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Toronto

Updated: July 10, 2012 04:40 PM EDT
Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square skating rink. (©iStockphoto.com/Arpad Benedek) Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square skating rink. (©iStockphoto.com/Arpad Benedek)
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By Pamela Cuthbert

Toronto, Canada's largest city, is easy to like. An orderly metropolis of 5.7 million, it's a good place for shopping, dining, kicking back, and exploring attractions such as the CN Tower, Toronto Islands, AGO, and ROM. People here are friendly, and it's the influence of the city's 200-plus ethnicities that together make Toronto vibrant. And it all happens in the heart of the city, which means it's possible to drop in for a few days and "do the town" without running yourself ragged.

Things to Do

Hop on a Red Rocket, the city's streetcars, and tour West Queen West's galleries, restaurants, and boutiques, or take a stroll through the historic Distillery District and then venture to pretty Sugar Beach for a taste of the East End. Hop on a ferry, and in just minutes it takes you to the giant park that is the Toronto Islands, or catch a thrilling show at the Air Canada Centre. Or you can reach for the sky and ride to the top of the CN Tower, one of the world's tallest freestanding structures.

Relaxation

An abundance of parks grace the city's core. The Toronto Islands, a short ferry ride across the city's harbor, are car-free and perfect for cycling, rollerblading, or simply strolling. And the views back to the city are stunning. Green spaces such as Trinity Bellwoods and Queen's Park are ideal for picnics and afternoon idylls. On the east end of town, the Beach residential neighborhood, along with Kew Gardens and the boardwalk, are good for a lazy afternoon lakeside.

Restaurants & Dining

Locals have a hunger for local fare from the surrounding region's agricultural riches and wines from Niagara's wine country. If you'd like a taste of Toronto terroir, any number of restaurants, new or established, will satisfy your appetite. And this celebration of Ontario's bounty equally inspires all cuisines and cultures, from Canadiana to Italian, Indian to fusion, burgers to bistros at restaurants such as Woodlot, Canoe, Porchetta, Aravind, Allen's, TOCA... the list goes on.

Nightlife & Entertainment

Toronto, like most major cities, brings in big-ticket touring musicals and other blockbuster shows. However, the city's independent troupes, such as the brilliant Soulpepper, the venerable Canadian Stage, and the Factory Theatre, mount consistently well-received productions. Additionally, the Shaw Festival or Stratford Theatre Festival offer fine performing arts, plus a pretty road trip.

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