With a spectacular setting on the northern shore of Lake Ontario, Toronto is Canada's largest city (the fourth largest city in North America), the capital of the province of Ontario, and the central hub of the country’s commercial, financial, industrial, academic and cultural life.
Initially founded in 1793 when British colonial officials created the 'Town of York', Toronto became a city in1834. Today Toronto is one of the world’s most cosmopolitan, influential, innovative, liveable and multicultural cities.
Toronto was ranked one of 2013’s ‘Best Places to Go’ in the world by Condé Nast Traveler. In 2012, Toronto was listed as one of the top international travel destinations by Travel + Leisure Magazine. Toronto, along with London and New York City, was also named as one of the world’s top three “most impressive metros” in a survey of the global capitals of finance, innovation and tourism.
A continental gateway and international crossroads where the world loves to meet, Toronto and the surrounding regions have hosted many major sporting events including the 2012 Ontario Summer Games, the 100th Anniversary Grey Cup and Festival (2012), the Honda Indy Toronto, the record-setting UFC129 (2011), and the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada. In 2015, Toronto and the surrounding regions will host the Pan American and Parapan Games. The city is booming with the addition of new hotels, outstanding event facilities, a stunning redevelopment of the waterfront and the creation of new public spaces as a prelude to the games.
With a population of over 2.7 million people (5.5 million in the Greater Toronto Area) from all over the globe, Toronto is heralded as one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities. Over 140 languages and dialects are spoken here.
Toronto offers an exciting cosmopolitan milieu: a vibrant, flourishing and dynamic metropolis featuring a unique blend of creativity, innovation, ideas, flavours, aromas, sights, sounds and vibes of a dizzying variety of cultures flourishing and fusing with a unique dash of Toronto hospitality and flair. The city features striking architecture and venues, terrific cultural offerings, over 9,000 restaurants, a fantastic line-up of arts and attractions, wonderful accommodations with over 230 hotels and 40,000 hotel rooms, fashion, entertainment, shopping, events, festivals and neighbourhoods unlike anywhere else in the world.
- Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada: Toronto is home to more than 13,500 new inhabitants - mostly of the gilled variety - at Toronto’s newest attraction. (Opening late summer 2013).
- The CN Tower: The largest tower in the Western Hemisphere (553m) features ‘EdgeWalk’. Take a walk OUTSIDE – around the circumference of the roof of the CN Tower’s restaurant 356m/1,168ft above the ground!
- Neighbourhoods: Celebrate the unique sights, sounds and experiences of all the world’s cultures and lifestyles in Toronto’s famous and vibrant neighbourhoods. The cool and trendsetting districts of Queen West and West Queen West feature galleries, creative spaces, fashion and studios. The Distillery Historic District, the site of a former whiskey distillery and North America’s largest and best preserved collection of Victorian industrial architecture, is now one of Toronto’s major centres for arts, dining, shopping and entertainment.
- Bloor-Yorkville: one of Toronto’s most elegant shopping and dining areas features designer boutiques, antique shops and galleries.
- Toronto’s Entertainment District is the second-most densely populated nightclub district in North America and home to theatres, concert halls, event venues, restaurants, retail shops and attractions.
- Enjoy the beautiful waterfront and the Toronto Islands. Located a short ferry ride from downtown, the Islands feature parklands, an amusement park, restaurants and more. Beautiful new urban beaches such as Sugar Beach and HTO offer wonderful waterfront oases complete with stunning lake views and colourful beach umbrellas.
- Toronto has a fabulous selection of galleries, museums, unlimited entertainment offerings, world-class live theatre and blockbuster performances. Highlights include the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Gardiner Museum and Bata Shoe Museum. Exciting architectural projects by Gehry, Libeskind, Foster and Alsop have transformed the skyline into a work of art!
- One of the world’s best shopping destinations with over 21,000 stores, enjoy Toronto’s amazing selection of goods from all over the world in the city’s exclusive shopping districts and trendy boutiques. Explore a 16-mile underground city (PATH) with over 1,250 shops and services, department stores, outlet malls and one-of-a-kind shops.
- Seven professional sports teams call Toronto home including the: AHL (American Hockey League) Toronto Marlies, CFL (Canadian Football League) Toronto Argonauts, MLB (Major League Baseball) Toronto Blue Jays, MLS (Major League Soccer) Toronto FC, NBA (National Basketball Association) Toronto Raptors, NHL (National Hockey League) Toronto Maple Leafs, and the NLL (National Lacrosse League) Toronto Rock. Toronto is the only city in Canada to have an MLB & NBA team.
Football in Toronto is as old as the country itself, with leagues dating back to 1867. Between 1 and 22 July 2007, Toronto was the headquarters for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007. The city hosted 12 matches attended by 260,000 fans, including the gold medal match, at BMO Field (known to FIFA as Canada’s National Soccer Stadium).
This state-of-the-art arena, Canada’s first soccer-specific stadium, has a seating capacity of over 20,000 and is located at Exhibition Place. The stadium is home to Canada’s national team, as well as Toronto FC, Canada’s first Major League Soccer outfit.