Canada’s largest city enjoys a superb lakeside location while boasting great cultural institutions and an ethnic harmony that is an example to the world.
Day 1: Natural Toronto
Take some time to explore Toronto on and around Lake Ontario, starting with the regenerated Harbourfront. Where else would you find a spot like Spadina Quay, protected wetlands in the shadow of skyscrapers? The skyline, by the way, including the enormous CN Tower, looks even more impressive from the water. And the nearby islands are a fascinating world unto themselves, with largely car-free communities and nature reserves like Tommy Thompson Park, where you can easily forget that you’re still in North America’s fifth largest city. When the weather allows, yachting, fishing and fine swimming beaches make the lake a hive of activity.
Day 2: Cultural Toronto
But of course for at least
half the year you’ll be looking for indoor diversions. You’re in luck!
Still at Harbourside, visit Toronto’s version of London’s Tate Modern, a
contemporary gallery in a converted power station. The nearby
Distillery District now produces great exhibitions, performances and
meals rather than whiskey. 401 Richmond is yet another thoughtful
renovation, a whole gallery precinct inside a reconditioned warehouse.
Down the road, the huge Art Gallery of Ontario has recent additions
designed by local boy Frank Gehry, while the Toronto Dominion Gallery of
Inuit Art has compelling works by indigenous Canadians. At night, take
in a show at the modern Four Season Centre or Roy Thomson Hall, or the
beautifully restored vaudeville theater Elgin & Winter Garden.
Day 3: Multicultural Toronto
are justly proud of their city’s diversity. Bringing new life to some
of Toronto’s oldest districts, every nation it seems has been
transplanted and miniaturized: there’s Little Italy, Little Greece and
Little India, not forgetting the importance of Chinatown in a city where
one in ten citizens has Chinese roots. Near Harbourfront, Little
Portugal brings color to the grayest winters, while the Indian Bazaar is
a trip to the sights, sounds and smells of the subcontinent. All of
these groups contribute to the astonishing quality and variety of