Toronto is the capital city of Ontario in Canada. It is metropolitan and home to a mixture of historical, contemporary, and natural attractions. If you decide to visit these landmarks of Toronto in the summer, you should take advantage of the beautiful parks and famous streets.
Alternatively, Toronto landmarks in the winter months are just as special. There are several buildings, museums, and galleries to plan outings for. Just wrap up warm!
Visiting Toronto Landmarks – Useful City Passes
When visiting Toronto, there are various city passes and tickets you can purchase in advance to save time waiting in queues. Here are some ideas for famous Toronto landmarks you can visit.
- Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Ticket: 24-hour ticket giving access to buses as well as one complimentary harbor cruise
- Harbor and Islands Sightseeing Cruise: Visit the Toronto Islands from Toronto Harbor
- Niagara Falls Day Trip and Boat Tour: Explore Niagara-on-the-Lake and watch the waterfall
- Royal Ontario Museum Special Exhibits: Enjoy a general admission ticket to the museum as well as access to the rotating special exhibits. Or regular entry here.
Most Famous Landmark In Toronto
Despite not being right in the city, Niagara Falls is undoubtedly the most famous natural landmark in Toronto. It is a popular day trip from the metropolitan city.
Niagara Falls is a collective term for three waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls, the former being the largest standing at 188 feet. It is one of the fastest waterfalls in the world, which you would find magical to watch during the warmer seasons.
On the other hand, the waterfalls partially freeze in the chilling Canadian winters, which can be just as reverential. There are a variety of other exciting activities here, such as boat tours, ziplines, coaster rides, the history museum, and souvenir stores.
Famous Buildings and Landmarks In Toronto
The CN Tower is a 553-meter building, originally built in 1976 for telecommunications. At the time of completion, it was the tallest building in the world until it was exceeded in 2007.
As it is visible from many points in the city, it is often regarded as one of the most famous landmarks of Toronto. There are 47 floors, the SkyPod being the highest observation floor which is reached by a transparent elevator overlooking the city.
Below this, there is a 360 Restaurant, which consists of a luxurious dining experience with a scenic view. The main observation level is where most visitors plan to visit. If you enjoy heights, there is a see-through glass floor you can walk on, viewing the floor 346m below you!
Exploring Toronto at night can be a magical experience, and the CN Tower certainly contributes to the atmosphere.
The Rogers Centre is a prominent stadium, and one of the most famous sporting landmarks in Toronto located downtown.
Most famously, it is the home stadium of the Blue Jays, a professional baseball team adored by fans worldwide. In fact, there is a merchandise store dedicated entirely to the team with apparel for adults and children.
Other than sports, there are a variety of events which are held here. For example, there are concerts and theatre events.
The Eaton Centre is a shopping complex on Younge Street. If you are more interested in window-shopping or spending hours leisurely browsing various stores, this will be your favorite landmark in Toronto.
There are over 200 stores ranging from footwear, books, beauty, and apparel, so you can spend all day exploring. Subsequently, you can pay a visit to the food court and re-energize for more shopping. The center is constantly evolving and has new events every week, so it is worth visiting.
Famous Landmarks In Toronto – Museums and Galleries
Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum is a huge building filled to the brim with history, art, and cultural artifacts, with over six million objects in different exhibits. Of all the landmarks in Toronto, this is the best for educational purposes.
On the first floor is a library, and sections on Korea and China. The second floor houses the biodiversity division, such as dinosaurs, mammals, and birds. On the third floor are ancient civilizations such as Ancient Greece and Rome. Lastly, you will find rotating galleries on the fourth floor.
Levels B1 and B2 are temporary exhibits. The wide topic coverage means there’s a section for everyone. If you are visiting with young children, there is also a Discovery Gallery curated specifically to attract the kids’ attention.
Art Gallery of Ontario
The Art Gallery of Ontario is home to over 90,000 pieces of art. These include not only Canadian, but also Indigenous, European, Modern, Contemporary pieces, and even rare archives. The most famous pieces which you may be interested in include Marchesa Casati, The West Wind, and Massacre of the Innocents.
In addition to exploring the works, there are a variety of upcoming exhibitions and many free events. There is a gift store with photographs, books, and other souvenirs. One of the ways you can remember which landmarks of Toronto you have visited is with a memorable keepsake.
Natural Landmarks In Toronto
Toronto Harbor is found on Lake Ontario. Essentially, it is a bay offering various facilities on the Harbourfront Centre, where there is something for everyone. There are a variety of places to eat, several sports activities like biking or canoeing, and other Toronto landmarks to stroll past.
Furthermore, taking the cruise from Toronto Harbour to the Toronto Islands is undoubtedly one of the most memorable experiences you will create. On the cruise, you can see the skyline and many of the famous buildings in the city, such as the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, and more.
There are many cruises available, from the short ferry to a longer dinner cruise with special entertainment.
Lake Ontario (Toronto Islands)
Lake Ontario is surrounded largely by Ontario, and New York is on the southeast border. It is over 310km in length, making it the 13th longest lake in the world, and therefore one of the most famous Toronto landmarks.
In addition to its magnitude, you should consider visiting the Toronto Islands which are located in the lake. They are all interconnected and have various attractions, including beaches, restaurants, and cafes.
The ferry takes just over ten minutes from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. It can take you to three different islands which you can spend a fun day on until the late ferry back. You can explore the connected islands via a bike. The most popular islands include Centre Island, Olympic Island, and Hanlon’s Point.
If you like to spend time by the water, make sure to check out these top beaches in and around Toronto.
Religious Landmarks In Toronto
Cathedral Church of St James
Of all the religious landmarks of Toronto, the St James Cathedral is the richest in history and has the oldest congregation. The Church first opened its doors in the early 1850s and continues to operate to this day.
The Church itself has gothic architecture, such as tall pointed arches, stained glass windows, and flying buttresses. There are weekday and weekend services if you wish to partake in the singing of hymns, as well as various special events.
Nearby are several other famous Toronto landmarks, such as the Gooderham Building and shopping malls.
St Michaels Cathedral
St Michael’s Cathedral found Downtown is one of the most peaceful landmarks of Toronto. Despite being one of the oldest Churches, it has been subject to many restorations, the latest in 2016.
The gothic architecture and style have been kept for centuries, however, there has been an expansion of seating and general maintenance to keep the building operational. The Church often holds daily devotions, masses, confessionals, and also special events such as concerts.
Church of Holy Trinity
The Church of Holy Trinity is located in Trinity Square, both of which are notable landmarks in Toronto. The Church also has gothic architecture but is relatively smaller and cozier than the other religious sites. It often holds recitals, concerts, and services.
If you are looking to explore many sites within Toronto, there are several famous sites nearby. Within walking distance from here is the Eaton Centre shopping mall, Trinity Square Park complete with an illustrious cobblestone labyrinth, and Ed Mirvish Theatre.
Historic Landmarks In Toronto
Casa Loma is a mansion built in 1914 where Sir Henry Pellatt, a famous stockbroker and soldier, resided until the house caused him bankruptcy. This was due to the monumental taxes associated with its size. There are three floors, a basement, and gardens to explore.
Nowadays, the Casa Loma attraction is worth visiting for its exhibits and seasonal events. Like many Toronto landmarks, these vary depending on the time of year. They include scary Halloween theatrical experiences, winter wonderlands, and symphony summer concerts.
Additionally, many movies have been shot on the grounds; it is a popular filming location due to its eery appearance.
Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre
The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre was built in 1913. It comprises two theatres, one stacked over the other. This is what separates the theatre from other Toronto landmarks, as it is one of the last stacked theatres globally.
As the name suggests, the building is decorated to resemble a garden, with plant murals, gold leaves, and foliage patterns. Since it was founded, the theatre has been a popular location for holding events and filming movies.
The Spadina House is a mansion situated on a hill, which is now a historic museum. The house was built in the mid-1800s for James Austin, an affluent businessman who wished to gift the home to his family.
Many generations resided in the house until it recently become a museum in 1984. It is a free attraction, as are all museum landmarks in Toronto operated by the city.
There are scheduled guided tours, an orchard to explore outside, and special events. Spadina House can even be rented for weddings!
Famous Landmarks In Toronto – Squares and Avenues
Queen Street is situated from Roncesvalles Avenue to Victoria Park, west to east respectively. It is one of the most interesting landmarks of Toronto, in that it combines urban restaurants and stores with a historical twist.
Walking through the neighborhood is a multicultural experience as there are a variety of places to dine, from Mexican to Japanese to American. Many generations gather to visit the numerous art galleries, live music events at bars, and retail stores.
Originally named Lot Street, this avenue has held onto its historical element, as many sites have been around for decades!
Nathan Phillips Square
Nathan Philips Square is a popular destination with a lively atmosphere. It is located downtown on Queen Street, bordered by City Hall and the Eaton Centre. There are many Toronto landmarks nearby, so you should consider making a day of it and exploring the vicinity.
During the day, there are market stalls open, food trucks, and a range of small stores dotted around. If you are more enticed by the nightlife, visiting later on during the day may also help to avoid the rush of people.
The famous Toronto Sign is lit up, and there are seasonal concerts and festivals. In the colder months, there is also an ice rink.
Greektown on Danforth is one of the most cultural landmarks of Toronto. As its name suggests, there are many traditional Greek-style restaurants, cafes, and stores.
They specialize in grilled meats, fresh seafood, gyros, moussaka, and other famous dishes. For dessert, you could sample baklava, halva, or yiaoutorpita. However, there are more than solely Greek foods. You can find Chinese, Thai, Italian, and many international cuisines.
The neighborhood also offers a culmination of facilities, such as places of worship, pilates classes, fashion stores, murals, festivals, and more.
The Distillery District
The Distillery District derives its name from the whiskey distillery which once occupied the streets. Nowadays, the area is acclaimed for its historical atmosphere and local feel.
There are several small, independent stores housed in the markets, where vendors sell foods, home décor, and beauty products. In addition, there are art galleries and seasonal performances.
If you are planning a trip in the winter, it is worth visiting the famous Christmas Markets as the district is decorated with lights, trees, and ornaments.
There are also walking tours that helps you dive deeper into this historic district, uncovering secret areas and stories.
Famous Monuments In Toronto
The Gooderham Building is located in St Lawrence Market. Also known as the Flatiron Building, it is a red brick building made up of five levels making it distinct and eminent.
Gooderham Building was built in 1892, demonstrating a gothic theme and triangular shape. This makes it one of the most unique landmarks in Toronto, creating a truly memorable experience.
The building was built for George Gooderham, whose father started the family’s famous distillery business. After a long day of sightseeing, you can also sit and relax at the restaurant downstairs.
Adam Beck Memorial
The Adam Beck Memorial is named after Adam Beck, a notable Canadian politician famous for his contribution to the hydroelectric power commission. Essentially, his idea was to manipulate the water from Niagara Falls and create a distribution system to create cheaper power.
The memorial is located on University Avenue and consists of a statue designed by Emanual Hahn, who participated in and won the memorial contest.
This is especially beautiful at night, as the surrounding landmarks of Toronto light up, including the CN Tower.
Discovering Famous Landmarks In Toronto
In summary, Toronto landmarks are concentrated around the city and there are famous buildings or squares everywhere you turn. From famous avenues for shopping like Queen Street, to natural destinations to explore like Toronto Harbour, there are plenty of things to do in Toronto.
No matter which time of day you travel, and which season the city is in, there are several events and activities to indulge in.