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20 great things to do in Toronto

quarta-feira, 16 de março de 2011 - 17:03
postado por Younger Intercâmbio

1. Get sprayed at Niagara Falls

Niagara falls is a must on any visit to Toronto. It may be a 90-minute drive from Toronto, and an unashamed major tourist attraction, but watching 750,000 gallons of water a second slide of a cliff right in front of you is pretty impressive by any standards. Visitors can experience the falls from the top – the Table Rock site allows you to stand a mere metre away from the edge of Horseshoe Falls – and behind – the Journey Behind the Falls will have you donning a yellow mac and decending 38 metres (125 feet) through solid rock in a lift, to stand next to the curtain of water. For a real thrilll, book a flght over the falls with Niagra Helicopters (

2. Survey the wide blue yonder

It may not be the highest tower in the world now Burj Dubai is scraping the desert skies, but Toronto’s concrete spike – the CN Tower – is the classic way to hit the heights. For a stunning view from a less lofty perch, but with drinks and atmosphere worth savouring, try the Roof Lounge at the Park Hyatt or the Panorama Restaurant and Lounge.

3. Avoid injury with shinny

Just about everyone can ice-skate in Canada, but don’t let that put you off having a few embarrassing tumbles at Toronto’s 50 or so outdoor rinks – the two most popular ones are at the Harbourfront Centre and Nathan Phillips Square. Ice hockey – particularly that played by the beloved Leafs (Toronto Maple Leafs) – is the city’s obsession and tickets for bruising games are almost always sold out. Mug up on your knowledge of the national game to impress the locals at the Hockey Hall of Fame, and if you want to give the sport a go, try joining in on a game of ‘shinny’ (the informal ‘be nice’ version of the game) at any public rink. All you need is a stick and some skates.

4. Climb some wondrous stairs

Celebrity architects have been busy in Toronto. First Daniel Libeskind designs the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal for the Royal Ontario Museum, incorporating a stunning Stair of Wonders, with its cabinet of curiosities, linking the historic wings. Then Frank Gehry gets cracking with the Art Gallery of Ontario, where his dramatically curving sculptural staircase that rises through a glass ceiling from the second to fifth floors is the toast of the town.

5. Get undressed on the islands

The Toronto Islands are fantastic walking and cycling territory, where getting back to nature can mean training your binoculars on the feathered residents of a seabird sanctuary, or disrobing on the nudist beach. However you choose to enjoy these breezy beauty spots, leave plenty of time to enjoy all their treasures.

6. See the shamrock behind the maple leaf

Toronto’s significant Irish roots are evident all over town, but perhaps most movingly in Ireland Park, where Rowan Gillespie’s sculptures commemorate the arrival of refugees from Ireland’s great famine, in the same style as those haunting Custom House Quay in Dublin. The area that most prettily recalls the influx of Irish farmers and growers in the 19th century is Cabbagetown – so called because the immigrants here filled their gardens with brassicas. Once a slum, Cabbagetown is now a desirable neighbourhood, and the organic vegetable of the Don Valley Brick Works Park, together with the vegetable stalls of the farmers markets at the quaint city farmyard of Riverdale Farm make the area more redolent of feast than famine.

7. Unsheathe the credit card

This is a shopping city, and it’s the heavyweights that attract the numbers. Holt Renfrew, in exclusive shopping district Yorkville, is Toronto’s show-off department store, a glittering temple of la-di-da attire, where visiting celebs have their own private shopping suites. One of the city’s top tourist destinations, however, is not made of such swanky stuff. Toronto Eaton Centre has hundreds of shops full of bargain-hungry Americans spending their bucks. The rather more scrubbed up Yorkdale – the first mall in North America – has a humbler Holt Renfrew inside.

8. Eat your way around the world

Welcome to one of the world’s most diverse cities – 49% of Toronto’s population was born outside Canada – so the presence of a Chinatown, a Greektown, a Little Italy and various settled communities hailing from Portugal, Poland and Jamaica come as no surprise. Whatever your cosmopolitan palate craves, you can eat in this town. We recommend dim sum from Lai Wah Heen, sushi from Hiro Sushi, ice-cream from La Paloma Gelateria and souvlaki, tzatzíki and dolmades from the dreamily Aegean Ouzeri.

9. Behold delusions of grandeur

Back in the 19th century the wealthy chose to remain aloof from the great unwashed by creating pleasure domes high on the hill of Casa Loma. One such moneybags was financier James Austin, whose lavish manse – Spadina Historic House & Gardens – gives a fascinating insight into high society life. More sublimely ridiculous is the ostentatious folly Casa Loma, designed by grandiloquent architect EJ Lennox for magnate Sir Henry Pellat. Further Lennox lavishness can be experienced in Le Meridien King Edward hotel, whose guests go around with a crick in their neck from gawping at the soaring marble splendour all around.

10. Applaud a dramatic theatre venue

Toronto’s self-styled ‘North Broadway’ billing might be overstating the point, but in terms of venue numbers, the city has an impressive theatre scene. As memorable for their architecture as for what happens on stage, the two most show-stopping venues are Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre, North America’s only double-decker theatre complex and Young Centre for the Performing Arts – three stages in 19th-century tank houses in the Distillery District.

11. Perfect your drive at the drive-in

The driving range at the Polson Pier entertainment complex is one of a number of golfing attractions but it has another life after dark – as North America’s largest drive-in movie screen.

12. Think on your feet

Comedy is second only to hockey as Canada’s most important cultural export. Toronto is heaving with comedy venues and even has its own comedy college (Humber School of Comedy/ The oldest and most famous venue for belly laughs is Second City but Bad Dog Theatre Company, a full-time improvisational venue was the breeding ground for talents like Mike Myers and Colin Mochrie. If you fancy yourself as a bit of joker sign up to one of the weekly drop-in improv classes.

13. Have a brew

Beer lovers needn’t bother with imports if they’re trying to avoid the bland and mass produced. Microbreweries are going strong in Toronto. One of the best is Granite Brewery, whose bitters, ales and stouts are available only on the premises. You can drink in some history with your pint at Steam Whistle Brewery, where, within a vintage Canadian setting, you can join a tour to learn about combining hops and malt to create the perfect refreshment. Your reward is to sample the beers.

For a stimulating brew up – or hangover cure – follow your nose to the Balzac Coffee Roastery, a retro coffee house where beans are roasted on the premises. The cup that cheers is the business of the Red Tea Box, a scented boîte in an old coach houses where the list of teas is exquisite.

14. Join Toronto’s free wheelers

This city is made for cyclists. Generally speaking you can cross the entire city by bike unscathed, using bike lanes and enjoying the flat route east-west along the spectacular lakeshore. Hiring bikes is easy too, thanks to Centre Island Bike Rental (Centre Island Pier, 416 203 0009) and Wheel Excitement (

See all sport, health & fitness venues in Toronto

15. Party

Get glammed up (and be prepared to queue) for one of the most concentrated party scenes in the world. We’re talking the Entertainment District, which draws upwards of 30,000 clubbers on any given Saturday night. If you’re a Bright Young Thing, the best place to get a taste of the whole giddy experience is Republik, with its dazzling lights and sparkling waterfall. Slightly more mature revelers are happier in Schmooze. Decadent narcissists are in heaven among the wading pools and waterfalls of champagne-soaked C Lounge.

16. Scrub up

The Ontario countryside is bristling with destination spas, which combine gracious grounds, stunning views, clean air and hydrotherapy, but the city of Toronto boasts some splendid spas of its own. The swankiest, with lovely sunny terraces, is the Windsor Arms Spa. Simpler, but guaranteed to leave you cleaner than you ever thought possible, the Hammam Spa has a steam room to loosen up in before being pummelled into submission.

17. Meat the locals

Carnivore? You’re in the right city. The best cuts of locally reared animals are on the menu of a variety of showpiece restaurants. The most celebrated one is the Canoe Restaurant & Bar, where prime cuts of Canadiana from beasts such as Nunavut caribou, rare breed porkers from Manitoba and cattle from Alberta are at the heart of chef Anthony Walsh’s acclaimed cooking. Who cares about assessing your meat’s provenance, however, when it’s burgers your soul craves? Toronto folk let their rumbling stomachs lead them through the city that was once known as Hogtown in search of ground beef patties – not pork. The finest beef / bun combo is an excessive signature dish at Bymark, and they’re pricey but delicious at Czehoski, too. A more modest, classic burger is the business at Allen’s. Vegetarians, however, need not weep into their tofu – Fresh by Juice for Life have created a blameless, miso pattie that fills a gap.

18. Listen up

Opera is hot in Toronto, home of the acclaimed Canadian Opera Company (, whose performances sell out all season long. The city aspires to have a technically brilliant venue to house such talent, but Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts disappointed Torontans looking for something to equal La Scala or the Sydney Opera House. More architecturally exciting is the new TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning at the Royal Conservatory of Music (, with its acoustically perfect concert halls and educational resources. Classical purists, however, still prefer an evening in the Glenn Gould Studio, the historic Massey Hall or the mellow Trinity-St Paul’s Centre, main stage for the fabulous Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra & Chamber Choir and favoured by such contemporary artists as Rufus Wainwright.

19. Take to the water

The city’s greatest natural asset is the Waterfront, and it continues to be a work in progress. So the best way to enjoy simple lakefront pleasures is to amble towards attractions such as the Harbourfront Centre, a cultural destination next to Queens Quay, with its outdoor performance spaces. If you’re accompanied by children, keep going west for Ontario Place, where the rides and attractions will involve getting at least a little wet. It may not have all the bells and whistles of Canada’s Wonderland, but it’s much more easy to reach and in the heart of the city.

20. Be a Victorian villager

Stroll back in time in the Distillery District, North America’s largest and best preserved collection of Victorian industrial architecture. It’s an atmospheric part of town, and new life is being breathed into it all the time – most compellingly via the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, home to Soulpepper Theatre Company. Keep your strength up on your 19th century tour by calling in at epicurean temples Brickstreet Bakery (peerless pies and pastries) and SOMA (cheering chocolate).

Fonte: TimeOut

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