With so much to see, do, and experience, Toronto offers something for everyone which is why it’s one of the best cities in the world.
Here are 71+ facts you should know about Toronto, so next time you’re on a date, hanging out with friends, or giving someone a tour of Toronto, you can share your impressive knowledge of the city.
Let’s get started…
1. Hanlan’s Point Stadium in Centre Island is where Babe Ruth made his first professional home run.
2. The Toronto streetcar system is both the largest and busiest system in the Western world in terms of regular riders, length of track and number of cars.
3. Running west along York and Front Street, the first Union Station was opened by the Grand Trunk Railway in 1858.
4. Toronto has 301 days of measurable sunshine. December has the fewest days – only 19, while July and August have on average 30 days.
5. Toronto ranks 5th for the best location for millennials to live.
6. Pizza Pizza was founded in 1967, the same year Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup. Pizza Pizza now has 500 locations.
7. Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market, one of Canada’s oldest continuously operating markets, is 213 years old (2016)
8. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Toronto was -31.3C on January 4, 1981. The wind chill on that day was -44.7C, the coldest ever.
9. The highest temperatures ever recorded were 41C from July 7-9 in 1936.
10. Over 30% of Toronto residents speak a language other than English and French.
11. Over 21 million people visit Toronto on an annual basis. There are about a quarter of a million people who work in tourism and hospitality. Brazil, India, China and South Korea are the fastest grown markets for Toronto.
12. Toronto ranks second as the world’s most business competitive global city.
13. Toronto ranks as the twelfth most economically powerful city in the world – based on economic output, innovation, its’ global economic power score and its’ financial center score.
14. Yonge Street was formerly a part of Highway 11, which led to claims that Yonge Street was the longest street in the world.
15. The first Canadian National Exhibition began in 1879, then called the Toronto Industrial Exhibition, is held on what will become the CNE grounds. The initial event proves to be a monumental success.
16. Massey Hall, the “grande dame” of local music halls, has been part of Toronto’s music history since 1894.
17. Toronto’s famous Horseshoe Tavern is 71 years old.
18. The Toronto Zoo is the largest zoo in Canada. It is home to over 16,000 animals representing 491 species on over 710 acres of land.
19. Yorkville was once a cemetery. Around 30 years ago, the cemetery was called “Potter’s Field” and was the burial site for several people who had died from waterborne diseases. Some 6,700 people were buried north and west of Yonge and Bloor Sts. until the cemetery closed in 1855. It’s a good guess that under the office towers along Bloor and the boutiques and restaurants on Cumberland Ave. plenty of settlers still rest peacefully.
20. There is a hidden subway station beneath Queen. During the time the Toronto subway system was being constructed, a corridor was hollowed out underneath Queen station. It was initially meant to house underground streetcars, but was abandoned because it was later decided that Queen would be developed as a full-fledged underground subway system instead. Today, that hollow corridor, which is coined “Lower Queen Station”, ends at a retaining wall.
21. The PATH is the largest underground pedestrian system in North America. It connects 1200 stores and restaurants, 50 office towers, 20 parking garages, five subway stations and a railway terminal over its’ twenty eight kilometre length. Each letter in PATH is a different colour representing a different direction:
- P is red and points south
- A is orange and points west
- T is blue and directs north
- H is yellow and points east
Find the full map of the PATH here.
22. The world’s largest underground sidewalk sale happens once a year with all the businesses found along the PATH.
23. Sugar Beach was named for its proximity to the Redpath Sugar refinery.
24. The Toronto Pearson International Airport is named after Lester B Pearson, 44th Prime Minister, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
25. Movie stars from Toronto include Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, and Eugene Levy, and many more.
26. At Christmas time, Nathan Phillips Square holds a 60-foot tree decorated with 12,000 LED lights and 700 ornaments and it takes 2 weeks to decorate it.
27. You can walk around the edge of the observation level of the CN Tower over 350m in the air. Explore the Edge Walk on Kibii.
28. Toronto is North America’s third largest venue for movie production. There are over 25,000 jobs in feature film production.
29. The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967. And despite being consistently one of the worst teams in the NHL, they have a loyal fan base and tickets are always sold out.
30. Tim Hortons dominates over 60% of the coffee market in Canada.
32. Dual language street signs can be found in Little Italy, Little Portugal, and Chinatown.
33. On the summer solstice, the sun rises at 5:37 am and sets at 9:03 pm. On the winter solstice, the sun rises at 7:50 am and sets at 4:45 pm.
34. There are 52 outdoor skating rinks in Toronto – open from the beginning of December until the end of February.
35. The creator of Saturday Night Live, Lorne Michaels attended the University of Toronto.
36. Toronto’s city-owned museums contain approximately 1 million archaeological exhibits.
37. Almost half of Toronto’s population (46%) were born outside of Canada.
38. High Park is Toronto’s largest public park. Walk along the Grenadier Pond and you won’t feel like you’re in a big city. It also boasts a zoo, playgrounds, a dog park, sports facilities and many hiking trails.
39. The Toronto Islands were once sand bars originating from the Scarborough Bluffs. Lake Ontario currents moved the sandbars west, bringing eroded stone from the Bluffs along with it. An aggressive storm in 1858 blew a hole at the base of the mainland separating the end of it and creating an island.
40. The TD Towers were the first skyscrapers to dominate the Toronto Skyline. Before that, the tallest building was only 36 storeys.
41. The Eaton Centre is the third largest mall in Canada.
42. Caribana is the largest single-day parade in North America. The parade route is 3.6 kilometers long. It starts at 10 am and finishes sometime around 8 pm. Over one million spectators come to see over 10,000 costumed participants.
43. Toronto is considered to be one of the most multicultural cities in the world.
44. Nathan Phillips Square is named after the mayor of Toronto from 1955-1962. Toronto’s City Hall is located at the square.
45. Toronto is 76.5 metres above sea level. The highest point – 209 metres – is at the intersection of Steeles Avenue West and Keele Street.
46. Out of all of North America, Toronto ranks as the fourth largest city.
47. Toronto’s shoreline stretches 43 kilometres as the crow flies – or 138 kilometres if bays and islands are factored in.
48. There are over 1,600 named parks in Toronto. Whenever anyone thinks of Toronto, they usually think of a vast concrete jungle, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any green spaces.
49. In fact, 18.1% of the Toronto city area is parkland.
50. There are about 10 million trees in Toronto of which four million are publicly owned.
51. There is a “Half House” on St. Patrick’s St. Back in the 1950s, the owner of the house didn’t want to sell it to the company that bought out all of the other houses on the street for restructuring. Legally, the company was only able to obtain half of the house.
52. The Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome) is the world’s first retractable-dome stadium.
53. You’ll find over 35,000 hotel rooms in Toronto.
54. Toronto is one of the largest cultural centers in North America. You’ll find The National Ballet Company, The Canadian Opera Company, The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir as well as loads of small theatres and those boasting Broadway-style productions.
55. Toronto is home to over 70 film festivals. TIFF – the Toronto International Film Festival is an annual occurrence every September. Lots of big-name movie stars make an appearance while it is on.
56. TIFF is the second most celebrated in the world after Cannes.
57. Toronto’s transit system is the second largest in North America and has the highest per capita ridership rate. I do wish they’d work harder to clean up the subway stations though.
58. Toronto is home to 8,100 restaurants and bars, representing 6.5% of all businesses in the city.
59. The multicultural population of the GTA is expected to reach 9 million people by 2036.
60. At 28 stories high, the Fairmont Royal York Hotel was considered the tallest building in the British Empire when it opened in 1929
61. Toronto is the only Canadian city with representation in 7 major league sports.
62. Only 7% of Toronto citizens regularly refer to the city as “The 6ix” – everyone else just calls it plain Toronto.
63. Over 180 languages and dialects are spoken in the city.
64. Around 200,000 people pass through Union Station on a standard business day (Monday-Friday).
65. Toronto is the fifth largest city in North America – it’s only beaten by Mexico City, New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
66. The word “Toronto” comes from the Mohawk phrase “taronto” which means “where trees grow in water”. Originally, the term referred to a channel of water between Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching.
67. The Rogers Centre (previously known as the SkyDome) was the first stadium in the world with a retractable roof. You can find it in downtown Toronto and watch all kinds of sports matches there.
68. Many films have used Casa Loma as a set, including:
- Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
- The Vow
70. Casa Loma was the former estate of Sir Henry Pellat & his wife Lady Pellat. The castle took three years to build starting in 1911 with 300 workers and cost $3,500,000 at the time! However, the Pellats only lived there for less than 10 years due to their financial misfortune.
71. About 25% of Hollywood films are filmed in Toronto, making the city one of the most popular places for movie production. Toronto film and tv actors include Mike Myers, Eugene Levy, Jim Carrey, John Candy, Eric McCormack, Catherine O’Hara, and Howie Mandel to name a few.
72. Toronto ranked 7th, tied with Tokyo, of 140 cities in the 2018 Economist’s Livability Survey.