Toronto Travel Guide

Culture

Toronto theatre and performing arts scene has more than fifty ballet and dance companies, six opera companies, two symphony orchestras and a host of theatres. The city is home to the National Ballet of Canada, the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, and the Canadian Stage Company. Notable performance venues include the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Roy Thomson Hall, the Princess of Wales Theatre, the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Massey Hall, the Toronto Centre for the Arts, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres and the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts (originally the "O'Keefe Centre" and formerly the "Hummingbird Centre").

Ontario Place features the world's first permanent IMAX movie theatre, the Cinesphere, as well as the Molson Amphitheatre, an open-air venue for music concerts. In spring 2012, Ontario Place closed after a decrease in attendance over the years. Although the Molson Amphitheatre and harbour still operate, the park and Cinesphere are no longer in use.

Each summer, the Canadian Stage Company presents an outdoor Shakespeare production in Toronto's High Park called "Dream in High Park". Canada's Walk of Fame acknowledges the achievements of successful Canadians, with a series of stars on designated blocks of sidewalks along King Street and Simcoe Street.

The production of domestic and foreign film and television is a major local industry. Toronto as of 2011 ranks as the third largest production centre for film and television after Los Angeles and New York City, sharing the nickname "Hollywood North" with Vancouver. The Toronto International Film Festival is an annual event celebrating the international film industry. Another prestigious film festival is the Toronto Student Film Festival, that screens the works of students ages 12–18 from many different countries across the globe.

Toronto's Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival (also known as Caribana) takes place from mid-July to early August of every summer. Primarily based on the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, the first Caribana took place in 1967 when the city's Caribbean community celebrated Canada's Centennial. More than forty years later, it has grown to attract one million people to Toronto's Lake Shore Boulevard annually. Tourism for the festival is in the hundred thousands, and each year, the event generates over $400 million in revenue into Ontario's economy.

One of the largest events in the city, Pride Week takes place in late June, and is one of the largest LGBT festivals in the world.

Tourism

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is a museum of world culture and natural history. The Toronto Zoo, is home to over 5,000 animals representing over 460 distinct species. The Art Gallery of Ontario contains a large collection of Canadian, European, African and contemporary artwork, and also plays host to exhibits from museums and galleries all over the world. The Gardiner Museum of ceramic art is the only museum in Canada entirely devoted to ceramics, and the Museum's collection contains more than 2,900 ceramic works from Asia, the Americas, and Europe. The city also hosts the Ontario Science Centre, the Bata Shoe Museum, and Textile Museum of Canada. Other prominent art galleries and museums include Design Exchange, Museum of Inuit Art, TIFF Bell Lightbox, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Institute for Contemporary Culture, Toronto Sculpture Garden, CBC Museum, Redpath Sugar Museum, University of Toronto Art Centre, Hart House, TD Gallery of Inuit Art and the future Aga Khan Museum. The city also runs its own museums, which includes the Spadina House.

The Don Valley Brick Works is a former industrial site, which opened in 1889, and was partly restored as a park and heritage site in 1996, with further restoration and reuse being completed in stages since then. The Canadian National Exhibition is held annually at Exhibition Place, and it is the oldest annual fair in the world. The ex has an average attendance of 1.25 million.

City shopping area's include the Yorkville neighbourhood, Queen West, Harbourfront, the Entertainment District, the Financial District, and the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood. The Eaton Centre is Toronto's most popular tourist attraction with over 52 million visitors annually.

Greektown on the Danforth is home to the annual "Taste of the Danforth" festival which attracts over one million people in 2½ days. Toronto is also home to Casa Loma, the former estate of Sir Henry Pellatt, a prominent Toronto financier, industrialist and military man. Other notable neighbourhoods and attractions include The Beaches, the Toronto Islands, Kensington Market, Fort York, and the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Sports

Toronto is represented in seven major league sports, with teams in the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, Canadian Football League, Major League Soccer, Canadian Women's Hockey League and W-League. The National Football League's Buffalo Bills also play select home games in the city. The city's major sports venues include the Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome), Ricoh Coliseum, and BMO Field. In 2011, Toronto was rated the worst sports city in North America by ESPN, due to years of underperformance of the city's professional teams.

Toronto is home to the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the National Hockey League's Original Six clubs, and has also served as home to the Hockey Hall of Fame since 1958. The city had a rich history of hockey championships. Along with the Maple Leafs' 13 Stanley Cup titles the Toronto Marlboros and St. Michael's College School-based Ontario Hockey League teams combined have won a record 12 Memorial Cup titles. The Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League also play in Toronto at Ricoh Coliseum and are the farm team for the Maple Leafs.

The Toronto Raptors entered the National Basketball Association in 1995, and have since earned five playoff spots in 15 seasons. The Raptors won the Atlantic Division title in the 2006–07 NBA season, led by former star player Chris Bosh. The Raptors are the only NBA team with their own television channel, NBA TV Canada. They and the Maple Leafs play their home games at the Air Canada Centre.

The Toronto Rock are the city's National Lacrosse League team. They won five Champion's Cup titles in seven years in the late 1990s and early first decade of the 21st century, appearing in an NLL record five straight championship games from 1999 to 2003, and are currently first all-time in the number of Champion's Cups won. The Rock share the Air Canada Centre with the Maple Leafs and the Raptors.

The city is represented in the Canadian Football League by the Toronto Argonauts, who have won 16 Grey Cup titles. Toronto played host to the 95th Grey Cup in 2007, the first held in the city since 1992. Later in 2012, while hosting the 100th Grey Cup but also participants, they won the game to the delight of the home fans. In addition, the city has hosted several National Football League exhibition games; Ted Rogers leased the Buffalo Bills from Ralph Wilson for the purposes of having the Bills play eight home games in the city between 2008 and 2012. The city is also home to Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays, who have won two World Series (1992 and 1993) titles. Both the Argonauts and Blue Jays (as well as the Bills when they are in town) play their home games at the Rogers Centre, in the downtown core.

Toronto was home to the International Bowl, an NCAA sanctioned post-season football game that pitted a Mid-American Conference team against a Big East Conference team. From 2007 to 2010, the game was played at Rogers Centre annually in January.

Toronto, along with Montreal, hosts an annual Tennis Tournament called the Rogers Cup between the months of July and August. In odd-numbered years, the men's tournament is held in Montreal, while the women's tournament is held in Toronto, and vice-versa in even-numbered years.

Besides team sports, the city annually hosted Champ Car's Molson Indy Toronto at Exhibition Place from 1986 to 2007. The race was revived in 2009 as the Honda Indy Toronto, part of the IndyCar Series schedule. Both thoroughbred and standardbred horse racing events are conducted at Woodbine Racetrack in Rexdale.

Historic sports clubs of Toronto include the Granite Club (established in 1836), the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (established in 1852), the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club (established in pre-1827), the Argonaut Rowing Club (established in 1872), the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club (established in 1881), and the Badminton and Racquet Club (established in 1924).

Toronto was a candidate city for the 1996 and 2008 Summer Olympics, which were awarded to Atlanta and Beijing respectively. The Canadian Olympic Committee was considering a Toronto bid for the 2020 Games, however, in August 2011 it was announced that Toronto would not bid for the 2020 games. It has been suggested that Toronto may bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Toronto will be hosting the 2015 Pan American Games in July 2015, and the 2015 Parapan American Games in August 2015. It contested against the cities of Lima, Peru and Bogotá, Colombia.

Media

Toronto is Canada's largest media market, and has four conventional dailies, two alt-weeklies, and three free commuter papers in a greater metropolitan area of about 6 million inhabitants. The Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun are the prominent daily city newspapers, while national dailies, The Globe and Mail and the National Post are also headquartered in the city. Metro, 24 Hours and t.o.night are distributed as free commuter newspapers. The city's two most prominent general-interest weeklies are Now and The Grid.

Toronto contains the headquarters of the major English-language Canadian television networks CBC, CTV, City, Global, The Sports Network (TSN) and Sportsnet. MuchMusic, MuchMore and MTV Canada are the main music television channels based in the city, though they no longer primarily show music videos as a result of channel drift.

source: Wikipedia

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