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Yours to Discover: Day One

Winter’s on its way out; it’s time to get a head start on exploring. Guide yourself with our specialized itineraries, or contact one of Toronto’s many tour operators to delve deeper into this multifaceted metropolis.

Henry Moore's Two Forms sit outside the AGO

SIGHTSEEING FOR SHUTTERBUGS
These landmarks are ready for their close up.

ALLAN GARDENS Featuring a glass domed Victorian-style “palm house” and an alluring architectural symmetry throughout its 16,000 square feet, Allan Gardens Conservatory is a popular photo-op spot. Venture inside for a lovely view of numerous flowers and plants, from orchids to cacti.

ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO The arcing glass facade and titanium tower comprising this Frank Gehry-designed museum are prominent in the midst of a largely residential quarter. Directly south is another intriguing edifice: the floating “tabletop” of OCAD University’s Sharp Centre for Design.

CASA LOMA This Gothic Revival mansion in midtown keeps imposing watch over the city and is surrounded by five acres of gardens. Inside, visitors can explore nearly 100 opulently decorated rooms.

The Allen Lambert Galleria in Brookfield Place

CN TOWER One of the tallest buildings in the world, this concrete needle makes for an iconic image from the ground. Or, ascend to its observation decks and snap a sky-high panorama—on a clear day it’s possible to see for  many kilometres into the distance.

CITY HALL Toronto’s seat of government is a modernist landmark—at the north end of Nathan Phillips Square sit two towers parenthetically embracing a saucer-like Council Chamber. Within its rotunda you can view a scale model of the city, plus a variety of public art works.

FINANCIAL DISTRICT Canada’s power brokers swing deals amidst this area’s superior structures, including the Santiago Calatrava–designed galleria at Brookfield Place, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s TD Centre towers, and the Renaissance Revival–style Commerce Court North.

HIGH PARK If the weather is agreeable, this hilly, 399-acre greenspace offers ample opportunity for photographic pursuits—and general enjoyment. There’s nature’s bounty, of course, but also a small zoo, historic Colborne Lodge and more. Return in late April to see the cherry trees in bloom.

The Royal Ontario Museum's Michael Lee-Chin Crystal (photo by Brian Boyle)

HOCKEY HALL OF FAME This shrine to Canada’s favourite sport is located in a heritage Beaux Arts bank building. Its cathedral-like Great Hall enshrines the National Hockey League’s coveted trophies—including the famed Stanley Cup—for all to see.

OLD TOWN The city’s original blocks date to 1793 and feature photo-friendly historic sites like the Gooderham “flatiron” Building and St. Lawrence Market. The area’s eastern end is home to the circa-1850s Distillery Historic District.

ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM Arguably the most controversial site in Toronto, the ROM’s “Crystal,” conceived by architect Daniel Libeskind, is nothing if not striking. The geometric structure bursts forth from a neo-Byzantine heritage building. Set your sights on thousands of historical artifacts and natural specimens inside.

Many of these famous attractions can be spotted from the comfort of a coach or even a double-decker bus. The Toronto City Tour and Gray Line Hop-On, Hop-Off City Tour offer popular, fully narrated excursions.

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