Things YOU GOTTA SEE when visiting North York!

Sightseeing Suggestions

North York straddles the east-west 401 and its attractions are clustered in the west, along Yonge Street and in the east in the two Don Valleys.

Here are some quick suggestions for visitors with limited time in the area. Perfect if you have only ONE DAY to visit (like a business trip, when passing through, or when stopping over between flights). The additional days schedule is a recommendation for those who want to see the essence of North York in only a couple of days.

You can read ALL SORTS of travel guides, and carry around pounds of paper, or just print off this ONE PAGE and have all the info you ever need! These are the area’s top activities, family activities and attractions, tourist attractions, historical sites, museums, interesting architecture, sightseeing and top shopping/dining areas. Organized into a nice walking or driving itinerary!

Day One: Yonge Street (Willowdale) & West Don River

Mel Lastman Square and Civic Centre, in North York
These communities around the West Don River amd Yonge Street are the core of what used to be the city of “North York”, and are now the heart of north Toronto.

  • Heading east, and north on Bathurst is the Holocaust Education & Memorial Centre. This area is not only the heart of Toronto’s Jewish Community
  • West of Yonge Street is Earl Bales Park, straddling the West Don River, with an outdoor amphitheatre and a popular ski hill This par is part of the ravines of the west branch of the Don River.
  • Yonge Street is the commercial heart of Toronto, as well as North York. With lots of shops and malls the entire stretch form Eglinton to Steeles (and continuing south to the Harbourfront), north of Sheppard is the Civic Centre which includes Mel Lastman Square, the Toronto Centre for the Arts, and several movie theatres.

Day Two: Western North York

Black Creek Pioneer Village, in North York
These communities east of the Humber River, and bisected by Black Creek and Highway 400, were developed rapidly in the 1960s. This part of North York has history, parks and ravines, and great shopping.

Downsview Park

  • East of Highway 400 on Steeles, is Black Creek Pioneer Village, the metro area’s best showcase of pre-Confederation structures and showcasing pioneer living in Upper Canada, complete with period-costumed interpreters and guides.
  • Just east on Steeles is the large campus of York University, with interesting architecture and lots of recreational facilities
  • Head south along Dufferin to Sheppard (and then west a bit) to Downsview Park, where the Pope held mass a few years back, but also home to the Toronto Aerospace Museum, with some incredible exhibits of Canadian historical aircraft.
  • Head south along Keele Street to Wilson to reconnect to Dufferin and head into Yorkdale Shopping Centre, a popular Toronto shopping destination since the mid-1960s, with lots of shopping, dining and recreation, but also a major transit point for subway and GO Transit.

Edward Gardens and Toronto Botanical Gardens, in North York

Day Three: In and around the Don Valley

These communities are built on the highlands around the deep Don River Ravines, and have history and nature, along with great home neighoburhoods, major business parks, and great shopping & recreation. Most of which are south of the 401 (take the Leslie exit, south)

Edward Gardens and Toronto Botanical Gardens

  • west of Leslie (at lawrence) is the community of Bridle Path with its oversized modern (1960s) homes
  • At Edwards Gardens, off Leslie, you’ll find the Toronto Botanical Gardens, Greenhouses and Rose Garden
  • just north of Eglinton, is Sunnybrook Park, an major recreational park on the West Humber River is also home to the Metro Police Riding Stables (west end of park), and recreational pathways connect northwards to Edwards Gardens
  • head east on Eglinton and south at Don Mills to the Ontario Science Centre, built on a stunning ravine wall overlooking Ernest Seton Park in the Don River Valley, with great interactive hands-on science and technological history exhibits


Ontario Science Centre entrance, in North York