I am really fortunate to have travelled to Toronto three times now, and all throughwork! They really have an amazing love of music and the arts. I think it comes from being such a diverse city. Like London, the city attracts people from hundreds of cultures and nationalities and so Toronto is buzzing with a variety of foods, music venues, art galleries and areas of the city dedicated to the many nationalities who have migrated there over the years.
This time, my colleagues and I were in Canada for a few weeks and even managed to get a week off at the end of our busy schedule to travel around a bit and we saw and experienced some amazing things, which I will share with you all in the future. We were also lucky enough to be working with a few local musicians, so we had so many tips and recommendations along the way! We were mostly based in Toronto and came back to the city a few times and I was really excited to get out into the city with my camera on our days off.
Here are my top ten photos from Toronto.
1) The CN Tower
Like the Empire State Building in New York City, the CN Tower dominates the skyline in Toronto, you can see it from pretty much anywhere in the city. 'CN' stands for Canadian National, the railway company that funded the build of this iconic building, and the structure was built on an area that was known as 'Railway Lands', which used to be a railway switching area. The building was completed in 1976 and held the accolade of being the world's tallest free standing structure and the world's tallest tower at the time. Today, it is the world's 3rd tallest free standing structure and the tallest tower in the western hemisphere.
If you visit the CN Tower, you can enjoy a glass fronted and glass bottomed elevator ride up 1136ft into the air in just 58 seconds. Once you're at the top, not only are the views across the city astounding, but you can test your nerve on the glass floor... it takes some courage! Go up another level to enjoy 360 degree views and if you're really feeling brave and the glass floor just wasn't enough excitement for you, try the EdgeWalk! Attracting thousands of people every year, the EdgeWalk is the world's highest full-circle, hands-free walk!
2) Union Station
Not many stations have a backdrop like the CN Tower! Opened in 1927, the building was designed by Montréal architects Ross and MacDonald and is in the Beaux-Art style. The Great Hall is fairly reminiscent of Grand Central Station in New York but with a Canadia twist. If you look up once you're inside, stone panels circle the top of the walls sporting the names of various cities in Canada and the flags of the different provinces and territories fly proudly above you.
3) Canadian National and the Steamwhistle Brewery
What more could you need after an exhilarating walk on a glass floor over a thousand feet in the sky, than a good old glass of locally brewed beer!? As the CN Tower was built on Railway Lands, at the bottom of the tower you are treated to some old fashioned steam trains as you walk from the tower to the popular Steamwhistle brewery which you can just see on the right hand side. I love the contrast of old and new in this photo, something that Canada as a whole has got plenty of!
4) Front Street
Here's another great example of mixing the old with the new! But not just that, you would be hard pushed to know where you were looking at this view! In the background you have the skyscrapers of the financial district, on the right a quirky building that could be mistaken for an Easy Village apartment block and appears to be a much much smaller version of Manhattan's Flatiron building. Then, to confuse you even more, we have an old fashioned red bus in the foreground, a stark reminder of Canada's association with Great Britain! Front Street runs along downtown Toronto not far from the water and is home to Union Station and the St Lawrence Market. We were walking between the two as I took this photo. PS. The St Lawrence Market is home to the best peameal bacon sandwiches in the world, ever!
5) Toronto Harbour
There really were hundreds of photos of the harbour and waterfront that I could have shared but I liked this one as it demonstrates just how important the water is in Toronto. It is not just about the city, Toronto is host to the many islands surrounding the bustling city where you can find respite and natural beauty in your surroundings. There are ferries that can take you to some of the islands, but they are often crowded and we saw horrendous weekend queues. Tiki Taxis charge $10 per adult and $5 per child to take you anywhere you want to go by water. It's an expensive way to do it by comparison, but look at what you get to ride in!
6)The Financial District
Just like New York, the financial district is home to many very tall, very shiny and very corporate looking buildings. We did a walking tour that took us through the financial district from Union Station to Nathan Phillips Square and we saw the insides of some of these amazing structures and Toronto's underground city, built for pedestrians to use during the snowy winters, which was fascinating. The building in the centre of this photo is the Royal Bank Plaza. All of the glass panels in this building are coloured with a total of 71,000g of gold. It was said that companies using the surrounding buildings are suing the Royal Bank Plaza as the light bounces off the glass planes, reflecting into these nearby buildings, who have since had to purchase window blinds and pay for more air conditioning since the gold structure was built.
7) The Old City Hall
This stunning Romanesque Revival syle peice of architecture has long been a building of great interest and stance in Toronto, even since the build of the New City Hall on the other side of the square. The iconic building was designed by architect Edward James Lennox and buiding was completed in 1899. Lennox was desperate to have his name somewhere on the building but local authorities refused his request. As payback, he had tiles places around the top of the building that spell out his full name if you read around. The local authorities did realise what he had done eventually, but it would have cost too much to remove them, so they are still up there today! The building is currently used as a court house for the Ontario Court of Justice but the lease will be discontinued at the end of 2016. Parts of the building will be leased to retailers and there is talk that it will also become a city museum.
8) Yonge Street
Yonge Street connects the shores of Toronto and Lake Ontarion with Lake Simcoe of the Upper Great Lakes, and has long been named the longest street in the world. Officially it's not! It connects with Ontario's Highway 11 which continues to the Great Lakes, but Yonge Street itself is a mere 86km long! Whatever the case, it is a really interesting road to spend a couple of hours walking on. It takes you from the harbour front, under the Gardiner Expressway, past the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts and the Hockey Hall of Fame, past the temptation of shopping heaven at the Eaton Centre, up to Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto's answer to Times Square. Further north through Downtown Toronto, you can find many reatilers including the old site of the famous flagship store of 'Sam the Record Man', major shopping district 'Yorkville', up to North Toronto and eventually the outskirts of the city. Yonge Street is one of the busiest in Toronto and you're never far from something or someone arty or a little bit crazy!
9) High Park
Which country am I in?? High Park is a little piece of bliss, somewhere to escape the city without leaving the mainland. It's a recreational and nature park, home to sporting and cultural facilities, gardens, playgrounds, restaurants and a zoo! This photo was taken at the Grenadier Pond where many locals go to fish for bass, perch and many other kinds of fish. The pond is named after the Town of York garrison of the 1800s who used to use the pond for fishing. Legend says that British Grenadiers tried to cross the pond during the winter to defend the city, and fell through the ice. The pond is also said to be bottomless!
10) The Toronto Skyline at Night
Taken from the 51st floor of the the Manulife Centre, from the terrace of 'The One-Eighty'. I don't think it's necessary to say anything else, the photo speaks for itself!
The Dalyan exposé will run for 3 weeks in May and will include a lot of exciting articles every day and videos on our YouTube channel with interesting interviews with business owners and those who work in tourism in Turkey. We'll also be tackling safety issues and what terrorism means for Turkey and the beautiful riverside town of Dalyan.