Introducing the city

£1.00 | $1.69

GBP | CAD

Gasoline £0.64 | $1.09

One-way ticket £1.93 | $3.25

Beer £3.85 | $6.50

Main Course £8.90 | $15.00

About Toronto

On the Northwesterly banks of Lake Ontario, across the way from Niagara Falls, Toronto thrives as a torrent of internationalism.

The first thing to note about Toronto is its seriously equipped performing arts industry. Perhaps its proximity to New York explains the need for umpteen theatres and 50 plus dance and ballet companies. Expression of identity is a lifestyle to the five and a half million Torontonians, an estimated half of whom were born outside Canada. Rock bottom crime rates traverse the highly diversified communities, despite the polarising policies and behaviour of the recent Rob Ford administration.

In the early morning you can pass, set and spike on the volleyball courts down at the The Beaches, cool off in the lake and have a slapdash Chinatown lunch. Shop for handmade trinkets in Kensington Market and make for the industrial Victorian structures of the Distillery District for coffee, cocktails and dinner.

Exploring the mirage of neighbourhoods and cultures in this way illustrates the thespian tendencies of the T Dot.

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When Should You Visit?

June to August is the most happening time of year and the spirited Toronto summer festivities are sure to leave lasting impressions.

Temperatures reach their summit of 25 degrees Celsius in July but this is also the rainiest month of the year.

Consider forgoing the high twenties for the still warm but less trafficked Spring, April to May or Autumn, September to October.

Winter lows of -22 degrees Celsius are doable when equipped with locally favoured duck down gear but unsurprisingly this is Toronto's low season, and whilst you may find cheaper prices, the city will be a lot quieter.

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Travioor top tips

Theatre
Kensington
Jazz

Insider Info

  • Click here for details of scheduled theatre productions throughout Toronto.
  • Reggae beats, Latin American groceries, vintage leather works and hand crafted jewellery. Our top choice is 'One Heart', 75 Kensington Avenue.
  • Toronto's jazz scene is nourished by fledgling young talent from several music schools. Those of you packing an instrument, look out for open mic nights and bring it along to programmed evenings anyway.

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Food and drink

Main Course £8.90 | $15.00

3-Course Meal £41.51 | $70.00

Cappuccino £2.26 | $3.81

Beer £3.85 | $6.50

The Scene

Locals swear by poutine, chips with gravy and gooey cheese curds... We're confident this dish is best enjoyed on the last bus home, not as the main meal of the day.

Chinatown, Little Italy and Little India is generally considered the best authentic eating in town. The Old Distillery District will not disappoint either: start with aperitifs at Stirling Room on 16 Trinity Street. Then walk up to Archeo at number 31, a locally sourced trattoria tucked into an urban loft apartment.

Toronto's bars and nightlife are as diverse as the city itself. Jazz bars, rooftop bars and sports bars make up just a tip of the Toronto drinks scene iceberg, but there's certainly somewhere to suit every mood.

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History

Toronto’s Story

13,000 years ago, melting ice glaciers formed the largest collection of freshwater lakes on earth.

Two thousand years later, the first humans entered modern day Ontario from the warmer South pursuing caribou, mammoths and mastodons. The Wyandot people were most likely the first native Americans to settle along the Northerly shoreline of Lake Ontario, which offers good fishing during Spring and Summertime. Tkaronoto meaning, 'where there are trees in water' stuck long after the Wyandot's were forced out by Iroquoian people.

By the time Europeans arrived in earnest in 1534, nomadic lifestyles had transformed as Iroquoian communities became increasingly dependant on fishing and farming. The introduction of corn, sunflowers and tobacco solidified this lifestyle shift. By 1793 Iroquoian communities had abandoned their camps and the British selected Toronto as the capital of upper Canada, renaming it 'York'. It again became Toronto in 1834 and is now the fourth largest North American city.

Language

Speak The Lingo

English may be widely spoken as the majority mother tongue but that is unrepresentative of the Toronto populace. Over 140 languages are spoken in the greater Toronoto area. Common languages are Cantonese and Mandarin, Tagalog, Spanish and Italian.

Here are some local sayings to impress locals with:

  • So lit right now: having a good time? You're lit man.
  • Loonie: the Canadian one dollar coin features a loon - a water bird native to North America and Northern Eurasia, hence the nickname, 'loonie'.
  • Tron-ah: not Toronto. Its all in the slur.

Need to know

+1 Dialling Code
911 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • Tipping works much the same as it does in America, 15 per cent is standard and not tipping at all should not be done lightly.
  • If you are visiting Toronto in the winter, the largest subterranean shopping mall 'PATH' gets you out of the cold for a few hours.
  • Toronto's distinct seasons and varied landscape has made it a sports hub. In the winter you can ski and snowboard and in the summer kayak and surf in the lake.

VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for Canada here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. Poetry Jazz Cafe

A hideaway jazz lounge on 224 Augusta Avenue. Look out for the hand spray painted on wooden doors. Low lights, classy long drinks and live jazz hide inside. Not open Mondays.

2. Spadina House

Built 1836, check for unusual exhibitions in the parlours and bedrooms. Otherwise its a solid for early evening dates, wedding crashing or sunset conversation on the veranda.

3. Live Show

Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids is often in town and tickets sell out fast. Adults read written material from their younger years to the amusement of the audience.

4. Niagara Falls

The roads can be heavily congested, particularly around the winter time. Hire a car as less centrally as possible and avoid departing and returning to the city at peak times.

5. CN Tower

Unless you plan on shimmying around the perimeter 356 meters above the street, skip the CN tower as it may seem overpriced to ascend only for the view.


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