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Toronto/Yonge Street

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Toronto : Yonge Street
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Toronto/Yonge Street

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Yonge Street is one of the oldest streets in Toronto, but few of its current buildings date back to much before 1900. It is one of Toronto's premiere shopping streets, with an eclectic mix of high end shops and dollar stores. Moreover, the Toronto subway runs under Yonge Street from King Street to Finch Avenue, making access to it extremely convenient.

A visitor might want to start at Front Street, as the section of Yonge between Queens Quay and Front is lightly developed and has little to offer a visitor.

At Front and Yonge is the new home of the Hockey Hall of Fame in BCE Place. The Hall was relocated to its current location in 1992 and now features a large number of interactive exhibits. BCE Place, as well as having a number of shops and being part of the Underground City, is home to the unique Movenpick Marche restaurant, featuring fine food in a self-service environment. Across the street from BCE Place on Front is a location of Toronto food institution Shopsy's, featuring fine deli food.

Two blocks east of Yonge on Front is Toronto's St. Lawrence Market, one of the oldest continuously operating food markets on the continent, featuring fresh food from across the country. It is renowned for its choice of fresh fish and cheese, although just about anything edible can be found there. On Saturday, the North Market is open as a farmer's market, featuring fresh produce, meat, eggs and fish, often from merchants as far away as Eastern Canada.

Heading north on Yonge to Richmond is the Hudson Bay Company's Queen Street store, and just across Queen Street is the southern entrance to the Eaton's Centre, one of the largest downtown malls in the world with hundreds of prestige stores and two food courts to suit every taste.

Dundas & Yonge is one of Toronto's busiest corners, with Sears' downtown store being located at the north end of the Eaton's Centre. A new AMC cinema is being built on the north-east corner - one of the first new movie houses on Yonge in decades. The strip of Yonge between Dundas and Gerrard, although a little run down and not a little sleazy (with strip clubs and porn shops both being part of the ambience), is a favourite of Torontonian's looking for bargains. Just north and west of Dundas is the World's Biggest Book Store, which, true to its name, is the largest book store under one roof in the world and a browser's paradise with all the best sellers and thousands of bargain titles. This strip is also home to the main HMV store, and Toronto's famous Sam The Record Man.

At College/Carleton is College Park, a small shopping mall in the old Eaton's College Street store. It's the current home of the downtown location of Winner's, a favourite of Toronto's bargain hunters looking for brand name clothing. Just east of Yonge on Carleton is one of hockey's meccas - Maple Leaf Gardens, which is slated for conversion over the next few years into shopping mall.

Between College and Bloor are dozens of small shops, including several used book stores, comics stores, used record stores, dollar stores and just about everything else you can imagine. Although the stock may be a little run down, the area is safe, clean, busy and popular day and night.

Yonge & Bloor is one of the main intersections of the city, with Toronto's main subway lines meeting at this point. This is home to the Hudson Bay's flagship store in the Hudson Bay Centre, part of a mini underground city that links it with Cumberland Terrace and the Manulife Centre. This corner is home to some of the finest stores in the city, including Holt Renfrew. A trip west along Bloor will be worthwhile for any shopper looking for the best the city has to offer.

North of Bloor, the density falls off, but there are still sights to see. Just south of St. Clair avenue is the home of CHUM radio, still the most popular station in the city. Just north of St. Clair is the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, one of the oldest and largest in the city. At Davisville Avenue is the home of the original TTC subway yard, which is visible from the street, next to the TTC headquarters, which often has transit exhibits on display on the ground floor. Yonge & Eglinton is also a busy corner, featuring stores and restaurants. Just south of Eglinton is The Art Shoppe, a must visit for anyone who likes interior design. North of Eglinton, mixed in with smaller neighbourhood stores, is the main branch of Sporting Life.

North of Lawrence Avenue, Yonge dips into Hogg's Hollow, part of the Don River ravine system. One of Toronto's oldest buildings sits just south of York Mills/Wilson, and it has recently been converted from a tavern to a fine restaurant.

Once Yonge reaches Sheppard Avenue (where the Sheppard Avenue subway line runs), you find yourself in another downtown - this time downtown North York. Once a street of neighbourhood shops, it is now full of office buildings, condominiums, and worthwhile shopping. Yonge Sheppard Centre features the Grande Cinema along with other shops. At North York Centre, there is the Ford Centre for the Performing Arts, Mel Lastman Square, and Empress Walk (featuring the area's best shopping with a Future Shop, Staples, Loblaws and cinema all under one roof).

Although the subway ends at Finch, the shopping doesn't, and one avenue north at Steeles is Centerpoint Mall, featuring three anchor stores and loads of free parking - a unique feature along Yonge Street this far south.

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