Day or night, the glow of marquee lights and cheering spectators ensures Toronto’s central hot spot is full of life. From the first pitch on the ball diamond to the final curtain call, this area’s top attractions, theatres and stadiums—not to mention restaurants, bars and clubs—are the city’s crowning glory.
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TREAD LIGHTLY Spread across 13 blocks, Canada’s Walk of Fame is a tribute in granite to the country’s finest. More than 120 Canadians have been honoured since 1998, including actors William Shatner and Mike Myers, directors David Cronenberg and Ivan Reitman, singers Joni Mitchell and Diana Krall, and comedian Eugene Levy.
FIT FOR ROYALTY Named in part for the late Princess Diana, the horseshoe-shaped Princess of Wales Theatre is an example of superior craftsmanship: Venetian terrazzo floors, mahogany from Africa adorning the arches and handrails, glass and tile mosaics, and more than 10,000 square feet of murals by American artist Frank Stella covering the ceiling, proscenium arch, lounges and lobbies. Over the years, Tony Award–winning productions such as The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon have played here to rousing applause. Next month the curtain rises on Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical.
A CENTURY OF SHOWS The oldest continuously operating theatre in North America, the Royal Alexandra Theatre is as known for its beaux-arts style architecture as it is for the esteemed names who have taken to its stage: Édith Piaf, Orson Welles and Martin Short have all made audiences laugh, cry and burst into thunderous applause. The venue itself is impressively appointed with Italian marble, carved walnut and cherrywood, gilded plaster and crystal chandeliers. Presently, the 1980s hair-metal love story Rock of Ages is bringing down the house.
APPEALING TO THE EARS The unique, curvilinear glass exterior of Roy Thomson Hall makes it an oft-photographed site. But the home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is more than just a pretty facade. Renovations in 2002 made it one of the city’s most acoustically stellar concert halls. The TSO kicks off its 89th season with Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony no. 2 on September 23. Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, mezzo-soprano Susan Platts and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir help bring the piece to life.
SYMBOL IN THE SKY The CN Tower may have lost the title of world’s tallest free-standing structure, but it remains the pinnacle of this city’s unique skyline. At a commanding 553.33 metres tall, this communication tower—built by the Canadian National Railway in 1972—offers aerial views from several vantage points. The SkyPod presides over an unparalleled view at 447 metres, while upscale restaurant 360 dishes up a revolving panorama at 351 metres.
SPORTS CENTRAL Adjacent to the CN Tower is another iconic element of Toronto’s downtown landscape. The multi-purpose Rogers Centre is home to Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays and the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts, and was the world’s first stadium with a retractable roof. In addition to cheering sports fans, music lovers also pack the field for raucous concerts by such bands as Bon Jovi and the Jonas Brothers. Take a one-hour guided tour to see a luxury suite, press box and the Blue Jays Hall of Fame.