Toronto. The capital of the province of Ontario, the most populated city in Canada, widely regarded as one of the most multicultural and diverse cities in the world. And it’s filled with some crazy, diverse stuff! It’s not just all about the CN Tower, the Hockey Hall of Fame or the Toronto islands – there’s so much off the beaten track for you to explore in this incredible metropolis. There are so many fun things to do in Toronto we’d need to write two or three of these travel guides just to cover them all. But here are 10 Toronto attractions just to get you started – but don’t worry we’ve included some original favorites too – just in case it gets too weird!
1. The Bata Shoe Museum
This is one of those Toronto attractions that has to be seen to be believed. The Bata Shoe Museum is a collection of over a thousand shoes and things related to shoes, and it’s all housed in a beautiful building architecturally designed to be like a shoe box! The collection is contained in four different galleries; with well over 4,500 years of history shared among the exhibits. It’s incredibly interesting and entertaining, as well as catering for to schools and children as an education platform.
2. Toronto Neighborhood watch signs
This is a hilarious game of spot the super hero! Kids will love it too, and something you won’t see in every travel guide for sure! If you happen to be wandering around downtown Toronto, keep a look out for the neighbourhood neighborhood watch signs. Canadian artist Andrew Lamb has been covering the usually boring signposts with images of popular characters such as The Hulk, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and even Mulder and Scully from The X files! It’s certainly one of the more unusual Toronto attractions, and with over 61 signs and counting, you’ll have a great afternoon trying to find them all!
3. The CN Tower
OK this isn’t exactly a strange one, but every travel guide to Toronto needs to include it. But perhaps we can add something you maybe don’t know about. The CN tower dominates the Toronto skyline and is one of the most famous structures on earth, and is in fact one of the seven wonders of the modern world. But did you know it contains the tallest metal staircase in the world?
With 2,579 steps, it’ll take you a long time to climb that, which would make it one of the most exhausting Toronto activities you could do in a day. Send the kids up for a peaceful night!
4. The Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy
One of the more unusual Toronto attractions, this is basically a museum collection of over 72,000 works of Science Fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction, which is sure to keep any Sci-fi buff in their element! They’ve got some amazing and original pieces of artwork, comics, books, posters, audiovisual and multimedia materials, as well as limited editions or out of print publications. Located on the third floor of the Toronto Public Library, this is one of the most fun things to do in Toronto, especially if – like us – you love channeling your inner geek! Definitely for the more die-hard sci-fi fans; but well worth a visit to see the largest collection of its kind in the world.
5. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
Another stalwart of the Toronto attraction scene, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is dedicated to the conservation, protection and survival of all things sea-life.
With 13,500 exotic sea and freshwater species, exhibitions include Canadian waters, Ray Bay and Dangerous Lagoon – you’re sure to still see something really weird! It’s no wonder you’ll find the Aquarium towards the top of most travel guides for Toronto, and as it’s located near the CN tower, it would make a really cool day out for all the family – especially if you got a chance to see the walk-in tank! That’s a fish tank – not an army tank obviously!
6. The Toronto Secret Swing
Now this is definitely up there with the most bizarre things to see in Toronto, especially if you’re into art installations! Its premise is simple – it’s basically just a swing that’s hanging between two buildings in a suburb in the city – created by a local artist and located in a popular area for some awesome street art. Or at least it was. Unfortunately the swing was removed in 2006 for some reason, but you can still visit the area as it achieved cult status among locals and local artists – and there’s still some awesome graffiti. And who knows? Maybe they’ll build another one to become one of the most fun things to do in Toronto!
7. Ontario Science Centre
As far as Toronto activities go, the Ontario Science Centre is a must for all ages. And boy have they got something for everyone.
Art installations, IMAX cinema, hands on exhibitions, thrilling experiences and fantastic facilities make this place a must see. We’ve included it here because there are so many weird and wonderful attractions within the centre that it merits an article on its own. Fancy touching a tornado or piloting a rocking chair?! You’ll find it here! The centre is specifically focused on to reach out and touch science rather than just read about it. It’s electrifying!
8. The Cube House
This one just might be making it into a travel guide if it hasn’t already! The Toronto cube house is a bizarre and amusing construction that will make even the hardest hearted smile. It’s currently a private residence (wouldn’t it be fun to live there?!) but it is certainly on its way to being up there with the more famous Toronto attractions, and a significant landmark in its own right. Give it a visit for something a little different in the way of the usual Toronto architecture – you can’t help but have a grin on your face for sure!
9. Toronto Sewers
Now why on earth would this be a Toronto attraction?! But you better believe it is! The old tunnel sewage network under Toronto streets is one of the best examples of its kind in the world, and it makes an amazing experience to go and explore this subterranean labyrinth that dates back to around the 1920’s. You might be lucky enough to find a guide, but most of the time you’ll have to do some urban exploration and sneak in. If you can, it’ll make one of the most memorable Toronto activities you could possibly do!
10. Toronto Island
Ok, we caved in and decided to include the island – and why would we not – they’re one of the most famous Toronto attractions and probably the most beautiful. They’ve also got something for everyone, with amusement parks, leisurely walks to take things easy, and beaches to take things even easier. The island has loads of fun things to do in Toronto, which is why we decided to add it to our list. Probably the best thing about it though – is that cars are not allowed on the island. Peace – perfect peace! You’ve no excuse not to go.
Toronto is a city begging to be visited and explored – not just visiting the usual suspects, but scratching the surface even going a little deeper. Especially if you visit the sewers! We hope our little travel guide has inspired you to find more fun things to do in Toronto, and if it has – drop us a line to tell us the good ones we might have missed. We can’t wait to go back!