If it’s a world-class, truly international city you seek, look no farther than our neighbor to the north.
Toronto, Canada, is only about a six-hour drive from Northeast Ohio.
With a population of about 5 million, Toronto is North America’s fourth-largest city. It’s also one of the world’s most diverse populations. Nearly half of its residents are immigrants.
The roots of Toronto as part of the British Empire are still evident. Originally founded as “York” in 1793, the city changed its name in 1834. Though Canada became independent in 1867, by constitutional law, Queen Elizabeth II is Canada’s monarch and head of state.
For visitors, most of the city’s attractions are easily accessible by walking or by public transportation.
A Toronto Citypass (citypass.com) will give you access to five attractions.
One of Toronto’s most popular tourism sites is Casa Loma, a gray-stone Edwardian castle commissioned by Sir Henry Pallatt in 1911. Located on five landscaped acres, it took 300 men three years to complete the 200,000-square-foot home at a cost of nearly $4 million. Pallatt lost the castle in 1921 as his fortunes went south.
For shopping, visitors flock to the St. Lawrence Market, which is similar to Cleveland’s West Side Market, and to Younge Street, the city’s main thoroughfare and home to the Eaton Centre, an indoor mall.
Queen Street has been compared to New York City’s Soho neighborhood because of its eclectic art galleries and restaurants.
Harbourfront Centre, located on the shores of Lake Ontario, also serves as one of the city’s live entertainment and restaurant districts.
Toronto’s large theater district is a regular host to Broadway productions. The Royal Alexandra Theatre has the distinction of being the oldest continuing theatrical venue in North America.
Massey Hall, a concert and lecture hall built by the Massey family in 1893, has been designated a National Historic Site.
There’s plenty for kids, too. From Toronto Blue Jays baseball games to the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Toronto Zoo, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and Sugar Beach, on the lakefront, there’s lots to keep kids entertained.
There’s also Riverdale Farm, a 19th-century working farm located in Old Cabbagetown, a historic neighborhood; the Ontario Science Centre and the world-famous CN Tower. At 1,815 feet, it’s one of the largest freestanding structures in the world. The tower features glass elevators, a glass floor and a revolving restaurant.
Centerville Amusement Park, popular with children younger than 12, is a throwback to a simpler time. Located on Center Island, it’s accessible by ferry.
By law, foreign visitors are required to furnish proof of citizenship and identifications. For adults, a valid passport, passport card or NEXUS card are acceptable. Children need only to provide proof of their citizenship.
To learn more about Toronto tourism, visit seetorontonow.com.