When Metropolitan Toronto amalgamated its six internal cities into one in 1998, it created a new "mega-city" known simply as Toronto, now made up of varied and unique neighbourhoods. Covering more than 600 square kilometres, Toronto stretches some 32 kilometres along the shores of Lake Ontario. The city is laid out on a very straightforward grid pattern and streets rarely deviate from the grid, except in cases where topography interferes such as the indented, curved Don River Valley and to a lesser degree the Humber and Rouge valleys at opposite ends of the city. Some main thoroughfares do intersect the grid at angles. For travel purposes, we have divided Toronto into twelve districts:
The dense urban core of Toronto. It includes many of the city's attractions and hotels.
Yonge-DundasThe heart of downtown Toronto with Yonge St, the Eaton Centre, theatres and City Hall. Entertainment and Financial DistrictsThe entertainment and financial heart of the city, including some the city's most prominent tourist attractions: the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, Union Station and the Hockey Hall of Fame. Kensington-ChinatownDiverse neighbourhoods with lots of little shops, markets and restaurants, and some of the city's best known bars for live music. Includes Queen West and the Fashion District to the south. Yorkville and the AnnexThe boutiques of Yorkville and the museums and student energy of the Annex and University neighbourhoods. HarbourfrontThe Harbourfront area south of Downtown is popular for its parks and recreational activities. Take a stroll through the Toronto Islands, have some family fun at various events at Exhibition Place ("the Ex"; including the Canadian National Exhibition ("the CNE") in August) or take in a soccer game at BMO Field. Downtown EastOlder neighbourhoods between Church St and the Don Valley. Includes Church & Wellesley (Toronto's gay village), Cabbagetown, the St Lawrence Market and the Distillery District.
Outside Central Toronto
These are the older suburbs that ring the downtown followed by an outer ring of post-war suburbs. There are fewer attractions here, but if you have the time, some of the neighbourhoods are well worth visiting.
Midtown(Yonge & Eglinton, Davisville Village, Forest Hill)Upscale neighbourhoods with grand old mansions housing the city's moneyed and elite, beautiful parks and ravines that extend for kilometres. The area around Yonge & Eglinton is in the midst of a rapid transformation into an urban core of its own. West End(Little Italy, West Queen West, Parkdale, Roncesvalles, High Park)Ethnic enclaves, dive bars, and hipsters abound in this rapidly gentrifying part of town. High Park preserves a slice of green space from Humber Bay all the way north to Bloor Street, providing an escape from noisy city life. East End(Greektown, Leslieville and The Beach)The West End's quainter, quieter alternative, with low-key neighbourhoods and nice beaches. This area hosts multiple ethnic and cultural festivals throughout the summer months. The Beach, centred along Queen Street east of Kingston Road, is alive with weekend foot traffic year-round,out to take in the refreshingly small, local businesses, and the lake breezes in the summer. EtobicokeAn economically diverse suburb with some undiscovered gems along Bloor Street and near the lake in Mimico, New Toronto and Long Branch. | North YorkThis district is largely suburban but has something to offer the casual tourist. The centre of this district is more densely urban in makeup as it was originally designed to serve as the downtown of the former City of North York. ScarboroughThe eastern suburb of the city has lots to offer, including the Scarborough Bluffs, Rouge National Urban Park, authentic (and affordable) ethnic cuisine and the Toronto Zoo.