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Toronto Introduction Walk II (Self Guided), Toronto

The provincial capital of Ontario, Toronto is a major Canadian metropolis renowned for its dynamic pace and a high-rising skyline comprising ultra-modern skyscrapers and historic architecture.

The city boasts rich cultural scene and has a diverse array of public spaces, a multitude of green spaces, offering a wealth of entertainment and recreational facilities. A host of local museums and galleries, national historic sites, festivals and public events attract to Toronto annually over 40 million tourists.

On this self-guided Introduction Tour of Toronto, Part II you get a chance to explore some of the city's most prominent sights, such as Yonge-Dundas Square & Streets, PATH, Toronto's New City Hall, the Hockey Hall of Fame and more. Just take a walk and see for yourself!
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Toronto Introduction Walk II Map

Guide Name: Toronto Introduction Walk II
Guide Location: Canada » Toronto (See other walking tours in Toronto)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Author: alice
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Yonge-Dundas Square
  • PATH
  • Eaton Centre
  • Trinity Square
  • Toronto New City Hall
  • Nathan Phillips Square
  • Old City Hall
  • Yonge Street
  • Hudson's Bay Queen Street
  • Brookfield Place
  • Hockey Hall of Fame
  • St. Lawrence Market
Yonge-Dundas Square

1) Yonge-Dundas Square (must see)

No place can possibly get you any closer to the spirit of Toronto than Yonge-Dundas Square. Filled with entertainment and brimming with energy and life, this square is the heart of the city’s cultural pedestal. Opposite the Eaton Center is Toronto’s community hub that attracts both tourist and locals alike on a very large scale.

Bringing together people from all walks of life, this square hosts celebrations, theatrical events, musicals, movies and concerts. Buzzing with activity, Dundas Square is always in motion.

Opened in 2002, the Yonge-Dundas was designed in context to the hip and happening Toronto metropolis. It boasts of a chic urban design and stands at a slight incline which was made on purpose so as to facilitate a theatrical feel to the complex.

Why You Should Visit:
The most photographed spot in Toronto! Canada's "Times Square" with lots of events happening. Easy access to Path, Eaton Center and tonnes of awesome food.
Good meeting point to go off shopping and sightseeing around Toronto; an ideal place to enjoy some activity during daylight or late at night.

If you just want to drop in for a quick look-see, rest assured that getting out is as easy as hopping the subway right at the corner inside the Eaton Centre.
Sight description based on wikipedia

2) PATH (must see)

PATH is a network of underground pedestrian tunnels, elevated walkways, and at-grade walkways which connect the office towers of Downtown Toronto. It links more than 70 buildings via 30 kilometres (19 mi) of tunnels, walkways, and shopping areas. According to Guinness World Records, PATH is the largest underground shopping complex in the world with 371,600 square metres (4,000,000 sq ft) of retail space which includes over 1,200 retail fronts (2016). As of 2016, over 200,000 residents and workers use the PATH daily with the number of private dwellings within walking distance at 30,115.

More than 50 buildings or office towers are connected through the PATH system. It comprises 20 parking garages, five subway stations, two major department stores, two major shopping centres, six major hotels, and a railway terminal. The CN Tower, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, and Rogers Centre are connected via an enclosed elevated walkway, called the SkyWalk, although the walkway does not have indoor connections to these attractions.

PATH provides an important contribution to the economic viability of the city's downtown core, and is also used to supplement sidewalk capacity in downtown Toronto. The system facilitates pedestrian linkages to public transit, accommodating more than 200,000 daily commuters, and thousands of additional tourists and residents en route to sports and cultural events. Its underground location provides pedestrians with a safe haven from the winter cold and snow, as well as the summer heat and humidity.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Eaton Centre

3) Eaton Centre (must see)

Toronto caters to any visitor's idea of the "best shopping day ever" as its shopping destinations are perfectly compatible with all visitors' budgets, however diverse. Still, no shopping experience of Toronto is complete if you haven’t visited the Eaton Centre. Literally, a "shop-till-you-drop" venue, this centre in Downtown Toronto is the largest shopping mall in Eastern Canada and the third largest in the country.

This colossal shopping complex is anchored between the Queen Street, Dundas Street, and Yonge Street. With more than 230 retail outlets, restaurants and services, the Eaton Centre has definitely got something for everyone. With an area of 160,000 square meters, Toronto’s premier shopping destination has high-end boutiques, exclusive stores and spas, popular universal brands and even bargain marts. With a massive visitor count of over a million per year, the Eaton Centre has become a regular entry on every tourist’s list.

Why You Should Visit:
Pretty much a place you can go to to find anything, from clothing to mobile services to an Apple or Microsoft Store.
The mall is connected to multiple subway stations and has exit doors to every street surrounding it.

The food court is very nice and diversified.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 10am-9:30pm; Sat: 9:30am-9:30pm; Sun: 10am-7pm
Trinity Square

4) Trinity Square (must see)

Trinity Square, located in downtown Toronto, is accessed via James Street or the walkways from Bay Street and Dundas Street. The square is curbed by the Eaton Center, Bell Trinity Square and Marriott Downtown Eaton Center Hotel.

The owner of the site, John Simcoe Macaulay, sold it in 1845 to make way for the construction of the Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity, which still stands today. The area surrounding the church was called Eaton's Annex and was home to a 10-floor building constructed in 1919. The latter was brought down by fire in 1970. The original design of the Eaton Center threatened the existence of the church. Successful protests to that changed the Center's design to what it is today.

The square is decorated with granite, concrete blocks and trees planted along the walkways. The Toronto Public Labyrinth, adjacent to the church, is constructed on similar lines as the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France. An artificial stream flows alongside the walkway to Bay Street where two lanterns rest on large blue columns and act as an entrance to the square.

Why You Should Visit:
Oasis in the heart of the city; a great place to relax downtown.

The Old City Hall is located just south of the square and also deserves a visit.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Toronto New City Hall

5) Toronto New City Hall

Another architectural landmark of Toronto is the New City Hall. Photographed by many, this symbol of Toronto stands out as a unique structure accentuating the originality and sophistication in the city’s scape.

The New City Hall was designed by Finnish architect Viljo Revell, who was awarded the project following an international competition that drew in over 500 designs from more than 40 nations worldwide. The competition initially underwent grave criticism and ran into controversy over not having a Canadian to design the City Hall. However, the result of that competition gifted Toronto with one of its finest structures which, to this very day, is a popular symbol for the state.

The construction took four years and, by 1964, the two towers were completed. The project was run in collaboration with Heikki Castren, Bengt Lundsten and Seppo Valjus who, according to Revell, were not credited enough for their contribution. The Toronto New City Hall was Revell’s only design outside Finland, and is the one for which he is most known. Unfortunately, the mastermind behind the spectacular structure did not live to see his magnum opus completed, as he died earlier in 1964.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Nathan Phillips Square

6) Nathan Phillips Square

Nathan Phillips Square is an urban plaza that forms the forecourt to Toronto City Hall, aka New City Hall, at the intersection of Queen Street West and Bay Street. The square is named for Nathan Phillips, mayor of Toronto from 1955 to 1962, and was designed by the City Hall's architect Viljo Revell in collaboration with landscape architect Richard Strong. The square was opened in 1965.

Today it serves as the regular site of various public events such as art exhibits, concerts, rallies, a weekly farmers' market and other ceremonies. Annual events include a New Year's Eve Party and the Cavalcade of Lights Festival lighting of the official Christmas tree. The annual Nuit Blanche art festival sets up art exhibits in the square, and has also utilized the parking garage located underneath the square. During the winter months, the reflecting pool is also converted into an ice rink for skating.

Yearly, Nathan Phillips Square attracts an estimated 1.5 million visitors. With an area of 4.85 hectares (12.0 acres), this is Canada's largest city square.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Old City Hall

7) Old City Hall (must see)

Located on the corner of Queen and Bay Street is one of the city’s architectural marvels, the Old City Hall. Grand in its demeanor and elegant in its stance, the Old City Hall was once the crowning jewel of the budding city of Toronto.

It is no secret that a lot of pain, effort, time and not to forget money went into the making of this building. By the end of 1880, the city of Toronto had expanded beyond the range of the existent municipal authority. So another building was commissioned for construction which would act as a courthouse along with being the City Hall. Prominent Toronto-based architect, Edward James Lennox, was bestowed with responsibility of constructing the New City Hall. With high expectations from his designs, it took Lennox three years to come up with an acceptable project!

The construction started no sooner. It is believed that work on the City Hall began in 1889 and took 10 years to be finished. The end result was surely well worth the wait. A magnificent City Hall, built to perfection in Romanesque Revival architecture, more accurately known as Richardsonian Romanesque architecture, boasts a 300 feet Big Ben that weighs 5,443 kg.

Why You Should Visit:
While the exterior is magnificent for its old charm and clock tower, there are still some interior details to see and appreciate – from the grand staircase with stained glass window, depicting Canadian history, to the various murals and statues...

Make sure to visit the small "lake" close by, as many of the pictures you might know from Toronto are taken from this place while facing the "TORONTO" sign.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Yonge Street

8) Yonge Street (must see)

Yonge Street is a major arterial route in the Canadian province of Ontario connecting the shores of Lake Ontario in Toronto to Lake Simcoe, a gateway to the Upper Great Lakes. Yonge is also a major commercial thoroughfare in Toronto rather than a ceremonial one, with landmarks such as the Eaton Center, Yonge-Dundas Square and the Hockey Hall of Fame located along its length—and lends its name to the eponymous Downtown Yonge shopping and entertainment district.

The street was integral to the original planning and settlement of western Upper Canada in the 1790s, and was named by Ontario's first colonial administrator, John Graves Simcoe, for his friend Sir George Yonge, an expert on ancient Roman roads.

As Toronto's main street, Yonge hosts parades, street performances and protests. After major sporting victories, thousands of people gather on the downtown portions of the street, particularly near Dundas Square, to celebrate and the street gets closed to vehicular traffic while those are occurring. Streetcars on routes crossing Yonge in that area (Carlton, Dundas, Queen, King) during those celebrations will often have to cease operations a few hundred metres east or west of Yonge Street due to the crowds.

The construction of Yonge Street was designated as an Event of National Historic Significance in Canada.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Hudson's Bay Queen Street

9) Hudson's Bay Queen Street

Hudson's Bay Queen Street is the flagship store of Hudson's Bay department stores. The 1896 sandstone building located on Queen Street slightly west of Yonge Street was built by Toronto firm of Burke and Horwood for Simpson's Department Store in the Romanesque Revival style with Chicago School influences.

The store outgrew the capacity of the structure by 1900, leading to the first of several expansions. Burke and Horwood returned with additions in 1907 and 1923. The largest expansion came in 1929 with Chapman and Oxley's nine-floor Art Deco addition (facing Bay and Richmond) capped by the Arcadian Court. When construction completed, the store occupied two full city blocks.

Hudson's Bay Queen Street focuses on high-end fashion apparel, accessories, and home goods. Among these are iconic Point Blankets, coats, bed sheets, bags, T-shirts, lotions, scents, candles, and many more. The store features about 93,000 square meters (1,000,000 sq ft) of shopping space.

Operating Hours:
Monday-Saturday: 9:30 am-9 pm; Sunday: 10 am-7 pm
Brookfield Place

10) Brookfield Place

Toronto’s architectural landscape is a perfect blend of the old and the new. Showcasing some stunning cutting-edge modern designs and monuments of the past, it is indeed a breathtaking sight to see both the extremes that make up the perfect skyline of the city. Brookfield Place is one such site. A visit to this place is a must if you do not want to miss out on any fascinating structure of Toronto.

The Brookfield Place comprises two contemporary towers, the Bay Wellington Tower and the TD Canada Trust Tower, which took form in 1990 and 1991 respectively. The 49-storied Bay Wellington was designed by architects Bregman and Hamann, while the 53 stories of Canada Trust Tower were created by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. However, the real treat is the Allen Lambert Galleria, a six-storied high pedestrian atrium designed by famous Santiago Calatrava.

Although the architectural element is what drives people towards this stunning building, visiting Brookfield Place has an added advantage – it has some of the best shopping stores in town. Ranging from high-end boutiques to casual and popular brands, you are bound to enjoy the Brookfield Place one way or the other. The complex also boasts some of the best restaurants in town and if you are in a mood for some fine dining experience, Brookfield Place is the place to be.

Why You Should Visit:
The more you look at the structure, the more you are mesmerized with the design.
Great photo opportunity, especially when it is sunny out. The light passes through the top of the arches and it is somewhat reminiscent of European cathedrals.
The office complex does not have many stores, but it does have a large food court, located on the lower concourse, and several excellent restaurants for all budgets.

Keep an eye out for the annual holiday lighting ceremony!

Operating Hours:
Mon-Sat: 10am-8pm; Sun: 12-6pm
Hockey Hall of Fame

11) Hockey Hall of Fame (must see)

The people of Toronto take their sport very seriously, especially when it comes to their much-loved game, ice hockey. And no visit to Toronto is complete without getting a glimpse of this fascinating sport and being part of the thrill. What better way to do this than tour the Hockey Hall of Fame! The museum is dedicated to the history of ice hockey and proudly displays the achievements and accolades won by the teams and their players.

Established in 1943, the Hockey Hall of Fame is the result of the tireless efforts of James Thomas Sutherland, a national ice hockey player, coach, administrator and an ardent sports developer and supporter. He is fondly remembered as the Father of Hockey. Located at the corner of Front and Yonge Streets and spread over an area of 57,000 square feet, the Hall of Fame is divided into 15 exhibits. The museum displays cups, trophies, memorabilia, as well as equipment and jerseys worn by famous hockey personalities. Apart from that, here you can get insights and read biographies of members of the Hall of Fame and browse through portraits and photographs of players. The museum also has some fun interactive exhibits where you can try your hand at taking real pucks, as well as play goaltender.

***Historic Buildings Walk****
The Hockey Hall of Fame's building is an attraction in its own right. The 1885 Beaux-Arts-style architectural marvel was designed by the Toronto firm of Darling & Curry, and formerly housed the old Bank of Montreal Branch. Recognized as one of the most impressive bank structures ever built in Toronto, it is ornately extravagant with ostentatious stonework displayed on the facades. The building has large rectangular plate glass windows, with columns in between richly embellished with wall carvings. The overall design of the edifice is an attempt to project the image of prosperity and security.

Why You Should Visit:
For a modest entry fee, you get room after room of memorabilia from years gone by until the past year.
This place has it all, from NHL to international hockey. Also, a great shop to get team apparel. The interactive games are a real hit with the kids.

For a few bucks you can have your photo taken with the Stanley Cup – they will print out three photos and you also receive a digital copy.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 10am-5pm; Sat: 9:30am-6pm; Sun: 10:30am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Lawrence Market

12) St. Lawrence Market (must see)

Established in 1803, St. Lawrence Market is owned by the City of Toronto and is its nerve centre for commercial and administrative activity. The market is located between Jarvis, Front, King and Church streets, the former industrial area, and is the largest market in the city.

The South Market houses the daily sale of fresh fruits and vegetables along with dairy and meat products. Freshly baked goods are available here all day and so are non-food items. Since its establishment, on Saturdays the market has been the point of sale for the producers of southern Ontario, right from 5 o'clock in the morning. Sundays bring antique dealers to the North market, from dawn to 5 o'clock in the evening. The Market Gallery on the second floor of the South Market has an exhibition area available for rent for cultural purposes. Often, the 10,000 sq. ft. of the North Market houses exhibitions, displays, meetings and social gatherings. St. Lawrence Hall runs retail businesses and is the location of the administrative offices of the City of Toronto.

A small pub just outside the market has something to offer if you are hungry or want to sit down for a drink. The market also holds special and creative events for your pet dog or street performances at selected times of the year. So do check out this fun-filled market on your visit to Toronto.

Why You Should Visit:
The choice of fishmongers, butchers, deli meats & cheese and produce vendors reigns supreme, but vegan options are plentiful as well.
The atmosphere is amazing with so many different cultures of people spending their time with family picking out their food.

Make sure to have a good walk around before you decide on one place – there are lots of good options.
If you're traveling through, try to go early in your week so, if you buy something you want to eat later, you have time.

Operating Hours:
Five days a week – Tue-Thu: 8am-6pm; Fri: 8am-7pm; Sat: 5am-5pm

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