Blog

Toronto Walking Tour

July 26, 2017

There are more than just educational reasons for attending CHEST 2017. The setting alone should provide plenty of motivation to block off a few days to join us in Toronto next fall.

CHEST staff took a site visit to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and the surrounding area to give you a preview. Join us for a quick walk around town. 

Locks of Love in Toronto

Love Locks Sculpture in the Distillery District

(About 2.6 kilometers from the convention center) 7 Tank House Lane, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4, Canada

Locks “sealing the love” of couples on famous landmarks have gone from cute tourist activity to public nuisance. Locks had to regularly hacked off to ensure that the pedestrian path remained open at Humber Bridge.

This stand-alone art piece maintains the spirit of the original intent of placing a lock, without the resulting structural damage. This tourist trap example of contemporary art is in the Distillery District, which is one of Toronto’s many neighborhoods. The city has officially recognized 140 neighborhoods, and there are upwards of 240 unofficial districts. The high number of distinct neighborhoods in Toronto is one of the city’s calling cards and a reason why Toronto is considered one of the most diverse cities in the world.

Street in Toronto Distillery District

Gooderham & Worts Distillery 

The Distillery District is centered on the restored Gooderham & Worts Distillery (where Canadian Club Whiskey was invented), which instead of producing liquor now provides space for shops and restaurants (this includes the Mill Street Brew Pub keeping the building partially in line with its original intent). This hike from the convention center may include views of Lake Ontario if you value sightseeing over time. 

King Edward VII statue in Toronto

Queen’s Park and the Ontario Legislation Building

(About 3.1 kilometers from the convention center) 111 Wellesley St W, Toronto, ON M7A 1A2, Canada

Opened in 1860 by the Prince of Wales and future King Edward VII (the man depicted on the equestrian statue), Queen’s Park is an ideal place to take a stroll and soak up some of Toronto’s history. The park, which was named in honor of Queen Victoria, is home to the government for the Province of Ontario. 

The Ontario Legislation Building

The Ontario Legislation Building sits in the center of this oval urban park, but the building is often just referred to as Queen’s Park locally. This building was criticized as being “too American” in design when it opened in 1893, but its materials are supposed to be 100% Canadian--like the bricks that were built by the prisoners of Toronto’s since-closed Central Prison--including Canadian limestone and distinctive pink-hued sandstone pillars. The “Pink Palace” as it is nicknamed is a sight, but it might not be the most architecturally interesting turn-of-the-century era building in the Queen’s Park area. 

Royal Ontario Museum 

Royal Ontario Museum

(About 3 kilometers from the convention center) 100 Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6, Canada

Canada’s past and future collide at the Royal Ontario Museum in a building that looks like a museum grew an exoskeleton. With a design inspired by the museum’s mineral collection, the glass and metal structure is actually a 2007 addition known as the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. It’s now part of a museum that opened in 1914 and features permanent collections ranging from artifacts from ancient civilizations to examples of biodiversity and modern culture. 

3D Toronto Sign in Nathan Phillips Square

3D Toronto Sign in Nathan Phillips Square

(1.4 kilometers from the convention center) 100 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

What started as a photo-op for the 2015 Pan-Am games has become an iconic gathering place that has been shared in pictures more than 100 million times on social media. The 3D Toronto Sign illuminates and shines into a reflecting pond at night and now has added maple leaf to celebrate Toronto’s 150th anniversary. The sign is across from the hotel headquarters for CHEST 2017. 

Nathan Phillips Square

The sign has become a centerpiece of Nathan Phillips Square, which is an urban plaza gathering place for farmer’s markets, art displays, and public celebrations. If Nathan Phillips Square is not the most iconic symbol of Toronto, then the next spot almost certainly is.

CN Tower

CN Tower

301 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2T6, Canada

Don’t get dizzy looking up--and, no, you are not lost because if you are looking up at the CN Tower then you are in the right place. The Convention Center is across the street from this essential part of the Toronto skyline. The CN Tower was the tallest free-standing structure in the world at the time of its completion in 1976. It’s now the third tallest, but it remains the tallest in the Western Hemisphere. The tower was built as a communications antenna with an observation desk and restaurant near the apex. It has consistently been one of the top attractions in Canada for the past 40 years.

Steam Whistle Brewery

Steam Whistle Brewery

255 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3M9

Just south of the tower is the Historic John St. Roadhouse, this former steam engine repair shop now houses the Steam Whistle Brewery. You can schedule a tour of the facility, but don’t look for a variety of beers to try. They have only one, a Canadian pilsner. The brewery is a part of Roundhouse Park, which houses artifacts from Toronto's rail history.

Metro Toronto Convention Centre in the Entertainment District

Metro Toronto Convention Centre in the Entertainment District

255 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2W6

The convention center will host CHEST 2017, and its location puts it in the heart of ideal walking while people watching spot. The Entertainment District is home to Toronto’s four-major league sports teams; the John Street Cultural Corridor; and dozens of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. There should be no shortage of places and people to see just outside of the convention center.

We close our quick walk around Toronto with the only thing that might be more Canadian than poutine, maple syrup, and politeness.

Tim Horton's

Found everywhere.

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