SEE IT ALL!
START AT THE TOP The CN Tower is one sight you can’t miss. Take in unforgettable views of the whole city and beyond from the Glass Floor and SkyPod observation deck. The most luxurious way to enjoy the scenery: dine at award-winning 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower. 301 Front St. W., 416-86-TOWER.
TROLLEY AROUND Board a London-style double-decker or trolley bus for the Grayline Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour. The fully narrated tour runs in a continuous loop and features such sites as the CN Tower, Casa Loma, Harbourfront and the Toronto Eaton Centre. Daily departures from various downtown locations; call 1-800-594-3310.
LISTEN TO A LOCAL’S TAKE Historian Bruce Bell provides a true taste of the historic St. Lawrence Market (91-95 Front St. E.) and area. His walking tours are packed with insight into Toronto’s architectural, industrial and social history, and his friends at the market give out samples of their fine foods. For more details and to book, call 647-393-8687.
SAMPLE THE SIGHTS A Taste of the World presents themed culinary, literary and ghost walks of Toronto’s most colourful neighbourhoods. Learn about a haunted university, sample Kensington Market’s ethnic treats, and more. Call 416-923-6813 for information.
DOUBLE-DECK IT Knowledgeable tour guides at ShopDineTour Toronto offer daily sightseeing, shopping and dining tours on trolley or double-decker buses. Jump on or off at 20 to 30 stops including Bloor-Yorkville, Casa Loma, the CN Tower and the St. Lawrence Market. Tours depart from Yonge-Dundas Square on the hour until 5 p.m.; call 416-463-7467.
SEE A HIT SHOW Acclaimed stage productions abound in Toronto. The city is alive with The Sound of Music. The Rodgers & Hammerstein–inspired show continues at the Princess of Wales Theatre (300 King St. W., 416-872-1212). Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage, has extended its sultry run at the Royal Alexandra Theatre (260 King St. W., 416-872-1212). Beloved freckle-faced orphan Anne Shirley takes Avonlea by storm in Anne of Green Gables, The Musical, which runs from May 7 to 31 at the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre (189 Yonge St., 1-866-950-7469 for tickets.)
ENJOY OUTSTANDING OPERA The Canadian Opera Company is one of the largest producers of opera in North America. This season includes Beethoven’s powerful love story Fidelio (continuing to February 24), Puccini’s heartfelt La Bohème (April 17 to May 24), while Shakespeare’s fairies and lovers take over in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (May 5 to 23). Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 416-363-8231.
TAKE IN TOP BALLET The esteemed National Ballet of Canada‘s schedule features three classic repertoires: the tragic tale of star-crossed lovers in Romeo and Juliet (March 11 to 22), the hauntingly emotional Giselle (May 27 to 31) and a reconceptualized staging of the passionate Carmen (June 6 to 14), which is a company premiere. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 416-345-9595.
HEAR ACCLAIMED MUSIC The Toronto Symphony Orchestra offers several programs to appeal to many tastes: Masterworks covers composers like Prokofiev and Ravel (March 25, 26 and 28), Mahler (May 28 and 30) and Brahms (June 3 and 4); special concerts include cellist Yo-Yo Ma performing with the Silk Road Ensemble on March 19; the exuberant Anglophile celebration of Last Night at the Proms (May 19 and 20); and soprano superstar Measha Brueggergosman pays homage to Strauss and Bartók on June 10, 11 and 13. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St., 416-593-4828.
CATCH AWARD–WINNING PLAYS The Young Centre for the Performing Arts (55 Mill St., 416-866-8666) is home to the actor-founded Soulpepper Theatre Company, which presents David Mamet’s Pultizer Prize–winning play Glenngary Glen Ross (April 2 to May 9).
FIVE FOR FAMILY FUN
PLEASE TOUCH Learning is fun at the Ontario Science Centre—celebrating its 40th anniversary this year—and its OMNIMAX theatre. Through hundreds of interactive exhibits, explore botany, physics, geology, sports, communication, the human body and the environment. KidSpark allows kids age eight and under to discover through play. Beginning on April 9, go on a secret undercover mission when the interactive Science of Spying exhibit opens. 770 Don Mills Rd., 416-696-3127.
EXPLORE A CASTLE The majestic 98-room Casa Loma was once the dream home of financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt. The castle features 22 fireplaces, bronze doors, secret passageways, towers, a stunning conservatory and skillfully landscaped grounds. 1 Austin Terr., 416-923-1171.
HEAD TO THE HARBOUR Named for its lakefront location, Harbourfront Centre is a hotbed of activity that’s home to year-round art exhibits, dance performances, music concerts, a range of festivals and much more. Throughout the winter, you can enjoy free outdoor ice-skating on the picturesque Natrel Rink. 235 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000.
VISIT A FORT Historic Fort York was host to one of the bloodiest battles of the War of 1812. It’s now a well-preserved heritage site with military demonstrations and guided tours. 100 Garrison Rd., 416-392-6907.
EXPERIENCE THE WILDLIFE Visit more than 5,000 animals from 460 species at the Toronto Zoo where they’re housed in six zoogeographic regions that recreate their natural habitat. In summer, cool off at Splash Island, a two-acre water play area. At Meadowvale Road and Highway 401, 416-392-5929.
TOP SHOPPING DESTINATIONS
INDULGE IN ELEGANCE In the Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood, find designer shops with couture by Cartier, Hermès, Prada and more, plus jewellers, spas and art galleries. Two main shopping centres, Hazelton Lanes (55-87 Avenue Rd., 416-968-8680) and Holt Renfrew Centre (50 Bloor St. W., 416-922-2333), have more than 80 high-end stores combined.
SHOP FOR TRENDS Travel west along Queen Street from University Avenue to find chic boutiques that will strike anyone’s fancy. Beyond Bathurst Street, funky independent shops offer all manner of inspired new and vintage fashions.
SCORE TOP BRANDS In the heart of downtown, the Toronto Eaton Centre is home to more than 250 major retailers, restaurants, fast-food vendors and services, including Harry Rosen, Roots, Swarovski, Apple, Pottery Barn, Lululemon, H&M, French Connection and Zara. 220 Yonge St., 416-598-8700.
CELEBRATE CANADIANA The Queen’s Quay Terminal is a picturesque venue on Lake Ontario’s waterfront for specialty shopping at assorted Canadian-focused boutiques and galleries displaying fine carvings and prints by Inuit artists. A handful of diverse dining options offer acclaimed cuisine and great lake views. 207 Queens Quay W., 416-203-3269.
DISCOVER ARTS & CRAFTS The quaint pedestrian-only Distillery Historic District is home to a select smattering of elegant home decor boutiques, artisan shops, galleries, cafés and sleek restaurants. 55 Mill St., southeast of Front and Parliament streets, 416-364-1177.
GO LEAFS, GO! See the stick action of the city’s beloved NHL team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. The boys in blue and white play regular season games through to March. Air Canada Centre, 40 Bay St., 416-872-5000.
SCORE A VISIT Make the pilgrimage to the Hockey Hall of Fame for its collection of NHL trophies—including the Stanley Cup—plus memorabilia, retrospective exhibits and interactive games. 30 Yonge St., 416-360-7765.
SLAM DUNK SOME TIX The city’s high-flying NBA team, the Toronto Raptors, takes to the court for regular season games through to April 12. Air Canada Centre, 40 Bay St., 416-366-DUNK.
HIT A HOME RUN Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays swing back into action on April 6 with regular-season home games. Rogers Centre, 1 Blue Jays Way, 416-341-1234.
GET A SNEAK PEEK The Rogers Centre Tour Experience is a guided tour that goes behind the scenes of this enormous sports and event facility—the first in the world with a re-tractable roof. 1 Blue Jays Way, 416-341-2770.
MAKE IT A MUSEUM
GET GLASSY-EYED After six years of renovations, the Frank Gehry-designed Art Gallery of Ontario has re-opened. The striking 600-foot-long glass facade draws visitors inside to an internationally renowned collection that includes more than 73,000 works spanning over 1,000 years of history, including works by members of the Group of Seven and Peter Paul Rubens. 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648.
DIG INTO HISTORY The dramatic Michael Lee-Chin Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum is filled with a world-class collection of dinosaurs, historical costumes and many other artifacts. Until March 22, marvel at the beauty of the most sought-after gems in The Nature of Diamonds. As of June 27, see some of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century—the Dead Sea Scrolls. 100 Queen’s Park, 416-586-8000.
SPIN INTO CERAMICS The Gardiner Museum houses a vast collection of historic and contemporary ceramics. Until May 3, catch a show of new works by acclaimed Canadian artist Léopold L. Foulem. From February 19 to August 9, Clay Canvases: The Fine Art of Painted Ceramics traces the history of this art form from the Renaissance to today. 111 Queen’s Park, 416-586-8080.
CARVE OUT TIME Fans of the iconic stone carvings made by Canada’s Inuit artists won’t want to miss the Museum of Inuit Art, which houses the largest permanent display of Inuit art in the country. Queen’s Quay Terminal, 207 Queens Quay W., 416-640-1571.
STEP INTO IT Peruse a vast collection of footwear through the ages at the Bata Shoe Museum. A showcase of 90 pairs of shoes, boots and moccasins in Beauty, Identity, Pride: Native North American Footwear celebrates indigenous people’s footwear. 327 Bloor St. W., 416-979-7799.