Located on Lake Ontario, Toronto is the financial and commercial centre of Canada, confirmed by the numerous skyscrapers owned by banks and financial institutions. Originally a native Indian settlement and later an important fur trading post like many other areas of early Canada.
There are over 100 ethnic groups living in the area; many immigrants arrived after World War II, especially Italians and more recently Chinese.
I have visited Toronto several times but the most enjoyable time was when my wife and I travelled out in February – we had a glorious week with clear blue skies with a winter sun every day – it was cold but a lovely dry cold. Niagara Falls was beautiful in the ice and snow ..and the many icicles! Rosemary enjoyed the ice skating in front of city hall and down at the Plant (Waterfront) – I pretended I did.
Main attractions and Culture
In total contrast to the old railway station and the nearby famous hotel, the Royal York of 1929, the nearby CN Tower is the city’s most famous attraction. Near to it is the huge SkyDome Stadium with its sliding lid allowing sporting activity in all weathers.
The two curved concrete and glass towers forming the controversial 1960s ‘new’ city hall stands again in contrast to the old 19th century neo-Romanesque city hall nearby. Also in similar style is the vast Ontario parliament building of 1893 built in pink sandstone.
For Jurassic Park lovers there is the huge Royal Ontario Museum which has a large collection of natural science and archaeology, and across from this building is the museum of ceramic art. Theatres, including the famous Royal Alexandria saved from the bulldozers in 1960, concert halls, including the honeycombed futuristic-looking Roy Thomson concert hall, are available to the visitor. There is good shopping of every description in the indoor Eaton Centre.
Revitalised Harbour Front
The metro system is clean and efficient and connects with a tram system along the revitalised harbour front at Queen’s Quay. Here you will find pleasure boats, ferry services to the nearby islands where you can walk, picnic and cycle, and further along is the Harbour front Arts Complex and the famous Ontario Science Museum.
Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake
A visit to Toronto would not be complete without visiting the famous Niagara Falls – this can be done several ways either independently or by train or coach, on an organised excursion or by incorporating it into a fly drive package and perhaps staying the night there. We visited the area on a glorious winter day which was wonderful – there were a few icicles around! During the summer the beautiful resort of Niagara on the Lake can be incorporated into the itinerary.
Please contact me to learn more about Toronto and what I consider to be an excellent itinerary taking in Toronto and Niagara Falls, Montreal and Quebec (possibly Ottawa as well) – all can easily be done by VIA Rail’s excellent services. My wife and I stayed more recently at the Fairmont Royal York across road from the main railway station for trains to Montreal and Quebec City etc. There are many different grades of accommodation to choose from just contact me for further advice. See separate blog post on these cities and several reports on Canadian Fairmont Hotels.
Contact Simon at Designer Travel Tailor-made Holidays & Cruises
All details quoted are thought to be correct at time of posting but are always subject to confirmation at time of booking
Photo: Horseshoe Falls (RG) 130915