Toronto is the largest city in Canada by population, and it is the capital of the province of Ontario. Toronto is a large, diverse and beautiful city that is the center of Canadian business, finance, art and culture. It’s really a world city with hundreds of different ethnicity calling the city home and along with its multiculturalism, it is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Toronto is very much a city representing Canada’s history with it’s past still evident and can be taken in while you’re visiting. So if you’re visiting Toronto, check out these famous buildings around the city.
1.1 CN Tower
The CN is probably one of the most iconic symbols of Toronto and maybe even in all of Canada. The “CN” stands for “Canadian National”, the railway that built the tower on what used to be railway lands. The tower was completed in 1976 and it currently stands at 553 meters tall (1815 feet) and it held the record for the world’s tallest free-standing structure until the Burj Khalifa overtook that record in 2007. It attracts more than 2 million visitors annually and is one of the seven wonders of the world.
2.2 Massey Hall
Massey Hall is one of Canada’s most legendary performing arts centres and is a National Historic Site. The building is located downtown and it was originally designed to be a hall for people to enjoy music and shows of a non-religious variety. Massey built the hall for his son Charles who loved music and as such, wanted the poor and rich alike to be able to enjoy the venue making tickets as affordable as $1 when it opened in 1894.
3. 3. Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum (or ROM for short) is one of the largest museums in North America and the largest in Canada. It brings in a million guests a year to its doors, and their large selection of art, world culture and natural history makes it the most visited museum in the country. There are more than 6 million items on display from dinosaurs and minerals to African art and Canadian history.
4. 4. Casa Loma
Casa Loma is a gothic-style castle built on a hill. The mansion was originally built for wealthy financier Sir Henry Pellat but it is now a historic house museum and a Toronto landmark. The home was built between 1911 and 1914 and the home’s uniqueness has since led it to be seen in several works of television and movies like X-Men, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The Pacifier. During the 1920s, the home served as a hotel for wealthy Americans looking to drink legally, and during WWII, the stables were used as an area for the production and development of sonar.
5.5. Toronto City Hall
Toronto City Hall is one of the city’s most distinctive landmarks and is obviously the seat of the local government. The building opened in 1965 and was built around the area that was the former Chinatown space. Toronto City Hall hosts several events each year such as new year celebration and festival of lights celebration. It is also a popular filming location for TV and movies including Resident Evil: Apocalypse and the Handmaid’s Tale. Also interestingly enough the Devon Corporation’s headquarters from Pokemon bears an uncanny resemblance to Toronto City Hall.
6.6. Union Station
Union Station is not only the largest train station in the city but it is also a cultural landmark. The station is listed as a National Historic Site since 1975 and it serves up to 250,000 passengers a day. The station is also connected to the streetcar system in Toronto and serves as a passage point between Toronto Pearson International Airport making it a central area for getting around the city.
7.7. Commerce Court
Commerce Court is one of four office building complexes located in Toronto’s financial district. It is home to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and the first of the four buildings was built in 1931. The 34-storey limestone structure of the first building was the tallest in the Commonwealth until the 1960s and it was considered pretty opulent for the time. Since then, three other buildings were added to Commerce Court solidifying its place in Toronto’s skyline.
8.8. Art Gallery of Ontario
The Art Gallery of Ontario is a great way to spend an afternoon looking at some amazing works of art from Canada and around the world. The Art Gallery of Ontario has around 95,000 works of art from all around the world spanning from the 1st century to modern day masterpieces. The gallery measures around 45,000 sq meters (480,000 sq feet), making it one of the largest by land mass, in North America. The art gallery was founded in 1900 and it currently has an artist in residence program showcasing talent from all kinds of art mediums.
9.9. Cathedral Church of St. James
Cathedral Church of St. James is home to the oldest congregation in the city. The parish was established in 1797 with the construction of the cathedral as we know it today, being built in 1850. The Cathedral Church of St. James is located in downtown Toronto and it is built in gothic-revival style architecture. The cathedral was used as a hospital during the war of 1812 until it was robbed and destroyed American troops and in 1849 much of it was destroyed in the Great Toronto Fire.
10.10. Roy Thomson Hall
Roy Thomson Hall is located downtown in the entertainment district and it is the home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. With an odd circular design, Roy Thomson Hall certainly stands out as an interesting piece of architecture. The name was originally going to be the “New Massey Hall” until it received funding from Roy Thompson to complete it’s building, thus the building bears his name. The hall is one of the main venues for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and was also the venue for a state funeral for Canadian politician Jack Layton in 2011.
By Alex Giatrakas