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Toronto - Canada
Me2Desi Travel Information
Toronto is the largest city in Canada, and 5th largest in North America with a population of 2.6 million and a metropolitan population of nearly 8 million. It is the capital of the province of Ontario, Canada's most populous province Toronto is known as a city of neighborhoods. Distinct areas, often centered on a main street (Queen, College, Bloor etc.), are packed tightly together but each has something different to offer. The relative compactness of these neighborhoods makes exploring on foot easy and pleasant, especially in the warmer months.

Central Toronto - Includes the busy downtown financial district as well as dining and shopping districts along Yonge and Bloor streets. East Toronto – A varied part of the city, with ethnic districts such as Little India and Greektown, and with atmospheres ranging from historic Victorian homes to fun along the beach. North Toronto – A mixed area with many pockets of university communities and small ethnic communities such as Little Moscow. Northwest Toronto – Home to the city’s fashion and theater districts, a wide range of shopping opportunities, and an ethnic potpourri of Chinese, Korean, Italian, and Portuguese communities. West Toronto – Largely middle-class residential zone, but with some great parks and a few interesting areas such as the Little Poland neighborhood. Toronto Islands - A chain of islands in Toronto harbor and home to a small residential community, an airport, a small amusement park, kilometers of bike trails, spectacular city views, picnic grounds and even a clothing-optional beach. The short and inexpensive ferry ride alone is worth the trip, but one can easily spend a relaxing day or two here. Torontonians love to come here to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is car-free. Pearson International Airport (YYZ) (or LBPIA - Lester B. Pearson International Airport) is about 45 minutes by car from the downtown core and is serviced by most major international carriers. There are two terminals: Terminal 1 hosts all Air Canada flights and a few other international (mostly Star Alliance) carriers, while Terminal 3 hosts all other airlines. (There is no longer a Terminal 2.) Eventually Terminal 2 will be torn down as Terminal 1 continues to expand and Terminal 1 will be connected to the existing Terminal 3.

Several options exist for getting downtown from Pearson: Pacific Western Airport Express bus service is quick, convenient, and frequent (peak periods: every 20 minutes; off-peak periods: every 30 minutes). It picks up at both terminals, and stops at several major hotels in the downtown core. Adult fares are $18.95 one way, $29.25 for round trips. There is a 10% discount for online reservations. TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) provides public bus services that run to and from Pearson. The best TTC option is the 192 Airport Rocket that runs every 10-30 minutes between Kipling Station on the Bloor-Danforth Subway, and Pearson Airport. Kipling Station is the western most subway stop on the Bloor-Danforth line and it takes about 45 minutes to reach downtown. One way adult fare on the TTC is $2.75 (or less if purchased in bulk) which includes free transfers to other TTC buses or the subway. Tickets can be purchased from the Bureau de Change in Arrivals. There is service from Kiping Station to the airport 24 hours per day. GO Transit , the commuter transit agency, provides express buses that run from the airport to Yorkdale and York Mills subway stations in North York for $4.05. This takes about 35-45 minutes, followed by another 20 minutes on the subway to get downtown. A new GO Transit service, effective April 26, 2008, offers service to/from the airport to Square One GO Terminal in Mississauga and Richmond Hill Centre. This bus service runs every 30 minutes from about 5:00 am to 1:00 am daily. A future airport high-speed rail link, Blue22 will provide transit from Downtown at Union Station to Pearson Airport. Taxis run a flat rate of $40 while airport limousines go slightly higher at $50-70. Limousines are generally slightly larger (though not stretched) and more comfortable vehicles than taxis. Government approved rates can be found online [17].

Things to Do in Toronto

Just walk- Toronto has so many varied neighborhoods that a random walk is fascinating in its own right. You might start in the Downtown area and then try other neighborhoods around the city. You will also find that Toronto is "the city within a park", with miles and miles of parkland following the streams and rivers that flow through the city. Edwards Gardens and the Toronto Botanical Gardens in the neighborhood of North York might just be the place to start exploring this natural environment.
Beaches - Toronto has some excellent beaches in the east end that offer typical beach activities such as volleyball, bike/rollerblading paths and a boardwalk along the water. Lake Ontario tends to be quite cool, even in mid-summer, and is cleaner than its local reputation might suggest - testing is conducted regularly and beaches have notices posted if the water is considered unsafe for swimming. The Toronto Islands tend to have the cleanest beaches (including a clothing-optional beach at Hanlan's point). The Distillery District the former Gooderham & Worts distillery lands have been rejuvenated into a pedestrian-only village dedicated to the arts and entertainment. It has fantastic restaurants, festivals, and art galleries.
The Lakefront and Toronto Island, in the downtown core offers biking and walking trails, with an excellent view of the Toronto skyline.
Theater - Toronto has a great theater scene for every taste and budget. Check out the big theaters on King Street and Yonge Street for the big splashy (and pricey) shows, such as the former runs of Chicago, The Lion King, Les Miz, Cats, etc. Small theaters in the Annex and elsewhere offer smaller productions that range from original Canadian works, avant-garde, experimental theater, small budget musicals to British murder mysteries. Also try to check out the new Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, the brand new (2006) home of the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada. The Toronto Symphony plays in the recently acoustically renovated Roy Thomson Hall.
Canada's Wonderland is a big theme park located in Vaughan, 30 kilometers north of downtown Toronto. It is considered one of North America's premier amusement parks, with more than 200 attractions. The park is open seasonally from May to October.
Little Italy/Portugal Village- Centred at College and Grace, this is the spot to get a sense of the Western Mediterranean. Sit at one of the many coffee shops and watch the world go by on the weekends. A great time to visit is durring the World Cup of Soccer (regardless of where in the World it is actually being held) as both communities face off and rivalries reach a fever pitch. Recently the rivalries have begun to infect adjacent communities and it is now getting to the point that the entire city is being draped in a mind numbing variety of flags once every four years.

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