Thursday, 1 August 2013

Quick Introduction to Toronto

In my last post, I introduced some of the important places in University of Toronto. I thought it might be a good idea to introduce some of the interesting places in downtown Toronto too. In this post, I will introduce you to places where you can shop and eat. Also, I will show how to get around in Toronto.

View of CN tower, the symbol of Toronto, from UofT

I will begin my introduction with CN tower, the symbol of Toronto. The CN tower is located at the heart of downtown Toronto. Its distance away from Lake Ontario, the lake that is south of Toronto, is roughly only 600m. So, if you are lost your sense of direction in downtown and you know roughly where you are, all you need to look for is CN tower. When you face CN tower, you are facing south (most of the time). You don't even need a compass when you have the CN tower. Putting that aside, you should visit CN tower when you have the chance. It has a great of view of Toronto.

To further discuss about Toronto, let us bring up the map of downtown Toronto. I have highlighted the places I about to mention.

Map of downtown Toronto
Let's begin the discussion on transportation. The company which manages transportation in Toronto is called TTC. My own personal view is that TTC is probably the most incompetent transportation company in North America. You understand why in a moment. There is only 2 major subway lines in Toronto, highlighted in Yellow and Green in the map. Basically, these subway lines will only get you to important places, nothing more than that. So, if you want to go some not so important places, prepare to transfer a few times before you get to your destination. At this point, I do want to let you know that the yellow line goes from North to South, whereas the green line goes from West to East. One final note on transportation - if you live far away from downtown, make sure you live near a subway station. Personally, I prefer to live downtown.

Now, let's turn our focus to where to shop and eat. There are basically three major places to do all of these - Eaton Centre, Chinatown and Bloor Street. They are all marked on the map above. Eaton Centre is the largest mall in Toronto. It has a lot of shops that sell clothing and it has a huge food court. The goods sold here are slightly above normal but it is a convenient place that you can easy get to using subway. Then, we have Chinatown. If you don't mind the noise, crowd (and maybe smell), then this is a good place to get cheap food and groceries. A typical good dinner will only cost you around $15. Buying grocery is even cheaper. You can get a week of grocery for the price of $20 - $40. Finally, we have Bloor Street. Bloor Street can be divided into 2 parts - the East of St. George and the West of St. George. The west part of Bloor Street is filled with restaurants of all varieties, while the east part of Bloor Street is filled with mainly boutiques (which includes a lot of luxury brands). The restaurants on Bloor Street are relatively reasonable too. The price range is typically $15 which is similar to what you get in Chinatown. However, for other goods, the price may vary quite a bit. Nonetheless, it is one street which you can find all the stuff you need (if you don't mind walking a lot).

This basically finishes my introduction to downtown Toronto. I do want to emphasize that I have left out a lot of other places. The places I introduce are the places which you probably visit most often in your daily life. For a list of attractions in Toronto, please click here

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