Toronto Mike

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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