7 Interesting Facts about Toronto

As well as being one of Canada’s top tourist destinations, Toronto is frequently voted one of the world’s most liveable cities too. With a buzzing beach scene, epic culinary scene and top-notch infrastructure, that’s hardly surprising. But how much do you know about this cosmopolitan city? Planning on taking a trip or just looking for some decent trivia? From North America’s only castle to the world’s largest underground shopping mall, here are a few interesting facts about Toronto that might surprise you.

7 Interesting Facts about Toronto

1. Toronto is home to the only castle in North America

Casa Loma claims to be the only authentic castle on the whole of the continent. Built in 1914 by the young and oh-so-wealthy financier Sir Henry Pellat, this beautiful gothic revival mansion took three years and $3.5 million to build. A keen art historian and collector, Pellat filled the building with priceless works of art from across the world. The design pays homage to the castles and knights of times gone by, complete with soaring battlements and secret passageways.

Nowadays, over 350,000 people visit the palace every year to explore the exhibits, sumptuous interiors and the BlueBlood Steakhouse. Recently, the castle has branched into Escape Rooms too.

interesting facts about toronto

2. Toronto is home to the largest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere

Recognised as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, the CN Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere. Over 1.5 million people visit the legendary landmark in Downtown Toronto every year to take in the breathtaking views or to dine in the clouds. Completed in 1976, the 554.44 metre (1,815-feet) high communication platform was once the tallest tower in the world, though Canton Tower took the title in 2007. It has other impressive attributes too, like the fact that it’s almost perfectly straight, off by just 1.1 inches. The Wine Cellar in the Sky also holds the Guinness World Record for ‘world’s highest wine cellar’. Floating 351 metres (1151 feet) above Toronto, the cellar can hold up to 9,000 bottles.

It took over 1,000 people to build the tower, working 24 hours a day five days a week for 40 months, costing an eyewatering $60 million dollars.interesting facts about Toronto

3. Toronto boasts the largest underground shopping complex in the world

The PATH is a mostly underground network of pedestrian walkways and channels, connecting 70 buildings in downtown Toronto. As well as restaurants, services and entertainment, there are over 1,200 retail stores. The path sprawls across an impressive 30 km of underground space and accommodates more than 200,000 business-day commuters, tourists and restaurants. The first underground walkways started popping up in the early 1900s but the full channel was properly developed in the 1960s. No good for topping up the tan, but an excellent activity for rainier days.

4. Toronto also boasts the largest zoo in Canada.

Opened in 1974, Toronto Zoo is one of the city’s most beloved tourist attractions. Encompassing 710 acres and home to more than 16,000 animals, it’s also the largest zoo in Canada.

The zoo is split into seven zoogeographic regions: Indo-Malaya, Africa, Americas, Tundra Trek, Australasia, Eurasia, and the Canadian Domain, with some animals living in naturalistic environments. There’s also a Kids Zoo, Waterside Theatre, and Splash Island.

5. Toronto is home to a pretty important film festival

The Toronto Film Festival is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world. Over 480,000 people flock here every year — and there’s no shortage of celebs either. Originally known as ‘The Festival of Festivals’, the annual event was founded in 1976 as a permanent destination for film culture operating out of the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Downtown Toronto. The festival includes workshops, screenings, lectures, discussions and opportunities to meet national and international film directors. 

Toronto is also home to a thriving film industry. Around 25% of Hollywood blockbusters are actually filmed in Toronto. An average of 28,000 people work in Toronto’s $1.5 billion film industry, and famous faces from the city include Jim Carrey, Keanu Reeves and Mike Myers.

6. Toronto is the most multicultural cities in the world

Most people know that Toronto is one of the most liveable cities in the world, but did you know that it’s also the most multicultural? At least half of the city’s population was born outside of the country. There are 200+ ethnic groups who speak over 180 languages and dialects there too. There’s a whole variety of cultural neighbourhoods to explore here too, like Greekown, Chinatown, Koreatown, Annex, Little India and Little Italy. There’s no shortage of lively cultural festivals either. Some of the city’s most popular festivals include the Roncesvalles Polish Festival, which serves up a good dose of Polish culture and the Toronto Chinatown Festival, where you’ll find martial arts performances, authentic Asian street foods, and lion and dragon dancing.Interesting facts CN Tower

7. Looking for the largest urban car-free community in North America? It’s in Toronto.

The Toronto Islands is a chain of 15 tiny islands in Lake Ontario, just offshore from downtown. It’s where you’ll find the Toronto Island Park, the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, as well as a handful of brilliant beaches. Access to the islands is by water only, but ferries accommodate bicycles free of charge. On the islands, you can rent canoes, paddleboats and stand up paddleboards, but no cars — it’s a zero-car community.

Allie D'Almo

Allie is a passionate traveller with a hearty interest in great food and stories. She likes to travel slowly, particularly to underrated and underloved places. She’s lived in Italy and is now based in London, where she spends most of her time either plotting her next trip or writing about her last one.

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