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Toronto See And Do

Caribana Festival
Toronto , Ontario

The Caribana festival began in 1967 as a gift from the city's Caribbean community to mark Canada's centennial. Now it's Toronto's biggest cultural attraction, bringing in hundreds of thousands of visitors in July and August. The rhythms of calypso pulse throughout humid Toronto, and the parade snakes along Lake Shore Boulevard, with gorgeous floats, toe-tapping music, and brilliant costumes. In Yonge-Dundas Square, you'll find all official festival information, tickets, and souvenirs. The event also takes over Olympic Island, transforming it into a miniature Caribbean, with steel-pan bands, other entertainment, and lots of tasty island food.

CN Tower
301 Front Street W.
Toronto , Ontario
Canada M5V 2T6
Tel: 416 868 6937

At 1,815 feet, the CN Tower offers a staggering view panoramic view of the city. Visitors ride to the top in a glass elevator that stops at the Indoor Observation Deck (1,136 feet). Descend a level to the Glass Floor, and look down to the ground through the Perspex panes. Don't worry: the glass can hold the weight of 14 hippos. At the top, the Sky Pod (1,465 feet) commands a view 100 miles south to Niagara Falls on a clear day (don't bother making the ascent if it's overcast).

Open Sundays through Thursdays 9 am to 10 pm and Fridays and Saturdays 9 am to 10:30 pm; varies by season.

Distillery District

One of the world's largest Victorian industrial centers was reborn in 2003 as a hip arts district of galleries, theaters, restaurants, and boutiques. The charming collection of stone buildings and intimate cobblestone lanes of the former whisky-making complex on Mill Street is the perfect place to idle away an afternoon. Grab a cup of java at Balzac's, sample some of the sublime chocolate creations at Soma, or buy something to wear at Lileo. If you've got something more artistic in mind, check out the glass creations at the Sandra Ainsley Gallery or take in a play at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, home to Soulpepper (, which is among Canada's best theater companies.

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
145 Queen Street W.
Toronto , Ontario
Canada M5A 1E8
Tel: 416 363 6671

This recently unveiled opera house is a stunning example of contemporary formalist architecture, but don't let the visuals fool you: They built it for the acoustics. The foundation was insulated with 500 rubber pads to keep out subway rumble, and audience seating was kept down to 2,000. According to critics, the audio experience is suitably grand. The Canadian Opera Company makes its home here, and the works presented range from the classical to the modern: The venue opened with Wagner's Ring cycle, and the free concert series includes jazz and world music. The season runs from September through June, and rush tickets can be bought the day of the performance. If opera isn't your thing, the center is also home to the National Ballet of Canada (

Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay W.
Toronto , Ontario
Canada M5J 2G8
Tel: 416 973 4000

Once the site of railroad yards, docks, and warehouses, this waterfront area was reclaimed by the government in the '70s and turned into the Harbourfront Centre, one of the most important cultural venues in Canada, hosting thousands of performances, exhibitions, and concerts annually. The year-round Harbourfront Reading Series ( is renowned, and if you're here in October, consider the International Festival of Authors. On summer weekends, you can browse in the International Marketplace in front of the centre, with everything from Native crafts to Indonesian textiles.

Hockey Hall of Fame
30 Yonge Street
Toronto , Ontario
Canada M5E 1X8
Tel: 416 360 7735

For all its highbrow cosmopolitanism, Toronto is, nevertheless, the biggest hockey city in the world. Even tropics-dwelling nonskaters can find something fun to do at the Hockey Hall of Fame, thanks to great interactive exhibits, which let visitors try to score on an NHL goalie or experience just what it's like to face a slap shot. Hockey pilgrims, meanwhile, can gawk at hallowed memorabilia like historic skates and sticks, as well as the net in which Wayne Gretzky scored his 802nd career goal in 1994 (thus establishing an NHL record for all-time career goals scored, as any local will tell you). The Great Hall, with its glass-encased trophies, including the original Stanley Cup, has a churchlike tranquility.

Open Mondays through Fridays 10 am to 5 pm, Saturdays 9:30 am to 6 pm, and Sundays 10:30 am to 5 pm.

Kensington Market
Toronto , Ontario

This lively neighborhood situated just west of Chinatown is an ongoing street-level festival of ethnic food and shopping. Legend has it that no other market on Earth offers the same variety of produce, and a five-minute amble down its streets can take you past everything from West Indian mangoes to Portuguese salted fish, Chilean empanadas to Mexican-style tacos. Try to catch the Kensington Karnival, a colorful pageant on December 21 that celebrates the winter solstice, complete with a candlelit mummers parade. At any other time of year, grab a burrito at Big Fat Burrito, head to the Embassy Bar for a pint of local draft, or check out the second-hand duds at Courage My Love.

Queen Street West

Anchored by the CHUM CityTV station at Queen and John streets, this prime patch of urbanity went bohemian in the late '80s and seems to be resisting the temptation to sell out to the big brands. The main draw here, besides the people-watching, is the shopping. Canadian brands like Roots and Le Château are well represented, alongside boutique offerings such as elegant menswear spot Boomer, feminine frock–seller Girl Friday and Preloved, which sells one-of-a-kind pieces made from reconstructed vintage sweaters, dresses, and hoodies. When the labors of consumption prove overwhelming (or when your credit card gives out), there are plenty of patios on which to hunker down and order a pint of local brew (try the Creemore Springs Lager).

Rogers Centre
1 Blue Jays Way
Toronto , Ontario
Canada M5V 1J1
Tel: 416 341 3663

Open since 1989, the Rogers Centre (formerly known as the SkyDome) is the home of both the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team and the Canadian Football League's Argonauts. Famous for its fully retractable roof, spanning more than 11 acres (with the roof closed, a 31-story building would fit inside the stadium), the gigantic arena has a maximum seating capacity of 65,673 and a 110-foot-wide video board. Take in a sports game or concert here if you can, or enjoy a tour, offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the hour (but not during events).

Royal Ontario Museum
100 Queen's Park
Toronto , Ontario
Canada M5S 2C6
Tel: 416 586 8000

This museum's renowned collection is centered on natural history and world culture—don't miss the archaeological exhibits and the Bat Cave—but lately it has played second fiddle to its notorious renovation. Known as the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, this 50,000-square-foot eruption of jutting angles, sharp points, and mathematical planes is the work of famed architect Daniel Libeskind. Thrusting out over Bloor Street, this deconstructivist work of architecture has divided critics across the board. Come for the design, stay for the dinosaur skeletons.

Open Mondays through Thursdays 10 am to 5:30 pm, Fridays 10 am to 9:30 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays 10 am to 5:30 pm.

Toronto International Film Festival
Tel: 416 968 3456

The largest film festival in North America isn't Utah's Sundance, and it isn't New York's Tribeca—it's the nonstop blitz of screenings, starlet sightings, and glitzy premieres that is the Toronto International Film Festival. If you're into celebrity-stalking, then plant yourself at a bar or restaurant in Yorkville, and results are pretty much guaranteed. A much better idea is to get tickets to any of the 400 films shown at theaters across the city. Tickets are available in advance online, by phone, or in person at the Festival's office (55 Bloor St. W., main floor). It is possible to buy tickets at theaters, but only on the day of the screening, and only if they're not sold out—with this festival, a little planning goes a long way. The manic ten-day run starts every year in early September.

The Toronto Islands
Toronto , Ontario
Tel: 416 203 0405

A pastoral, car-free retreat from the Big Smoke (and incidentally the place where Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run), the islands are a brief ferry ride (less than ten minutes) from the waterfront. Locals come to cycle, rollerblade, jog, and picnic. Kids will enjoy the old-fashioned Centreville Amusement Park, with its petting zoo and antique carousel (open from May through September). The ferry departs every 15 minutes from Bay Street and Queens Quay at Harbourfront.

50 Bloor St. W
Toronto , Ontario
Tel: 416 922 2333

The city's most expensive shopping district is a former hippie enclave where Neil Young got his start back in the late '60s. Like so many of that generation (excluding Mr. Young), Yorkville went seriously up-market in the 1980s. Today it's the place to find high-end brands like Prada, Hermès, and Louis Vuitton. The priciest hotels in the city can also be found here, along with Pilates studios, smoothie shops, and hair salons (try Lid Inc. if you need a new 'do). Be sure to check out Holt Renfrew, Canada's answer to Saks Fifth Avenue, with everything from Canadian designers like Dsquared² and Pink Tartan to European heavy favorites such as Canali, Diesel, and Dior. Need a quick bite? Head to the Montreal Bread Company—Canada's welcome answer to Subway—for the roast beef with caramelized onions.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.