Toronto is a cosmopolitan city with a wealth of culture, a vibrant culinary scene and some of the best theater in North America. There are also plenty of opportunities to experience nature and explore the outdoors, as the city is home to more than 1,600 parks.

Toronto’s rich and diverse cultural heritage is reflected in its buildings, streets and neighborhoods. Its old and new mix in unexpected ways. Metal and glass skyscrapers abut Renaissance Revival beauties, sturdy Victorian churches stand facing large apartment complexes, and older residential structures have been converted into lofts, offices or shopping malls.

The City’s Development

In the mid-nineteenth century, the city expanded from a town of about 50,000 inhabitants to its current size. Its growth was driven by sanitary concerns and to meet growing port trade. A major sewage system was built and streets were illuminated by gas lighting. The construction of long-distance railway lines opened the city to commerce with the North and the West.

The First World War enlarged the city’s investment and manufacturing scope. By 1914 it was the second largest metropolitan area in Canada, behind Montreal.

There are many different national and ethnic communities throughout the city, with a thriving Chinatown and similar enclaves for Vietnamese, Italian, Portuguese, Polish and Greek cultures to name just a few. This diverse mix makes Toronto a truly unique place to visit and enjoy all that it has to offer.

The city’s culture is reflected in its cuisine and art as well as the theater and museums. The Royal Ontario Museum is the largest in Canada and it boasts a number of galleries that focus on world culture. There are a variety of film festivals, as well, including the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.