Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario, about 1.5 hours’ drive from Niagara Falls. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. With 2.6 million residents as at 2011, it is the 5th most populous city in North America. 49% of the population in Toronto were born outside Canada! Wow! No wonder it is one of the world’s most diverse cities.
Our first stop at Toronto was the Rogers Centre and CN Tower (Canadian National Tower), where the former is a multi-purpose stadium and the latter a 553.33m high concrete communications and observation tower. CN Towers was officially opened in 1976 and was the tallest tower in the world for 34 years till 2010. In addition, in 1995, it was classified as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It shares this designation with the Itaipu Dam on the Brazil/Paraguay border, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Panama Canal, the Chunnel under the English Channel, the North Sea Protection Works off the European coast, and the Empire State Building.
The observation deck, called the Lookout Level, is at a height of 346m (can’t remember which level it is at) and we reached this level within 58 seconds from the ground level! We could look down the elevator while travelling up as it is glass floor, looks a bit scary to me hehe. 1 level down the Lookout Level, there is the Outdoor SkyTerrace where one can feel the breeze at 342m above ground as well as experience the Glass Floor with a view straight down. I could feel my heart beating faster as I tried to step on the 256 square feet of solid glass floor. Though it is 5 times stronger than the required weight bearing standard for commercial floors and can withstand the weight of 14 large hippos, I was still afraid of heights. 😛
We were done at the CN Tower after 45 min and proceeded to the City Hall – the home of the city’s municipal government and one of its most distinctive landmarks. The current location of the City Hall and civic square used to be the old Chinatown of Toronto.
Next on the itinerary was the Queen’s Park, named in honour of Queen Victoria, and University of Toronto, the first institution of higher learning in Southern Ontario.
The University of Toronto was bustling with people, probably because there was convocation for graduates? We spotted a Convocation Plaza that was setup in the field too. It seemed to me that many of its graduates are from Asia as we could see several Asian faces. From the university compounds we could also see CN Tower quite clearly.
Last on the itinerary for this city tour before dinner was to Toronto’s Chinatown, along Dundas Street West and Spadina Avenue, one of the largest Chinatown in North America. The present Chinatown was formerly a Jewish district. With the influx of Chinese immigration during the 1960s, Chinese businesses expanded in this area.
Most of the shops were run by immigrants from China and Hong Kong, but we did see some other Asians like Koreans, Vietnamese etc. We also noticed a handful of bubble tea shops, but the prices were like that of Starbucks Coffee here! :O
Soon it was time to say bye-bye to the city after a quick afternoon tour. The impression Toronto gave me was it is a bustling cosmopolitan city with a lot of people (though not as many as in New York City). No wow factor like the Niagara Falls or Pennsylvania countryside. 🙂