What do a pair of Elton John’s high heels, a Gothic castle and the world’s largest hydraulophone have in common? They all feature on this list of the top attractions in Toronto, Canada.
Some attractions in Toronto – such as the skyline-busting CN Tower, the turrets of the Casa Loma and the thunderous Niagara Falls down the road – stand out like Drake in the front row of the Scotiabank Arena. However, others – like the merchants of St Lawrence Market, the boutiques of the Distillery District and the murals of Kensington Market – take a little more discovery. Culture Trip has done the hard work for you by rounding up the top 18 attractions in Toronto you need to add to your itinerary.
If you’re expecting your stock-standard hall of mirrors and a couple of shrinking hallways, prepare for a shock. Toronto’s Museum of Illusions is a very contemporary take on the old fairground funhouse – a minimalist space that opened in 2018 with an Instagram front of mind. Found on Front Street East with tickets starting at 23.50 Canadian dollars ($17.93), the museum feels more like an art gallery than some cheesy carnival attraction, with each piece explaining the visual trickery at play as well as a marker pointing out the perfect selfie spot.
While a museum dedicated to shoes might sound about as exciting as a trip to a cardboard box factory, the Bata Shoe Museum is one of the quirkiest, coolest and most compelling collections in all of Canada. Sitting just down the block from the ROM in a building shaped like a shoebox, this museum steps (get it?) through the 4,500-year history of footwear, from indigenous boots worn in the Arctic to snappy sliver platforms donned by Elton John. At 14 Canadian dollars ($10.89), it’s also one of the most affordable attractions in Toronto.
A mall wouldn’t normally appear on a Culture Trip list of must-visit attractions, but the Eaton Centre isn’t your average mall. Attracting around 50 million visitors each year, this Toronto institution is the busiest mall in the whole of North America – even busier than Minnesota’s gargantuan Mall of America. Located in the middle of downtown, the Eaton Centre boasts more than 250 retailers – more than enough to give any shopaholic their retail fix in The Six.
If the Distillery District is a time capsule to 19th-century industrial Toronto, this open-air heritage museum is a snapshot of rural life in that same era. About 19mi (30km) north of the city center and an even longer trip back in time, Black Creek Pioneer Village recreates life in 1867 with restored homes, stores, farms, churches and schools, plus a dedicated crew of costumed villagers. At 15 Canadian dollars ($11.44) for adults and 11 dollars ($8.39) for children, it’s the cheapest ticket to a time machine.
This is an updated version of an article originally created by Emily Paskevics.