When Britain took over this area from France in 1763 the population was sparse. All this changed in after the Revolutionary War in the USA, with around 10,000 United Empire Loyalists (people who did not want to be part of an independent USA) settling in the southern part of Ontario. Toronto was used by the British as a naval base, then in 1796, renamed ’York’, it became the capital of Upper Canada. York was partially destroyed by US troops in the War of 1812 but recovered and in 1834 reverted to the name Toronto. The arrival of the railway in 1854 put Toronto on the growth path and in the 1970s it overtook  Montréal to become Canada’s largest city by population.

CN Tower & Union Station, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

At 553 metres (1815 feet) high the CN Tower can claim to be the worlds tallest free standing building.  The top of the CN Tower is undoubtedly higher than any other free standing building but there are other buildings in the world where visitors can go higher  and there are taller structures held up by guy wires, hence the rival claims from other buildings to be the tallest in the world. The main public areas in the CN Tower  are at the much lower height of  around 350 metres (1150 feet). The view from the observation deck is impressive, but but if it is not high enough for you there is a Sky Pod further up at 447 metres (1465 feet).

 

 

 

 

Toronto

Holy Trinity Church

Walking around Toronto, you will find the occasional old building hidden amongst the modern skyscrapers. Holy Trinity Church  dates back to 1847, before the railway arrived and turned Toronto into a boom town. The church is still standing only because the congregation managed to beat off an attempt to demolish it in the 1970s.  It remains an active church, albeit hemmed in by the relentless modernity of the 21st century city.

 View through glass floor of the CN Tower

Unless you are a seasoned parachutist or bungee jumper walking over the glass floor with a 342m (1122ft) drop below you can be quite an experience. The CN Tower was built between 1973 and 1976 by the Canadian National Railway. Its main purpose was to improve radio communications which were being blocked by the ever increasing height of the skyscrapers in downtown Toronto. It was built amongst Toronto’s extensive railway marshalling yards. The marshalling yards have since been redeveloped and in 1995 ownership of the tower was transferred from the railway to the Canada Lands Company (CLC)  Click Tab 2 to see the view through the glass floor back in 1985 when the land around the CN Tower was still used by the railway.

 

 

 Old City Hall, Toronto

Toronto’s third City Hall and courthouse took 3 years to design and ten years to build, finally opening in 1899. The clock tower is 104 metres (340 feet) high and in addition to the clock it carries a set of bells, the largest of which is known as ‘Big Ben’ after its counterpart in London. Sadly the impact of this  imposing building has been much reduced as it is now dwarfed by surrounding skyscrapers. At least it was spared threatened demolition to make way for a shopping centre after the fourth Town Hall was built.

The CN Tower, Downtown Toronto & ferry from Centre Island

Lake Ontario was the first of the Great Lakes that we visited, and coming from a smallish country with small lakes the sight of a lake so big that you could not see the other side was impressive. Big lakes can get very rough in bad weather, but Toronto is sheltered by a series of islands. The islands were originally little more than sand bars but now have been turned into a park with a regular ferry service. This picture shows downtown Toronto from the Centre Island ferry terminal. On the left stands Toronto’s most famous building, the CN tower. Click Tab 2 to see the beach at Centre Island.

Downtown Toronto from the CN Tower

Although the observation deck is well below the top of the CN Tower, you are still very high up. Parallax shows that this picture was taken from well above the height of the downtown skyscrapers that triggered the construction of the tower.

Old City Hall, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Downtown Toronto from the top of the CN Tower, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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The CN Tower, Downtown Toronto & ferry from Centre Island,  Toronto, Ontario, Canada
 CN Tower & Union Station, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
 Holy Trinity Church, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
 View through glass floor of the CN Tower, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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- Great city to visit.
- A natural place to start or end rail adventures across Canada
- The few remaining historic buildings hemmed in and overshadowed by modern skyscrapers.
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