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City Profile: Toronto

Toronto is one of the planet’s most ethnically diverse cities…a vibrant, harmonious convergence of histories and cultures.

28 March 2017

Toronto officially became a city in 1793. However, this little town by the harbor was first called Fort York and would be called as such until 1834.

Toronto is widely regarded as one of the most multicultural cities in the world.  This is due to the astonishing fact that about half the city’s population was born outside of Canada.  As being the fourth biggest city in North America, it’s also one of the safest in the world.

Neighborhoods for every mood...

This sprawling, modern city has no lack of variety and substance. It’s size and habit of constantly re-inventing itself makes it hard to get to know Toronto in a short period of time, but it’s not what’s on the surface but what lies beneath that holds Toronto’s real charm. It’s all about the neighborhoods!

Toronto is a city of neighborhoods and districts. The Old City of Toronto covers the area generally known as Downtown Toronto. The financial district contains the largest cluster of skyscrapers in Canada and is characterized by the iconic CN Tower. North of Downtown is populated with historic suburbs. Many people choose to live in nearby Toronto neighborhoods, such as Cabbagetown and High Park.

Downtown Toronto is one of the most densely populated city centers in North America and boasts some of the world's most modern yet revolutionary living with glass, metal and red face brick elements competing to be the face of the city. The five main Toronto suburbs consist of York, East York, North York, Etobicoke and Scarborough, making up the Greater Toronto Area, or as locals call it, GTA.  Each neighborhood virtually has its own city within a city for you to explore.

Touring Toronto...

With the smorgasbord of restaurants to try, a food tour would be advised.  However, there are some other notable places you should find your way to. The Toronto Zoo is the largest in Canada and is home to over 16,000 animals representing 491 species.  High Park is a 165-acre park with sunken gardens, hanging basket gardens, nature trails, natural ponds, and streams. Swimming and wading pools, playgrounds, picnic areas, and a scenic train tour are highlights.

Take a walk along PATH. PATH is the largest underground pedestrian system in North America. It connects 1,200 stores and restaurants, 50 office towers, 20 parking garages, 5 subway stations and a railway terminal over its’ 17 miles.  Toronto also has the world’s longest street. At over 1,100 miles, Yonge Street is the longest street in the world.  The CN tower, which was for 30 years the tallest free-standing structure in the world, can be seen from all over the city. Torontonians claim that navigating by the tower will ensure that getting lost is next to impossible, and this can be helpful for new Torontonians who’ve recently arrived in the city

Something everyone should see at least once, is the Bata Shoe Museum.  This quirky museum has over a thousand shoes and related artifacts spanning 5 floors!  One of Toronto’s best attractions is the Royal Ontario Museum.  The Museum is the largest natural history museum in Canada and you can spend an entire day wandering through its exhibits.  Toronto’s lakeside Harbourfont Centre is where you’ll find the unmissable CN Tower, Rogers Centre stadium and Ripley’s Aquarium. It’s also the boarding point for ferries to Toronto Island.  You can venture out to see some of Toronto’s oldest architecture in Corktown, including the must visit St. Lawrence Market and the Distillery District.

Nestled among the skyscrapers is the 98 room Casa Loma. Built in the early 1900s is the only full size castle in Toronto and comes complete with towers, horse stables, secret passageways and a massive wine cellar that can hold more than 1,500 bottles.  Fort York sits well at the top of many history lovers' sightseeing lists. Established in 1793, it's the most historic site in Toronto.

Toronto is one of the largest cultural centers in North America. You’ll find The National Ballet Company, The Canadian Opera Company, The Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.  It’s also home to over 70 film festivals.

It may be a 90-minute drive from Toronto, but Niagara Falls is well worth the trip. Watching close to 750,000 gallons of water a second hurtle down the curved cliffs is sure to impress.

There is something for everyone, whatever their tastes and interests.

Tastes of Toronto...

The cuisine of Toronto reflects Toronto's size and multicultural diversity.  It is a city filled with vibrant cultural agglomerations.  Different ethnic neighborhoods throughout the city focus on specific cuisines, such as authentic Chinese and Vietnamese found in the city's six Chinatowns, Korean in Koreatown, Greek food in The Danforth district, Italian cuisine in Little Italy and Corso Italia, and Indian food in Little India.  There is so much diversity in the food that it perfectly matches the various cultures represented throughout the city and its neighborhoods. 

Perhaps one of the most iconic and only distinct Toronto offering is the peameal bacon sandwich.  The name "peameal bacon" derives from the historic practice of rolling the cured and trimmed boneless loin in dried and ground yellow peas to extend shelf life. Since the end of World War II it has been rolled in ground yellow cornmeal.  Peameal bacon sandwiches are often considered a signature dish of Toronto's St. Lawrence Market. 

One thing that gets brought up as an "iconically" Torontonian food, is the veal sandwich.  They may not be the only city with this sandwich, but they make it really, really well.  The street food, sausages and hot dogs, is also favored highly among locals and visitors alike and is pretty much available at every major intersection.  Their laws set extremely high requirements for street food vendors and as such, for a long time, hot dogs were the only cooked food able to be sold on Toronto streets, and therefore, they’ve perfected the art of truly great street meat.

And of course, there’s Poutine!  Torontonians are passionate about their curds.  So much so that there is a poutine rivalry between the great city of Toronto and Montreal. 

With some 6,000 plus restaurants in the city, you will find something to satisfy your craving.

Making it your own...

It’s clear Toronto is one of the planet’s most ethnically diverse cities…a vibrant, harmonious convergence of histories and cultures. Jubilant locals, united by a love for their city, defy harsh winters and the hustle and bustle of a booming city, and they all get along pretty well. Take a page from their book, leave your troubles on the plane, or in the car, and arrive ready to explore the sights, sounds and flavors of Toronto!

This is Toronto….where all are welcome and supply meets demand.


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