Central Toronto includes the downtown district of Toronto and its immediate vicinity.
- Financial District - The downtown core is the economic centre of Canada. Bay Street is the home of the head offices of the "Big Five" Canadian banks, as well as North America's third largest stock exchange, the TSX. While full of powerful hustle during the work week, this area is generally dead at night, though safe, and never totally empty.
- Queen West - This area was once a thriving textile manufacturing area. Now it is mostly made up of major clothing retail shops, such as H&M, Zara and the Gap. There are also several small cafe-bars and many nice restaurants.
- Harbourfront - Along the waterfront from west to east from Bathurst to Yonge. During the summer months, free cultural festivals happen every weekend. Well worth a visit. Future plans for development will bring even more activity.
- Yonge Street - Ample shopping and activity along this heavily visited main district. Main hubs are along Yonge Street at Queen, Dundas, Bloor and Eglinton. The stretch between Bloor and Dundas tends to be rather fun and kitschy, and is known locally as The Yonge Street Strip. Locals are both amused and somewhat horrified by The Yonge St. Strip, as it can be a bit gaudy. Truth be told, Torontonians generally avoid it, although they love to show it off to visitors. Also known as Highway 11, Yonge St. is often cited as the longest street in the world, because Highway 11 extends North from the city, over the top of the great lakes, all the way to Rainy River on the border with Minnesota, (1,896 kilometres away). A respectable road trip could be enjoyed by simply traveling Hwy 11 from start to finish (plan 3 or 4 days if you want to take your time).
- Bloor-Yorkville - Located along Bloor Street from Yonge to Avenue Road and North to Hazelton Lanes, and boasting some of the country's most upscale shopping, from the flagship Canadian retailer, Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen, as well as Roots, to internationally known Tiffany's, Armani, Gucci, and many others. The area also offers luxury hotels and numerous chic restaurants, very popular with visiting celebrities, particularly during the Toronto International Film Festival (every September). It's a wonderful area for strolling, particularly on the streets directly north of Bloor, popular with locals and offers casual rooftop dining and sidewalk patios in summer,with establishments such as Hemingways, Remys, Dimmis, and The Pilot. At the corner of Bloor and Avenue Rd. you will find the Royal Ontario Museum, the second largest in North America.
- The Annex - This neighbourhood is centred on Bloor Street between Avenue Road and Bathurst Street. It contains many restaurants and book shops as well as large houses on the side streets.
- King Street East and St Lawrence Market - A mecca for interior design fanatics and small studio production, King Street east of Yonge is an attractive area ripe with window shopping opportunities. One can also access the multitude of restaurants, shops and cafes in the Distillery District from the King & Parliament St. intersection. The historic St. Lawrence area, containing some of the oldest buildings in the city and site of urban renewal in the 1980s to Corktown and the recently started West Donlands urban renewal project closer to the Don River.
- Kensington Market - This neighbourhood is a melee of food and clothing shops from an enormous variety of different cultures, it also includes the section of College Street from Spadina to Bathurst, which is partly a student-packed neighbourhood of discount computer shops and partly a thriving latin-american enclave.
- Discovery District - As its name suggests, this neighbourhood contains many of the city's premier educational institutions, including the University of Toronto, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Royal Conservatory of Music. This part of the city also contains the province's legislature, known as Queen's Park.
- Deer Park
Bordered by Front St. to the south, Dupont St. to the north, Bathurst St. to the west and Jarvis St. to the east. This area contains many of the tourist attractions and amenities the city has to offer.
The Southernmost part of the district includes the busy downtown financial district with its banks and institutions fuelling the city's financial engine, including Canada's largest stock exchange, the TSX.
To the southeast, there is the bustling and impressive St. Lawrence Market at Jarvis St. and King St, a must-see attraction for any visitor to the city willing to visit during its peak hours between 6:00am and noon on a Saturday, although the market is great at any time of day. This district also contains one of the largest nightlife districts in North America, bordered by Simcoe St. to the west, Queen St. to the north, Bathurst to the west and King St. to the south.
The theatre district is also largely based in Central Toronto, along Yonge St. and King St. Furthermore, the city's opera house (The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts) is also in this area at University Ave., just south of Queen St., as well as the the home of the Hummingbird Centre and Roy Thompson Hall which host the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Ballet Company.
Toronto's most important shopping districts are also located here:
- Toronto's largest downtown shopping centre, The Eaton Centre;
- The varied offerings of Yonge St.;
- The trendy, youthful boutiques of Queen West;
- The upscale boutiques of Bloor St. West and Yorkville.
Central Toronto also contains Toronto's most important sporting venues, including the Air Canada Centre & the Rogers Centre.
In addition to these varied attractions, central Toronto is also the academic and scholastic heart of the city, with the massive St. George campus of the University of Toronto taking up a large chunk of the northwest portion of this district.
The heart of the university-oriented neighbourhood of the Annex also runs along Bloor St. West from Spadina Ave. to just west of Bathurst St., where a multitude of restaurants, bars & lounges, book stores, and other shops are located. Toronto's highest concentration of bookstores are located in the Annex, with dozens of eclectic choices to be found on Harbord St., Bloor St., Spadina Ave. and Bathurst St.
Moving right along, North America's second-largest Chinatown after New York City is located on Spadina Ave., between Queen St. West and College St., with several cross-streets like Dundas St. radiating outwards from Dundas and Spadina, and containing many Chinese and East Asian restaurants, shops and businesses.
Adjacent to Chinatown is Kensington Market, one of the most eclectic and unique locations in the entire city. Everything from fresh food markets to restaurants and bars, vintage clothing boutiques, spice markets, and music shops are all contained in two small north-south streets and a handful of cross-streets.
Home to some of Toronto's most expensive shops and restaurants, Yorkville is Hollywood North's home away from home and the focal point of the Toronto International Film Festival, which rivals Cannes as the most important film festival in the world.
Toronto's medical research community also finds its home on University Ave., where many of the city's best hospitals can be found. The world-renowned Hospital for Sick Children is located here, as well as other world-renowned institutions such as Toronto General (Heart), Princess Margaret (Cancer), Mt. Sinai (Obstetrics), and the nearby administrative headquarters of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
Central Toronto is also home to a thriving gay community, based mainly in and around Church St., between Carlton St. and Bloor St. The Gay Village, as its known, has been an important facet of Toronto life for many years, and is a must-see destination for any visitor to the city, homosexual or otherwise.
- St. Michael's Catholic Cathedral, (Church at Shuter). A very old and large cathedral. (43.654905231983,-79.3763492661984) edit
- Yonge - Dundas Square. A large public square just adjacent to the Eaton Centre. Free events and concerts are sometimes held here. edit
- The Waterfront— A massive redevelopment of the city's 46-kilometre waterfront is underway in the city, and the results are sure to be stunning. Toronto's waterfront is already quite spectacular, with galleries, walking trails and art, film and theatre complexes. An extensive plan to re-green this area will ensure that Toronto's waterfront is utilized to its full potential by residents and visitors alike.
- Toronto Music Garden, 475 Queens Quay West (at Harbourfront Centre) . Designed by cellist Yo Yo Ma and landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy, the garden is an interpretation of Bach's First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello. Wheelchair accessible. Free admission.
- CN Tower— One of the modern Seven Wonders of the World, the CN Tower is a communications and tourist tower standing 553.33 metres (1,815.39 ft) tall. It remains the tallest free-standing structure in the Americas and the signature icon of Toronto's skyline.
- Eaton Centre— Shop till you drop at this 3-million-square-foot shopping mall. Be sure to check out the graceful glass roof and the exquisite flock of fiberglass Canada geese floating in open space.
- University of Toronto The downtown campus of Canada's largest university also boasts many beautiful buildings and hidden gems. Some of the interior courtyards such as that of University College are worth visiting as well. The campus is particularly nice in the summer.
- Allan Gardens— Stroll through charming Victorian style greenhouses amongst this lush garden. Step into the conservatory onsite to escape the chilly Toronto cold or from the provides a warm and beautiful reprieve from the winter cold or from the city pace throughout the year. Free.
- Kensington Market— Pick up a bargain, or grab some homemade jams as a takehome souvenir at the Kensington Market.Each month, the neighbourhood blocks off the narrow streets for a Sunday afternoon festival with live performances, music and great food.
- Wednesday nights at the Art Gallery— Admire over 36,000 works of art for free ever Wednesday evening between 6 and 9PM.
- Harbourfront Centre— Experience Toronto living at its finest down by the Harbourfront area. Enjoy live music and performances as you walk along the waterfront, which is the perfect place to unwind.
- Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), 100 Queen's Park (Get off the subway at Museum), . The ROM is one of Canada's premier museums, showcasing a variety of treasures from ancient cultures and the natural world. edit
- Bardis Steakhouse, 56 York St, ☎ 416-366-9211. Serving only the finest cuts of certified Angus beef, Bardis does not scrimp on quality. Fresh Atlantic salmon, chicken and ribs are also available and delivered to you with exceptional personalized service. Highly recommended. edit
- Canoe Restaurant and Bar, 66 Wellington Street West Toronto, ☎ 416-364-0054. Regarded as one of Canada's finest restaurants, perched above the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower with breathtaking view of the city, you would be inclined to agree. Chef Anthony Walsh delivers inspired regional Canadian cuisine that is complemented by the sleek and stylish decor. The menu offers fresh Canadian fish, game and produce, as well as an impressive selection of Canadian vintages.Pricey, but well deserved. edit
- Vivoli, 665 College St, ☎ 416-536-7575. Rustic Italian fare served with Italian love. Staff are friendly and be sure to try some homemade pizza, straight out of the wood burning oven. edit
- Burger Bar, 10 College Street (near Yonge St.), ☎ (416) 961-2227. A good place to eat for those more on a budget. As the name suggests, the place serves both burgers and alcohol. Burger Bar serves a variety of delicious gourmet burgers. The onion rings here are pretty good too. $10-20. edit
- Bulldog Coffee, 89 Granby St, . Espresso and espresso based drinks. One of the owner/baristas regularly wins competitions for his latte art. Daily 7AM-7PM.
- Azure Lounge, 225 Front Street West, ☎ 416-597-1400, . Azure Lounge and Bar at the InterContinental Toronto Centre is adjacent to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. edit
- Neill-Wycik Summer Hotel, 96 Gerrard St E (Between Jarvis & Church), ☎ 1-800-268-4358, . This student co-op apartment building converts to a hostel for May through August and provides cheap accomodation. All rooms are private and locked, with shared bath. Continental breakfast included. edit
- HI Toronto Youth Hostel, 76 Church St E (Between King and Adelaide), ☎ (416) 971-4440, . A HI hostel conveniently located within walking distance of Yonge and Dundas Square as well as Union Station. Clean and well-kept, with friendly, helpful staff, but small rooms. 26-32/person in dorms. edit
- Comfy Guest House, 250 Gerrard St E (Between Ontario St and Berkeley St. No sign board, look for house number), ☎ (416) 822-5590, . An affordable and comfortable BnB, complete with dining tabel and a kitchen, host is very friendly, some rooms are with shared bath, free DIY coffee, minutes away to downtown. Check with host for parking space availability. 39-95 per room. edit
Bed & Breakfasts
A popular alternative for over nighters or longer stays are bed & breakfasts, of which Toronto has hundreds, many of them in the downtown core. Prices range from $80 to several hundred dollars depending on the house and amenities offered.
- Bond Place Hotel, 65 Dundas St. This two star hotel is in a good location only a 5 minute walk to Eaton Centre. The rooms are in good condition and furnished in a soft peach decor. edit
- One King West, 1 King Street West (King and Yonge), ☎ 416-548-8100, . Located right in the middle of downtown. Close to all major downtown attractions, but especially St. Lawrence Market, Eaton Centre, CN Tower, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Theatre District, and the major downtown office towers. King Subway Station is at the same intersection. All rooms have a kitchenette (including a dishwasher). Fantastic views from the upper floors. edit
- Renaissance Toronto Hotel Downtown, One Blue Jays Way, ☎ 1-416-341-7100, . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. Located in a major league entertainment venue. The hotel situated in Toronto's Entertainment District, minutes to the Financial District and adjacent to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and CN Tower. Rates from $159/night. edit
- Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel, 90 Bloor S E, ☎ 1-416-961-8000, . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. Located in Yorkville, Toronto's downtown fashionable shopping, dining and entertainment quarter. Direct access to the Yonge and Bloor subway and features Matisse Restaurant and Bar. Rates from $159/night. edit
- Town Inn Suites, 620 Church St (at Charles), ☎ 1-416-964-3311, . Five minutes' walk from Bloor-Yonge subway. One-bedroom suites with bathroom and kitchenette; swimming pool. Showing its age, and furniture and fittings of variable quality (in particular, extractor fans generally defective), but redeemed by a friendly front desk and efficient service engineers. For a decent view you need to go to the very top. Recommended for stays of a month or more. edit
- Holiday Inn Express, 111 Lombard St. Awesome location, cable tv, free (crappy) wifi, coffee and free breakfast ticks all the boxes apart from air conditioning. Book 2 weeks in advanced to get the cheaper rate. $163. edit
- Thompson Toronto, 550 Wellington Street W, ☎ 416-640-7778, . Luxury boutique hotel with rooftop lounge and infinity pool. edit
- The Omni King Edward Hotel, 37 King Street East, ☎ (416) 863-9700, . (43.6494444444,-79.3761111111) edit
- Intercontinental Toronto Centre, 225 Front St W, ☎ +1 416-597-1400, . Adjacent to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. A luxury landmark hotel in downtown Toronto with spacious guest rooms, meeting facilities, restaurant, lounge and day spa. edit
- Sheraton Centre Hotel Toronto, 123 Queen St W. You know that the food in this hotel will be good when its been awarded the "Top 5 Places in the City to have a Business Lunch". Enjoy a lunch, or a dinner at this award winning bistro and then retreat to your room, which are spacious and offer great panoramic views of central Toronto. Building also contains an indoor pool and gym. edit
- Soho Metropolitan Hotel, 318 Wellington St. This 5 star hotel is a display of luxury, with 600 square foot rooms featuring marble bathrooms. Dine at the award winning Senses, then work off your guilt at the indoor pool or gymnasium. edit
- Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel, 525 Bay St, ☎ 1-416-597-9200, . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. Connected to the Eaton Centre shopping complex and near the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, and the University of Toronto. Enjoy split-screen viewing with our in-room Plug-in Panel. Rates from $179/night. edit