Culture. Eclectic. Diverse. Those are the words that came to mind as I explored Toronto this week. Never have I seen a city that so fully embraces its diversity. Chinatown stretches for miles. Little Italy has restaurants people flock to for great Italian fare. You'll find authentic Indian food in Little India. The list goes on, but the neighborhoods aren't just about cuisine. They're about culture. Diverse cultures, alive and well, living side by side in Toronto.
In addition to its diverse population, Toronto offers a cornucopia of experiences for visitors. The city is known as the city of festivals and it's hard to find a time of year when there's not at least one festival. One of the more popular is the Luminato Festival. Celebrating its third year this June, Luminato brings together more than 1500 artists, performers and musicians in an extraordinary cross-discipline event that attracted more than one million people in 2008.
Museums are another treasure in Toronto. The Gardiner Museum showcases the world of ceramics and porcelain and features a wonderful restaurant Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner. If the museum alone weren't fabulous, the restaurant by the award-winning chef is worth the visit. They serve lunch daily from 11:30 to 2:30 and dinner on Friday from 6 – 8:30. Reservations are recommended for dinner. 416-362-1957.
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is another masterpiece. With the addition of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, the facility offers breathtaking city views. Inside, you'll find everything from Ancient Egyptian collections to textiles to a gallery of massive dinosaurs.
The Art Gallery of Ontario, with its dramatic $254-million renovation designed by Frank Gehry includes thousands of works of art.
Another don't-miss site while in Toronto is the Distillery District. Housed in what was once a working distillery, you'll find a unique collection of shops and studios, ranging from high-end galleries and studios to working artist studios, a theatre company, restaurants, brewery, even a school. You'll almost always find something happening there. During the summer, you'll be able to enjoy the district from one of the many outdoor patios.
Even with all the great museums, wonderful food and world-class hotels, the best part of Toronto is the culture and the people who breath magic into the city. So be sure while you're there to take time to wander the streets, explore the culture, and sit for a cup of coffee as the city goes past.
Need a place to stay where you can feel pampered, making your trip in Toronto truly a memorable location? Try Hotel Le Germain. This boutique hotel in the heart of Toronto's entertainment district is all about comfort and luxury. In the fall and winter, the smell of the burning logs in the fireplace will make you feel as if you've finally arrived home. Call 866-345-9501 for reservations.
Be sure to check out what's happening at www.seetorontonow.com while you plan your trip to Toronto. Enjoy Toronto!