Toronto’s downtown is a vast collection of small neighbourhoods, that make up the core of the city. It fits between Bloor Street to the north, Lake Ontario to the south, the Don River to the east, and Bathurst Street to the west. The area is made up of Canada’s largest concentration of skyscrapers and contains buildings of the municipal government of Toronto and provincial government of Ontario.
Toronto’s growing skyline has the third most large skyscrapers in North America (200m plus in height), and ranks just behind New York City and Chicago.
For culture lovers, the downtown core is home to the Bloor St. Culture Corridor, which includes Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, The Toronto Consort, Alliance Française de Toronto, The Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Bata Shoe Museum, The Royal Conservatory, Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Gardiner Museum, The Japan Foundation, Toronto, and the University of Toronto Faculty of Music.
Of course mainstays such as Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Halls are located in the central core as well as the Canadian Opera Company’s The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
MUSIC VENUES OF NOTE
Royal Conservatory of Music | WEBSITE
Koerner Hall | WEBSITE
Mazzoleni Hall | WEBSITE
Canadian Music Centre | WEBSITE
Roy Thomson Hall | WEBSITE
Massey Hall | WEBSITE
The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts | WEBSITE
Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre | WEBSITE
Glenn Gould Studio | WEBSITE
Walter Hall | WEBSITE
Trinity College Chapel | WEBSITE
Betty Oliphant Theatre | WEBSITE
Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, Jeanne Lamon Hall | WEBSITE
Heliconian Hall | WEBSITE
The Carlu | WEBSITE
Sony Centre For The Performing Arts | WEBSITE
St Lawrence Centre For the Arts | WEBSITE
The Princess of Wales Theatre | WEBSITE
Hart House | WEBSITE
TIFF Bell Lightbox | WEBSITE
Ed Mirvish Theatre | WEBSITE
Royal Alexandra Theatre | WEBSITE
Scotiabank Nuit Blanche | WEBSITE
Daniels Spectrum | WEBSITE
Harbourfront Centre Theatre | WEBSITE
The Arts and Letters Club | WEBSITE
918 Bathurst | WEBSITE
The Music Gallery | WEBSITE
The Tranzac Club | WEBSITE
Toronto Music Garden | WEBSITE
Musideum | WEBSITE
Berkeley Street Theatre | WEBSITE
The Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre| WEBSITE
Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse | WEBSITE
Ernest Balmer Studio | WEBSITE
Lula Lounge | WEBSITE
The Cameron House | WEBSITE
COOL THINGS TO DO
The Royal Ontario Museum is one of the largest museums in North America, attracting over one million visitors every year. Sitting on Bloor St, its unmistakable deconstructivist crystalline-form structure has been the subject of both awe and contempt. It was ranked number 8 among the world’s 10 ugliest buildings, yet named the crystal one of its New Seven Wonders of the World. Architecture aside, it is full of all things strange and wonderful, and should not be missed.
Toronto is home to the Beta Show Museum which is the be all and end all of shoes. From pumps to high-tops, this is a collection worth seeing. Ironically, the gift shop doesn’t shoes.
Ontario Art Gallery (AGO) is Toronto’s best bet for the art lover. It is located in the Downtown Grange Park district, and holds the largest collection of Canadian art in Canada. The building was renovated by Toronto born architect Frank Gehry (2008), and is something to see in itself. At nearly 80,000 works from the 1st century to the present day it is a lot to take in, so bring comfy shoes.
Toronto likes to have fun, and the place to do it is in the Entertainment District. Located around King Street West between University Avenue and Spadina Avenue, it is full of theatres, performing arts centres, Toronto’s four major-league sports teams (Blue Jays (MLB), Maple Leaf’s (NHL), The Raptors (NBA), Toronto Argonauts (CFL) and a huge selection of bars, nightclubs, cafes, and restaurants.
Kensington Market is one of the most distinctive multicultural neighbourhood in Downtown Toronto. In 2006, it was designated a National Historic Site, and most would agree it is probably the most quintessentially Torontonian neighbourhood in the city. It’s laid back, yet hip vibe has made it as much a legend as it is an outdoor market. Plan to spend the entire day here browsing through second-hand clothing galore.
The Distillery District is a history buffs dream come true. Located east of Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, it contains a huge selection of cafés, restaurants, and shops and art galleries, all housed within the former Gooderham and Worts Distillery. The area spans 13 acres, and comprises the largest collection of Victorian-era industrial architecture in North America.
Chinatown is located along Dundas Street West and Spadina Avenue west of the centre of the city. It is home to a high concentration of ethnic Chinese residents and is one of the largest Chinatowns in North America. Everything is for sale here.
Yorkville is the centre for exclusive shopping in Toronto. Part of the uber cool Annex Neighbourhood, it is bordered by Bloor Street to the south, Davenport Road to the north, Yonge Street to the east and Avenue Road to the west. Known as “Mink Mile”, it is known as one of the most expensive street in the world with rents averaging about $208 per square foot.