Ultra-modern. Diverse. These are just a few words travelers have used to describe the city of Toronto. Located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario, the area of Toronto was actually the byproduct of post-glacial deposits. Europeans first arrived here in the 1700s and soon set up a major trading post. The city boomed during the days of the Industrial Revolution, and in the 1960s Toronto opened itself to the world with extremely liberal immigration policies. Indeed, over half of the residents in this huge megalopolis are foreign-born. Travelers are impressed with the wide variety of cultures on display in this major North American city. Below, you'll find five reasons why you should put Toronto on your vacation list for 2017.
1. Tons Of Museums
As with any great city, Toronto is full of world-class museums. History buffs can take a trip back to 19th century Ontario at the Black Creek Pioneer Village. Numerous actors go through a typical farming day in this re-created village from the 1860s. If farming isn't your thing, you can check out the finest in opulent living at Casa Loma. Casa Loma was the former estate of financier Sir Henry Pellat, and it's complete with European grandeur and intrigue. In addition to fine decorations and towers, this estate has secret passageways and a wondrous 5-acre garden. Art lovers must check out the Art Gallery of Ontario (which features Ruben's stunning Massacre of the Innocents) and the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art. Finally, for those looking for an odd museum experience, check out Napoleon Bonaparte's sock collection (yes, you read that right!) at the Bata Shoe Museum.
2. Iconic Landmarks
Toronto has one of the most iconic landmarks in all of Canada: the CN Tower. After this 553-meter tower was completed in 1976, it was officially the tallest tower in the world. Although CN Tower lost that distinction when Dubai completed its Burj Khalifa in 2007, visitors to Toronto just love taking a trip to the top of this stunning free-standing structure. Visitors to CN Tower get to take a wonderful glass elevator ride to the glass observation area. There's also a restaurant called 360 on the main deck of this tower.
In addition to CN Tower, sports fans like to take in a game at Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays. And, for those into historical Canadian structures, a visit to Toronto City Hall is well worth your time.
3. Toronto For Kids
Traveling with children? No worries. Toronto has plenty of amazing attractions to keep kids amused for hours on end. First off, visit Legoland, which is just 30-minutes north of Toronto's city center. In addition to housing "Miniland," a miniature lego replica of Toronto made up of half a million lego bricks, Legoland Toronto hosts Lego 4D Cinema, the Kingdom Quest ride, and the Merlin's Apprentice ride. Close to Legoland is the 330-acre Canada's Wonderland theme park, which is complete with thrilling roller coasters and a water park. For those only staying within Toronto's city center, a few popular attractions for children include the Toronto Zoo and the Ontario Science Center.
4. A Film Lover's Paradise
Toronto hosts two of cinema's most famous film festivals each and every year. First off, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) starts up on the Thursday following Labor Day and usually lasts for about ten days. This festival, which has been held annually since 1976, shows around 300 films to well over 480,000 film lovers. Some people just visit this festival to try and get a glimpse of some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Many of the films premiered in Toronto actually go on to earn Oscar nominations, so definitely check this film festival out if you're into award-winning movies.
The second most popular film festival held in Toronto is the Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF). Held every February, the TBFF hosts some of the major films made for and by black people. Most of the films showcased here are concerned with cultural and social issues surrounding the black community.
5. Authentic And Eclectic Dining Options
If you're a foodie, you'll find no shortage of dining options in Toronto. Conde Nast Traveler officially named Toronto as one of the best food cities in the world, and it's clear to see why once you get here. Since Toronto is such a melting pot, there are literally thousands of restaurants from all around the world to take in. Skip the tourist traps and dine with the Toronto locals. A few of the more popular luxury restaurants include ALO Restaurant, Scaramouche Restaurant, and George Restaurant, all of which are French/Canadian. People looking for Asian cuisine can head on over to Chinatown, and people who just want to relax at a local cafe can check out either the Distillery District or the University District. No matter what cuisine you're into, you'll definitely find something to satisfy your palate in this cosmopolitan city.