Located on Lake Ontario, Toronto is Canada’s largest and most cosmopolitan city owing to its beautiful, if busy, waterfront and mix of cultures, concert halls and clubs. But what really defines this edgy, artistic city is its residents.
Its skyscraper may form a Skeleton, its streets the sinew but the people that populate this city are its lifeblood. Every year, 55,000 people leave their native lands to make Toronto home and that steady stream of fresh, new faces makes this city an exciting, ever-changing place to be. CD Traveller caught up with native, Alison Cross, to find out what makes Toronto tick
Name: Alison Cross
Occupation: Marketing & Communications Manager
Are you a local girl?
Yes – I was born in Toronto and now live north of the city in the Greater Toronto Area.
What is your favourite thing about Toronto?
Toronto is very cosmopolitan but still incredibly safe.
Why should we visit Toronto?
For the variety. There really is something for everyone: from the lakefront to buzzing bars, restaurants, shops and clubs. Few cities in the world bring so many diverse cultures, festivals and businesses together in a single place.
How long do we need?
Ideally five days.
How can tell you locals apart from tourists?
Torontonians say ‘Toronto’ with a silent ‘T’ at the end so it sounds like ‘Torono’ while tourists always pronounce the ‘T’!
The CN Tower (www.cntower.ca); it’s a glass floor 342 metres above the ground that provides a bird’s eye view of the city spread out at your feet. Then there’s the Royal Ontario Museum, (www.rom.on.ca). Canada’s largest museum of world cultures and natural history, the Royal Ontario features world renowned galleries of China, Canada’s First Peoples, arms and armour and dinosaurs. If you’re visiting soon, check out the current exhibition displaying the Dead Sea Scrolls which is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century. Finally don’t leave town without paying a visit to Canada’s Wonderland (www.canadaswonderland.com). With more than 200 attractions and 65 exhilarating rides, this is one of the most diverse amusement parks on the continent. The newest rollercoaster is The Behemoth – considered the biggest, tallest and fastest coaster in the country.
Fresh on Queen Street. As the name suggests, food here (which is very Vegan friendly) is always made from fresh ingredients. It’s all so yummy!
If you feel like burning plastic, head to Hazelton Avenue which is chock full of designer boutiques and popular fashion brands alike.
Where should we stay?
The Sheraton (www.sheraton.com/centretoronto) on Queen Street is a good option as is The Westen Harbour Castle Toronto (www.westin.com/harbourcastle). Both are in the heart of the city and offer great views and service for the money.
Any insider tips?
Don’t use the 27km PATH – a maze of underground walkways and shopping arcades that run directly beneath the downtown core to help pedestrians weather the winter chill. PATH supposedly connects five subway stations, six major hotels and some of Toronto’s major attractions including Union Station, Roy Thomson Hall, Air Canada Centre, the CN Tower, Eaton Centre and City Hall. However it’s very confusing to navigate through – I still can’t figure it out!
Anything else we need to know?
If you are visiting Toronto when there’s a major hockey game going on, beware! When the Toronto Maple Leafs (www.mapleleafs.com) play over at the Air Canada Centre and win – which admittedly isn’t that often sadly – the city goes nuts! Put bluntly, we have some hard core fans…