From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, Toronto’s landscape is a mosaic of neighborhoods, each with its unique character and story to tell. As the capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada, Toronto stands as a testament to the country’s multicultural identity and progressive spirit. In this blog, we’ll embark on a captivating journey through the heart of the Great White North, shedding light on the magnetic allure of Toronto through 10 interesting facts that you probably didn’t know.
1. The City with Many Names
In the 17th century, although with different spellings in English and French, Toronto bore a close resemblance to its modern name. However, it underwent a name change and was known as York in Upper Canada. Despite efforts to bring back the name Toronto, petitions to do so were consistently rejected until 1834 when the change finally occurred. Fast forward to the present, Toronto proudly embraces various nicknames, including one that might perplex even Canadians – “The 6ix.” Popularized by Drake, this term signifies the city’s original six areas.
2. Kaleidoscope of Cultures
Toronto’s official motto is “Diversity Our Strength”. Why is that you might ask? Well, Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities on the planet! To put things into perspective – there are over 250 ethnicities and 170 languages represented in the Toronto Region! According to the 2016 Canadian census, 16 countries have over 50,000 people represented in the Toronto Region, including 337,000 from India, 300,000 from China, and 200,000 from the Philippines. How multicultural the city is, speaks of the fact that there are nearly twice as many people living in the Toronto Region who were born in Greece than there are living in Santorini!
3. Go Jays!
The Toronto Blue Jays are a Canadian professional baseball team based in Toronto. The name “Blue Jays” originates from the bird of the same name, and blue is also the traditional color of Toronto’s collegiate and professional sports teams including the Maple Leafs (ice hockey) and the Argonauts (Canadian football). But, did you know that the team has produced numerous Hall of Fame players? Blue Jays legends such as Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter, and Roy Halladay have been enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
ABC Toronto 2023 participants at a Blue Jays game
4. Don’t forget your suit!
Toronto means business – literally and metaphorically. It is home to hundreds of mega-successful companies who compete in demanding contemporary markets. They have learned how to develop an idea into a real, successful business. According to Toronto Global, it is also home to notable AI research labs such as NVIDIA AI Lab, Samsung AI Lab, and Sanofi AI Centre of Excellence. With Toronto being the second-largest financial center in North America, it makes it a great place to develop your business idea!
5. The longest street in the world
Have you ever wondered just how long are the world’s longest streets? Believe it or not, some of them can be more than 50 kilometers long! Toronto won this competition because the longest street in the world, Yonge Street, is 56 kilometers long! It has been declared a National Historic Site and listed in the Guinness Book of Records! Yonge Street is perfect for discovering the main attractions of Toronto, such as St. Lawrence Market, the CN Tower, and Alexander Muir Gardens.
6. Cultural center
Toronto, a cultural hub, hosts the renowned TIFF – Toronto International Film Festival and over 70 minor festivals, drawing nearly 500,000 people. It houses cultural gems like The Canadian Opera Company, The National Ballet of Canada, The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. TIFF, a city highlight, is eagerly anticipated by citizens throughout the year, with its “People’s Choice Award” often foreshadowing Oscar success in the film industry.
7. The Toronto Public Library
8. Car-free communities
The Toronto Islands, also called the Island, or Toronto Island Park, are a 13-minute ferry ride from downtown Toronto. The Island is a group of 15 islands inter-connected by pathways and bridges. But did you know that the community there doesn’t get around by car? They rather go by foot, bicycle, kayak, canoe, or other means! Of course, there are some cars on the island, but only service vehicles are permitted!
9. Under the ground
Toronto has the longest street in the world, but did you know that it also has one of the biggest underground pedestrian walkway networks? Named PATH, this extensive network spans over 30 kilometers. The PATH boasts 3.7 million square feet of retail space, connecting over 75 buildings with 1,200 restaurants, shops, and services. Six subway stations, three major department stores, nine hotels, and Toronto’s busiest transit hub – Union Station – are accessible through the PATH.
10. 1776 steps later…
The CN Tower, an iconic symbol of Toronto’s skyline, stands as one of the world’s tallest freestanding structures. Soaring at 553.3 meters, this architectural marvel offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and beyond. Built in 1976, it held the title of the world’s tallest tower for over three decades. It took over 1,000 workers to build the CN Tower and, twice a year, you can take the stairs if you want to! The CN Tower Climb challenge takes place every year where you have the chance to conquer 144 flights of stairs – consisting of 1,776 steps!
This is only a small portion of what Toronto has to offer! Rich with culture, history, and intriguing facts, this dynamic city enchants us with its diversity. From impressive architectural accomplishments such as the CN Tower to world-known cultural events like TIFF, Toronto never fails to surprise! If you want to experience its magic, and, at the same time, learn how to turn your business idea into a reality, make sure to check out our summer school. See you there?