A dynamic metropolis with soaring skyscrapers framed by idyllic pockets of green next to the lovely Lake Ontario, Toronto is ranked as the fourth most livable city in the world by The Economist in 2011. As Canada’s largest city with a population of over five million, Toronto is also a melting pot of cultures, reflected in the city’s infrastructure, arts scene and cuisine.
For first time travellers, Toronto offers an array of unique experiences which varies from season to season. Nicknamed “Hogtown” for its pork processing plants in the past (the city is now pig-free), Toronto is one of the world’s most multicultural and multiracial cities in the world today.
If you are visiting the city for the first time, the Pan Pacific Toronto team recommends these top Ten Toronto points of interest to explore.
|Address||290 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9, Canada|
||9am to 10:30pm daily|
Mention Toronto and its most famous landmark, the CN Tower, immediately jump to mind. The observation post in Downtown Toronto once held the record for the world’s tallest free-standing structure for 32 years before being bested by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2007.
For an introduction to Toronto’s architectural features, there is no better way than to start at the top. If you can, try to visit the attraction during sunset—as dusk falls, a magical sheen blankets the city, creating a dreamy feel.
While you are there, make time to walk on the glass floor at the top. Feeling adventurous? Take the edge walk outside the building—just be sure that you do not have acrophobia as the experience can be quite unnerving! You can purchase your tickets to the tower online in advance to avoid queues.
|Address||1 Austin Terrace, Toronto Ontario, M5R 1X8, Canada|
||9:30am to 5pm daily|
Delight in Toronto’s century-old gothic architecture at the historic landmark that is Casa Loma. Built in 1914, the Gothic Revival-style mansion is impressive both inside and out. Rooms and hallways feature intricate carvings and stained glass ceilings, while its exterior offers a sprawling and splendidly manicured garden. With a staggering 98 rooms, it is easy for you to lose yourself in the many stories that they tell.
Once the home of financier Sir Henry Pellatt, Casa Loma is now a history museum which boasts of a charming vintage car exhibition. Because of its striking architecture, the Casa Loma is a popular filming location—see if you can spot where it was featured in movies such as X-Men and Chicago. Crowds are expected here, so do purchase your tickets online before you visit.
|Address||6650 Niagara Parkway(River Rd), Niagara Falls, ON L2G 0L0, Canada|
||6am to 11pm daily|
No visit to Toronto is complete without marvelling at the rushing waters of the Niagara Falls from the Canadian side. The trip to the Falls takes slightly under two hours if you drive from Toronto city (just be mindful of avoiding peak hours). You might want to pack your wide-angle lens to capture the magnificent sights of the most impressive of the three falls—Horseshoe Falls, also known as the Canadian Falls, with a 57-metre drop and a width of 790 metres. The other two you can spot here are the smaller American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. While both these waterfalls lie on the American side, the view from the Canadian side is far better.
You can also take a walk behind the Falls, which is only available for the Canadian Falls. Feel the thundering gush of the water flow from the top and be in awe of the sheer power of rushing water—3,160 tons of water flows over Niagara Falls every second! Exploring the Falls may take around three hours, and if you are famished, head over to the nearby resort-style town of Niagara-on-the-Lake for a bite. The picture-perfect town is small but has everything from restaurants, a bakery, a charming candy shop, amusement park rides, and more.
||55 Mill Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canadar
||10am to 7pm (Monday to Wednesday), 10am to 8pm (Thursday to Saturday), 11am to 6pm (Sunday)|
Feel the urban vibe of Toronto with a visit to the Distillery District—a village made of brick-lined streets and restored Victorian Industrial buildings. Once home to the largest whiskey producer in the British Empire, the area bustles with shopping, dining, art and culture. What sets the retail scene here apart from other places is the precinct’s one-of-a-kind shops, offering unique and creative merchandise which make great gifts to bring home.
Food lovers will have a tough time deciding where to dine. Some of the top restaurants here include the Madrina (famed for its Spanish tapas), popular French bistro Cluny, and El Catrin—a trendy, stylish upscale eatery offering Mexican food. Fancy some seafood? Make a beeline for Pure Spirits. Being a brewery neighbourhood once, you have to visit the Mill St. Brew Pub, home to Toronto’s most well-known beer brands.
The Distillery District is also known for its myriad of events, so make sure to check their schedule before visiting.
Immerse in all things East Asian in Toronto’s high-energy Chinatown, which took root way back in the late 19th Century. One of the largest Chinatowns in North America, you can find an array of Chinese-run shops, restaurants, busy produce markets and food stalls—an ideal place to immerse yourself in a sensory experience of the city’s vibrant Asian community.
The best way to enjoy Chinatown is on foot. Pop into shops selling herbs and produce or dive into small cafes and traditional Chinese restaurants. One of the must-tries here are Chinese dumplings, which you can get at Mother’s Dumplings.
|Address||93 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E 1C3, Canada|
||8am to 7pm (Friday), 5am to 5pm (Saturday), 8am to 6pm (Tuesday to Thursday), Closed on Sunday|
Food lovers would rejoice at the variety of food options at the St. Lawrence Market. The iconic market in the Old Town district earned the title of the world’s top food market from National Geographic in 2012.
More than 120 food stalls can be found here, offering anything from Ukranian pierogi (filled dumplings from Eastern and Central Europe), Indian candy, Jewish Bagels and Toronto’s famous and legendary peameal bacon (wet-cured, unsmoked back bacon).
Unsure where to start? Consider engaging a guide (at CAD89 Canadian Dollars or USD67) to lead you on an insider’s tour of the labyrinthine market’s mouth-watering delicacies.
|Address||317 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4, Canada|
||+1 877 225 4246
10:30am to 5pm (Tuesday and Thursday), 10:30am to 9pm (Wednesday),10:30am to 5:30pm (Saturday and Sunday), 10:30am to 9pm (Friday), Closed on Monday
Dive into all forms of art at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), housed in a building which is a work of art on its own. Designed by acclaimed Canadian architect, Frank Gehry, the 45,000 square-metre glass masterpiece is one of the largest art museums in North America.
The Gallery’s collection is significant and wide-ranging—comprising of almost 100,000 pieces of art, it includes everything from the Renaissance period to contemporary creations. You can browse artworks by artists from Europe to Africa to North America.
With multiple permanent exhibitions and special events, you are advised to browse the Gallery’s events calendar for upcoming exhibits, workshops or film screenings prior to your visit.
|Address||Kensington Market, Toronto, ON M5T, Canada|
||11am to 7pm daily (Closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day)|
Experience Toronto’s acclaimed spirit of multiculturalism at the Kensington Market. Do not be deceived by its name—unlike St. Lawrence Market, Kensington Market is not a market but more a hippy village—one that is comparable to Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco or the West Village in New York City.
Explore the neighbourhood’s vintage stores, speciality coffee shops, trendy eateries and avant-garde galleries. Look out for the highlight of Kensington Market—jaw-dropping graffiti art that gives the neighbourhood it's bohemian vibe.
|Address||1873 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6R 2Z3, Canada|
||24 hours daily|
Toronto is known for its pockets of greenery—the city has more than 1,500 parks spread over 8,000 hectares, and High Park is the city’s largest. A sprawling park with hiking trails, a giant children’s playground and even a zoo, the park is often called a city within a park.
Spend an afternoon of leisure at High Park, complete with a picnic basket, good book, and an unhurried mindset. Sit, relax and gaze at its beautiful lake. If you prefer more outdoor action you can try looking out for rare plant species, High Park’s famous cherry blossoms (when in season), or visit the mini zoo.
Visiting Toronto in Summer? You are in luck! Grab a spot at the much loved Shakespeare in the Park performance (between 7 July 2020 and 6 September 2020), which usually performs to a packed out amphitheatre.
|Address||220 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5B 2H1, Canada|
||9:30am to 9pm (Monday to Saturday), 10am to 7pm (Sunday)|
If there is only one place to shop in Toronto, the Eaton Centre is it. This is not your average mall, but the busiest mall in North America, attracting around 50 million visitors annually.
Boasting more than 250 retailers and occupying 160,000 square metres of space (the size of 22 soccer fields), Eaton Centre is a retail paradise with shops that cater to every shopaholic you can imagine. With so many retail outlets to browse, you can easily spend a day exploring this mega-mall.
Make your Toronto holiday sweeter with our latest room offers at Pan Pacific Toronto. You will also get to choose two additional stay perks including complimentary daily breakfast, special amenities, welcome cocktail and savings at dining outlets.
A must-try outlet at the hotel is Katsura—an authentic dining experience that ranks as one of Toronto’s most popular Japanese restaurants. Select your preferred dining option from Teppanyaki tables, Sushi Bar or the main dining area, and prepare to be served the finest in Japanese cuisine.