1 Austin Terrace, Toronto, M5R 1X8
416-923 – 1171 Fax: 416-923-5734
Sir Henry Pellatt, born in Kingston, was ambitious and at seventeen joined the family stock brokerage firm, and by age 23 became a full partner. He founded the Toronto Electric Light Company in 1883 and by age 20, his company had a monopoly on the supply of street lighting to the city. By 1901, he was chairman of 21 companies with interests in mining, insurance, land and electricity, and in 1902, began to build the first Canadian hydro-generating plant at Niagara Falls. In 1911, armed with a fortune of $17 million, he started to build his dream castle, designed by Canadian architect E. J. Lennox, on land named “house on the hill” or Casa Loma by its previous owner. After three years and $3.5 million the home was finished. World War I slowed interest in his speculative land developments around Casa Loma, putting him into financial difficulty, and by 1924 he sold Casa Loma to pay tax bills. That year his wife died from the pressures. After a few years as a hotel and a nightclub, in 1933 the City acquired the home and converted it to a tourist attraction, operated by the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma. In a typical year, 375,000 visitors toured the Castle and gardens, and 30,000 attended special events & functions. Open daily 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The enchanting Casa Loma Gardens are open May through October. Admission $$* Casa Loma cannot handle strollers.
New City Hall
100 Queen Street West (at University)
Toronto’s most famous landmark contrasts with the city’s many rectangular buildings. Two tall semicircular office towers of unequal height embrace a flying saucer shaped council chamber balanced on a two-story podium which overlooks sweeping Nathan Phillips Square with its reflecting pool (and popular winter time skating rink). Finnish architect Viljo Revell won a 1965 competition, which attracted 520 submissions from 42 countries, won the competition. The offices of the metro chairman and mayor overlook the entrance, and an elevator takes visitors to the domed Council Chamber, which has a public gallery. The 1984 Peace Garden to the right of the square exudes Oriental serenity and Henry Moore’s sculpture “The Archer” graces the entrance. Open Mon – Fri 8:30 am – 4 pm.
Old City Hall
100 Queen Street West (at Bay)
This distinguished 1899 Romanesque building, built at a cost of $2 million, began as a courthouse, later joined by City Hall. The stones are from New Brunswick and from the Credit River valley. There is a lot of ornamentation, unusual for courthouses of the period (you can see intricately carved foliage and grotesquely carved faces of politicians above the front steps). Stained glass windows display the city’s first motto “Industry, Integrity, Intelligence” composed years earlier by William Lyon Mackenzie, Toronto’s first mayor. Old City Hall barely survived the wrecking ball in 1965 when council relocated to New City Hall, and was declared a National Historic Site in 1989. When court is not in session, visitors may also tour the old courtroom. Monday-Friday 9-5, Weekends and Holidays -Closed. Admission free.
Rogers Centre (formerly, the Toronto Sky Dome)
1 Blue Jays Way (off Front Street, west of Union Station)
416-341-3663 (current events), 416-341-2772 (tours)
This world’s first multi-purpose stadium with a retractable roof is home to the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Argonauts. The 11,000-ton roof spans 674 feet across, stands 31 stories high, and covers more than eight acres and 60,000 seats. The root takes 20 minutes to open. The JumboTron video display boards, one of the largest in the world, is three stories high by nine stories wide. The open-air stadium hosts events from May to late October. The SkyTent Arena is an all-season venue with seating for 10,000 to 30,000, for concerts, Walt Disney on Ice, The Harlem Globetrotters, and The Garden Brothers Circus. Skydome Hotel is located inside Skydome with rooms overlooking the playing field. There are four restaurants of the Skydome with field view tables.
Tours of Skydome operate daily. A 15-minute film about its construction is followed by a 45-minute “behind the scenes” guided tour, including a visit to the media center, a private SkyBox, dressing room, and a stroll onto the field $..
Roy Thomson Hall
Simcoe Street (at King Street West)
Opened in 1982, Roy Thomson Hall is named for the late Canadian newspaper mogul, Baron Thomson of Fleet. Roy Thomson Hall is the city’s world-class auditorium and home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Mendelssohn Choir. The 80-foot-high glass roof elegantly reaches for the downtown sky, with a 30,000-square-foot enclosed area with a theatre with perfect acoustics for an audience of 2,875. Outside are a reflecting pool and an array of terraces designed by the Garden Club of Toronto. Box office hours: Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm; Sat: 12pm-5pm; Sun & Holidays: Two hours prior to performance. Music store hours: Mon-Sat: 11am-6pm
65 Front Street West, M5J 1E6
on Front and Bay street.
VIA Rail: (888) 842-7245
Go Train: 416-869-3200
Opened in 1927, Union Station is one of North America’s most interesting railway stations. It takes up an entire city block (76.2 metres / 250 feet) on Front St. with twenty-two 75 ton stone columns, standing 12.2 metres high (40 feet). The Great Hall, for arriving VIA and GO Trains has an arched ceiling that rises 17 metres (88 feet) above the floor. Union Station handles 150,000 passengers a day. Union Station is connected to the Fairmont Royal York hotel across the street, and to the downtown’s PATH underground city.