Casa Loma#8 in Best Things To Do in Toronto
Love castles? So did Sir Henry Pellatt, a former soldier whose lifelong dream was to build a castle overlooking Toronto. The 98-room Casa Loma – built in the early 1900s – took nearly three years to construct and cost more than $3.5 million to complete. The only full-size castle in North Toronto, this grand home features everything one would need to feel like a king: towers, horse stables, secret passageways and a massive wine cellar that can hold more than 1,800 bottles. There's also an immaculate 5-acre garden outfitted with fountains and sculptures, as well as wildflowers when the weather's right.
According to recent visitors, this quirky attraction will certainly appeal to history buffs, museum-goers and families (kids love the 800-foot-long underground tunnel connecting the house to the stables). Even if you don't identify as one of those travelers, visitors' collective sentiment of the castle's stunning interiors are enough to illicit a trip.
Located about 3 miles north of downtown Toronto, you can get to Casa Loma by getting off at the Dupont subway station. Casa Loma is open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entry at 4:30 p.m.). Admission ranges from CA$30 for adults (about $23) to CA$20 (about $13) for kids. If you purchased a CityPASS, your admission fee is included. Self-guided multimedia tours are also included in general admission. In addition to restrooms, there are three eateries on-site, as well as a gift shop. For more information, visit the Casa Loma website.
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#1 Toronto Islands
When you're in need of a break from the hustle and bustle of Canada's biggest city, hop a ferry to the Toronto Islands. This collection of islands and islets offers a welcome touch of green to the city's skyscraper-speckled mainland. The three islands, Centre, Ward's and Algonquin, are all connected, so you don't have to worry about having to get on and off a boat to fully experience the area. Each main island offers something different. Centre Island lives up to its name, providing the most in terms of activities. There, visitors will find expansive picnic areas, beaches, sporting rentals and the Centreville Amusement Park, which features more than 30 rides, a petting zoo and a boating lagoon. Ward and Algonquin are more laid-back, dotted with 1920s-style cottages and English gardens. Hanlan's Point, located next to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport at the northeastern tip of the island, features the area's only clothing optional beach, as well as a lighthouse believed to be haunted. All of the islands are largely car-free, making them the perfect venue for a peaceful stroll, bike ride or picnic. And while the winter brings biting winds and lots of snow, the Toronto Islands are also a great place for cross-country skiing and ice skating.
Travelers and locals alike both take to the Toronto Islands. Recent visitors said it's a great place to take a long breather from the big city atmosphere of Toronto. Many say the incredible views of the city's skyline are reason alone to visit. However, some visitors found the area to be overrun, especially in Centre Island. Others also expressed disappointment with the inflated prices for amenities in and near the Centreville Amusement Park. Otherwise, the majority of visitors, especially those with families, thoroughly enjoyed their time on the island.
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