What to See & Do in Toronto?
Toronto is Canada’s biggest city, but we’ll focus on the middle here: The city is cross-crossed with deep forested ravines from High Park in the west to the Don Valley in the east. And then there’s the Toronto Islands! You can also explore a number of hopping shopping districts, including Yonge Street, Bloor, the hip Queen Street West area. And there are the multi-ethnic Kensignton Market area west of downtown, and The Danforth to the east. There is lots of live theatre, tons of attractions. and museums. And the city has lots of great architecture in every neighbourhood. And you can get almost everywhere quickly by subway or by streetcar.
Toronto, recently amalgamated from five municipalities, is Canada’s largest city with a population of 4.3 million, and is the capital of the province of Ontario. “Toronto” is the Huron Indian word that means “place of meeting.” Toronto is the head office capital of Canada, the financial centre of he country, home of the second largest stock exchange in North America. Toronto is also home to the country’s busiest airport. Toronto is also home to the world’s tallest building, the CN Tower which dominates the skyline (well, second tallest to Burj Khalifa, since 2008). If that isn’t BIG enough, a recent Toronto mayor, Mel Lastman, had voiced an interest in making Toronto a province.
Residents have plenty to do! The city has plenty of major league sports with teams that include the Blue Jays, Leafs, Raptors, and Argonauts. The city has over 5,000 restaurants and eateries and nightlife to match. The city is a multicultural mecca, and has more than 100 ethnic groups speaking approximately 100 languages. Yonge Street, the main north-south thoroughfare, is the longest street in the world (about 1,200 miles/ 1,800 km long). You can also head underground for shopping in the world’s biggest underground city, which is connected to train stations and subways stations. At any one time, there are some 40 productions playing – including Broadway musicals, classical concerts, ballet and opera, plus a range of “leading edge” productions!
Despite many residents’ thoughts to the contrary, Canada’s largest city, Toronto is NOT on the Trans-Canada Highway! While the very busy Highway 401 (in parts, over 8 lanes wide!) bisects the metropolitan area, this highway known as the “Macdonald-Cartier Freeway” connects Detroit & Windsor, Toronto and (as highway 20 in Quebec) Montreal and Quebec City.
The closest the Trans-Canada gets to Toronto is a corner on Highway 7 east of Lake Simcoe, closer to Peterborough, which is on the “Southern Route”. You can’t even see the CN Tower from there, that’s how far away it is. Nevertheless, Toronto is both a popular Canadian arrival & departure point for international and American visitors. And, Toronto is home to millions of Canadian who want to see the rest of their country, so we’ve included route itineraries for getting to & from Toronto and the Trans-Canada Highway. We’ve identified two key connection points: Montreal for points east, and Sudbury for all points west.
ll roadways in and around Toronto are busy, given the population density. Cyclists may not travel on any of the 400 series highways in Ontario, which limits options heading north/west. For cyclists, the best way to get out of Toronto NORTHBOUND is to head up Yonge Street, which runs through several communities including Richmond Hill, Aurora and Newmarket and Barrie and continues as Highway 11 to North Bay.
From Barrie, many sources recommend taking route 26 west to Owen Sound, then up to Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula, and catching the ferry to Manitoulin Island, and from there north to Espanola on Highway 17 westbound. Cyclists heading EASTBOUND toward Montreal, can take the old Highway 2, which runs along the north shore of Lake Ontario to Kingston and hen along the St Lawrence, and was the main route since the days of horse-drawn coaches in colonial days, until the 401 was built.