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Exploring Toronto

With its spectacular setting on the shores of Lake Ontario and its sightseeing, nightlife, dining, and shopping, it’s no wonder that Toronto is one of Canada’s most-visited cities. The heart of its urban core is Old Toronto, with the Downtown its economic powerhouse and home to stunning modern skyscrapers and the harbourfront. The city’s Chinatown is huge and crammed with Oriental stores, temples, clan houses, street markets, and innumerable Chinese restaurants. Koreatown is a hub for karaoke bars and Korean/Japanese restaurants, as well as interesting local stores. The vast city’s Main Street is Yonge Street, which bisects the centre of the city and is great for shopping.

Toronto’s many museums, world-class zoo, sports stadiums, lakeshore beaches, stunning modern architecture and heritage buildings, harbourfront cultural events, and many more attractions give visitors a huge choice of places to go and things to see. Theatre buffs can take in famous Broadway-style shows as well as smaller productions, and the National Opera and the National Ballet companies give regular performances. Throw in theme parks, Lake Ontario and all its activities, the city’s ethnic quarters, shopping malls, street markets, discount shopping, and hotels, including the Ramada Plaza and the Fairmont, and Toronto tops all other Canadian cities as a tourist destination.

Sights nearby

Attractions in Toronto give something for visitors of all ages and all preferences, from the natural beauty of the lake and its rural surroundings through the city’s heritage and history, cultural events, and entertainments, to its varied restaurants and shopping opportunities.

Lake Ontario
From the city lakeshore beaches with their water sports, boating, fishing, harbourfront entertainments, and recreation areas, to the surrounding rural beauty outside the city borders, Lake Ontario is a major attraction for visitors to Toronto. Boating, fishing, exploring the lake’s offshore islands and lakeside towns, and picnicking on its farther shores are all great ways to experience Canada’s great outdoors.

Kensington Market District
One of the city’s best-loved quarters, Kensington Market is Old Toronto, now a Canadian National Historic Site. Highlights include historic Victorian buildings and homes, and the traditional outdoor market still takes place. It’s a bohemian, student area nowadays, and its shops focus on delicious foodstuffs, quirky fashions, and local needs.

Toronto Zoo
The world-class Toronto Zoo holds over 5,000 creatures from South and Southeast Asia, Africa, Eurasia, Australasia, Canada, and the Americas, and is known for its conservation work. Its most recent exhibit is the Tundra Trek, which features Arctic species including polar bears, wolves, and reindeer.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

Toronto is one of the top 10 gourmet cities in the whole of North America, with the advantage that the majority of the foodie areas are grouped within walking distance of each other and the hotel districts. Its extensive multiculturalism ensures a wide variety of ethnic cuisines from across the world, and it’s possible to enjoy a superb meal at a budget price in the city’s diverse quarters. Rarities include the Indian/Chinese Hakka cuisine, the French pastry shops along Bayview Avenue, and the Afghan and Trinidadian foods sold in the Downsview Park Flea Markets’ food court. Fine dining in city centre restaurants is as good as it gets.

Every Toronto district has a good choice of shopping streets and malls, with upscale haunts found in Yorkville, Pacific Mall offering a Hong Kong shopping experience, and quirky Kensington Market the place for funky fashions and fresh produce.

Public transport

Toronto is one of only a handful of North American cities to have retained its historic streetcar system, with its lines running across the central area. Buses and the subway take care of most travellers’ needs, although road transport in general regularly gets snarled up in the city’s rush hours. For travel outside the central area, there are regional and suburban overland rail systems which are useful for visiting nearby cities and attractions.

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