenities such as laundry facilities, playgrounds, hiking trails and an amphitheater are in close proximity.
Toronto in One Day – Top Sights
We parked our camper in a large supermarket parking lot just outside the city center and took the metro from there to downtown. From here you can easily explore all major sights on foot.
Nathan Phillips Square
Our first stop for the city tour was Nathan Phillips Square, a central square in Toronto. It forms the forecourt of Toronto City Hall (City Hall) and is named after Nathan Phillips, who was Mayor of Toronto from 1955 to 1962. The square hosts concerts, art exhibitions, rallies, a weekly farmer’s market, the winter festival of lights, and other public events and celebrations.
During the winter months, the Reflecting Pool is transformed into an ice rink for skating. The water surface is spanned by three concrete arches, which were originally only an architectural element and a support for the lighting of the ice rink. In 1989 they were dedicated as the Arch of Freedom to commemorate those who fought to gain or defend freedom. At the same time, a section of the Berlin Wall was erected at the southern foot of the central arch.
The most famous sight and THE symbol of the city is the 553 meter high television tower “Canadian National Tower” – CN Tower for short. From 1975 to 2009 it was the tallest television tower in the world and at the same time, until the completion of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2007, it was the tallest free-standing and ungushed structure on earth.
The regular viewing platform is at an altitude of 342 meters. This height can also be reached via 2,579 steps, which are not accessible to visitors. Admission to the viewing platform is currently 40 CAD, i.e. approx. 29 EUR. If you want to go even higher, you can also buy tickets for the Sky Pod viewing platform at 446 meters for 55 CAD (approx. 40 EUR). Tickets are available, for example, via the official website of the CN Tower. Unfortunately we did not manage to visit the viewing platform in time. But we also found the entrance fee a bit too high.
Here are a few more interesting facts about the CN Tower:
– The CN Tower sways in the wind, up to half a meter at the SkyPod level
– The antenna on the SkyPod is longer than a soccer field and is struck by lightning an average of 75 times a year
– On a clear day you can see up to 100 miles from the SkyPod – as far as Niagara Falls
– The SkyPod is the highest observation deck in the western hemisphere
– The high-speed elevators take 58 seconds from the ground floor to the main viewing level
Union Station & Scotiabank Arena
Union Station, Toronto’s main train station, is located right downtown at 65 Front Street West. The station was opened in 1927 and is now one of the “National Historic Sites of Canada”. More than 300,000 people commute through Union Station every day on trains, buses and the subway. But we only took a quick look at the large entrance hall.
Directly behind Union Station at the Scotiabank Arena (formerly Air Canada Centre) is – in our opinion – a pretty cool photo spot. As of 2014, a group of bronze statues known as ” Leafs Legends Row” can be found here outside of the arena on the southwest corner of the building. These 14 life-size bronze statues, along with a 30-foot granite bench, honor the greatest players at the Maple Leaf hockey club.
St Lawrence Market
St. Lawrence Market is one of the city’s main markets along with Kensington Market. The first building was constructed of wood in 1803 and replaced by a square brick building in 1831. This building was destroyed by fire in 1849 and replaced by the new St. Lawrence Hall in 1850. In the years 1845 to 1899, St. Lawrence Hall was even the seat of the town hall.
The St. Lawrence Market Complex today consists of three main buildings: The South Market, the North Market and St. Lawrence Hall. South Market is home to over 120 specialty retailers known for the variety and freshness of their fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, grains, baked goods and dairy products. North Market is best known for its Farmers Market, a tradition that began at this location in 1803 and continues to this day. St. Lawrence Hall now houses retail stores and city offices. By the way, at a bakery stand there were really tasty, large rolls at a good price.
Sugar Beach Park
One of the most beautiful places in Toronto is certainly Sugar Beach Park – an 8,000 m² city park on Lake Ontario with fine sand, beach chairs, pink umbrellas, a water playground and some rock formations. The park, which opened on an old pier in a waterfront industrial area in 2010, overlooks the former Redpath Sugar Refinery with its towering smokestack. The beach and the park were named because of their location near the sugar factory building. Here you can definitely relax and enjoy the time!
At the end of our day tour through Toronto we visited the Roundhouse Park , which for us is also one of the most worth seeing places in the city.
Roundhouse Park was created in 1997 on the site of the former Railway Lands. The park is home to the original, fully restored 120-foot locomotive turntable and the John Street Roundhouse, a preserved roundhouse that has been a listed building since 1990 and now houses a railway museum. A nice aerial view of the entire area can be found on Wikipedia.
In the museum you will find an exhibition of locomotives and wagons, a restaurant, a full-size diesel locomotive simulator, as well as the historic buildings Don Station (a former railway station), the signal tower Signal Cabin D, a water tower and a cooling tower.
More sights & photo spots
On our tour of the city center we saw many more beautiful places and interesting buildings, such as the Campbell House Museum, Harbor Square Park, Berczy Park, the Gooderham Building and the Eaton Center shopping mall. Of course there are many other well-known photo spots and sights in Toronto such as the Royal Ontario Museum, Casa Loma, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, the Distillery District, Fort York, the Zoo or the Ontario Science Centre, which unfortunately we didn’t make it to the time have to visit.
Toronto Starbucks MugWe are collecting the Starbucks Mugs from the cities and islands we visit on our travels. Unfortunately, not every city that has a Starbucks store with an own mug. But if the city has an own mug we like to collect them as a souvenir. We only collect city mugs from the "Global Icon Series", which was released in 2008. You can see our complete collection here: Starbucks - Our collection of Mugs from the Global Icon Series
Of course, the city of Toronto has several Starbucks stores and also its own cup. Since this cup from the Global Icon series has not been available for purchase in Starbucks stores for a long time, it is now also relatively expensive as a collector’s item.
All travel reports from our camper round trip through CanadaVacation with the camper or motor home in Canada - for many probably quite normal, but for us it was actually the first time. We have never been on the road with a camper, but always wanted to try it. In total, we drove almost 3,300 kilometers with our camper and explored beautiful regions and cities in eastern Canada.
» Our Holiday in Canada 2021 - Flight, Entry & Itinerary
» Camping in Canada - Our Questions, Experiences & Tips
» La Mauricie National Park - A hike on the Les Cascades Trail
» Québec City - Things to do, Sights & Photo Spots
» Canyon Sainte-Anne - Waterfalls, Cascades & Suspension Bridges
» Tadoussac - Whale watching on the Saint Lawrence River
» Parc Omega - Drive-Through Safari in Quebec
» Ottawa - The capital city of Canada
» Algonquin Provincial Park - Lakes, forests and magnificent viewpoints
» Bruce Peninsula National Park - Dreamlike bays at Lake Huron
» Niagara Falls - The largest waterfalls in North America
» Toronto - Things to do, Sights & Photo Spots
» Thousand-Islands National Park - 1.864 Islands in the Saint Lawrence River
» Montreal - Things to do, Sights & Photo Spots