Frank Gunn  /  AP file
A couple watches the final glow of the setting sun behind the Toronto skyline.
updated 5/9/2007 2:05:13 PM ET 2007-05-09T18:05:13

Summer is always a good time to visit Toronto, Canada's bustling and cosmopolitan city on the north shore of Lake Ontario, and this year it's the scene of an ambitious new international arts festival.

Events run the gamut from music to visual arts and design at Luminato the city's June 1-10 festival of arts, creativity and fun. The music side includes jazz, opera, "world music" and a comedic "Not the Messiah" inspired by the Monty Python movie "Life of Brian." Theater has a broad collection of dramas, and there's a "Family Events" category with exhibits, a "Carnivalissima" carnival, a drumming festival and a celebration of the '60s called "Summer of Love." The 100 or so events include some that are free.

Some events are scheduled for the Distillery a 13-acre national historic site and pedestrian-only district in an industrial area of Toronto that once was a huge distillery. Today, its brick buildings are home to artists' studios and galleries, cafes and restaurants, and stores featuring imported and Canadian products. Take a quick look at the photo gallery.

But don't forget the rest of the city. Tourism Toronto has city maps, a "Virtual Tour" slide show (look for No. 5, the sunset), and guides to all the shopping, night life, sports and family outings you can fit into your visit. Then dive into "What to See + Do" for more ideas, including tours and itinerary suggestions, plus guides to neighborhoods such as the Harbourfront, Little Italy, Chinatown, Old Town and Cabbagetown, which is nicer than it sounds.

If you drive you can save a buck or two, because Tourism Toronto's shopping section includes a link to the duty free shops at the international border between Toronto and Niagara Falls, N.Y. Some tourists who drive might also take tents and sleeping bags, so "Where to Stay" includes a link to the Glen Rouge Campground in the city's own 12,000-acre Rouge Park. For more possibilities on places to stay, check out "Special Offers" for hotel packages built around themes such as shopping, family, sightseeing and romance.

Don't worry about the weather. Toronto has PATH a 16-mile network of underground arcades full of shops and with connections to major buildings, parking, subway stations, hotels and attractions. It's included in the city government's visitors' Web site along with links to a downtown map, public transit pass, city museums and the GO Transit system.

From the underground, go to the other extreme at the CN Tower where you can dine in the revolving 360 Restaurant, more than 1,100 feet above the city, or go still higher to one of the observation decks, including the Sky Pod at a dizzying 1,465 feet up. If the height makes you chicken out, you can still enjoy the surrounding Entertainment District with its restaurants, boutiques, hotels and live theater.

Outside the city, you could get tickets for Shaw Festival 07 specializing in the plays of George Bernard Shaw at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Or, you could head west from Toronto to the city of Stratford and its Stratford Summer Music festival and its Stratford Festival of Canada featuring Shakespearean drama and more recent works such as "Oklahoma" and "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Toronto: An urban gem

loading photos...
  1. Casa Loma Garden

    The former home of Canadian financier Sir Henry Pellatt, Canada's foremost castle is complete with decorated suites, secret passages, an 800-foot tunnel, towers, stables and beautiful 5-acre estate gardens (open May-Oct.). (Tourism Toronto) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Nathan Phillips Square

    Nathan Phillips Square is a city square that forms the front (south) entrance to Toronto City Hall or 'New City Hall', and features an ice rink/reflecting pool, a peace garden, and the 'Three-Way Piece No. 2' ('The Archer') by Henry Moore at the north end in front of City Hall. (Tourism Toronto) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. The Rexall Centre

    The Rexall Centre is an international tennis center built with the local community in mind. The park-like setting provides dining, shopping and interactive activities to add to the tennis experience. (Matthew Stockman / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. The Toronto Zoo

    Sumatran tiger cubs play in their pen at the Toronto Zoo. (Adrian Wyld / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Royal Ontario Museum

    A totem pole extends towards the skylight in the main stairwell of the Royal Ontario Museum. (Tourism Toronto) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Air Canada Centre

    The Air Canada Centre, often referred to simply as The ACC, is a multi-purpose arena located on Bay Street in downtown Toronto, Ontario. It is the home of the Toronto Raptors of the NBA, the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL, and the Toronto Rock of the NLL. It was also home to the Toronto Phantoms of the AFL during their brief existence. (Robert Laberge / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Chinatown

    Toronto has the second largest Chinatown in North America and the largest when all six Chinatowns are grouped as one. It has grown significantly over the years and has come to reflect a diverse set of Asian cultures through its shops and restaurants, including Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai. (Tourism Toronto) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Rogers Centre

    The Rogers Centre is home to Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays and the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts. While it is primarily a sports venue, Rogers Centre also hosts other large-scale events such as conventions, trade fairs and concerts. (Harry How / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Hockey Hall of Fame

    The Hockey Hall of Fame which celebrates the history of ice hockey with exhibits featuring memorabilia and NHL trophies (including the Stanley Cup). (Tourism Toronto) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Eaton Centre

    The Toronto Eaton Centre is a large shopping mall and office complex in downtown Toronto, and is a top tourist attraction. One of the most prominent sights in the shopping mall is the group of fibre glass Canada Geese hanging from the ceiling. This sculpture, named Flight Stop, is the work of artist Michael Snow. (Tourism Toronto) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Toronto skyline

    The Toronto skyline with a view of the CN Tower, at 1,815 feet, 5 inches tall, is the world's tallest freestanding structure on land. It is considered the signature icon of the city; more than two million international visitors are attracted annually to the tower. Guinness World Records has listed the CN Tower as the world's tallest 'building' for 30 years. (Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments