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Toronto : Harbourfront
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The Harbourfront neighbourhood in Toronto encompasses the area from the lakeshore corridor railway line in the north down to Lake Ontario in the south and from Exhibition Place in the west to Parliament Street in the east.


Nearly the entire neighbourhood is built on land reclaimed from Lake Ontario in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Prior to the 1980s, the area was largely industrial, especially the section south of the Gardiner expressway, which was built in the 1930s and acted as a barrier to development until the 1980s, when a lack of available space downtown led property developers to start building large condominium developments in the Harbourfront neighbourhood. Queen's Quay acts as the main street for the neighbourhood, containing an abundance of fast-food restaurants and convenience stores. Most of the shopping is in Queen's Quay Terminal, a large shopping and condo development which acts as something of a central point for the neighbourhood. On the south side of Queen's Quay is a series of slips separating large piers containing a mixture of condo towers, repurposed warehouses and small parks. In the summer, the neighbourhood is a buzz of activity with small concerts and festivals occurring in the park. While the area west of Yonge Street is full of high rise condo developments and activity at all hours, the area east of Yonge Street remains nearly entirely undeveloped and consists of a series of small, largely abandoned warehouses and empty lots, as well as the enormous Redpath sugar refinery; despite this, there is a large Loblaws supermarket and a concert hall known as Kool Haus at the intersection of Queen's Quay and Jarvis Street.

Get in[edit]

By streetcar[edit]

The 509 LRT streetcar line runs underneath Bay Street from the Union Station subway station to an underground station at the intersection with Queen's Quay West, at which point it leaves the tunnel and proceeds West along Queen's Quay in a separate right-of-way, making stops at the major intersections; its western terminus is Exhibition Place. The 510 LRT streetcar line follows the same route from Union Station to the intersection of Queen's Quay and Spadina Avenue, at which point it turns and heads north on Spadina, still in its own right-of-way, to Spadina subway station at the intersection of Spadina and Bloor Street. The 511 streetcar line runs with traffic along Bathurst Street from Bathurst subway station to the intersection of Bathurst and Fleet Street, where it turns and follows the same route as the 509 West to Exhibition Place.

By subway and train[edit]

The nearest subway station is Union Station. From there you can either take the 509 or 510 streetcar to Queen's Quay or you can walk south along Bay Street from Front Street, underneath the railway tracks and the Gardiner expressway to Queen's Quay. Union Station is also the main terminus for commuter and intercity trains.

For more information on the subway and streetcar lines, visit the Toronto Transit Commission website [14]

By car[edit]

The Gardiner expressway runs the length of the harbourfront one block north of Queen's Quay and there are exits at Spadina, York, Bay, and Jarvis. There is a large parking garage underneath the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel and several commercial surface lots, including ones at Queen's Quay and York Street, Queen's Quay and Rees Street, on Bay Street across from the Air Canada Centre and on Queen's Quay next to the Redpath sugar refinery.

By plane[edit]

The Toronto City Centre Airport [15] is on the Toronto Islands, across a narrow channel from the Harbourfront, a ferry runs the short trip from the main terminal building to the foot of Bathurst Street, just south of the intersection with Queen's Quay; from there, there is a free shuttle bus operated by the only airline serving the airport to Union Station, the 509 streetcar is also easily accessible from the airport. The airport does not allow jet aircraft to land or takeoff, the only airline operating commercial flights out of the airport is Porter [16], who run scheduled flights to Montreal, New York City, Quebec City, Halifax and Chicago.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Redpath Sugar Museum, 95 Queen's Quay East (Bus 6 or 75 to Queen's Quay & Jarvis), 416 933 8341, [1]. Mon-Fri: 10h-12h, 13h-15.30h. This small museum is in the enormous Redpath Sugar Refinery and details the production of sugar.  edit
  • CN Tower, 301 Front Street West (509 & 510 Streetcars to Rees St or Yonge Subway to Union Station), 416 868 6937, [2]. Summer: 9h-23h, Winter: 9h-22h. Once the tallest freestanding structure in the world, this tower affords generous views of the Greater Toronto Area and, on a clear day, you can see the opposite shore of Lake Ontario. While the address is on Front Street, the tower is more easily accessed from Bremner Blvd or Rees St. From Union Station, take the Skywalk from the west waiting room and follow signs to reach the tower. Total Tower Experience: $32.99.  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 are will ensure that Toronto's waterfront is utilized to its full potential by residents and visitors alike.

Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, [17], is the arts and entertainment hub of the district. In the summer there is a full schedule of events and performances for the whole family.

Toronto Music Garden, 475 Queens Quay West (at Harbourfront Centre), [18]. 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.

Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, 231 Queens Quay West (at Harbourfront Centre), [19]. Closed Mo. Exhibitions rotate, consult the website to see what's currently on display. Adults $6/ Students and Seniors $3 Members and Cultural Access Pass Holders FREE- also FREE on Wednesday nights from 5-8PM. Closed for major renovation, but re-opens in March 2011.

The Premiere Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay West (Queens Quay Terminal), features modern dance and theatre performances from around the world.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Kool Haus, 132 Queen's Quay East (Bus 6 or 75 to Queen's Quay & Jarvis), 416 869 0045, [3]. Medium sized concert hall, hosts big-name rock and rap artists.  edit
  • Steam Whistle Brewery, The Roundhouse, 255 Bremner Blvd (509 & 510 Streetcars to Rees St or Yonge Subway to Union Station), 416 362 BEER (2337), [4]. Mon-Sat: 12h-18h, Sun: 12h-17h. This large-scale microbrewery provides tours every 30 minutes, which includes a free glass or can opener. $8.  edit
  • Rogers Centre (SkyDome), One Blue Jays Way (510 Streetcar to Bremner Blvd. or Subway to Union Station), 416 341 1707, [5]. This large stadium is home to the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team and hosts large concerts. It has a retractable roof, allowing games to be played in all weather. To access the stadium from Union Station follow the skywalk from the western waiting room.  edit
  • Air Canada Centre, 40 Bay Street (Yonge-University subway line and 509 & 510 streetcar lines to Union Station), 416 815 5500, [6]. This hockey arena plays host to all Toronto Maple Leafs homes games as well as Toronto Raptors basketball games. It also hosts many of Toronto's large concerts. The arena is directly adjacent to Union Station and there is a passage leading from the underground concourse into the arena, however the passage can be confusing.  edit

In the winter, go ice skating, 235 Queens Quay West, South of York Quay Centre, [20], at Canada's largest artificially-cooled outdoor skating rink. Skate rentals available. Music and Friday DJ nights.

Spend a day on the lake or take a boat tour of the harbour. Charter and tour boat operators offering harbour tours, dinner cruises and sailing on the lake leave from the marina at Harbourfront Centre.

  • Roy Thompson Hall. Toronto Symphpony Orchestra (TSO) plays here. Also hosts other musical events. Is a large, round glass building close ot all other major Downtown attractions.  edit
  • Wheel Excitement, 249 Queen's Quay West. Bicycle and inline skate rental. Located right on the Martin Goodman Trail.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Queen's Quay Terminal, 207 Queen's Quay West (509 & 510 Streetcars to York St), 416 203 0510, [7]. Sun-Wed: 10h-18h, Thu-Sat: 10h-21h. Large shopping, restaurant and condo development in a beautiful art deco warehouse. Contains a number of small, tourist-oriented shops as well as several restaurants and cafes and a medium sized Sobey's supermarket.  edit

On weekends in the summer, the outdoor International Marketplace at Harbourfront Centre hosts a range of arts and crafts vendors.

  • Temptress Cruises, Queens Quay, 416-888-8299, [8]. A private yacht featuring cruises for up to 10 people in Toronto's Harbourfront and Toronto Island  edit
  • Temptress Cruises, Queens quay, 416-888-8299, [9]. 08:00-24:00. Boat Cruises for up to 10 on a private luxury yacht  edit
  • Temptress Cruises, Queens Quay (at LowerSpadina), 416-888-8299, [10]. 7AM-11PM. Temptress is a beautiful,gracious, luxury yacht which is well maintained in pristine condition featuring gleaming exotic teak exterior finishes and designer Maple and Leather interior. Guests can enjoy comfortable seating areas and a large Front touring deck.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

There are restaurants and cafes scattered along the waterfront, and a couple of supermarkets:

  • Sobey's, 207 Queen's Quay W (Inside Queen's Quay Terminal) (509 & 510 Streetcars to York St), +1 416 603-1212, [11]. M-Sa 8h-22h, Su 9h-22h. Medium sized supermarket, smaller than Loblaws but much better located. Inside Queen's Quay Terminal shopping centre, with entrance off Queen's Quay. The store has plenty of pre-prepared food and is ideal for making a picnic to eat in one of the small parks on the waterfront.  edit
  • Loblaws, 10 Lower Jarvis St (Bus 6 or 75 to Queen's Quay & Jarvis or 509 & 510 Streetcars to Queen's Quay Station), +1 416 304-0611, [12]. M-F 8h-23h, Sa 7h-23h, Su 8h-20h. Very large supermarket, however it is in the undeveloped end of the harbourfront and the walk from the streetcar can be unpleasant. Instead, take the #6 bus down Bay St, which will take you directly to Loblaws.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Westin Harbour Castle, 1 Harbour Square, [13]. Indoor pool, gym and spa facilities, on-site restaurants. (43.6412,-79.37592) edit
  • Radisson Admiral Hotel, 249 Queen's Quay West (at Harbourfront Centre), [21]. Outdoor pool, fitness centre, business centre, complimentary in-room wireless Internet. Restaurant and bar on-site.


Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

  • Take the ferry from Queens Quay (Ferry Docks street car station) to the Toronto Islands.
  • Visit Niagara Falls, Ontario Wine Country and all other Southern Ontario tourist attractions. If you are going to visit Southern Ontario, this is the place to start.

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