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The 12 best attractions in Toronto

The best attractions in Toronto include Frank Gehry-designed buildings, museums and plenty more. Get ready for The Six

Written by
Sandra Osojnik
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It seems obvious to state that Toronto, as Canada’s largest city, is brimming with fantastic things to do. The Six’s finest attractions span everything from urban exploration to culinary masterpieces, not forgetting some of the country’s most thrilling museums – and, as you’d expect, the best nightlife in the entire Great White North.

There’s nowhere else quite like Toronto, a city that manages to both preserve its areas of cultural importance and expand at break-neck pace. Get ready to explore both the city’s rich heritage and its exciting future – here are Toronto’s best attractions, according to us.

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Best attractions in Toronto

  • Museums
  • Bloor Yorkville

From crystals to dinosaurs, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) covers it all, making it an essential stop on any kind of traveller’s itinerary. Originally opened in 1914, the ROM now houses numerous permanent collections and is always curating interesting feature exhibits. With the futuristic addition of the Michael Lee Chin crystal in 2007, the ROM is an attraction that stands the test of time for visitors of all ages.

  • Things to do
  • The Distillery District

This is one of Toronto’s oldest industrial neighbourhoods, with a modern, contemporary twist. The Distillery District, comprised of the cluster of restored Victorian buildings that once operated as the Gooderham and Worts Distillery, has undergone one of the city’s greatest urban transformations, creating a unique European-esque walking district packed with restaurants, cafés, boutiques, galleries and more.

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Immerse yourself in art and culture at one of the city’s most intriguing architectural landmarks. With a stunning expansion designed by Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry, the AGO houses one of the largest art collections in North America. From Canadian artist collections and European classics to interactive workshops and classes, the AGO is a must-visit for any art-loving adventurer.    

The Science Centre is all about interactive learning for kids and adults alike. Welcoming curiosity and creativity, this family-friendly attraction is dedicated to making science fun and promoting exploration and learning. The Science Centre offers unique experiences such as an indoor rainforest, science arcade and OMNIMAX® dome theatre, as well as a variety of exhibitions and demonstrations to keep you (and your brain) busy.

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Scarborough Bluffs
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Michelle T.

5. Scarborough Bluffs

Stretching across 15 kilometres along Lake Ontario, the Scarborough Bluffs offer turquoise waters, sandy beaches and cascading cliffs that tend to deceive unknowing tourists. Photos from the bluffs seem exotic and almost tropical, yet the destination is found right in the city’s east end. For adventurers and hiking enthusiasts, the Bluffs are a gorgeously imposing geological attraction.

  • Attractions
  • Toronto Islands

Just a short ferry ride away from Toronto’s bustling downtown core sits a cluster of small islands, commonly known as Toronto Island. Consisting of a quaint amusement park, sandy beaches (including one that’s clothing-optional—yay to no tan lines!), shady knolls and biking trails, the Island is a great day-trip destination. Frequent ferry service is available from the main ferry terminal located on the city’s scenic harbour front.

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Allan Gardens Conservatory
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Pauline W.

7. Allan Gardens Conservatory

Fans of horticulture are sure to love this Victorian-era conservatory. Lush with plants and botanical features, this small yet impressive structure houses species from the tropics, the Mediterranean, Australia and elsewhere. If you find yourself in Toronto during the winter, escape from the city’s snowy slushy street and revel in the warm and fresh climate that the conservatory offers. You might even get to experience the annual Christmas flower show if you hit the city during the winter months.

  • Attractions
  • Harbourfront

Ripley’s Aquarium in downtown Toronto takes the idea of ‘sleeping with the fishes’ very, very literally. One of the venue’s awesome events lets visitors spend the night amongst sharks, rays and tropical fish – and it isn’t the only cool program at Ripley’s. The aquarium also holds yoga sessions and live jazz nights, cementing it as one of the city’s hottest tourist destinations.

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From painted manuscripts to ornate metallurgy, the Aga Khan Museum is an eye-widening gateway into the world of Islamic Art. Canada’s primary collection of Muslim art and artifacts is housed here, along with plenty of other educational and cultural facilities. Expect lectures, film screenings, theatre, dance performances and much, much more.

An old brickworks heritage site turned into a hub for innovation, Evergreen Brick Works offers visitors a unique experience through demonstrations, exhibits and events. The complex is comprised of a variety of multipurpose buildings, including a large kilns-turned-gallery building, a garden market, a restaurant café and a bike shop, to name just a few. Focused on sustainability and creating green-friendly models of urban living, Evergreen Brick Works is an engaging destination for the ecologically inclined explorer.

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  • Shopping
  • Kensington Market

Kensington Market perfectly captures Toronto's melting-pot cultural makeup. Vibrant and diverse, it is home to eclectic vintage boutiques, bars, cafés and restaurants that fill up the area’s colourful streets, making this an ideal destination for exploring. Once a month during the summer, Pedestrian Sundays, a lively street party celebrating food, music and fun, takes over the streets.

Take a trip to Toronto’s largest park if you’re looking for a green getaway in the heart of the city. Since the late 1800s, High Park has been a destination for locals and tourists alike, offering plenty of picturesque vantage points, hiking trails, waterfront views, activities and more—there is even a small zoo within the park!

Worked up an appetite after all that touring?

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