Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto
Located along Lake Ontario’s northwest shore, the city of Toronto is the capital of Ontario and is known for its dynamic nature, exciting attractions, and green spaces. The cultural capital of Canada is an exciting holiday destination and with its close proximity to Niagara Falls, it’s easy to see why so many flock to the city for a well-deserved break. If Toronto is on your radar as a holiday destination, this guide will help you get to know the city a bit better by presenting a collection of interesting facts. So read on to discover the things you didn’t know about Toronto to inspire your trip.
Toronto is the 4th largest city in North America
Not only is Toronto the largest city in Canada but it is the fourth-largest city in North America. Now that’s a pretty impressive feat considering some of the big cities the continent is known for, such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Mexico City. Toronto is definitely in good company with its population of nearly 3 million people, and it also boasts one of the fastest growing populations on the continent, suggesting how popular a place Toronto is to be.
With all those people to entertain, you won’t be surprised to learn there is an abundance of attractions waiting to be enjoyed, from the iconic CN Tower (more on this soon), Calgary Zoo, Royal Ontario Museum, the Toronto Islands, and the beloved St Lawrence Market being just some of the options.
READ ALSO: Frequently Asked Questions About Toronto
The CN Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere
EdgeWalk CN Tower Toronto, Copyright: Kevin Arnold & Destination Canada
The CN Tower is one of the world’s most iconic buildings and an instantly recognisable landmark in the Toronto skyline. While its fame is widespread, did you know that the CN Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere? At 1,815 feet, it’s a truly gargantuan building and its position in the ranks of the world’s tallest buildings was once even higher than it is now. Until 2007, the CN Tower was the tallest free-standing structure in the entire world, until the Burj Khalifa was built.
Its massive height and SkyPod Observation deck provide wonderful views across Toronto, but it’s also a beloved attraction due to its high-octane Edge Walk, allowing visitors to walk along the side of the tower, 116 stories above the city floor, with just a harness keeping you safe. When you then add the spectacular 360 Restaurant to the mix, the CN Tower can’t be missed.
Mariellen, from the travel blog Breathedreamgo, has shared what she loves about the CN Tower: “Simply going up to one of the viewing decks is well worth the price of admission. There are other things to do at the CN Tower, but let’s face it, riding a glass-enclosed elevator 346 metres up to the LookOut, or 447 metres to the SkyPod, is THE thing to do. It’s exciting to be that far up, way above all of Toronto’s skyscrapers.”
Toronto-Pearson International Airport is the busiest in Canada
Toronto Pearson International Airport, Photo credit: Destination Toronto
Those seeking flights to Canada will not find a shortage of top airports to touch down in. The busiest, however, is the Toronto-Pearson International Airport, showcasing what a popular destination Toronto is and what an important travel hub the city is in this part of the world. Handling tens of millions of passengers and hundreds of thousands of flights each year, it’s a truly impressive operation and flights to Toronto will allow you to experience all that this part of Canada has to offer.
Flights are included in all of our holiday packages, along with accommodation. If you are planning a Toronto city escape for a couple of days, we can even help you with a car hire should you wish to venture outside the city, transfers from the airport to your hotel, or trips to the nearby Niagara Falls. Just give our Canada experts a call and we will tailor-make your Canada holiday.
Toronto Zoo is the largest zoo in Canada
Polar bear at Toronto Zoo, Photo credit: Destination Toronto
All the great cities have a zoo but the largest in Canada is Toronto Zoo, and not only is its size impressive, but it’s also renowned around the world as a quality attraction. Home to over 5,000 animals, 500 different species, and 710 acres of land, there’s so much to see and enjoy. Toronto Zoo is an attraction for everyone, featuring all of your favourite animals, a kids’ zoo, rides, a water park, a zipline tour, and an opportunity to sleep under the stars.
Lisa, from the family travel blog, Gone with the Family, has been to Toronto Zoo and offers the following thoughts and advice: “The Zoo covers 287 hectares (710 acres), making it one of the largest zoos in the world, and has over 10km (6 miles) of walking trails so it may be difficult to cover the entire grounds in one day. I would recommend selecting the animals that you most want to see (polar bears, giraffes and orangutans are always absolute musts for us) and visit those areas first.”
The Toronto Islands weren’t always islands
View from the Toronto Islands
The Toronto Islands are a collection of 15 small islands in Lake Ontario, just south of mainland Toronto. Home to Toronto Island Park, a public marina, public beaches, and a year-round residential neighbourhood, the islands are a lovely place to visit and spend time in during your holiday to Canada. The Toronto Islands weren’t always islands, however, having once been a peninsula before two storms in the mid-1800s separated the islands from the mainland. These days, the islands are accessible via a ferry and a pedestrian tunnel.
Toronto Island Park is one of the premier attractions on the islands, and visitors should definitely pay a visit in order to enjoy the different activities available. From Canada’s oldest lighthouse and excellent bird watching to boating in lagoons as well as beaches, hiking, and gardens, there are lots of reasons to visit.
READ ALSO: A guide to Toronto’s neighbourhoods
Over 250 ethnicities and 170 languages are represented in Toronto
Amsterdam Brewhouse on the Toronto harbourfront, Photo credit: Destination Toronto
Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, with over 250 different ethnicities calling the city home and 170 different languages represented. The city of Toronto has the highest percentage in the world of people born in another country. 16 different countries have over 50,000 different people represented in Toronto.
As a result, Toronto has a very unique culture waiting to be explored by all those who decide to visit, creating a vibrant and eclectic environment full of diverse restaurants, cuisine, shops, and buildings. Dining out is certainly one of the best ways to explore Toronto’s rich cultural diversity.
Scott and Megan from the travel blog Bobo and ChiChi have a great recommendation when it comes to eating out, suggesting one of the city’s premier Japanese establishments: “JaBistro should not be missed. This cosy Japanese eatery is considered by many as the best sushi restaurant in Toronto. It is the perfect place to get the freshest seafood. Every bite is rewarding and packed with deliciousness. Whether it is just sashimi or blowtorched sushi, you can’t go wrong with what you order. If you can’t decide, simply treat yourself to a 5-course prix fixe menu. It is totally worth it!”
Toronto has a sports team in nearly every major league in North America
Toronto Maple Leafs game at the Scotiabank Arena, Copyright: Destination Toronto
If you are a sports fan, Toronto is definitely the city to be in. There is a great abundance of professional sports teams that call the city home, so if you fancy taking in a game during your stay, you have lots of options. You can go and watch a great ice hockey game with NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs playing at the Scotiabank Arena. You can sit down to a basketball game at the home of the Toronto Raptors, or if baseball is more your thing, there is the MBA’s Toronto Blue Jays, who play at the Rogers Centre. On top of that, there are professional soccer, lacrosse, and rugby teams so there is no shortage of great sports action taking place in Toronto.
Interesting facts about Toronto
– Toronto is the 4th largest city in North America
– The CN Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere
– Toronto-Pearson International Airport is the busiest in Canada
– Toronto Zoo is the largest zoo in Canada
– The Toronto Islands weren’t always islands
– Over 250 ethnicities and 170 languages are represented in Toronto
– Toronto has a sports team in nearly every major league in North America
Toronto is a fascinating city, and it makes for a truly exciting holiday destination. If these facts have inspired you to visit Toronto yourself, we would love to make it happen. Get in touch with our Canada travel experts and we will tailor-make a package perfect for you.
For more tips, guides, and advice, make sure to visit our blog.