Polite yet edgy, urban yet green: Toronto is one of those places where you can get it all. A cultural leader, Toronto has a thriving art community and food scene. And while you could spend weeks pinballing between Toronto's urban virtues, it's a green city too. Parks and natural spaces fill in city gaps, and public transport is top notch.
Toronto is a city driven by the seasons. Dramatic shifts in weather elicit almost schizophrenic behavior from the locals. Washed-out by winter, reticent residents scuttle between doorways to stay out of the April wind – spring here is far from frivolous. Come back in July and it's a whole new ball game: patios overflow with laughing crowds, pubs heave and sway, people play in the parks and along the lakeshore till late. Humidity clogs the avenues and the streetlife hum approaches a roar. In October, Torontonians have a haunted look – reddening maples bring a tight-lipped, melancholy realization that winter isn't far away. Spanked across the face by bitter February, locals head underground into the PATH network of subterranean walkways. Snowy streets are no place to be – instead it's galleries, coffee shops and cozy pubs. And of course, winter is hockey season!
Toronto's many immigrants play along with this well-weathered performance, their relocated cultures transforming the city into a hyperactive human stew of ethnic, subcultural and historic districts. Far from ghettos, this patchwork of neighborhoods shapes the city's social agenda and fuels its progress. Overlaid by a typically laconic Canadian attitude, Toronto is as unpretentious and tolerant as it is complex.
The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is a deep, loamy plain furrowed by leafy ravines – refuges for raccoons, eagles and more sweaty joggers than seems plausible. Tommy Thompson Park, an artificial wildlife oasis, juts abstractly into Lake Ontario, while the Toronto Islands rustle their leafy boughs at the city skyline.
Best places to stay in Toronto
One day in Toronto's coolest neighbourhood
The creation of a cool new area often follows the same pattern: property prices rise, immigrant-industrial enclave in big city suddenly looks like a good option, arty types adopt the area, gentrification kicks in and voilà, a hip neighborhood is born.
Toronto destination guides
Toronto’s Kensington Market: a loveable hodgepodge
The antics in Bellevue Square Park tell you all you need to know about Kensington Market. Yes, there’s a swing set, but it’s literally child’s play compared to the bongo drumming circles, tightrope walking, fire hula-hooping and occasional boomerang tossing that keep the big kids busy.
3-Day Best of the Border Tour from New York City: Niagara Falls, Toronto, Lake Ontario and 1000 Islands
Head north from New York City in a climate-controlled coach on this exciting 3-day tour to experience the best of the Niagara Falls region in both New York and Canada.
Niagara Falls Freedom Day Trip from Toronto
Take a full-day trip from Toronto to Niagara Falls (in Canada), with the freedom to go your own way when you get there. You'll be dropped at the foot of Clifton Hill, from where you can make your own way to the falls, shops and many attractions. Your visit to Niagara Falls includes a spectacular boat ride aboard the famous Maid of the Mist (weather conditions permitting).
Making the most of it: 24-hour itineraries
You've got a day in a city. You're thinking, eh, I'm jet-lagged, I don't know where anything is, how much will I actually get to see? Well, a lot actually. It's all about making the most of it.