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Discovering Toronto

20 SEPTEMBER 2013 Hollywood hit Toronto last week with more than 100 A-list stars, including Meryl Streep, Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, as well as Britain's own Benedict Cumberbatch, Kate Winslet and Daniel Radcliffe, lining up to hit the red carpet at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The ten-day festival has seen the city come alive with parties and premieres, but Canada's largest city has plenty to offer no matter when you visit.

 



Sitting on the banks of Lake Ontario, Toronto is an eclectic mix of cultures and lifestyles with immigrants from all over the world making their mark on the city.

From the bright yellows and golds of Chinatown to the cosy eateries of Little Italy, via the likes of Koreatown, Greektown and Portugal Village, it is clear to see why the United Nations christened Toronto the most multicultural city in the world.

The city skyline is dominated by the CN Tower, the world's largest free-standing structure until 2010, when it lost the title to Dubai's Burj Khalifa. The best view can be found on the Toronto Islands, a short ferry ride away, where the whole of the harbourfront - a stunning display of glass skyscrapers - glistens in the sun.

 



For a totally different view of Toronto, head to the rooftop lounge at the Thompson Hotel and sip a cocktail by the infinity pool while enjoying a panoramic display of the city and the lake. It was a hit with James Franco and Carey Mulligan.

But it is away from the modernity of Downtown where some of Toronto's gems truly lie.

Explore just beyond Chinatown and you will find the bohemian kingdom of Kensington Market, where coffee shops, eateries from around the world and specialist food stores nestle together, belting out jazz and Latino hits all the while. The area's vintage clothes stores are also not to be missed - Ontario's own Ryan Gosling has been spotted checking out the bargains on offer.

 



True foodies should head to St Lawrence Market, the world's best food market according to National Geographic. Open since 1803, making it a historic site in this modern city, this food mecca offers some of the finest produce Ontario has to offer, as well as a variety of delicious eateries, including Buster's Sea Cove and the Carousel Bakery, where celebrities including Catherine Zeta-Jones and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain are just some of the famous faces who’ve tried their world famous peameal bacon sandwich.

Away from films and food, Toronto has a thriving art scene, with sculptures decorating the streets while the Art Gallery of Ontario plays host to the world's largest collection of Henry Moore pieces. The Royal Ontario Museum, meanwhile, offers 40 galleries of art, archeology and natural wonders, including four giant totem poles carved by the Nisgaa and Haida peoples of the Pacific Northwest.

 



If you're into fashion, however, there's only one place to go - the Bata Shoe Museum with a collection containing more than 10,000 pieces of footwear from around the world and history.

And of course, no visit to a city with such links to the movies would be complete without a trip to one of the most stunning film sets in the world - Niagara Falls. Susan Sarandon is just the latest star to film here, following in the footsteps of Marilyn Monroe in 1953 to shoot the comedy Tammy this summer. But even surrounded by famous faces, there’s no denying that these spectacular waterfalls are the star of any trip to Toronto.

For flights to Toronto, visit airtransat.co.uk or seetorontonow.com for more information.
 

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