Toronto. It’s been called “New
York run by the Swiss,” and “Vienna surrounded
by Phoenix.” Early in its history it was called “Muddy
York” or “Hogtown,” and a few decades
ago, “Toronto the Good.” Many people call it
“T.O.” for short.
In 1912, the English poet Rupert Brooke
said that Toronto was “difficult to describe.”
It still is. It is many things to many people. Canada’s
largest city, one which is still growing rapidly. A financial
centre. The capital city of the province of Ontario. A city
filled with people from more than 120 countries. A lakeside
city in which some residents live on islands. A city of
trees, many of them below street level in hidden river valleys
(ravines) that cross the city. A city of the arts, with
many theatres, a major annual film festival, dozens of art
galleries, resident ballet and opera companies, and most
of Canada’s largest book and magazine publishers.
A city of shops and restaurants of unbelievable variety,
from Ukrainian bookstores to Moroccan eateries.
Just to add to the confusion, the word
“Toronto” may apply to the City of Toronto (formerly
known as the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, with
a population of about 2.4 million) or a larger region, known
as the Greater Toronto Area, which includes a cluster of
satellite cities (total population 5 million).
If you have time, explore the region around
Toronto, which includes Niagara Falls, the wine-growing
region of the Niagara Peninsula, the Stratford Shakespearean
Festival, or the unique Canoe Museum in Peterborough. Canada’s
capital, Ottawa, is a five-hour drive away.
We encourage you to learn a bit about
Toronto before you arrive. Here are some places to start.
Tourism Toronto website
An interesting collection of information
is available from the City of Toronto’s website: http://www.city.toronto.on.ca/toronto_facts/index.htm.
The opening page states:
“You may already know that Toronto
is home to the world’s tallest building (CN Tower
at 553.33 m) and that the world’s longest street starts
at the City’s lakeshore (Yonge Street at 1,896 km),
but did you know that Toronto is as far south as the French
Riviera or that more people live in Toronto than in Canada’s
four maritime provinces combined? Here you will find interesting
and sometimes startling facts about Toronto, Canada’s
economic engine, with its 5th largest government and one
of the world’s most diverse and multicultural populations.”
The official Toronto tourism website,
http://www.torontotourism.com, offers a calendar of events,
information on hotels and restaurants, and a guide to some
of Toronto’s distinctive neighbourhoods – Chinatown,
Kensington Market, St. Lawrence Market, the Financial District
and Underground City, the Fashion District, Harbourfront,
Toronto Islands, Bloor/Yorkville, Cabbagetown, Rosedale,
Little Italy, Greektown, Indian Bazaar, the Beach, Little
Poland, Portugal Village, and others.
The website, http://www.toronto.com,
claims it has “all you need to know about T.O.”
Find information on weather, events, Toronto news, shops,
bars and nightlife, and even real estate prices!
Toronto has four daily newspapers and
two regular weeklies that offer different perspectives on
Globe and Mail: http://www.globeandmail.com
National Post: http://www.nationalpost.com
Toronto Star: http://www.thestar.com
Toronto Sun: http://www.canoe.com/NewsStand/TorontoSun/home.html
NOW Weekly: http://www.now.com
Canada’s national radio and
television network, the Canadian Broadcasting System (CBC)
offers a perspective on Canadian events and news:
Canadian news and weather is also
available on http://www.canoe.ca
If you would like to learn more
about the University of Toronto, visit http://www.library.utoronto.ca/facts/
for an overview of the university’s
research and educational programs.
The University’s website also
provides a section on Toronto: http://www.utoronto.ca/toronto.htm
The Centre for Urban and Community Studies
has published The Toronto Guide: An Illustrated Interpretation
of Toronto’s landscapes by Edward Relph, which provides
a wealth of information about the architecture and streets
of the city.