Toronto's Waterfront Self-guided Tour (Self Guided), Toronto

Toronto is located on the shore of Lake Ontario and it is more than obvious that the locals, as well as visitors to the city, cherish and admire the alluring views of the lake. Toronto's waterfront is one of the most picturesque places for walking, but it is also a great destination for those in search of entertainment. This walking tour will reveal all the pearls strewn along the quay. Don't hesitate to visit all the attractions on this itinerary, as listed below.
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Toronto's Waterfront Self-guided Tour Map

Guide Name: Toronto's Waterfront Self-guided Tour
Guide Location: Canada » Toronto (See other walking tours in Toronto)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 km
Author: ann
Redpath Sugar Refinery

1) Redpath Sugar Refinery

With all its sights and sounds Toronto surely is one of the most entertaining places to be. Along with fun and frolic, the city has many museums and centers that help viewers understand, learn and appreciate the smaller things in life, whether it be the shoe factory, the textile gallery or in this case, a sugar refinery.

At the foot of Jarvis Street and Queen’s Quay, tucked in downtown Toronto is the oldest sugar company of Canada. The Redpath Sugar Refinery was founded in 1854 by industrialist John Redpath. The birth of the company was amidst tough times, when the people living in Canada only got access to the affordable "Muscovado" or raw sugar, which was dirty and crude. Although the higher variety of “Loaf” was available, it came at a much higher price. The Redpath Sugar industries brought about a revolution in the sugar market in Canada, making available a basic necessity like sugar to all.

Although the establishment of the company took place in the mid-19th century, the refinery was not constructed until the mid-20th century. The facility is made up of two buildings and a chimney stack. Building 2, a 5 storied construction, houses the Sugar Museum that gives you a glimpse into how sugar and sugar products are made. An educative and entertaining tour with a drizzle of powdered sugar!
Queen's Quay Terminal

2) Queen's Quay Terminal

After touring the city’s museums, gaping in awe at the monuments and the city’s ace architecture it is time to experience the best shopping experience that Toronto has to offer. The Queen’s Quay Terminal, a cold storage warehouse built in 1926, is today one of the hottest destinations to shop in the city.

The art deco building that once served as a cold storage facility is now a premium shopping complex. Home to everything from exclusive boutique stores to regular and popular choice shops, the Queen’s Quay terminal is your one stop destination for shopping in Toronto. If you are not too crazy about clothes, there are other things that might catch your eye. With art galleries and dance theater, the Queen’s Quay Terminal offers a unique shopping experience for one and all. Browse through some of the most expensive pieces of art and craft and if you like it, you can even go home with it. And once you are done with all the roaming around and shopping, try out some of the best restaurants in the city, where you can have scrumptious snacks or, if you fancy, some of the best dining experiences in town. All this is and much more at the Queen’s Quay Terminal.
The Power Plant

3) The Power Plant

The Power Plant is an unusual name for one of Toronto’s most beloved art gallery. If you admire art, especially contemporary work, the Power Plant is the place for you.

The gallery was first established in 1976 and was called the Art Gallery at Harbourfront, however, in 1987 it moved to an abandoned power house. With its crude yet very real facade the Power Plant acted as a perfect home for the art gallery.

Celebrating modern and contemporary work is what the Power Plant is all about. The gallery offers upcoming local as well as international artists a platform to model their work and bring forth their talent to the world. What is amazing and ironically beautiful about the whole experience is that what houses the Gallery is a historical power plant that dates back to the 1900s. The Power Plant Gallery thus comes as a unique culmination of a crude and old exterior with a young, vibrant and contemporary interior. The Power Plant has displayed works of many famous names like Mike Kelley, Glenn Ligon, Adrian Piper, Francesco Vezzoli, Thomas Hirschhorn, Douglas Gordon, Rooney Graham, Geoffrey Farmer, Stan Douglas, Peter Doig, Janet Cardiff and many more. Apart from providing a media for artist expression, the Power Plant has also produced many ground breaking and award winning publications.

Opening hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10–5 PM; Thursday 10–8 PM.
Music Garden

4) Music Garden

Unlike any other garden, the Music Garden infused with the spirit of music and essence of dance has the innate ability to inspire and touch the artist in its every visitor. It is a place where the young, old, creative and those looking for inspiration find solace. Built in an attempt to bring communities together and with the sole intention to offer a peaceful, serene hideout, the Music Garden is all this and much more.

The gardens are the pictorial representation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G Major for unaccompanied cello. The gardens were a collaborated effort of world renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma and famous landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy along with contributions from several architects from the city’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department. Each section of the garden is an artistic representation of various contours of the suite in Bach’s compilations. Amazingly inspiring, the Music Garden is one place that is nestled in the heart of the city but yet manages to steal its audiences away from the hustle- bustle of city life. The garden holds 45 minute guided tours on summer days, or you can also opt for the self-guided tour consisting of a 70 minute audio tour directed by Ma and Messervy.
Little Norway

5) Little Norway

In the year 1940, Norway was attacked and the King and the government’s dignitaries had to flee the country. However, they decided to fight for their freedom and after negotiations with Great Britain, a camp was set up near Toronto’s Island Airport later that year. Norwegians who escaped their homeland and volunteers from Canada signed up at this base and were trained with the help of the British forces. Norwegian training camps and military offices gave the region its name, Little Norway. Over 2000 personnel were trained and sent to fight alongside the British forces between 1940 and 1945. After the war, the Norwegians gifted the base a commemorative plaque which can be seen even today.

In 1986, the 2.36 hectare area was converted into a park. A flagpole and the plaque still remind the visitors the importance of the place in history. Today, the park is decorated with art installations and ornamented gardens. It also has a soccer pitch and a baseball diamond. The City also plans to install a splash pad at this park. The facilities being provided at this park also benefit the students of the nearby public school and community residents. Plans for a dog park are being discussed for the park too. A little piece of history and a little bit of fun, the park has both to offer to its visitors.
Exhibition Place

6) Exhibition Place (must see)

Toronto is filled with exciting sights and sounds that are like no other around the world. With some of the biggest shopping malls and some of the fine options in entertainment, the city has something for everyone.

Clubbing vintage and history with new ideas and modern concepts brings about some of the best experience ever, and that is exactly what the Exhibition Place is all about. Scattered with monuments and structures that are older than a century, the Exhibition Place gets some of the best events, trade shows and exhibitions to the city of Toronto. Spread across 192 acres of land, the Exhibition Place hosts more than 100 shows in a single year. Some fairs and exhibitions have earned a reputation all over the world and have a faithful international following. Shows like Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Caribana Parade, Toronto International Boat Show, The Machine Tool Show, One of A Kind Craft Show, the Canadian National Exhibition are just a few names that visit here.

Apart from attending some of the best fairs and exhibitions, the Exhibition Place has some of the best structures in the city. Some of the monumental buildings in the region include the Horticultural Building constructed in 1907, Fire House Tower, Princess Gates and the Direct Energy Center – the country’s largest indoor exhibition area.

Why You Should Visit:
Always great rides, concessions, food, deals, new products, displays, and, most of all, an electric atmosphere.

Best to go early in the weekday and before 5:00 PM to avoid huge crowds.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Ontario Place

7) Ontario Place (must see)

Perched on the edge of Lake Ontario is one of the most happening places in the city, the Ontario Place. Entertaining locals and tourists since 1971, Ontario Place is perfect for a fun-filled weekend with family and friends.

This amazing seasonal waterfront park is spread across 96 acres of land boasting more than 30 mind-blowing rides and attractions. The fun-packed multiple entertainment themes of Ontario Place ensures something special for every visitor, whether it is riding the Bumper Boats, getting a thrill of your life with Free Fall, Soak City- Toronto’s most famous water-themed parks, Wilderness adventure rides, playing mini golf, eating at fancy restaurants or simply taking a long walk at the marina.

The Ontario Place also has the world’s first IMAX theater. Housed in the most spectacular geodesic dome, the IMAX has a single screen which is a whopping 6 stories tall. Here, you can enjoy the latest Hollywood releases along with educational programs and documentaries. Unlike the whole park, the theater is open year round, so even if you visit Toronto during winter, you could still visit the Ontario Place.

Why You Should Visit:
Beautiful views and the grounds are great for walking around.
There are various events/concerts being held and even some affordable fun activities for kids.

The Waterfront Night Market held in August has many delicious options!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 5am-12am
Fort Rouille

8) Fort Rouille

One of the many monuments to visit in Toronto is the Fort Rouille. An obelisk stands tall at the site where once stood the fort.

Fort Rouille was built by the French around 1750 for the purposes of monitoring and intercepting the fur trade in the region. Unlike other forts, the Rouille was not strictly for military activity. Its greater purpose was to make the French presence be felt in the Great Lakes. Also referred to as Fort Toronto, today the ruins of the Fort encompass the Exhibition Place.

The construction of the Fort was commissioned by Marquis de la Jonquière, the governor of New France who along with many brave battles and voyages under his belt is also well known for the fur trade in the region. Although it was built in 1750, the French troops abandoned the structure only 9 years after completing it. The French, who were retreating from the invading British forces, burned the fort in July 1759.

Although the fort is not in the condition it was a few centuries ago, one can still see where the Fort stood ground thanks to the concrete that outlines the structure. Just walking distance from the Exhibition Place, it is a perfect site to learn more about the history of Toronto.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Toronto, Canada

Create Your Own Walk in Toronto

Create Your Own Walk in Toronto

Creating your own self-guided walk in Toronto is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Downtown Nightlife Part 1

Downtown Nightlife Part 1

An international hub and major metropolis, Toronto is also an important cultural center in Canada and North America. Seeing a large influx of tourists throughout the year, Toronto features a vibrant nightlife scene chock full of clubs, bars, restaurants, and lounges in the thriving Entertainment District located in the heart of the city and in outlying areas as well. Take this Toronto Nightlife...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 2

Souvenir Shopping Part 2

It would be a pity to leave Toronto without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Toronto, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.0 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 1

Souvenir Shopping Part 1

It would be a pity to leave Toronto without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Toronto, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.3 km
Religious Heart of Toronto Walking Tour

Religious Heart of Toronto Walking Tour

Because it is an ethnically diverse city, Toronto has different types of churches beginning with imposing Revival style Cathedrals to small postmodernist churches.This tour however aims to introduce you to some of the most famous religious structures in the city. While in Toronto be sure to check the ones listed below.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 km
Shopping Tour in Toronto

Shopping Tour in Toronto

There are many ways to enjoy shopping in Toronto. You can either walk along the oldest streets of the city, like Yonge street and visit the huge fancy shopping centers, or you can experience the atmosphere of the historic market of St. Lawrence. This tour has it all: from small unusual stores to big "all-mighty" malls. So don't hesitate to enjoy an authentic shopping experience by...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 km
Toronto Islands Self-guided Tour

Toronto Islands Self-guided Tour

This chain of small islands located in Lake Ontario represents a great recreation destination surrounded by a peaceful and joyful atmosphere. The chain consists of three major islands (Center Island, Algonquin or Sunfish Island and Olympic Island) and several small ones. The Toronto Islands offer a great panoramic view of Toronto. Check out the attractions listed below that these islands offer to...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.5 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

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