Friday, October 03, 2014

Timeless Toronto

Whether you're a tourist or a resident of the multicultural haven, Toronto has lots to offer from the old to the new, and everything in-between. You must be willing to seek out the hidden gems though, don’t just travel to the common touristic destinations. To save you some time seeking, Oh George has put together a list of timeless places you must not skip.

Casa Loma

Step back in time in this breathtaking Gothic Revival mansion that has stunning gardens and inspiring interiors. Built in the mid-1910s, it became property of the city and a museum soon after, due to its owner Sir Henry Mill Pellatt’s financial troubles. Very few know that Casa Loma isn’t just the castle-style house, it also includes a Hunting Lodge and stables which are just across the street, hidden amongst other beautiful residences. There is a tunnel connecting them to the main house, as well as a secret staircase, both of which are open for public viewing. Ghost stories and several mysteries haunt Casa Loma, adding to the allure of the dark, romantic and sophisticated mansion.

Nathan Phillips Square

At Christmas time, there’s no place more magical than this outdoor skating rink in the very heart of the city. Lace-up and glide your way through all the lights and ornaments decorating the converted rink, which in the warm months is a reflecting pool. The plaza where it’s in is full of other landmarks, including Toronto’s current and former City Halls, a piece of the Berlin Wall, a Peace Garden dedicated to the bombing of Hiroshima and world peace, and much more.

The Fashion District

You are dared to find a more eclectic and colourful neighbourhood than this part of Downtown Toronto. With places ranging from hidden art galleries, homegrown label stores, products straight from the manufacturers, and Italian designer textiles, there’s lots to see and to shop in this former manufacturing centre of Canada. Recently declared the ‘World’s Second Coolest Neighbourhood’ by Vogue magazine, it might just be worth a visit.

Bata Shoe Museum

If you have a passion for shoes, you can’t pass up a visit to the this chic museum. Created by Sonja Bata in the 40s, it is North America’s only museum dedicated to the history of footwear. Although three of its four exhibitions are constantly changing, the museum does house special gems such as vintage Louboutin heels, Elton John's monogrammed silver platform boots, Queen Victoria’s ballroom slippers, Elvis Presley’s patent loafers and more. Its vast collections of footwear from around the world and from major historical periods have even included prehistoric shoes dating back nearly 5,000 years!

TIFF Bell Lightbox

This cultural centre is the pulse of Toronto’s pure passion for cinematography. It contains the headquarters of Toronto’s acclaimed International Film Festival or TIFF, five cinemas showcasing curated films, two galleries dedicated to film and art history, a three-story public atrium, three learning studios, a centre for scholars and students, a bistro, restaurant, stunning rooftop terrace and more. The main attraction each year is the film festival which happens in the Fall, where masses of industry professionals and Hollywood actors gather to screen hundreds of films from 72 countries. But don’t worry, in the wintertime this cinema harbour is just as alive and kicking as an action-packed movie.

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