Toronto today has become an alluring urban center catering to anyone looking for their preferred form of entertainment. Here are some must see neighbourhoods during your stay in Toronto.
The city’s top spot is The Toronto Entertainment District, or as it is commonly called, The District, located within an eight square blocks area in the heart of downtown. It offers some of Toronto’s best theatres, bars, and nightspots and, as well, The District encompasses many gourmet restaurants, fine shopping, sporting facilities, theatres, movies, and a number of other attractions.
Yorkville is known for designer shopping, the best upscale restaurants in the city, and plenty of celebrity sightings. Here you will find Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Escada, Gucci, and plenty of other designers to add to your wardrobe collection. With designer, shopping comes designer cuisine. Some of the best chefs in the city have gathered in this neighbourhood in an effort to attract hungry shoppers during dinner hour. If shopping has tired you out, be sure to visit one of the many luxury spas that are sure to please those who need some pampering.
Toronto is the third-largest theatre center in the English-speaking world, thanks to a number of famous shows that have passed through the city over the last 20 years.
Here is a list of major Toronto theatre venues:
- The Princess of Wales Theatre
- 300 King St W, Toronto Ontario Canada, (800) 461-3333
- This 2000-seat theatre is located in the heart of the theatre district in Toronto
- The Royal Alexandra Theatre
- 260 King St W, Toronto Ontario Canada, (800) 461-3333
- Opened in 1907, the Royal Alex has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and has been extensively modernized since then. The building underwent more work in the summer of 2006 and is located just down the street from the Princess of Wales Theatre.
- The Canon Theatre
- 244 Victoria St, Toronto Ontario Canada, (800) 461-3333
- Formerly known as The Pantages, this Toronto theatre opened in 1920 and hosted The Phantom of the Opera for a number of years.
- Winter Garden Theatre
- 189 Yonge Street, Toronto Ontario, Canada (416) 314-2901
- Built-in 1913 near the bottom of Yonge Street, the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre holds 1,561 people and the upper-level Winter Garden holds 992.
- Famous People Players Dinner Theatre
- 110 Sudbury St, Toronto Ontario Canada, tel. (416) 532-1137
- Opened in 1974 and located west of the main downtown area of Toronto, this dinner theatre offers a black light show with puppets and actors with colourful costumes performing on stage.
- Four Seasons Centre For The Performing Arts
- 145 Queen Street West, Toronto Ontario, Canada (416) 363-6671
- Opened in 2006, this beautiful new building is the new home of the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada.
- Hummingbird Centre
- < 1 Front Street East, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (416) 393-7469
- The Hummingbird Centre has hosted many major performers over the years and both the National Ballet of Canada and Canadian Opera Company called it home at one time.
- Roy Thomson Hall
- 60 Simcoe St, Toronto Ontario Canada, (416) 872-4255
- Built to replace the legendary Massey Hall, this theatre opened in 1982 and seats 2,812. I’ve seen several live concerts here and the acoustics are fantastic.
Festivals and Special Events
Toronto is very multicultural and ethnically diverse, which makes for some very special events and festivals that attract tourists from all over the world. Here are some events you may be interested in:
Toronto Winter Festival
Late January to early February. Residents and tourists ignored the cold and snow to get out and celebrate all that Toronto has to offer in the winter. The city was bursting with culinary experiences, fantastic free entertainment at Nathan Phillips Square, and a showcase of Toronto’s vibrant arts scene.
Toronto Jazz Festival
Late June. For the past 20 years, Toronto Downtown Jazz has produced the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival. Over the years has come to be recognized as one of North America’s premier jazz festival producers, while the organization itself has been used by other arts organizations and festivals as a model for community involvement, artistic excellence, and outstanding production standards.
Toronto Film Festival
Early September. Join the thousands of locals as they seek out celebrity spottings and tickets to major movie events. The Toronto Film Festival draws fans from all over the world and has become well respected by actors, fans, and producers alike.
Early August. Every summer, Toronto blazes with the excitement of calypso, steel pan, and elaborate masquerade costumes during the annual Toronto Caribbean Carnival (Caribana) Festival.
Early October. Nuit Blanche was originally conceived in Paris, France in 2002, in an attempt to bring contemporary art to the masses in public spaces. Now universally translated as “Sleepless Night”, Nuit Blanche brings more than a million people to the streets of Paris every year. In 2005, Paris organizers contacted the City of Toronto’s Special Events office with an invitation to join the ranks of approximately six other European cities producing similar all-night events.
Toronto was the first North American city to fully replicate the Paris model and has inspired similar celebrations throughout North America, including San Francisco, New York, Miami, and Chicago.