Toronto is not only Canada’s largest city; it is also North America’s fourth largest. Home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people, it is a thriving hub for business, finance, arts and culture. One of the world’s most livable cities, Toronto boasts of North America’s third largest public transit system after New York City and Mexico City. Recognized as one of the most multicultural cities in the world, it is home to Chinese, Italian, Indian, Portuguese and numerous more ethnicities. Exploring Toronto fully can take a long time, given the endless attractions on offer. Ride a carousel in an amusement park, stroll along the cobble beaches along waterfront to soak up lakeside views, or visit galleries, museums and landmarks to get a taste of Toronto’s history. It is impossible to resist the temptation of visiting the looming tall CN Tower, as it is to overcome the urge to set foot in the palatial Casa Loma. This city also abounds in parks and trails to savour quiet reflection or capture scenic landscapes in photos. Needless to say, shopping experience in Toronto is unparalleled, whether you are looking for clothes, shoes, souvenirs or make-up in the upscale Eaton Centre mall in downtown Toronto, or aiming for a personalized jewelry piece from a designer boutique. If you get tired of the human race, head over to Toronto Zoo to say hello to their adorable Pandas, or visit the aquarium to marvel over sharks and jelly fishes. The multicultural cuisine of Toronto is also a reflection of its stimulating diversity. Whether you dig authentic Chinese or Vietnamese food, or prefer the Indian-style curries, your choices are mind-boggling. Street food of hot dogs, sausages, French fries and kebabs is also very popular among locals and visitors. The biggest prize, however, is Toronto’s proximity to the legendary Niagara Falls. Nothing can be better than getting up close to the mystic falls in Maid of the Mist, a boat cruise that carries passengers into the rapids immediately below the falls. Many have described this experience as being life-changing and spiritual. Toronto is a unique blend of natural and man-made beauty. The financial district is a jungle of high-rise towers, straight out of sci-fi movies, yet not too far away, you can take a ferry to spend time at Toronto Islands that offers not only vast green open spaces for family picnics and excursions, but plenty of fun activities for children. Okay, so you want to dwell over the chilly, bone-cracking winters here! But hey, Toronto never sleeps, not even during the coldest of the cold snaps. It may be below freezing temperatures on New Year’s Eve, yet throngs of people come out to celebrate and count down to the New Year in open-air live shows at Nathan Philip Square outside Toronto’s architectural jewel of the new City Hall. With so much to do and discover in this exciting city, it’s hard to find a single dull moment.
Vinita Kinra is a Toronto-based author, editor, speaker and activist, best known for her short story collection, Pavitra in Paris, launched to critical acclaim in 2013. She is also a contributor for India’s largest English daily, The Times of India.