Today I had my first pre-TBEX tour – The First Timer’s Special: All About Toronto, and it was a whirlwind!
From the entertainment district to St. Lawrence Market, the financial district to Queen’s Park, Forest Hill through to Chinatown – there was quite a lot of information to fit into three hours!
That said, since the tour was full of facts and figures about the city, I thought I’d share the top ten fun facts (some impressive, some geeky) that I learned.
Top Ten Fun Facts About Toronto
10. Toronto has approximately 200 cultures! 200!
9. Toronto’s PATH is the world’s largest underground complex. Linking offices, attractions and shopping arcades, it’s got to be big – it has 29 kilometers worth of walkways!
8. The hospitals concentrated on University Avenue are all actually linked by a tunnel 20ft underground in case a patient needs to be moved.
7. The new City Hall is designed by a fella from Sweden – when viewed from above, the Council Chamber is supposed to look like an eye between two sets of lashes.
6. Toronto’s Island Park is actually a 900-acre floating sandbag. It’s also where Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run.
5. Casa Loma’s original inhabitant was able to build the lavish castle because of the money he made providing electricity to the city. He started losing money when Sir Alex Beck’s generation system was set up on Niagara Falls.
4. Front Street is called as such because it used to be the front of the harbour. The few blocks between the current harbour and where the water used to come up to on Front Street are actually all landfill.
3. Toronto was originally established in 1793 as York by Governor John Graves Simcoe who thought the location was a less vulnerable than the previous capital of Newark to an attack by ‘evil Americans’.
2. Toronto has more condominium and high rise buildings than any other place in North America. And has many more permits for the upcoming years!
1. When the City Hall moved into what was called “The Ward” – the Jewish neighborhood between College, University, Queen and Yonge streets – the Jewish community moved to where employment could be found, specifically in the textile hub of Kensington Market. Times have changed – this is now better known as Chinatown.
Fake islands and harbours, underground passages and an intense turnover in cultures. Cool, huh?