After Six reasons why an international student should visit Quebec City and Seven reasons why an international student should visit Ottawa, it’s time to talk about another important city in this part of Canada, Toronto. According to Wikipedia, Toronto “is the capital city of the province of Ontario and the largest city in Canada by population”, therefore this city is very likely to be on every McGill international student’s to-go list anyway. So, let’s start!
First, apparently there is a rivalry between Toronto and Montreal, both in terms of hockey teams–Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens, respectively–and in broader historical terms. For this reason, after many months in Montreal, I was very curious to visit its big rival. As international students, I think we can look at this rivalry with detachment, visit both cities, and build our personal opinion on which one, if any, is our favourite.
Second, Toronto is on Lake Ontario. Here in Montreal we live on an island in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River, and this is quite unique and pretty awesome in terms of landscapes on the water. However, there is also something particularly beautiful in the Great Lakes, and I found some Toronto views on the lake particularly stunning.
Third, the CN Tower, where CN stands for Canadian National Tower, or Canada’s National Tower. Unlike many other North American famous towers, the CN Tower isn’t a parallelepiped with more than one hundred floors filled with offices and shops, but it’s an antenna-shaped building–which indeed was conceived as an antenna!–with few floors actually accessible. Its view is as amazing as any view you can get from a well-positioned skyscraper. However, there are two things that surprised me. The first one is the large glass floor, where many people can walk and see the landscape under their feet. There is even enough room to sit or lie down for a few seconds. The second one is that apparently the baseball stadium is practically under the CN Tower, and the position is so good that you can almost attend a match from the glass floor.
Fourth, the Nathan Phillips Square, with the Toronto City Hall and the Toronto Old City Hall. And the fountain. And the big Toronto sign. Well, this place is just filled with attractions. It gives me the impression of a city that wants to present itself at its best.
Fifth, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). This museum combines Science, History and Art: No matter what your main interests are, you will find something interesting there.
Sixth, the Art Gallery of Ontario. Simply a must-go, if you are interested in the Fine Arts. Also, the building itself is very interesting from an architectural perspective.
Seventh, the houses. Montreal houses, especially the ones with the colourful outside stairs, are unique and give the city a particular atmosphere. The Toronto houses I’ve seen aren’t as particular, but they are equally nice, and they equally create a pleasant atmosphere.
Eight, the black squirrels. Ok, they aren’t an attraction for tourists, especially not for those who live in Montreal and see squirrels every day. I just thought it was worth noting that while in Montreal there are plenty of grey squirrels, and that at the Macdonald campus in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue you can find also nice chipmunks, Toronto is filled with black squirrels. And black squirrels look nicer than their grey cousins.
Ninth, the proximity to the Niagara Falls. The Niagara Falls aren’t in Toronto, and thus it isn’t completely correct to include them in this list, but… they are so famous worldwide, and they are so marvelous, that I couldn’t miss visiting them while I was in Toronto, and I definitely think that if someone spends a few days in Toronto, it is worth dedicating a day to a trip to the Falls.
These are only nine points, but I am sure that Toronto has a lot more to offer being one of the most important Canadian cities. For example, travel websites suggest to visit the Casa Loma and the Toronto Islands, among the other things, but since I haven’t personally visited them, I decided not to include them in this list. Feel free to share your favourite Toronto attractions in the comments! 🙂