Toronto is one of the largest cities in all of North America, the most populous in Canada and the country’s biggest metropolis. It has a reputation of being especially welcoming to the world and is recognized as an international hub of finance, art and creativity. Toronto is home to one of Canada’s, and perhaps the world’s, most well-known and vibrant LGBT-oriented neighborhoods – Church and Wellesley. Although less overtly LGBT-oriented than it was in the 1990s, it is still regarded as the home of Toronto’s gay life.
Pride parades have been a part of Canadian culture since 1973 and the largest one, Pride Week, is held in Toronto (centered where else but on Church and Wellesley). It sees some 90 floats and hundreds of thousands of participants cramming the streets. The city also hosted the World Pride festival in 2014.
All this puts Toronto firmly in the column of cities which celebrate their LGBT residents and welcome LGBT visitors. As a place to visit, the city throws up a wonderful array of attractions and tourism drawcards.
If you have a taste for the eclectic, Kensington market is a must-see. Much more than simply a host of vintage stores and fresh produce, it is a charming maze of interesting cuisine, street performers and secret gigs. Participate in the drum circle dance-off at nearby Bellevue Square Park for one of the most fun times you will ever have.
Toronto can be an art-lover’s paradise – the Art Gallery of Ontario which displays artwork from North America, Europe and Africa, the Museum of Inuit Art that focuses on artwork made by northern Canada’s aboriginal population, and the Gardiner Museum which is the only Canadian museum dedicated entirely to ceramic works will occupy many hours.
The Royal Ontario Museum which focuses on natural history and world culture is also worth a visit.
The city seems to have made a commitment to keeping everyone entertained throughout the year – hundreds of cultural festivities are crammed into the Toronto calendar. There is Inside Out, a film festival specifically for the LGBT community, the Toronto International Film Festival, Fringe Festival and taste of Danforth are just some of the biggest names.
Watch gorillas, pandas and polar bears as well as over 5,000 other animals at the Toronto Zoo. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is built across 135,000 square feet of exhibits which let you interact and learn.
The Aquarium is situated at the bottom of one of Canada’s most recognizable landmarks – the CN Tower. The western hemisphere’s largest free-standing structure towers 1,815 feet above the skyline and now even has an Edge Walk that lets you experience a hands-free stroll with an incomparable view.
For a warm welcome and an unending series of new adventures and discoveries, Toronto should be high on your list of LGBT vacations.