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Top architectural sightseeing and landmarks of Toronto - ideas on city exploration routes

Toronto Skyline Casa Loma, Art Gallery of Ontario, Allan Gardens, and Toronto City Hall are the architectural landmarks, the names of which always remind you the words 'Toronto' and 'Canada'. And this is natural, since these prominent landmarks are the ones that shape the historical and architectural look of Toronto. Let’s look at these landmarks from high above, namely, from a bird’s eye view – click the video and make a flight over the architectural ensemble of Toronto. In the main article, you can also read the most interesting facts about every famous landmark of Toronto.

Casa Loma, Toronto

» Casa Loma is a magnificent castle. Its name is translated as “Hill House”. It belongs to Sir Henry Pellatt, a rich and eminent citizen. He and architect E. J. Lennox started the construction in 1911.
»  Before this, they had traveled to Europe to see castles and take note of their design. As a result, a private house was turned into a palace. The construction cost $3.5 million. The interior finishing cost the same.
»  In the castle, there are 98 fully-furnished rooms, a heated winter harden, a two-tier organ, and a spacious library. In the rooms, there are 50 phones although there are only about 200 phones in the whole city. There also several underground and secret passages.
»  Owners had been living in the castle for 10 years and had to sell it due to high taxes. The building had not been used until 1936. It was even offered to demolish it.
»  In 1937, the Kiwanis Club offered to equip it for tourists. On the ground floor, festive events and wedding ceremonies are held now. On the upper floors, there are museum exhibitions.

Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto

» The Art Gallery of Ontario is a big museum that houses 80 000 art exhibits. In the gallery, you can see sculptures, paintings, pictures, installations, and books.
»  Museum exhibits cover the period from the 1st century AD to the present day. They started to be collected in 1900.
»  The main fund is divided into three sectors: European paintings, works of Canadian artists, and Henry Moore’s sculptures. Here, you can see paintings of such European artists, as: Rembrandt, van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Chagall, and Picasso.
»  The exhibition of sculptures was organized by Henry Moore in 1974. He is considered as an enigmatic and inscrutable sculptor of the 20th century.
»  In 2008, the gallery was reconstructed. During the renovation, the halls were designed in the modern style by architect F. Gary. He was famous for such projects, as the Dancing House in Prague, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and the Music Museum in Seattle. After this, the number of halls has increased twice.
»  In the gallery, there is the biggest library in Canada.

Allan Gardens, Toronto

» Allan Gardens is a botanical garden with a total area of 1 500 m2. It was opened in 1860 by King Edward VII.
»  In 1879, the first glass pavilion was built. It served as a culture center where music concerts and famous people’s performances took place. In 1882, Oscar Wilde lectured here.
»  The garden was named “Allan Gardens” in 1901 when the Mayor and former Senator of Toronto George Allan died.
»  The botanical garden includes 5 winter pavilions where plants from different countries and continents grow. In the park, you can see different species of squirrels and a lot of pigeons.
»  There are even special elevated flowerbeds for disabled people to look after flowers and reap their own harvest. The workers lecture on gardening for blind, deaf, and mute people.
»  Every month, festivals where visitors can go on the rides, ride a horse, and taste treats are held.

Toronto City Hall, Toronto

» 42 countries made applications for the international architectural competition on the renovation of the Toronto City Hall. The competition was won by a Finnish architect. A new building was opened in 1965.
»  In the square, there are rectangular twin towers of different heights. One tower has 27 floors (about 100 m) and the other - 20 floors (about 80 m). The facade was finished with ribbed concrete and glass, which protects from strong winds.
»  The towers look like concave panels. They “circle” the third building of the complex, a round city hall.
»  Futuristic skyscrapers are linked at a height with a building that resembles the UFO with its shape of a white wheel. Its entrances are below. Any visitor can easily enter it.
»  From above, the building resembles a pupil circled with eyelids. The citizens call the City Hall “The Eye of Government”. The City Council holds meetings here. The complex looks very spectacular in the evenings when it is illuminated with spotlights.
»  There is a square with a fountain in front of the City Hall. On a makeshift scene, concerts and other public events are held. In winter, its area turns into a skating rink.

University of Toronto, Toronto

» The University of Toronto became a secular institution in 1850. Before, it had been named “King's College” and controlled by the Church of England.
»  The university comprises 12 colleges where students study at 14 faculties.
»  The University Library is a ten-storey building. The central building of the university is considered as an architectural monument.
»  The branches of the campus are located in several districts of the city. Students of the university have an opportunity to be engaged in any sports activity.
»  This institution is highly-rated. It is declared the best and most innovative university in Canada. It has a higher employment rate than other universities.

St. James Cathedral, Toronto

» St. James Cathedral started to be built in the second half of the 19th century. It was opened to parishioners in 1853.
»  It was the highest building in the city. The bell tower of the Gothic cathedral is crowned by a spire. For many years, it had served as a reference point for ships sailing into the harbor.
»  The construction was also aimed at symbolizing the will to go up to God. The cathedral was designed in the New Gothic style.
»  It is distinguished by a tower with a clock and a spire, transepts, and tips. The altar is hidden by black hazel panels. There is also a long hallway.
»  There are a lot of benches to which you can come up from both sides. Stained glass windows, pointed arches, and high ceilings let much natural light in the rooms.
»  St. James Cathedral is the first Anglican Church in Toronto. It was built on the foundation of the burned one. The building had constantly been rebuilt, extended, and decorated with new insets.
»  St. James Cathedral is home to the diocese of Toronto. The ashes of the first Anglican bishop were buried under the altar.

Air Canada Centre, Toronto

» Air Canada Centre is an indoor sports ground. Here, players of the Canadian hockey team and basketball players of Toronto train.
»  The centre is financed by Air Canada. That is why its second name is ACC or Hangar. Its total area is 62 000 m2. Air Canada Centre is the 11th in the global attendance ranking and accommodates up to 20 000 sports fans.
»  The multifunctional centre was opened in February 1999. The construction cost about $300 million. World and pre-game sessions are held in the centre.
»  It had been named Air Canada Centre for 19 years. On 1 June 2018, it was renamed Scotiabank Arena. The company bought the right to the name for C$800 million.
»  If there are no seats left at the stadium, you can watch a game on the big screen outside. There is also an interactive area with the first entrance to Air Canada Centre.
»  Here, you can buy pictures with famous players’ autographs and other souvenirs. It is the most popular stadium not only in Canada but also in the whole world where a lot of events are held. According to performers and spectators’ assessments, the center is also in the top 5 best stadiums due to its convenient location, comfortable inner rooms, and good acoustics.
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