Toronto, the city you will feel at home away from home
Some thirty minutes drive from Pearson Airport stretches Downtown Toronto, the heart of the action where you can sit down for a lunch before you break a deal and then explore its first attraction, PATH. Situated below the ground, PATH is the largest, 30 kilometers long underground pedestrian system in North Americas, lined with shops that are closed on the evenings and weekends. Connected to the PATH is Yonge-Dundas Square where you can relax after a busy day and enjoy free outdoor nightly films and live music before you call the day off.
This third city in North America for movie production has its own "little countries": lively Little Italy, Little Portugal and Chinatown, and the best of Eastside - bustling Greektown on the Danforth that hosts large two days food festival in mid-August. Little India, also known as Gerrard India Bazaar, famous for over 100 restaurants, fabulous silks and a band of jewelry shops and shining gold that came from all parts of the world is not to be missed. Take the best of Eastside and enjoy its Blue Flag certified swimming beaches on the sunny days.
Beneath city skyscrapers there are city parks and gardens - 1600 named parks to be more precise some of them are hidden gems. Don't miss to visit some of the city art galeries where you can spend a few minutes with your thoughts in silence. If you prefer rush over silence then head north of Downtown Toronto where is Canada's Wonderland, Canada's premier amusement park featuring over 200 attractions including Canada's Largest Outdoor Wave pool, restaurants, gift shops and whatnot.
Back in the early 19th century, the waterfront Distillery District was home to Canada's largest distilling company, the Gooderham and Worts Distillery. This historic neighborhood with Victorian buildings and paved with cobblestone is full of art galleries cafes, restaurants, and - there is a brewery too. This is the place to order some good food or take a look at unique shops. It is a favorite destination in the city for locals and tourists alike and the atmosphere is especially beautiful during the Christmas Market.
The Old Town is especialy charming in summer when there are many outdoor cafes along the streets. In Old Town area you will see thousands of historic buildings such as the famous triangular Flatiron Building - the site is used for offices and is considered one of the most expensive office spaces in the city - and St James Cathedral. And there is St Lawrence Market. Founded in 1803 as a local farmers market, St Lawrence Market remains one of the top places to shop for fresh food in Toronto.
Old Toronto has one full-size castle, sometimes you'd expect to see in, say, Germany. And indeed, the price was astronomic: The 98-room Casa Loma was built in the early 1900s and cost more than $3 million, which is a huge amount for the time. This beautiful building has everything a kind would like to have: towers, horses, secret passageways and a huge wine cellar with more than 1,500 bottles. It is some 5 kilometers north of downtown Toronto and it should be on your "To do" list.
From the old world let's jump to more modern times: The 1,815-foot CN Tower is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Up there in the sky there are four observation areas: the Glass Floor room, the LookOut Level, the revolving 360 The Restaurant, and the SkyPod - one of the highest public observation decks in the world. For more impressive big-city views visit some of the Toronto's restaurants and enjoy your meal window-side while treating yourself with a fine meal and a glass of wine.
Toronto has its peace on the three islands and each of these has something different to offer. Centre Island is the place of picnic spots, beaches, sport venues and the Centreville amusement park. Ward and Algonquin are low key places full of 1920s-style cottages and English gardens, all of them mostly car-free and ideal for an outdoor adventure. Enjoy the winter months and visit one of their 52 outdoor skating rinks while one day trip to Niagara Falls will make your vacation in Toronto complete. ■
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