Virtual Tour and Travel Guide
by Ed Prifogle
click image to enlarge
Detailed Map of Toronto-Also Satellite View
|The virtual tour is best viewed using DSL
or a Cable Broadband modem
To view the Virtual Tour, download the following:
Famous Toronto Residents
Newspaper and Magazines
Savvy Traveler Audio
That Toronto's star is ascendant is no surprise. With its colorful ethnic mix, rich history and breathtaking architecture, Toronto offers non-stop adventures for the willing tourist. To get a sense of how big, various and magical Toronto is, the best place to start is the CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the world. From this vantage point, visitors get a bird's-eye-view of the city's striking skyline and unique geography.
In addition to being an important cultural and commercial center, Toronto is also a major multiethnic metropolis. The city's population numbers more than 4.5 million people, and its residents come from countries around the world and from all manner of ethnic backgrounds. On any given day, and in most quarters of the city, a hundred different languages can be heard on the streets, from Hindi to Greek to French. This, perhaps, explains why former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau once said that Canada is really more a mosaic of cultures and languages than a melting pot.
Street signs in Toronto are mostly in English. Weekly and daily newspapers are published in myriad languages, and the city hosts a successful international film festival each September. It is also the second-largest live-theater venue on the continent (after New York), and is home to a popular baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays. Simply put, Toronto has something for everyone.
Toronto's less well-traveled parts include the original Chinatown, laid out west along Dundas Street and running all the way to "new" Chinatown, near the Spadina Avenue/Dundas Street intersection. From here, it's just a short walk to the colorful, European-style Kensington Market, which abounds in fresh vegetables, poultry and meats. Toronto is also a city filled with boutiques, restaurants, and cafes, and of course there are plenty of shopping opportunities in the Underground City, an 11 km (7 mi) subterranean walkway lined with eateries, shops, banks, medical offices and theaters.
An often overlooked gem of Toronto are the beach-fringed Toronto Islands. These eight tree-lined islands -- and more than a dozen smaller islets that sit in Lake Ontario just off the city's downtown -- offer a welcome touch of greenery. They've been attracting visitors since 1833, especially during the summer months when the more than 550 acres of parkland are most irresistible. From here, you'll have spectacular views of Toronto's skyline, especially as the setting sun turns the city's skyscrapers to gold, silver, and bronze. If all this isn't enough, and you want something quirkier, come in January for the annual ice canoe race, when five-man/woman teams haul canoes across the ice floes off Harbourfront Centre.
|City Description (Continued)
Where to Go and What To Do--World Executive.com
Royal Ontario Museum
100 Queen's Park, Toronto M5S 2C6, Ontario
Tel: +1 416 586 8000
Galleries feature exhibits on social history, natural history, art, archaeology, animals and other seasonal exhibits.
Ontario Science Centre
770 Don Mills Road, North York M3C 1T3, Ontario
Tel: +1 416 696 3127
More than 800 exhibits in 13 exhibit halls on subjects that include space; sports; the human body and the infinite wonders of science and technology.
301 Front Street West, Toronto M5V 2T6, Ontario
Tel: +1 416 360 8500 Fax: +1 416 601 4712
A genuinr boast for Toronto, the CN Tower is thhe tallest free standing structure in the world.
Harbour Front Centre
410 Queens Quay West, Toronto M5V 2Z3, Ontario
Tel: +1 416 973 3000
A non-profit organization aimed at promoting the arts, featuring concerts, dance performances, films and children's shows throughout the year.
1 Austin Terrace, Spadina Avenue, Toronto M5R 1X8, Ontario
Tel: +1 416 923 1171
Toronto's mediaeval-style castle is surrounded by five-acre gardens. The summer season brings a richness of colour and special events.
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg L0J1C0, Ontario
Tel: +1 905 893 1121 Fax: +1 905 893 2588
Art collection of works by nationally and internationally acclaimed Canadian artists.
Benares and Bradley House
1620 Orr Road, Mississauga, Toronto L5J 4T2, Ontario
Tel: +1 905 822 1569
A 19th-century salt-box style farmhouse, once the home of United Empire Loyalist Lewis Bradley, his wife and seven children has been restored to demonstrate the everyday lives of early Toronto settlers.
Hockey Hall Of Fame
30 Yonge Street, Toronto M5E 1X8, Ontario
Tel: +1 416 360 7765 Fax: +1 416 360 1501
A museum tribute to the fastest popular sport on earth. The displays incorporate cutting edge technology and interactive multi media presentations.
Area Code--Toronto's area codes are 416 and 647; outside the city, the code is 905 or 289. You must dial all 10 digits for all local phone numbers.
Babysitting--Hotel concierges can suggest reliable sitters if there aren't child-care facilities on site. In a pinch, call Care-on-Call (tel. 416/975-1313), a 24-hour service.
Business Hours--Banks are generally open Monday to Thursday 10am to 3pm, Friday 10am to 6pm. Most stores are open Monday to Wednesday 10am to 6pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm, with extended hours (until 8-9:30pm) on Thursday and usually Friday. Currency Exchange--Generally, the best place to exchange your currency is at an ATM or bank. You can also change money at the airport, but at a less favorable rate.
Dentist--For emergency services from 8am till midnight, call the Dental Emergency Service (tel. 416/485-7121). After midnight, your best bet is the Toronto Hospital, 200 Elizabeth St. (tel. 416/340-3948). Otherwise, ask the front-desk staff or concierge at your hotel.
Doctor--The staff or concierge at your hotel should be able to help you locate a doctor. You can also call the College of Physicians and Surgeons, 80 College St. (tel. 416/967-2600, ext. 626), for a referral between 9am to 5pm.
Electricity--It's the same as in the United States--110 volts, 50 cycles, AC.
Embassies/Consulates--All embassies are in Ottawa, the national capital. They include the Australian High Commission, 50 O'Connor St., Suite 710, Ottawa, ON K1P 6L2 (tel. 613/236-0841); the British High Commission, 80 Elgin St., Ottawa, ON K1P 5K7 (tel. 613/237-1530); the Irish Embassy, 130 Albert St., Ottawa, ON K1P 5G4 (tel. 613/233-6281); the New Zealand High Commission, 727-99 Bank St., Ottawa, ON K1P 6G3 (tel. 613/238-5991); the South African High Commission, 15 Sussex Dr., Ottawa, ON K1M 1M8 (tel. 613/744-0330); and the U.S. Embassy, 100 Wellington St., Ottawa, ON K1P 5T1 (tel. 613/238-4470). Consulates in Toronto include Australian Consulate-General, 175 Bloor St. E., Suite 314, at Church Street (tel. 416/323-1155); British Consulate-General, 777 Bay St., Suite 2800, at College (tel. 416/593-1290); and the U.S. Consulate, 360 University Ave. (tel. 416/595-1700).
Emergencies--Call tel. 911 for fire, police, or ambulance. The Toronto General Hospital, 200 Elizabeth St., provides 24-hour emergency service (tel. 416/340-3946 for emergency or 416/340-4611 for information).
Hospitals--In the downtown core, go to Toronto General, 200 Elizabeth St. (tel. 416/340-4611, or 416/340-3946 for emergency); St. Michael's, 30 Bond St. (tel. 416/360-4000, or 416/864-5094 for emergency); or Mount Sinai, 600 University Ave. (tel. 416/596-4200, or 416/586-5054 for emergency). Also downtown is the Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Ave. (tel. 416/813-1500). Uptown, there's Sunnybrook Hospital, 2075 Bayview Ave., north of Eglinton (tel. 416/480-6100, or 416/480-4207 for emergency). In the eastern part of the city, go to Toronto East General Hospital, 825 Coxwell Ave. (tel. 416/461-8272, or 416/469-6435 for emergency).
Hot Lines--Poison Information Centre (tel. 416/813-5900); Distress Centre suicide prevention line (tel. 416/598-1121); Rape Crisis Line (tel. 416/597-8808); Assaulted Women's Help Line (tel. 416/863-0511); AIDS & Sexual Health InfoLine (tel. 800/668-2437); Toronto Prayer Line (tel. 416/929-1500). For kids or teens in distress, there's Kids Help Phone (tel. 800/668-6868).
Internet Access--As in most other North American cities, the Web is a social magnet in Toronto. Insomnia, 563 Bloor St. W. (tel. 416/588-3907), is more social than your average Net cafe--maybe it's the sign over the door that reads, "The Internet is a strange place. Don't surf alone." There are several curtained computer terminals (C$10/US$6 per hr.), as well as comfortable couches and a big-screen TV. The pizza and panini are usually pretty good. Open daily from noon to 1am. Subway: Bathurst. In the heart of Toronto's gay and lesbian community, Ciber Village, 449 Church St. at Alexander St. (tel. 416/928-6060), is a good deal. Open from 10am to 10pm, it offers Web surfing for a mere C$6 (US$4.10) an hour, or C10¢ (US7¢) per minute, with no minimum. Subway: College.
Laundry/Dry Cleaning--Bloor Laundromat, 598 Bloor St. W., at Bathurst Street (tel. 416/588-6600), is conveniently located. At the Laundry Lounge, 531 Yonge St., at Wellesley Street (tel. 416/975-4747), you can do your wash while sipping a cappuccino and watching TV in the lounge. It's open daily from 7am to 11pm. Careful Hand.Laundry & Dry Cleaners Ltd. has outlets at 195 Davenport Rd. (tel. 416/923-1200), 1415 Bathurst St. (tel. 416/530-1116), and 1844 Avenue Rd. (tel. 416/787-6006); for pickup and delivery, call tel. 416/787-6006.
Liquor Laws--The minimum drinking age is 19. Drinking hours are daily from 11am to 2am. The government is the only retail vendor. Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) stores sell liquor, wine, and some beers. They're open Monday to Saturday. Most are open from 10am to 6pm; some stay open evenings, and a few are open Sunday from noon to 5pm. Wine lovers will want to check out Vintages stores (also operated by the LCBO), which carry a more extensive, specialized selection of wines. The most convenient downtown locations are in the lower-level concourse of Hazelton Lanes (tel. 416/924-9463) and at Queen's Quay (tel. 416/864-6777). The Wine Rack, 560 Queen St. W. (tel. 416/504-3647), and 77 Wellesley St. E., at Church (tel. 416/923-9393), sells only Ontario wines. Most branches of the Beer Store (also part of the LCBO) are open Monday to Friday from 10am to 10pm, and Saturday from 10am to 8pm. There's a downtown location at 614 Queen St. W. (tel. 416/504-4665).
Lost Property--If you leave something on a bus, a streetcar, or the subway, call the TTC Lost Articles Office (tel. 416/393-4100) at the Bay Street subway station. It's open Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm.
Luggage Storage/Lockers--Lockers are available at Union Station and at the Eaton Centre.
Mail--Postage for letters and postcards to the United States costs C55¢ (US40¢); overseas, C90¢ (US65¢). Mailing letters and postcards within Canada costs C45¢ (US30¢). Postal services are available at convenience and drug stores. Almost all sell stamps, and many have a separate counter where you can ship packages from 8:30am to 5pm. Look for the sign in the window indicating such services. There are also post-office windows in Atrium on Bay (tel. 416/506-0911), in Commerce Court (tel. 416/956-7452), and at the TD Centre (tel. 416/360-7105).
Maps--Free maps of Toronto are available in every terminal at Pearson International Airport (look for the Transport Canada Information Centre signs), the Metropolitan Toronto Convention & Visitors Association at Harbourfront, and the Visitor Information Centre in the Eaton Centre, on Yonge Street at Dundas Street. Convenience stores and bookstores sell a greater variety of maps. Or try Canada Map Company, 63 Adelaide E., between Yonge and Church streets (tel. 416/362-9297), or Open Air Books and Maps, 25 Toronto St., near Yonge and Adelaide streets (tel. 416/363-0719).
Newspapers & Magazines--The four daily newspapers are the Globe and Mail, the National Post, the Toronto Star, and the Toronto Sun. Eye and Now are free arts-and-entertainment weeklies. Xtra! is a free weekly targeted at the gay and lesbian community. In addition, many English-language ethnic newspapers serve Toronto's Portuguese, Hungarian, Italian, East Indian, Korean, Chinese, and Caribbean communities. Toronto Life is the major monthly city magazine; its sister publication is Toronto Life Fashion. Where Toronto is usually free at hotels and some Theater District restaurants.
Pharmacies--One big chain is Pharma Plus, which has a store at 68 Wellesley St., at Church Street (tel. 416/924-7760). It's open daily from 8am to midnight. Other Pharma Plus branches are in College Park, Manulife Centre, Commerce Court, and First Canadian Place. The only 24-hour drugstore near downtown is Shopper's Drug Mart, 700 Bay St., at Gerrard Street West (tel. 416/979-2424).
Police--In a life-threatening emergency, call tel. 911. For all other matters, contact the Metro police, 40 College St. (tel. 416/808-2222).
Radio--The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation offers a great mix of intelligent discussion and commentary as well as drama and music. In Toronto, the CBC broadcasts on 740AM and 94.1FM. CHIN (1540AM and 100.7FM) will get you in touch with the ethnic and multicultural scene in the city; it broadcasts in more than 30 languages.
Restrooms--Finding a public restroom is usually not difficult. Most tourist attractions have them, as do hotels, department stores, and public buildings. There are restrooms at major subway stations such as Yonge/Bloor, but they are best avoided. Safety--As large cities go, Toronto is generally safe, but be alert and use common sense, particularly at night. The Yonge/Bloor, Dundas, and Union subway stations are favorites with pickpockets. In the downtown area, Moss Park is considered one of the toughest areas to police. Avoid Allan Gardens and other parks at night.
Taxes--The provincial retail sales tax is 8%; on accommodations it's 5%. There is an additional 7% national goods-and-services tax (GST). In general, nonresidents may apply for a tax refund. They can recover the accommodations tax, the sales tax, and the GST for nondisposable merchandise that will be exported for use, provided it is removed from Canada within 60 days of purchase. The following do not qualify for rebate: meals and restaurant charges, alcohol, tobacco, gas, car rentals, and such services as dry cleaning and shoe repair. The quickest and easiest way to secure the refund is to stop at a duty-free shop at the border. You must have proper receipts with GST registration numbers. Or you can apply through the mail, but it will take about 4 weeks to receive your refund. For an application form and information, you can contact Visitor Rebate Program, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Ottawa, ON K1A 0L8 (fax 613/954-3577; www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca); forms are also available at tourism kiosks around town. You can also contact Ontario Travel, Queen's Park, Toronto, ON M7A 2R9 (tel. 800/668-2746 or 416/314-0944).
Telephone--A local call from a telephone booth costs C25¢ (US20¢). Watch out for hotel surcharges on local and long-distance calls; often a local call will cost at least C$1 (US70¢) from a hotel room. The United States and Canada are on the same long-distance system. To make a long-distance call between the United States and Canada, use the area codes as you would at home. Canada's international prefix is 1. Time--Toronto is on eastern time. Daylight saving time is in effect from April to October.
Tipping--Basically it's the same as in major U.S. cities: 15% in restaurants (up to 20% in the finer spots), 10% to 15% for taxis, C$1 (US70¢) per bag for porters, C$2 (US$1.40) per day for hotel housekeepers. Transit Information--For information on the subway, bus, streetcar, and light rapid transit (LRT) system, call the TTC at tel. 416/393-4636 (www.city.toronto.on.ca/ttc). Weather--Call the talking yellow pages (tel. 416/292-1010) for a current weather report and lots of other information. Or check the Toronto Star's website, www.thestar.com.
Transit Information--For information on the subway, bus, streetcar, and light rapid transit (LRT) system, call the TTC at tel. 416/393-4636 (www.city.toronto.on.ca/ttc).
Weather--Call the talking yellow pages (tel. 416/292-1010) for a current weather report and lots of other information. Or check the Toronto Star's website, www.thestar.com.