You may have heard about the city before and even asked, “What is Toronto known for?” If you never received a straight answer, do not worry, here’s everything you want to know from a Canadian native.
Toronto, a dynamic metropolis, commonly referred to as T-Dot, the 6ix, and even Queen City is a place that never ceases to amaze visitors. Embodying the essence of diversity, Toronto is famous for its eclectic energy, and a never-ending list of festivals, activities, and attractions.
Treat this as a virtual tour before you visit! So sit back and enjoy as we showcase the top 20 things Toronto is known for and has to offer.
What is Toronto Known For?
Toronto is known for its fancy nicknames, incredibly vibrant nightlife, and bustling economy. However, don’t let the metropolis fool you into thinking there are no cultural elements here. Toronto features many famous landmarks in Canada and has incredible art and theatric scene.
As the capital city of the province of Ontario, Toronto is the largest capital in all of Canada with a population of just under 6,000,000.
Toronto is also home to the only major league baseball and basketball teams in the country. Whether you’re looking for sports, arts, entertainment, or nightlife, this city has a lot to offer travelers!
History, Culture, And Traditions Toronto is Known For
Most Multicultural City in the World
Toronto is famous for being the most multicultural city in the world. With about half of Toronto’s 6,000,000 population being born outside of Canada, this melting pot of a city has over 250 ethnicities that speak more than 170 languages.
It might not be obvious, but this is one of the most exciting facts about Toronto, particularly for travelers. With this type of diversity, you get to reap the rewards in the form of different types of food, art, businesses, and festivals.
The Toronto Caribbean Carnival
Formerly known as Caribana, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival has evolved and improved over time, offering a spectacular celebration of Caribbean culture.
The fact that it extends over August 1st is significant for the Caribbean community since it marks Emancipation Day for the U.S. and Caribbean nations.
The Carnival begins in July, stretching into early August and Toronto is known for being the host of the most action-packed celebration. It is not only the largest cultural festival but also the largest street festival in North America, drawing an overall attendance of 2 million people.
Museums, Historical Sites & Art Galleries
There are 10 museums and historical sites that the City of Toronto has made general admission free. Even the Ontario Art Gallery has free admission night every Wednesday. Whether it is contemporary art, sculptures, civilizations, textiles or ceramics that you’re into, Toronto has got it and the price is right.
If you are curious about life in the 1800’s you could tour the Black Creek Pioneer village, complete with a fully functioning brewery from 1860. For you shoe lovers out there, the Bata Shoe Museum is dedicated to footwear from around the globe. The Museum of Illusions, where nothing is as it seems, is perfect for those who are on the hunt for something more adventurous and entertaining.
One of the most popular museums Toronto is known for is Little Canada. The Little Canada museum is a great way to tour the entire country on a budget- only with miniature versions of the country’s greatest sights and landmarks.
The people of Canada, especially those in Toronto celebrate and embrace diversity in all shapes and forms including having one of the biggest LGBTQ festivals in the world. Pride Toronto usually takes place in late June to early July and attracts hundreds of thousands of people throughout the festival.
The Pride festival features a variety of performers, DJs, and cultural events all leading up to the feature parade. The entire celebration provides a safe place for members of the community to express their identities, promote equality and raise awareness for important causes.
Districts And Areas Toronto is Famous For
Kensington Market is a vibrant, artsy neighborhood that has a really cool, bohemian vibe and the best street market in the city. If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind finds, street art, outdoor performances, or great food, this is the place to go.
Once you’re done exploring, Bellevue Square Park is the perfect part to go relax and take a break. Visiting this funky yet cultural district is one of the best things to do in Toronto.
Toronto Entertainment District
Located in downtown Toronto, this district is always buzzing with excitement. The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which Toronto is famous for, has its headquarters here and there is always a production running at one of the many theaters.
If sports are more your thing, we’ll you’re in luck – the Air Canada Centre and Rogers Centre are close by. This district is also home to the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, as well as many amazing bars, restaurants, and shops.
The Annex is one of Toronto’s oldest neighborhoods, located close to the University of Toronto. Looks may deceive you when you see the Victorian homes and tree-lined streets; but if you go a little deeper into the heart, you will be in for a treat.
The Annex has a mix of culture, history, and hip vibes radiating from its restaurants, bars, and businesses. It has an old feel with a modern twist and is the perfect place to go if you are looking for a night on the town.
Architecture And Landmarks Toronto is Known For
The CN Tower is one of the most recognizable structures in the world and one of the top attractions in Toronto. In 1995, it was named one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World
Furthermore, it held the title of the tallest freestanding structure in the world until 2009. The tower was built to solve a communications problem caused by the boom of skyscrapers that sprung up in the 1960s.
The view from the top is magnificent, you can even take the 144 flights of stairs if you want to. Once you’re up there, you can grab a glass of wine from the world’s highest wine cellar, test your bravery on the glass floor or just try to spot Niagara Falls or the State of New York, 100 miles away!
For all you thrill-seekers out there, they have an experience called the Edgewalk where they strap a harness on you, attach it to a safety rail outside and you walk the perimeter hands-free.
Although Niagara Falls is not located in Toronto, it is well worth the 1-hour 20-minute drive to check them out. The sheer power and beauty of these waterfalls will leave you breathless.
While they’re not the tallest waterfall in North America, they are the largest by volume and width with 150,000 gallons flowing over per second.
Along with the waterfalls which attract around 12 million visitors per year, the city itself has a lot of great things for tourists to do. Casinos, shopping, nightlife, historic sites, and outdoor recreation are just a few of the many activities you can find around.
If you are looking for a supernatural experience, head over to Canada’s most haunted town, Niagara on the Lake, for a ghost tour that will not disappoint.
This unique hidden gem is one of a few islands scattered in Lake Ontario, just a short ferry ride away from downtown. It is a nice escape from the busy city during the summer and offers premium views of the Toronto skyline.
Not many tourists seem to know about it but it’s a favorite spot among locals to escape and listen to the sounds of nature. You will also find one of the best beaches in Toronto here.
Sports Toronto Is Famous For
The Raptors are the best NBA team in Canada! Even though they are the only NBA team in the country, they are one of the best sports teams that Canada is known for. The Toronto Raptors have a cult-like following and an entire country rooting for them in every game they play.
Their name came from a contest held for the public in 1995. Since Jurassic Park was incredibly popular at the time, the inspiration behind the name came from the dino-frenzy associated with the movie and it is now cemented in history.
Toronto Blue Jays
Another “only team in Canada” alert! The Toronto Blue Jays are the only MLB franchise outside of the USA. There used to be another MLB team in Canada, the Montreal Expos. However, they moved to Washington in 2005 and are now known as the Nationals.
The Jays have a few World Series Championships under their belts, making them the first team outside of the United States to ever win the World Series.
The Maple Leafs
Toronto is famous for this relic of a team in hockey history. The Maple Leafs were one of the original six teams that founded the NHL.
While it was easier to win the Stanley Cup back in the day with fewer teams in the league, the team is sadly experiencing the longest drought in NHL history. They have not brought home a championship in 48 years, yikes!
Regardless of their stats, it’s always a fun time and a very Canadian thing to do to check out a hockey game. The energy in Scotiabank Arena is nothing short of electric and the fans are so die-hard, it really doesn’t matter if they win or lose. That’s hockey for you!
The Hockey Hall of Fame
We know this is not a sports team but it is what Toronto is known for among hockey fans, young and old. The greatest part is that the holy grail for hockey fans, the Stanley Cup, lives here!
Even if you are not a hockey fan, you will gain a whole new appreciation for the sport after seeing the best parts of hockey history displayed in one awe-inspiring place.
One of the fun facts about Canada is that besides hockey, lacrosse is actually the other official national sport. You can see Canadians are a rather sporty bunch.
Food Toronto Is Known For
This Canadian staple originally hails from the neighboring province of Quebec but there are a few places in Toronto that have perfected this dish.
While you might just think there’s nothing that special about french fries and cheese curds covered in gravy, you’re wrong. This mouth-watering delight that has not only made Toronto famous, but the entire country of Canada will delight your taste buds and win over your heart.
This interesting fusion creation will satisfy sushi and pizza lovers alike.
Sushi pizza was brought to Nami Restaurant in 1993 and has been a staple in locals’ diet ever since. It consists of a fried rice patty crust and comes served looking like a piece of art, with mayonnaise and wasabi drizzled over rice, salmon, avocado, crab and tuna.
With the type of diversity that Toronto boasts, even Anthony Bourdain recognized that Toronto is known for being a top city when it comes to different culinary delights. From street meat to fine dining, the world is your oyster.
With so many culturally rich neighborhoods and restaurants showcasing food and cultures from around the world, you will always be able to find a delicious meal in Toronto.
Famous People From Toronto
If you didn’t realize it from his many lyrics that reference Toronto or notice his 416 tattoo, which is the city’s area code, this is your confirmation that the rapper’s hometown is indeed Toronto.
Drake is Toronto made and extremely proud of his roots which include coming from a very musical family. His dad played the drums for Jerry Lee Lewis and he also had an uncle who played the bass for Prince.
Drake got his start in show business as an actor on Degrassi: The Next Generation before breaking into the music scene. He has since reached worldwide levels of stardom but has always remembered where he came from.
Funnyman Jim Carrey was one of the top actors in Hollywood, dominating movie screens everywhere in the 90s.
With the levels of success he achieved, you would never think his family was homeless for a while and he was living in a tent on the shores of Lake Ontario. Although his family did not have the money to support Carrey’s dreams, he never let that stop him.
He started doing stand-up at the age of 15 when he performed at a Yuk Yuk’s comedy club and completely bombed his performance.
Two years later, after polishing his act, he faced his fears by going back to Yuk Yuk’s and he was a hit. He went from doing open-mic nights to regular shows and catapulted into stardom just a few short years later.
His superstar status put Toronto on the radar for many of his fans who had never heard of it before.
Canadian legend Margaret Atwood is famous for writing The Handmaid’s Tale. This book turned tv series is a dystopian novel set in the future where women are stripped of their civil rights.
Atwood is recognized as an outstanding feminist to women around the world because of her written work that encompasses everything from gender, identity, religion, climate change and power politics.
Her first book was published in the 1960s and her reputation has grown ever since. She has taught numerous courses, received many literary awards, and even invented the LongPen device. What a cool lady, eh?
Discovering More Things Toronto is Known For
Toronto is famous for a vast number of attractions and this list barely scratches the surface of everything this vibrant city has to offer.
If you are considering a trip to Toronto in the future, it is guaranteed you will be able to plan to perfect trip centered around what you love. Whether you’re looking to sightsee, hit up a festival, taste different cuisines, or catch a sports game, you will be able to do it in T-Dot.