What to do and see in Toronto, Canada: The Best Places and Tips

September 24, 2017 Weston Hennigan

We've heard Toronto described as "New York City run by the Swiss," and it's true—you can find world-class theater, shopping and restaurants here, but the sidewalks are clean and the people are friendly. The best place to start is literally at the top—the CN Tower, the tallest freestanding structure in the Western Hemisphere.
Restaurants in Toronto

1. Ripley's Aquarium Of Canada

288 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto, Ontario M5V 3L9, Canada +1 647-351-3474
Excellent
62%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 15 reviews

Ripley's Aquarium Of Canada

Explore the Waters of the World at Ripley's Aquarium of Canada. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto at the base of the CN Tower, the aquarium is Toronto's newest must-see attraction for tourists and locals of all ages.

Reviewed By CAIS - Sudbury

Our family of 4 (11yr, 8yr) just visited yesterday, Good Friday, which was crazy busy but still an amazing experience! So many wonderful species and incredible views! We all loved it! Tranquil and calming environment with relaxing music playing too. Can't wait to go back again...when it's not so busy though, like maybe during the week??

2. St. Lawrence Market

92-95 Front St. E., Toronto, Ontario M5E 1C4, Canada +1 416-392-7219
Excellent
54%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 10 reviews

St. Lawrence Market

Once housing city hall, this Victorian building is surrounded by other historically significant architectural gems.

Reviewed By Franklin W

Hey Toronto landmark. Peameal bacon sandwiches, veal sandwiches, grilled cheeses. If you can’t get it here, they don’t have it. I recommend knowing what you want to buy, before you go there. Prices vary dramatically between the various butchers, depending on the cut of meat or seafood that you need. Oh, I forgot about the bagels. The best in the province.Montreal style. Amazing.

3. CN Tower

301 Front St W, Toronto, Ontario M5V 2T6, Canada +1 416-868-6937
Excellent
52%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 19 reviews

CN Tower

The CN Tower is a National icon, engineering Wonder, a Toronto must-see attraction and award winning dining and entertainment destination. Rocket to the top aboard the Tower's glass fronted and glass floor paneled elevators which take you to the top in only 58 seconds. Take in spectacular views of up to 160km (100 miles) away from four observation areas on three levels, including the LookOut, world famous Glass Floor with outdoor SkyTerrace and the SkyPod, the highest of them all. Experience the thrill of EdgeWalk at the CN Tower, the World's Highest Outdoor Walk on a Building. Enjoy award-winning Canadian cuisine and breathtaking revolving views at 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower, family friendly fare at Horizons Toronto celebrating the multicultural flavours of Toronto neighbourhoods, or grab and go fare from Le Café. Plus, visual displays, KidZone play area and 8,000 square feet of unique Canadian artisan and souvenir shopping in the Gift Shop. Don't miss the architectural illumination of the CN Tower each night from dusk with top of the hour light show.

Reviewed By CAIS - Sudbury

Our family of four (11yr, 8yr) visited after the Jay's game on Good Friday (last night). What a crazy cool experience. Not sure if they are currently renovating or not, but as soon as you exit the elevator after going up, it looks unwelcoming and like a construction zone. Other than that, it was a fun adventure that I never need to do again because I am scared of heights. The outdoor observation deck is quite nice and the glass floor is fun...if you have no fear! I would recommend you try this experience at least once as the views are unlike any other.

4. Royal Conservatory of Music

273 Bloor St W, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1W2, Canada +1 416-408-0208
Excellent
80%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 221 reviews

Royal Conservatory of Music

Classical, jazz, pop, opera, and world music are right at home in Koerner Hall. Its high ceiling and first-rate projection and communication technology make it perfect for films, lectures, and educational or corporate conferences. With its layered ribbon of wood forming a floating ceiling canopy, integrating an acoustic reflector, performance lighting, and technical Bridges, Koerner Hall provides a dramatic yet intimate ambience between the audience and performers. The spectacular glass lobbies welcome guests to Koerner Hall and offer an extraordinary view of the city.

Reviewed By Mike K - Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada

I sit inside Koerner Hall, its attractive wooden framework seemingly woven in an intricate embrace from ceiling to floor, the resulting acoustics amplifying the tenor soloist’s rich opening lyrics, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people”, and I wonder, can Christmas get any better than this ‒ listening to Tafelmusik’s take on Handel’s Messiah?
I have enjoyed Boston, Chicago and Niagara’s version of Messiah as well as that of the Toronto Symphony along with the formidable Mendelssohn Choir adding up to a chorus of 100 plus, but Koerner Hall, just west of the ROM, is much more intimate an experience than that of rival Roy Thomson Hall. The size of the chorus and orchestra is much smaller, but Tafelmusik’s chamber choir and baroque orchestra, directed by Ivars Taurins, are equally amazing to behold. They pack a powerful punch.
The soloists are superb, but the chorus is equally gifted, and when they launch into, For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given I am swept away almost to tears with their beautiful harmony and recitative repetitions. I’m also captivated by Taurins who energetically employs his entire body to cajole, encourage and incite hypnotic sound sculptures that he frames with his artistic hands.
We all rise as one for the Hallelujah Chorus transfixed by Charles Jenners’ libretto which accompanies Handel’s striking music. I am impressed by Rufus Muller, an English-German tenor with attitude, Joanne Lunn, one of Britain’s leading baroque sopranos and Brett Polegato, a powerful baritone who performs all over the world including La Scala. But, it’s the talented chorus that keeps one magically attuned throughout as they sing enchanting lyrics from He shall purify to All we like sheep.
At the intermission, I notice that former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and husband John Ralston Saul, former International President of PEN International, are in the sold-out crowd. This is amusing as they were also at a performance we shared of The Well-Tempered Clavier in Parry Sound. My spouse and I will have to stop hob-knobbing with VIPs.

5. Toronto Public Library

789 Yonge St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada +1 416-393-7000
Excellent
71%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 695 reviews

Toronto Public Library

This beautiful building contains a dramatic interior complete with pool and waterfall.

Reviewed By Neil D

If you are in the Yonge and Bloor area, be sure to drop in to the Toronto Reference Library. It looks like an unfinished brick pyramid from the outside, which may not seem too appealing, but once you go inside and walk past the Fountain, a giant, open atrium awaits your viewing. Feel free to walk up the stairs or take a glass elevator up to the higher floors for a great view down as well. On the 5th. floor, there is a special room of old and rare books. In the room is another room dedicated to the stories of detective Sherlock Holmes. It's also worth a visit, if you enjoy those books. The library was recently partially renovated. Unfortunately, for some strange reason, they took away all of the beautiful green plants that hung from planters on each level. However, there is a (small) green space of a wall of plants on Level 2. The Library also has a great gift shop at the main entrance, specializing in graphic novel books and paraphernalia, as well as other book-related gifts.

6. Ed Mirvish Theatre

244 Victoria St, Toronto, Ontario M5B 1V8, Canada +1 800-461-3333
Excellent
73%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 995 reviews

Ed Mirvish Theatre

The Ed Mirvish Theatre began its life in 1920 as a combination vaudeville and motion picture theatre in the Pantages theatre circuit. With its original 3373 seats, it was the largest cinema in Canada and, with its lavish interior - designed by the great theatre architect Thomas Lamb - the most elegant. David Mirvish officially renamed the iconic building The Ed Mirvish Theatre on December 6, 2011.

Reviewed By RyanThunderBay - Thunder Bay

I suspect the Jim Steinman, Bat Out of Hell performance has now ruined my chances of enjoying any musical I will ever see in the future. The combination of fabulous and familiar songs, executed by over-the-top energetic, emotion-exploiting, no-less-than-stellar vocalists, against a set including visual effects the likes of which will leave you asking how they did it, left patrons of this magnificently adorned theatre proclaiming they would love to experience it again before even leaving their seats. My wife hasn't stopped thanking me for purchasing the tickets to their final Toronto performance. Thank you Ed Mirvish and the helpful staff of this historic, downtown attraction!

9 Queens Quay West, Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, Toronto, Ontario M5J 2H3, Canada +1 416-555-8987
Excellent
66%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 5 reviews

Toronto Islands

Park consisting of four main Islands and containing trails, Beaches and children's amusement rides.

Reviewed By Gino B

We decided to spend a nice autumn day at the Toronto Islands. The weather was cool and sunny, a beautiful autumn day. We did a lot of walking, took in the scenery and snapped many photos including the city of Toronto and it’s skyline.

8. Toronto Symphony Orchestra

60 Simcoe St | at the Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, Ontario M5J 2H5, Canada +1 416-593-7769
Excellent
76%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 286 reviews

Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1922, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is one of Canada’s leading cultural institutions. Today, more than 225,000 patrons and over 50,000 students visit the Orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall each year, and an additional five million Canadians tune in to concert broadcasts on CBC Radio. Under the leadership of Music Director Peter Oundjian, the Orchestra has increased recording and touring projects to include a self-produced record label, and Performances throughout the US and Canada. The Orchestra continues to develop its international presence by being an active commissioning body for new Canadian and international works, as well as attracting distinguished guest artists and conductors to Performances at Roy Thomson Hall.

Reviewed By Nolinice

We have been subscribers for many years and yet never considered reviewing this world class ensemble .
Many individually talented performers (today it was the harpist) working together in pieces more or lesser known. My best memory still the very recent show for Remembrance Day. Unforgettable. thanks for making Toronto great

9. Steam Whistle Brewery

255 Bremner Blvd | The Roundhouse, Toronto, Ontario M5V 3M9, Canada +1 416-362-2337
Excellent
67%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Steam Whistle Brewery

Located within walking distance of the CN Tower and Rogers Center, Steam Whistle Brewing occupies Bays 1-14 within the old John Street Roundhouse building, a designated National Historic Site that was previously home to the Canadian Pacific Railway steam locomotive repair facility. Thousands of visitors visit this brewery every year to attend one of the on-site events or take a tour of how the company brews its own Pilsner.

Reviewed By Gillesby - Sarnia, Canada

My wife and I arrived at the ACC a couple hours before a concert. This was a great place to have a couple affordable beers beforehand. Very cool atmosphere.

10. High Park

1873 Bloor St W, Toronto, Ontario M6R 2Z3, Canada +1 416-392-8188
Excellent
64%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

High Park

Popular urban oasis offers a variety of outdoor recreation including ice-skating, baseball games, nature hikes and exploring the park's greenhouse.

Reviewed By Anna L

400 acres of an amazing municipal park!
You can access High Park from the corner of Ellis Avenue and The Queensway which (is where Grenadier Pond starts) and continues along the North side of The Queensway up to Parkside Drive.
Follow Parkside Drive north (which also gives you access to the park) all the way to Bloor Street which runs east and west. If you cross the street and continue north on Bloor Street you will be at the start of Keele Street. Here you can access the Keele Street Subway station, which is very convient.
Keele and Bloor is an entrance to the park.
At this point if you continue west along Bloor Street and keep on the south side of Bloor you will be able to access this amazing park anywhere along the way. You will also have access to the main entrance of this park as well as the High Park subway station. Another convenient access if you don’t want to drive.
Once you reach Ellis Park Drive and Bloor Street you continue to travel south following the path which runs along the park until the road starts to veer upwards towards Ellis Avenue. At this point you would have to walk south on Ellis Avenue all the way to The Queensway and you are back at the beginning of a very scenic and interesting public park.
High Park has so much to offer depending on the season. From a zoo, to a great restaurant, walking trails, running paths, dog park, skating rink, swimming pool, work out stations, not to mention lots of varieties of trees and flowers throughout this exquisite location.
In the summer there is a train ride you can pay for and ride throughout the park. Great for seniors and families. There is also a cemetery honouring the famous
Mr. John Howard who donated this lovely park to the city of Toronto upon his death.
There are 100 cherry blossom trees called Sakura trees that were gifted to Toronto from Japan . In the spring these trees are very colourful, beautiful, and fragrant. A site definitely worth seeing, and where many brides and tourists end up taking professional photos here.
Do you love to feed the squirrels and chipmunks? Just bring the peanuts and guaranteed these critters will find you and entertain you for hours.
There is parking in the park as well as around the surrounding neighbourhoods, and easy access from two subway stations, as well as the Queensway streetcar that can access the park from at least three different locations.
There is so much more to say about High Park, and see like geese and ducks and birds etc....and do here like the summertime Shakespeare Performances etc...so plan a summer picnic, hop on your bike for a morning ride, drive here with the family and check out the zoo, or bring a friend for a hike by taking the ttc, just get here and experience this most beautiful enormous park that is FREE and for EVERYONE!
I Love HIGH PARK!❤️
Guaranteed you will too!!!!!!!!
Cheers,
Anna Lowery

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