Toronto area, Canada
Travel to Toronto, Canada: Vacations and Travel Info
Toronto is the synonym of diversity and greatness. It is, without a doubt, one of the most fascinating cities in the Americas, where people from every corner of the world converge. On any given day, you can probably run into a child from Brazil, a grandmother from New Caledonia, a German business person or an Iranian housewife. It is the largest metropolitan area in Canada and one of the largest in terms of square mileage occupied, home to an intense multi-cultural diversity.
City of World Records
An impressively cosmopolitan city, Toronto is always pushing to break world records. It is one of the ten cities in the world with the most skyscrapers. For years, it was home to the tallest building on Earth (the CN Tower which measures 553 meters tall) as well as the longest street in the world (Yonge Street which measures 1.896 kilometers and is the backbone of the city). The Rogers Center is one of the stadiums with the biggest retractable roof in the world and the second largest TV screen (the largest belongs to the new stadium of the Dallas Cowboys).
Wander down Queen Street, the street with most number of bars in the world. The largest commercial area in the world is called PATH (or "Underground"), an underground corridor system, which, for its size, also breaks records. There is also the second largest film festival, also held in this city. What other reason do you need to come and visit this wonderful city?
A Brief History of a Multicultural City
French explorers were the first to venture out into these lands inhabited by the Algonquins, over 250 years ago. They had founded a small village called Fort Rouille, which was later abandoned ten years later. During the U.S. War of Independence, the area was home to a number of British sympathizers.The area was named York and thanks to its location, the community quickly became an important British naval base.
After the War of 1812, the Americans laid siege to the area, which was pillaged and burnt to the ground. The city was named Toronto by the locals of the area, who used the same name even before the European explorers came.
Due to its location, the city grew rapidly and became an important destination for all immigrants that arrived to Canada. It's been converted twice into the capital of the Province of Canada.
The Growth of a Metropolis
The 19th century was an era of growth, when sewage systems and street lighting revolutionized urban planning. Railway tracks and a port were built and brought about a major economic boom, turning the city into a center with a lot of potential for the future. In 1891, an electric railcar system was installed and changed the way life was lived for everyone. Now, the city has one of the best transportation systems in the world, called the TTC, with metro, bus and train lines that cover most of the streets and avenues of this great city.
For a long time, Toronto was always behind Montreal in the number of inhabitants and economic potential. It was after World War II that an immense wave of immigrants arrived. Germans, Italians and Jews were some of the first to arrive, shortly followed by Russians, Poles and Chinese people, as well as an influx from Eastern Europe. This new wave of settlers brought a strong work force that made Toronto one of the most important cities of Canada, for both commerce and culture. The latter half of the 20th century brought growth and fame, resulting in one of the most important cities of the planet.
Toronto is one of the top economic giants of the country. Its population (which covers the metropolitan area) is about 6 million inhabitants. The Greater Toronto area is made up of Toronto, Missisauga, Scarborough, York, Etobicoke, Peel, Halton and Durham. The financial center (also known as the downtown area) of Toronto is made up of skyscrapers. As an economic leader, Toronto holds one of the top spots as one of the cities with the best GDP in the world.
The growth of this city is phenomenal. It comes right behind New York as the second city in the world to have the most number of buildings that are 90 meters or taller, with over 1,600 buildings that easily pass this height. Public transportation in the city is excellent and the urban design of the city speaks of its preparedness culture and ready for all challenges that growth implies.
Architecture in Toronto
Even though there isn't a predominant architectural style in the city, given the fact that there are a mix of tendencies, materials, eras and intentions, the contemporary style is frequently seen due to the fact that this is a hyper modern city with a number of skyscrapers. Toronto has traditionally been a peripheral city in the architectural world, embracing the styles and ideas developed in Europe and the United States with only limited local variation. There are also a number of different architectural styles from the 18th and 19th centuries, with an emphasis in Neo-Gothic, Victorian, Art Deco and Modernist. Many of the world's most prominent architects have done work in Toronto.
Casa Loma is a large mansion that looks like a castle and is a sight you cannot miss out on, it is a museum and landmark in uptown Toronto, constructed as a neo-romantic castle. The University of Toronto is another great architectural point of interest, made up of a complex of buildings, installations and parks that create a visually pleasing effect, combining different eras and styles. Built up over almost two centuries the university's buildings cover a wide range of styles. The marvelous green areas like High Park, Allan Gardens, the Beaches and the Toronto Islands, also constitute to the attractions of the city.
The landmarks of this city are the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, the Art Gallery of Toronto, the Royal Ontario Museum, Gardiner Gallery, First Canadian Place, Scotia Tower and a number of other architectural works of art. During the day, the city is a beauty to behold, especially in the summer. During the night, however, the illumination of its skyscrapers and buildings make the view a necessary part of your visit to Toronto.
Toronto International Film Festival
To not mention the Toronto International Film Festival is like talking about Cannes without mentioning that festival that makes that particular city so famous. Inaugurated in 1976, this is one of the most important film festivals in the world and during the ten days of this festival, between 300 to 400 movies from all over the world are shown. There are different categories of exhibition and competition. Every year, there is a country that is chosen as the special guest of the festival. The country in question normally presents a representative selection of the best examples of film from that particular country.
Thousands of celebrities come year after year to this prominent festival. Culturally speaking, it is a very important festival for all the international movies that are shown. In the month of September, if you have a passion for film, show business, red carpets, parties and glamour, set aside some time and don't miss out on this incredible festival!
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