Things to do in Toronto

Notable Buildings in Toronto

Historic forts, sky-high towers, and captivating cultural sites — experience it all in Toronto.

Toronto offers a unique blend of architectural marvels, natural beauty, and exciting activities. Whether you plan to stay for a few days or a lifetime, there’s a long list of things to do in Toronto, from exploring Old Town to taking a tour of nearby Niagara Falls.

Add at least one Toronto building to your agenda if architecture gets your blood pumping. The city has historic landmarks, cultural institutions, modern skyscrapers, and more. It is the ideal place to unleash your inner Frank Lloyd Wright (or Moshe Safdie, if you’re interested in socially responsible design).

Historic Landmarks

Thousands of years ago, the Anishinaabe, Wendat, and Haudenosaunee peoples created the first communities in the region. It wasn’t until the 17th century that European settlers arrived and started to make their mark on the area that eventually became Toronto.

Visit some of the city’s key heritage buildings to learn more about the cultural, economic, and social development of Toronto and surrounding areas.

1. Casa Loma

You don’t need a crown and scepter to feel like royalty. Just visit Casa Loma, a castle designed by Edward James Lennox.

Sir Henry Pellatt commissioned Lennox to construct a luxurious “house on the hill” for his family. Although Pellatt was born in Ontario, he traveled frequently to Europe, which helped him develop a love of fine art and architecture.

Today, Casa Loma is one of the top-rated venues in Toronto. If you want something better than a traditional banquet hall, consider booking the castle for your next big event.

If you take a tour, look for the antique Edwardian furnishings. When you close your eyes, you can almost imagine the objects coming to life, à la Beauty and the Beast.

Photographer: freebie

2. Old City Hall

Old City Hall is a magnificent building designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. It took 11 years to build, but it was certainly worth the wait.

Edward James Lennox, the same architect who designed Casa Loma, designed a building that took full advantage of the site’s proximity to Bay Street, which now serves as the center of the Financial District.

When you arrive at Old City Hall, stop to appreciate its size. The massive structure is made from sandstone, giving it a rich texture. Other hallmarks of the Richardsonian Romanesque style include a clock tower, an open courtyard, and carved surfaces make the beautiful building even more appealing.

3. Fort York National Historic Site

In 1812, the United States tried to capture Toronto. When American soldiers arrived, they found Upper Canadian militia members, First Nations warriors, and British soldiers collaborating to defend Fort York. Today, the Fort York National Historic Site commemorates the extraordinary battle.

Immerse yourself in the Battle of York with a high-quality multimedia experience. Primary sources, including letters, oral accounts, and military records, detail the many acts of bravery that took place during the War of 1812. The historic site also has a vault designed to hold light-sensitive artifacts.

4. St. Lawrence Hall

Constructed in 1850, St. Lawrence Hall is one of the most important buildings in Toronto. The elegant building features a Corinthian facade, a domed cupola, and ornate architectural details, making it stand out from the more modern buildings in the neighborhood.

It initially served as an entertainment venue and meeting space, but it rose to prominence in the 1830s. Enslaved individuals who escaped the United States used the Underground Railroad to travel to Toronto and other parts of Canada, making St. Lawrence Hall a center of abolitionist activity.

5. Gooderham Building

If you’re looking for impressive buildings, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Gooderham Building (aka the Flatiron Building). In the 1830s, the Gooderham family operated the Gooderham and Worts Distillery.

When the distillery outgrew its original space, George Gooderham commissioned David Roberts Jr. to design a new building for its office personnel. Although CAD $18,000 seems like a bargain now, the Gooderham Building was the most expensive office building when it first opened.

Today, the red-brick Gooderham landmark is one of the most recognizable buildings in the area. Its distinctive wedge shape was born of necessity rather than creativity, as the building sits between Wellington Street and Front Street.

Although Wellington follows the rest of the city’s traffic grid, Front Street meanders along Toronto’s original shoreline. Roberts used Gothic Revival and Romanesque design elements to create this visually appealing structure.

Cultural Institutions

As one of the largest cities in Canada, Toronto is home to several storied cultural institutions. Visit at least one to satisfy your cultural cravings.

6. Royal Ontario Museum

The Royal Ontario Museum has art, culture, and natural history exhibits in one place. If you’re short on time, we recommend heading directly to the Natural History Gallery. There, you can get up close and personal with prehistoric creatures, discover the importance of biodiversity, or brave the Bat Cave with your most adventurous travel companions.

If you’re traveling with little ones, WonderWorks is an ideal destination. The exhibit has dozens of hands-on activities to keep even the tiniest tots busy. Royal Ontario Museum is also home to the Eaton Gallery of Rome, the Gallery of Chinese Architecture, the Gallery of the Bronze-Age Aegean, and more.

If you’re still feeling adventurous, head to one of our shows in Toronto. Visually appealing scenery and an unforgettable soundtrack come together to deliver the experience of a lifetime.

Photographer: Lotus Raphael

7. Art Gallery of Ontario

Art lovers, the Art Gallery of Ontario should be the first stop on your itinerary. It’s a modern architectural marvel characterized by elegant wooden spirals, enormous walls of glass, and bright, yet soft colors. The gallery's collection contains more than 90,000 works of art, so you can visit over and over again and still see something new every time.

Unlike Toronto art galleries dedicated to a specific theme, this museum has something for everyone. If you love the Old Masters, watch The Master of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens.

Prefer something more contemporary? AGO has you covered. The museum has more than 1,100 works from the 20th and 21st centuries.

8. Ontario Science Centre

Tucked away in North York, the Ontario Science Centre is an architectural marvel and a museum. Moriyama Teshima Architects sought input from scientists, curators, and community members.

The result was a design that blends seamlessly into the natural environment and inspires visitors to learn more about the world around them.

KidSpark is a popular weekend destination, as it’s jam-packed with hands-on activities for children. Your favorite kiddo can design their own roller coaster, pretend to shop in Food Truck Alley or sing and dance in the Music Studio. Check out The AstraZeneca Human Edge or A Question of Truth exhibits if you're visiting with teens or adults.

9. TIFF Bell Lightbox

The Toronto International Film Festival, better known as TIFF, draws thousands of film buffs to Toronto annually. Even if you don’t visit during the festival, you can still learn more about the film industry with a visit to the TIFF Lightbox.

Make life more exciting with a subscription to the Secret Movie Club. Members get early access to new films. The TIFF Lightbox also has a film reference library for preserving Canada’s cinema heritage and exhibits change regularly. The library has had displays dedicated to Stanley Kubrick, David Cronenberg, and other film greats.

10. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

Home to the Canadian Opera Company, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts is one of the most renowned venues in the region. It’s also home to the National Ballet of Canada, so you can enjoy a visit even if you’re not an opera enthusiast.

Stretching over 35,000 square meters, the Four Seasons Centre has 103 washrooms, 200 parking spaces, and multiple elevators to enhance accessibility. The venue also has direct access to the Osgoode Station, eliminating the need to fight traffic whenever you want to see a performance.

Modern Skyscrapers

Some of Toronto’s government buildings are over a century old, but the city is also home to skyscrapers and other modern buildings. Add these structures to your itinerary to see how Toronto has changed over the last few decades.

11. CN Tower

Known as Canada’s “celebration destination”, the CN Tower is a shining example of Toronto architecture. Soaring more than 550 meters into the sky, the tower is home to the highest observation platform in the Western Hemisphere.

If it’s windy during your visit, you can even see the building swaying slightly in the breeze. (Don’t worry; it’s structurally sound!) We highly recommend going up to SkyPod, an observation deck offering pristine views of Toronto, Niagara Falls, and parts of New York.

If you’re feeling especially daring, strap yourself into a harness and step out onto EdgeWalk. The EdgeWalk experience includes a video and two complimentary photos to ensure you never forget the adrenaline-pumping experience.

Photographer: jameswheeler

12. Scotiabank Arena

Scotiabank Arena blends the old with the new. This modern venue sits on the site of the original Canada Post Delivery Building. If you look closely, you can see some of the original stonework and bas-relief designs.

If you’re a hockey fan, come to Scotiabank Arena to see the Toronto Maple Leafs play one of your favorite — or most hated — teams in the league. The venue is also home to the Toronto Raptors, a member of the NBA Atlantic Division.

If you’re not in the mood for hockey or basketball, the arena also serves as a performing arts venue. Artists from Bad Bunny to Andrea Bocelli perform for sold-out audiences throughout the year.

13. First Canadian Place

Toronto’s Financial District is a study in contrasts. Glass high-rises and historic buildings sit a few meters from each other, showing how much the city has grown since it was first incorporated.

First Canadian Place is one of the most popular buildings in the neighborhood. It has dozens of shops and restaurants, making it a great place to grab a bite during your lunch break or visit on weekends.

Cactus Club Cafe, Black + Blue, and King Taps are ideal for meals with clients, while Five Guys, Jimmy the Greek, and Mad Radish are best for quick eats. You can even shop for jewelry, accessories, clothes, shoes, and specialty items.

14. Toronto-Dominion Centre (TD Centre)

Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Toronto-Dominion Centre is an architectural masterpiece of epic proportions. The original design included three buildings: TD Bank Tower, the Banking Pavilion, and Royal Trust Tower.

Mies van der Rohe chose dark gray granite, so it’s easy to spot among all the other buildings in the Toronto skyline. Today, the complex includes six buildings, though he only designed the first three.

Since TD Centre was the last major project completed by the renowned architect, and because it’s such a well-known example of the international architecture style, the Ontario Heritage Foundation officially recognized the first three towers for their influence on Toronto’s landscape.

15. BMO Field

BMO Field is the first stadium in Canada designed specifically for soccer, making it a must-visit for anyone who appreciates the sport. Toronto FC and the Toronto Argonauts call BMO Field home, so you can catch dozens of games each year if you live in the area.

In 2015 the stadium underwent extensive renovations to put it on par with the best soccer stadiums in Europe. Thanks to these efforts, BMO Field will be the site of the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Canada, Mexico, and the United States have the honor of co-hosting the most prestigious event in soccer.

Photographer: Harrison Haines

Residential and Mixed-Use Developments

Many famous Toronto buildings are for government or commercial use, but Queen City also has several notable residential properties and mixed-use developments. Visit a few of them while you’re exploring Toronto.

16. L Tower

L Tower is a sail-shaped building large enough for approximately 600 condos. It’s also conveniently located. Residents can easily commute to Toronto’s Financial District or spend time with loved ones in the St. Lawrence neighborhood. Head to the public plaza to enjoy a quiet moment in the fresh air and sunshine.

17. The Well

The Well in Toronto has condominiums and rental suites just a stone’s throw away from shopping, dining, and job opportunities, making the mixed-use development an excellent addition to the neighborhood. Residents also have access to various luxury amenities, from a rooftop terrace to a relaxing massage room.

18. ICE Condominiums

ICE Condominiums has more than 1,300 units, making it one of the largest condo complexes in the city.

The building is well-suited for residents with unique security needs, as it has a head concierge, two site directors, and dozens of staff members. ICE Condominiums is also part of the Toronto PATH network, so you can easily access public transit.

19. One Bloor

One Bloor offers luxury living spaces with unparalleled views of Toronto and beyond. Positioned at the beginning of Mink Mile, the building is ideal for residents who want quick access to trendy shops and gourmet restaurants. It also sits near two major subway lines, making the morning commute less stressful.

Photographer: John Salvino

20. 50 Absolute World

Located in Mississauga, 50 Absolute World sits less than 30 kilometres (18 miles) from Toronto, making it the ideal place to move if you want a little distance from the city without giving up the urban amenities you’ve come to know and love. What makes this building special is its proximity to Square One Shopping Centre, the largest mall in Ontario.

Discover the Architectural Wonders Shaping Toronto's Skyline and Streets

As you stroll down Toronto’s streets, you can almost imagine yourself traveling through time. Centuries-old buildings and modern skyscrapers combine to shape one of the world's most unique skylines. No matter how long you stay, it’s easy to appreciate the beauty of Queen City.

Speaking of beauty, our performers use vibrant colors, exciting acrobatics, and otherworldly music to show you beauty exists in even the most ordinary things. When you come to one of our shows in Toronto, we'll take you on a whimsical journey into our world, where anything is possible and limits cease to exist. Join us for an out-of-this-world experience that you'll be talking about long after the curtain closes.

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