The Syria of today offers tourists as much a cultural experience as a sightseeing one, where ancient history provides a fascinating backdrop to everyday life on the streets                          


Toronto History


Toronto is a busy and active city, but it is fairly easy to navigate. However, should you be in any doubt as to how to get somewhere in particular, it is always a good idea to consult a map.

Toronto Maps can be picked up from almost any store, or you can ask the local tourist information office for one instead. This will ensure that you never get lost on your vacation, and that you can relax and fully enjoy your stay, safe in the knowledge that you know where you’re going around the city.

Toronto History – Toronto is a thriving city with a diverse culture and an interesting history. Founded as a trading center in the 1600’s, aboriginal peoples would gather by the shores of Lake Ontario to do business and socialize. This “meeting place” was named Toronto, a literal translation in the Huron language.

English Settlers arrived in 1793, and they renamed the area York. The town of York became a city in 1834, and the Huron name of Toronto reinstated. The city kept growing and growing until it reached the booming population of almost 5 million that it has today. Toronto is now the capital city of Ontario, and the number one tourist destination in Canada.

Toronto has an amazing Heritage Foundation that works hard to preserve the history of the city. It is rich history, full of culture and art. Below is abrief timeline of some of the historical events in Toronto.

1600 - Huron’s have a favorite on Lake Ontario for meeting. In the Huron language it is known as To'ron'to - Place of Meeting.1615 - Etiênne Brulé is the first European to arrive in the area.
1751 - Fort Toronto is built by the French, but ultimately lost to the British.
1793 - Sir John Simcoe moves to Toronto and renames it "York".
1796 - Yonge Street is first laid out. It is the longest street in the world and measures 1,896.3 Km.
1813 - American soldiers march in and burn the town of York.
1834 - York is renamed "Toronto" and, with a population of 9, 000, is upgraded to city status.
1837 - The Mackenzie Rebellion tries but fails to overthrow the British who rule Upper Canada.
1851 - The "Northern" becomes Toronto’s first railroad.
1875 - Nurse Elizabeth McMaster founds the Hospital for Sick Children.
1878 - The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) opens for the first time in Toronto.
1904 - Twenty acres burn to the ground in the Great Fire of Toronto.
1914 - Toronto wins its first Stanley Cup!
1922 - Frederick Banting and John MacLeod - win the Nobel Prize for the discovery of insulin.

Toronto Culture – Housing more that 100 different cultures, Toronto truly is one of the most diverse cities on earth. The two official languages in Canada are English and French, but the top 5 languages spoken in Toronto are Chinese, Portuguese, Italian, Tamil and Spanish. Great efforts are taken by the City to preserve these cultural values, and it shows. There are cultural centers for almost every nationality you can possibly think of, and diversity is celebrated through festivals and gatherings year round.

Multiculturalism sets Toronto apart from other North American cities. Toronto is home to virtually all of the world's culture groups and is the city where more than 100 languages are spoken. Toronto appreciates this and in return has bilingual street signs, ethnic restaurants, and many varieties of ethnic shopping centers.

The city is proud to house many museums, historic sites and performing and Visual Arts Centers, as well as encouraging public and individual art projects and community arts organizations. Art is a major pastime in Toronto; there are hundreds of talented local bands, performing artists and visual artists. Wherever you go, there is always something creative to feast your eyes on.

Lately, Toronto has been given the nickname Hollywood North, due to the large film industry. The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the biggest in the world, and truly something to see. It is on every September. If you want to visit during the Film Festival, you’re in for a treat, but be sure to booking advance because it is a major attraction.

When you visit Toronto, be sure to take in one of the spectacular street festivals. The most notable is the Toronto International Carnival (formerly known as Caribana). It is a celebration of Caribbean culture, and one of the biggest cultural events in North America. It attracts hundreds of thousands of people from all over the globe. The sights, sounds, and food are to die for. The Toronto International Carnival is one of a kind.

Other notable festivals arte the Toronto Gay Pride Parade, which attracts over a million people to the city every year, The Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival and The International Festival of authors.

Tourist Information

You will find readily available and well organized Tourist Information at your fingertips, and well informed and helpful staff to guide you through your visit to Toronto. These offices are a fantastic resource for those seeking the most out of their holiday. You will be able to find information on just about anything; from car hire to hotels, entertainment and transportation. It will only take a moment to drop in, and it will save you time and stress.

Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West

East York Civic Centre
850 Coxwell Avenue

Etobicoke Civic Centre
399 The West Mall

Metro Hall
55 John Street

North York Civic Centre
5100 Yonge Street

York Civic Centre
2700 Eglinton Ave. West


Toronto Museums – A city as diverse as Toronto obviously has a multitude of museums to choose from. Museums are an integral part of preserving history and culture and Toronto is only to happy to provide them. There are so many people from so many heritages living in the city that it is no surprise to discover so many interesting museums. With a museum for just about anything you can think of, if you like learning, this is the place for you!

Be sure to check out some of the more prominent Museums in Toronto, featured on our list below. Don't think that this a complete list, by any means! There are so many wonderful learning experiences to be had in Toronto that we strongly urge you to visit to find the ones that are right for you.

The Bata Shoe Museum (a wonderful history and collection of shoes)
327 Bloor St. West
(416) 979 7799

Ontario Science Centre (a fabulous hands on learning experience)
770 Don Mills Road
(416) 696 1000

The Royal Ontario Museum (a breathtaking world class museum)
100 Queen's Park
(416) 586 5549

Art Gallery of Ontario (one of North America's premier art galleries)
317 Dundas Street West
(416) 979 6648

Textile Museum of Canada (study of textiles from around the world)
55 Centre Avenue
(416) 599 5321

Toronto Powerplant Gallery (an eclectic collection of inventive art)
231 Queens Quay West
(416) 973 4949


Aside from live theatre, there are also a number of small rep cinemas in Toronto showcasing independent films and foreign titles. Film is big business in Toronto, nicknamed as Hollywood North because of the booming film industry. The Toronto International Film Festival happens every September and is well worth the journey.

Below are some of Toronto's premier theatre venues. Don't be afraid to look elsewhere though, this is only a small sampling of what Toronto Theatre has to offer you. Wander into one of the tiny downtown theatres, you won't be disappointed.

Theatre Passe Muraille
16 Ryerson Avenue
(416) 504 7529

Princess of Wales Theatre
300 King Street West
(416) 872 1212

The Canon Theatre
244 Victoria Street
(416) 364 4100

The Royal Alexandra Theatre
260 King Street West
(416) 872 1212

Second City Toronto
56 Blue Jays Way
(416) 343 0011

Harbourfront Centre Theatre
235 Queens Quay West
(416) 973 4000


Surrounded by nine major highways, Pearson Airport is easy to get to from downtown Toronto. There are also airport limousine services, and various modes of public transportation. There is no shortage of amenities either, as Pearson's 3 main terminals are fully stocked with car rental companies, restaurants, shopping and other services. There is a 500 room hotel adjacent to Terminal 3, for easier access to those late night or early morning flights.

Driving to Pearson Airport is worry free and direct. There are many highway routes you can take, including the 409 and 427, which provide direct access. Directions are also well posted from the Highways 400, 401, 403, 407, 410 and the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way). Once inside the airport grounds, be sure to follow directions to your terminal. Pearson is a large and busy airport and can be confusing if you are not careful. Routes to Terminal 1 are identified by yellow coloured signs, routes to Terminal 2 are identified by red coloured signs and routes to Terminal 3 are identified by silver coloured signs.

Shuttle Buses are available from many different locations within the city. Many of the major hotels have reasonably priced shuttle buses to and from the airport throughout the day. You can check the Toronto Transit Commission schedules at Alternately, check out the Pacific Western Airport Express at They provide wheelchair accessible buses on a 24 hour schedule to several locations across downtown Toronto. The GO Transit system is also a handy resource for getting to the airport and surrounding cities. You can reach them at

If you want to take a Taxi into the city, it will cost around $40.


The Toronto Summer is humid, and often long. Temperatures can reach as high as 90 degrees and remain so for up to a month. It's perfect for a day at one of the many outdoor attractions, or relaxing day on the beaches of Lake Ontario. Sunscreen is necessary as the sun is often out, and anything goes as far as clothing in Toronto; expect to wear shoes and shirts at the majority of restaurants and shops.

The season of Fall in Toronto is a beautiful sight. The leaves turn an array of colours and the temperature is still quite moderate. The city’s many parks are a joy to walk through in this season, and the city itself lovely to explore. Keep in mind you'll need a light jacket and a sweater at most times.

Although the Winters in Toronto can be cold, they are a sight to behold! It's a time when the whole city comes alive. All season long there are activities and holiday festivities going on, from hockey to skiing to outdoor concerts at Nathan Philips Square. Temperatures do drop to below freezing so be sure to pack a warm coat, hat, gloves, scarf and your warmest boots. Winter in Toronto is something special, and you don't want to have to stay inside.


Toronto Top 10 Attractions – Toronto has many attractions. In a city as diverse as this one, there really is something for everyone. Choose from many historical sites, such as Historic Fort York, or choose something a little more modern, such as the spectacular Toronto Zoo. There are so many attractions, museums, galleries, and markets the only difficulty will be finding the time to soak in all Toronto has to offer! You’ll want to visit all the different neighborhoods, which can take days in it!

Being the largest and most diverse city in Canada, Toronto is chock full of fun and interesting things to do, and exciting and eclectic people to show you around! The City of Toronto is intent on preserving its heritage and many cultures, so there are many historical attractions, and well as the modern facilities such as the Ontario Science Centre.

Whether your interests are sporting, artistic, nightlife or shopping, Toronto has it all. A child friendly city, there are fun activities to keep the whole family busy. Visit Toronto Zoo, the islands, the harbor, one of the literally hundreds of museums and arts centers and learn about Toronto. It’s an interesting city, and it’s waiting for you to explore it.

Toronto Top 10 Attractions

1. Toronto Zoo
2. SkyDome
3. Historic Distillery District 

4. Canadian National Exhibition
Historic Fort York
6. Toronto Islands
Casa Loma
8. CN Tower
Canada Walk of Fame
Hockey Hall of Fame

 Web site designed and maintained by Yaser Kherdaji
Toronto - Canada
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