When flying into the city, it’s hard not to notice Toronto’s iconic skyline. Get to know what’s what with our guide to the cityscape.
1. ROGERS CENTRE
Since 1989, the Rogers Centre (then known as the SkyDome) has been home base for the Toronto Blue Jays, as well as host to some of the biggest musical acts in the world. For a time during and after its construction, it was known as the “concrete convertible” for its fully retractable roof.
2. THE CN TOWER
Undeniably Toronto’s most recognizable landmark, the CN Tower celebrates its 40th birthday this year. Still the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere, it also hosts EdgeWalk, the world’s highest outdoor walk. Since 2007, newly added LED lights transformed the tower into the pulse of the city.
3. QUEENS QUAY TERMINAL
A former cold storage warehouse built in 1926, Queens Quay Terminal went through a revitalization in the 1980s, which was lauded by The New York Times. Today, it is home to condos, and offices including the Tourism Toronto headquarters!
4. FAIRMONT ROYAL YORK
Originally built by Canadian Pacific Railway in 1929, the 28-storey Royal York Hotel was the tallest building in the British Commonwealth at the time and set the hospitality standard of the day. It was also the most opulent the city had ever seen. Today, with its neon sign still burning bright, it remains one of Toronto’s most luxurious hotels, now under the Fairmont banner.
5. FIRST CANADIAN PLACE
The financial district skyscraper is the 3rd tallest building in Canada, and head office for the Bank of Montreal. Constructed in 1975 during the area’s redevelopment boom in the 1960s and 70s, it sits at King and Bay. In 2009, its 45,000 marble exterior tiles were replaced with glass and ceramic instead.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: The glass and ceramic facade of First Canadian Place.
6. TORONTO DOMINION CENTRE
The Ludwig Mies van der Rohe masterpiece is a collection of two black steel & glass towers built in 1967, with smaller ones added in the 199Os. Today, the structures are still adorned with the Mies-designed Barcelona chairs and the TD bank’s counters with globe vases of yellow flowers, as per his instructions.
7. ROYAL BANK PLAZA
Known for its unique gold sheen, the Royal Bank Plaza has been shimmering at 200 Bay St. since in 1976. The two towers are the de facto Royal Bank of Canada headquarters, with angular exteriors covered with gold-bronze glass with tan granite accents. Its photogenic façade makes it a favourite location for Hollywood movie shoots.
8. TD CANADA TRUST TOWER
At the corner of Bay and Front, the tiered TD Canada Trust Tower was constructed in 1990. It features restored 19th-century facades, two office towers, and outdoor public space. Inside it’s connected to the Allan Lambert Galleria, an iconic six-storey pedestrian walkway designed by Santiago Calatrava.
9. WESTIN HARBOUR CASTLE
Next to the waterfront, the Westin Habour Castle Hotel provides guests with a lovely view of the harbourfront and Toronto Islands. Built in 1975, the hotel was part of the first wave of revitalization in the area from industrial to residential and commercial. Originally built under the Hilton banner, it was the first of that name built in Toronto. Westin acquired the hotel in a trade for the current Hilton Toronto location.
10. ONE YONGE STREET
When the original Toronto Star building was torn down to make room for First Canadian Place (see #5) in 1970, the brutalist One Yonge Street was built to house the newspaper. At 25 storeys and 100 metres tall, it’s located at the foot of Yonge Street. It originally housed the printing presses until they moved to Vaughan in 1992.