The Canadian metropolis embraces its multicultural identity, bold architecture and world-class attractions.
Ottawa may be Canada’s official capital, but Toronto gets all the buzz. It’s the largest city in the nation, as well as Canada’s commercial, financial, industrial and cultural linchpin. Established by the Brits as the Town of York in 1793, the city changed its name to Toronto in 1834 to distinguish itself from New York. It capitalized on its prime location on the edge of Lake Ontario and near the American border to go all-in on steamboat and railroad shipping. As business increased, so did Toronto’s population, growing five-fold between 1831 and 1891. It has more or less kept growing at a breakneck pace ever since, welcoming into its folds thousands of European immigrants after WWII, and Portuguese, Chilean, Greek, Southeast Asian, Chinese and West Indian immigrants in the 1970s. In 1998, it earned official megacity status when its five suburbs—York, East York, North York, Etobicoke and Scarborough—were incorporated under the Greater Toronto Area umbrella, bringing the total population to more than 5 million. With so much growth and such a multicultural makeup, it’s hard to pinpoint an overall vibe of the city. It’s historic but also modern, laidback but always striving. Each neighborhood—sometimes even just sections of streets—has its own personality. There’s bohemian and chill Kensington Market, super-urban downtown Yonge and Dundas, and tourist-heavy Harbourfront and Corktown. It’s a place best explored on foot—both because of traffic woes and because of the easy-to-miss little things that make this grand city great.
When to go
Mild temperatures make it easy to enjoy the neighborhood farmers’ markets and art fairs popping up around the city. Some of the most notable of the latter are Distillery's ArtFest, Kensington Market Art Fair and Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, all of which take place in May.
Canada Day is July 1, and Toronto parties like the rest of the country, with fireworks, parades and other special events. In June, the city gives itself over to the Pride Toronto Festival, one of largest Pride celebrations in North America.
Street performers welcome September with the Toronto International Buskerfest. And every September brings the Toronto International Film Festival, the world’s largest public film festival, which shows more than 300 films.
Get into the holiday spirit with the Toronto Christmas Market, an Old World-style market that kicks off at the end of November with the lighting of Toronto’s Christmas tree, live performances and fireworks. Shoppers can scoop up gifts until December 23.
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) buses, streetcars and subway lines are clean and safe, but can be slow, overcrowded and frequently delayed. Unlimited day and week passes are available, as are PRESTO cards—reloadable cards good for the TTC as well as Greater Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton Area agencies.
- Toronto continues to expand at a rapid pace, which means near-constant construction and, with it, tons of traffic. Skip renting a car and plan on walking; it’s the fastest way to traverse the city.
- If you’re paying in cash, know that merchants round to the nearest nickel (Canada is phasing have pennies). Also, the $1 coin is called a loonie; the $2 coin is a toonie. The rest are referred to as dollars.
where to stay
The central location of the Radisson Admiral Hotel Toronto-Harbourfront gives guests the combination of the serenity of Lake Ontario and the energy of downtown Toronto. The hotel boasts a Watermark Restaurant and Lounge, Lakeview Pool Lounge, 24-hour business centre, and a fitness centre.
Located near Toronto Pearson International Airport and downtown Mississauga, Radisson Toronto Airport West places guests near the Mississauga Convention Centre and Derrydale Golf Course. The hotel includes a free airport shuttle, fitness centre, business centre, heated indoor pool, a hot tub and two saunas.
Radisson Suite Hotel Toronto Airport is only an eight-minute shuttle ride from Toronto Pearson International Airport. As an all-suite hotel, our property provides guests with spacious accommodations including some suites with a separate living room and a sleeper sofa.
The Park Inn by Radisson Toronto-Markham is just minutes from the corporate offices of Hyundai, Honda, Suzuki, Huawei, and IBM, and close to Seneca College’s Markham Campus. The hotel rooms provide amenities such as free Wi-Fi, microwaves, mini refrigerators and cable TVs to ensure you feel at home.
The central location of Park Inn by Radisson Brampton, ON on the border of Brampton and Vaughan gives guests easy access to Toronto Pearson International Airport and attractions like Woodbine Racetrack. The “Happiness Guarantee” is the hotel’s promise to make your stay as amazing as possible. If you are not 100% happy with something, let one of our staff know during the stay and we’ll make it right or you won’t pay.