Toronto is known for more than the CN Tower, Drake, The Weeknd, and Toronto web design companies.
With its vibrant neighborhoods, delectable food, and rich history, Toronto is a cultural hub of North America. Here are 7 reasons why:
1) It is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world
Nearly half of all residents of Toronto are foreign-born, with no dominant culture or nationality, making it one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world. Different traditions, cuisines, music, and culture accompany this ethnic diversity, rendering Toronto a mosaic of cultures.
In Toronto, you can experience both Canada Day and Holi – the Indian festival of colours. You can try authentic Vietnamese pho, as well as uniquely Canadian poutine. Instead of blending all its cultures into one to create a relatively uniform Canadian or Torontonian culture, the city celebrates unity in its diversity.
2) It has a rich history
Toronto dates back to over 12,000 years ago at the end of the Ice Age. Today, it contains many remnants of its rich past, the oldest one being an archaeological site paying homage to the remains of a 17th century Seneca village in the Rouge National Urban Park.
Fort York, the main defense for what was then York, Upper Canada has been converted into a historical museum containing many buildings from the War of 1812, in which Canada had the upper hand over the United States.
Furthermore, Toronto is home to a lot of old architecture. The Old Toronto Post Office, for instance, is a notable example of Greek Revival architecture in Canada. The city also has the largest collection of Victorian-era industrial architecture on the continent.
3) It is home to 240 unique, vibrant neighborhoods
Due to its many distinctive neighbourhoods, Toronto has earned the sobriquet “the city of neighbourhoods.” A favorite neighbourhood of locals and tourists alike is the Kensington Market, which features a diverse range of restaurants and shops.
The Distillery District, which can be entered only by pedestrians, is a historic neighborhood that once housed a large whiskey distillery. The cobblestone streets surrounded by restaurants and bars give the district a charming look.
Other delightful neighborhoods include Little Italy with its classic pizzerias and gelato shops, Rosedale surrounded by beautiful ravines, and Cabbagetown with its old-fashioned Victorian architecture.
4) It is the largest film and television production center in Canada
Not only is Toronto the largest film and TV production center in Canada, but it is also the third-largest in North America.
Several popular television shows have been shot in Toronto, including Degrassi, Orphan Black, and Kim’s Convenience.
In addition, the city hosts the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival – attended annually by almost half a million people – which screens hundreds of films from many countries. Toronto also celebrates the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, which is the largest documentary festival in North America.
5) It has a great theatre and music scene
Toronto has several theatre companies that regularly stage classic works. The Canadian Stage Company, for instance, has put on It’s a Wonderful Life and Frankenstein, while the Soulpepper Theatre Company regularly mounts famous works by Shakespeare and Ibsen.
Prominent theatres in Toronto include the Poor Alex Theatre, Prince of Wales Theatre, Royal Alexandra Theatre, and Harbourfront Centre.
Furthermore, the city houses a number of musical venues such as the Sony Center for Performing Arts, Massey Hall, and Roy Thomson Hall known for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Also, many popular musicians including Drake and The Weeknd originate from Toronto.
6) It features several unique museums and major art galleries
If shoes are your thing, Toronto has the Bata Shoe Museum for you. If you are interested in the different types, colours, and textures of textiles, the Textile Museum of Canada documents the history of textiles from up to 2000 years ago.
Other interesting museums in Toronto include the Hockey Hall of Fame for hockey fans, the Royal Ontario Museum which hosts exhibits of natural history, culture and art, and the Ontario Science Center which provides science-related fun for all ages.
Toronto also pays homage to art through the Art Gallery of Ontario, containing over 90,000 works of art, the Aga Khan Museum which documents Islamic art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto.
7) It is a place of great interest for sports fans
Although hockey is a significant aspect of Torontonian culture, residents of the “Hockey capital” also enjoy many other sports. In fact, many players in the NBA originate from Toronto.
It is not uncommon to see Torontonians dressed in Toronto Maple Leafs, Blue Jays, and Raptors apparel.
Moreover, hockey enthusiasts can visit the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, a museum dedicated to the history of ice hockey, its players, teams, and memorabilia.
Thanks to all that Toronto has to offer, it has the potential to rank among the top cultural hubs in the Western world. From its unique museums to diverse neighborhoods, Toronto embodies culture in many distinct forms. For a culture enthusiast wishing to learn more, a mere day trip to Toronto can serve as an enlightening experience.