There is a lot of downtown Toronto other than the CN Tower, formerly known to be the world’s tallest free-standing structure. For one thing, downtown Toronto boasts of walled arts, a railway station with interesting posts designed with Egyptian gods, and a street crossing that goes diagonal.
Moreover, downtown Toronto also prides itself with nature and picturesque scenery and landscapes. On top of that, you can soak into the city’s top attractions with its splendor and burgeoning side that make sure that you indeed have a good time.
It was my first time in downtown Toronto and every corner that I went to was simply breathtaking from its museums to local art and even its theme park.
The colorful downtown
Unlike many cities that seem monotonous in color, downtown Toronto showcases a burst of hues and shades. One tourist spot that is so alive with much display is the Graffiti Alley with alleyways painted with bright designs and vibrant tones. Located just south of Queen West, Graffiti Alley is also known as the Rush Lane and home to an immense and colossal swath of street art. The narrow alley stretches for over a half-mile, and every nook and cranny is covered with artworks of different styles. Imagine Graffiti Alley as a living museum showcasing the diversity of the people living in Toronto. Bear in mind, though, that the murals you see today may not exist next year as artists keep on painting over and creating new ones.
Following a tip I got I dropped by Graffiti Alley in the early mornings since it is filled with people mostly from mid to late afternoon. You might not be able to walk around and appreciate much of the artwork if you visit during late hours.
Aside from Graffiti Alley, other places of interests include the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum, both of which offer an extensive range of artworks from paintings, sculptures to installations. While the AGO spearheads workshops, seminars and conferences, the ROM showcase world culture and history, divided into different segments, such as dinosaurs, crystals and gems, among others. Notably, there’s even a section devoted to Philippine clothing and fashion. A tour around ROM took me a total of two hours, but I enjoyed every minute of it.
You might also want to visit Kensington Market and Chinatown, places to buy fruits and vegetables, and interestingly, where you can swing by Yonge-Dundas Square and you cross its street diagonally. You also might not want to miss Nathan Philips Square, an enormous plaza of restaurants and a staging area for mini-concerts and the like.
The nature and theme parks
When you think of downtown Toronto, perhaps you imagine tall buildings and structures, but that is not the case. Here, downtown provides good scenery and awesome backdrop, after all, Canada has a huge land area where most of it is dedicated to parks for rest and recreation. This is what I like most about this country.
Just south of downtown Toronto, you can ferry boat rides that take you to one of the most prized attractions for both kids and adults, the Toronto Islands. Situated in Lake Ontario, Toronto Islands are so-named because it is composed of approximately 15 small islands. The ferry boat ride is less than 30 minutes and once you arrive at Toronto Islands, you’d be greeted to a vast open land where there are a few restaurants. Our first stop was dropping by Centreville with a small playground and carnival for kids. Aside from the Ferris wheel, roller coaster, cable car and bump car, there are also adult rides.
Toronto Islands also has several beaches where you can swim and frolic in the sand. If you want to have lunch by the beach, just lay down your mat on the grass and have a picnic. For those who want to tour the island, you can simply rent a bike for a minimal fee.
Besides Toronto Islands, you can also visit High Park, a mixed recreational park in Toronto, complete with sporting facilities, gardens, playground, ponds and even a zoo. A third of the park is in its natural state while the rest has been developed to accommodate the growing needs of its visitors. Other activities you can indulge here include jogging, walking around with your dog, or watching the sun set over the horizon.
It is not hard to embrace and engage what this city has to offer. Toronto is indeed a worthwhile experience.
Image credits: Excel V. Dyquiangco