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Top Toronto Attractions

The first time you visit Toronto, or any new destination, the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice, and other information about the top tourist attractions in Toronto to help with your itinerary planning.

St. Lawrence Market St. Lawrence Market
CN Tower CN Tower
Church Street Church Street
Streetcar Sightseeing Tour Streetcar Sightseeing Tour
Bata Shoe Museum Bata Shoe Museum

St. Lawrence Market

 Address 95 Front Street East
 Hours Farmer’s Market – Sat. from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.
South Market – Tues. through Thurs. from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fri. from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sat. from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Antique Market – Sun. only from dawn to 5 p.m.
 Phone 1-416-392-7120

The St. Lawrence Market has existed since 1803, when a local governor designated the land bounded by Front, King, Jarvis and Church streets “Market Block.” The market today is made up of three buildings: the South Market, which houses some 50 specialty vendors who sell a fresh variety of fish, grains, fruit and baked goods; the Market Gallery, which is located on the second floor of the South Market and acts as the official exhibition center for the City of Toronto Archives; and the North Market, known for its farmers’ market on Saturdays, where nearby farmers truck in seasonal produce.

If you’re into antiques, check out the North Market on Sundays, anytime between dawn and 5 p.m., where you’ll find over 80 antique dealers displaying their wares. There are also a few hot spots in the South Market, if you’re on the lookout for fresh food. Uncle George’s Place, on the lower level, offers Canada’s largest selection of sprouts, in addition to refreshing broccoli “power sprouts”, daikon radish and baby onions. Nearby, you’ll find Pasta Mia’s fine selection of balsamic vinegars and sun-dried tomatoes, as well as freshly made cannelloni and organic pasta.


CN Tower

 Address 301 Front Street West
 Admission Vary from $14.49 to $31.99 CAN depending on your age and whether you want the look out and glass floor experience only, or both of those options plus the skypod, movie and motion simulator ride.
 Hours Winter: Sun.– Thurs. from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Fri.– Sat. from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Call for spring and summer hours, as hours of operation are changed each season.
 Phone 1-416-868-6937

At 1,815 feet, the CN Tower (Canada’s National Tower) stands as the world’s tallest building. It was built in 1976 by a private company and, this year, is celebrating its 30th anniversary—so expect special souvenirs and activities to be touted throughout the year. In 1995, the CN Tower became a public company and has become a popular tourist attraction for roughly 2 million people each year.

What’s so great about a tower? This particular one features an amazing 360-degree view of Toronto and the surrounding area, with four lookout levels that vary in height. The first level, at 1,122 feet, features a thick glass floor (which is dizzying as you walk over it and see the streets of Toronto far below) and an outdoor observation deck. The second level takes you 1,136 feet off the ground and offers an indoor observation deck for when its windier and a cute café for those who want a light snack at the top of the world. If you’ve got a little room in your budget, check out 360, a fine dining restaurant located 1,150 feet off the ground. In addition to featuring nearly 500 choice labels from its wine cellar, the restaurant offers a 360-degree view of the city and rotates once every 72 minutes—so take your time with your meal. Finally, the Sky Pod, which is the world’s highest public observation deck, can be found 1,465 feet off the ground.


Church Street

 Phone 1-416-927-7433

Throughout Canada, Toronto is known for its gay-friendly cultural scene. While Canada only recently legalized same-sex marriage, the city of Toronto has long supported gay culture with its annual “Pride in Toronto” celebrations—the largest in Canada. It has been in existence since the 1970s, in some form or another, but has been celebrated annually since 1981, during the last week of June.

Church Street is especially famous, especially since the U.S.-backed television show “Queer As Folk” popularized the area by using many of the local hotspots in its scenes. The best times to visit this area, known as Toronto’s Gay Village, is in June. But stop by anytime and you’ll find great restaurants and campy nightlife events to keep you entertained.


Streetcar Sightseeing Tour

 Transportation Call to find out your specific pick-up spot, though most likely, you’ll have to meet at York Street just south of the Sheraton Centre Hotel.
 Admission You must book two weeks in advance. There is room for 46 people to sit and 19 to stand (or a total of 65 people). For three hours, the streetcar costs $637.72 CAN, which includes the costs for the operator, while each additional hour costs $149.80.
 Hours Call to book a specific time. Just keep in mind that the streetcars do not run during weekday rush hours (between 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.).
 Phone 1-416-393-7880

In 1938, the Toronto Transportation Commission (now known as the Toronto Transit Commission) unleashed the world’s largest fleet of streetcars—745 in total—to the streets of Toronto. It served as the main system of public transportation until the Yonge subway line opened in 1954 and stayed in service until 1995.

Since then, two vintage streetcars—#4500 and #4549—have been kept for special sightseeing services on a network of streetcar tracks. The “Old Town of York & Today’s Modern Toronto” tour starts on York Street just south of the Sheraton Centre Hotel and winds for three hours throughout downtown. The tour is quite exclusive—you can only go during certain times—and pricey. But if you have a large group of tourists with you, even around 10 people, it can be quite affordable for anyone to split up the costs. Alternatively, ask if you can go when another group books the tour as well, so that both your and their group can benefit from a larger discount.


Bata Shoe Museum

 Address 327 Bloor Street West
 Admission Adult tickets cost $8 CAN, although you can get family packages (1 adult and up to 4 children cost $12 CAN, while 2 adults and up to 4 children cost $20 CAN). Thursday evenings from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. are free.
 Hours Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
 Phone 1-416- 979-7799

This museum houses over 10,000 different shoes in four separate galleries. You’ll find everything from ancient Egyptian sandals to Chinese bound foot shoes, chronicling more than 4,500 years of shoe history. But nothing will excite the kids more than the Walk of Fame exhibit, which features a growing collection of famous people’s footwear. Curious to see what shoes Canadian star Donovan Bailey used while sprinting across the finish line? You’ll find his Adidas sprinting shoe from 1997 on display. More interested in popular culture? Marilyn Monroe’s red leather pumps can be found there, as well as John Lennon’s purple “Beatle Boot”.

There is a lot to learn about the history of footwear, and the Bata Shoe Museum ensures you’ll take note of it all. For example, its display of Latin and Central American shoes includes notes about how the most common shoes in Mexico and the Andean countries five centuries ago were thick leather sandals with layered soles. Bolivian clogs were often colorful and decorated with silver, denoting European influence. Meanwhile, its exhibit that spotlights Indian footwear makes note of the importance of shoes in religious and social life. If you want to learn all that you can about the museum’s exhibits, ask for a guided tour, which are available by reservation.


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