Look Fast: Twelve Touristy Hours in Toronto

What to do, what to do?  What to do if you have only the waking hours of a day to spend visiting top attractions in Toronto?  Say 12 hours to be precise.  You’ve come to the right place as the following itinerary offers stops at favorite Toronto destinations and is totally achievable in a day.  As a rough guide, figure you’ll spend two hours at each of the five locations and still have two hours to account for travel time and maybe a bite to eat. 

As the fourth largest metropolitan in North America and a thriving cultural hub, Toronto offers an interest for everyone.  In fact, The probability of not finding something to love about Toronto is about as likely as getting two royal flushes in a row in poker.  That’s one in 42 trillion to be exact.

Of course, no whirlwind trip around Toronto’s must see attractions is complete without a voyage up the CN Tower.  Dubbed one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and stretching for 553 sky scratching metres, the CN Tower held the distinction for 34 years of being the world’s tallest freestanding structure (it’s currently number six).   

But don’t just enjoy this marvel from the ground.  For those who like their heights in moderation, portions of the main observation pod are open for public visitation at 342 m high.  The more adventurous are encouraged to journey up another 33 storeys to an observation point aptly named SkyPod at 447 m high.  The ultimate thrill seekers will want to check out EdgeWalk, a 360 degree hands-free, open air walk above the main pod at 356 m high.  Walkers are secured by an overhead tether system, but are free to lean off the ledge into the thin blue mist.

You may want to relax and enjoy nature or easy-going amusement after an exhilarating ascent up the CN Tower, and there’s no better place than the Toronto Islands.  Head down 1.4 km to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal on Bay Street and catch the quick 15 minute ferry ride out to the only groups of islands in Lake Ontario.

You can stroll about or eat lunch in picturesque Hanlan Park while appreciating its cityscape and lake views.  One little caveat should be mentioned here: depending on your tastes in scenery, you may want to just keep your eyes closed as the park has been clothing optional since 2002!

Centerville Island provides a more family friendly turf in the form of the Centreville Amusement Park, which is open daily during the summer months.  Timeless rides such as Ferris wheel, scrambler, carousel, and log flume are sure to have you feeling like a kid again. 

Following your choice of leisure activities on the Toronto Islands, it’s time to pay homage to arguably Canada’s greatest export to the world at large, ice hockey (it’s okay if you were thinking Drake).  The Hockey Hall of Fame on Yonge Street boasts a museum rich with memorabilia including the original Stanley Cup trophy from 1892.  There’s plenty of awesome high sticking and puck slapping memories to explore across the Hall’s expanse of 5,600 m2 and 15 exhibits.

Actual hockey players who are doubling as visitors will especially love the interactive NHLPA Be a Player Zone.  Here you can get hands-on by taking shots at a simulated goalie or play the netminder yourself and face puck blasts from computer renderings of all time greats like Wayne Gretzky. 

It’s likely late afternoon by now, and the perfect time for more outdoor recreation.  Take Gardiner Expressway west along the waterfront to High Park, Toronto’s largest park and premier greenspace.  Over 160 hectares of pristine gardens, art installations, untouched savannah, sporting facilities, and even a zoo await the eager park-goer. 

The jewel of High Park is Grenadier Pond, a 14 hectare waterbody on the park’s eastern side with a diverse population of marsh wildlife and birds.  If you’re visiting between the spring and fall, be on the lookout for the tractor tour towing red and white wagons passing by. 

Once dusk sets in, there’s no better place to take in the hustle and bustle of Toronto’s fast paced city life than Dundas Square, a huge public intersection aglow with cartoonishly huge digital billboards, bright lights, and loads of commerce.  Think Times Square in New York City or London’s Piccadilly Circus.  The slickest way to get there is to simply hop the subway on Line 1 Younge-University and exit at the Dundas station

Constructed between 1998-2002, Dundas Square is a relatively new fixture as city landmarks go.  Enjoy a stroll through the ten pairs of fountains that dot the square’s central walkway.  Don’t be afraid to get wet, either; these fountains were designed for public water play and have a special filtration system that ensures the water is kept cleaner than pool water.

There you have it.  These 12 action packed hours touring Toronto’s finest attractions will undoubtedly have you planning a return visit to the city as soon as you arrive back home.

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