15 iconic Toronto landmarks to check out this summer

Jun 11 2021, 8:58 am

Please note: As of June 11, Ontario has entered Step 1 of its phased reopening plan. While restrictions have been relaxed, if you go out, maintain physical distancing guidelines and wear a mask.

Summer weather has officially arrived in Toronto, and that means the next few months can be spent getting outside and seeing some of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

Although there will likely be changing restrictions on what can be open this summer, all of the below landmarks are currently accessible and can, for the most part, be experienced outdoors.

So get out that sunscreen, throw on your best walking shoes, and get ready to hit up these iconic Toronto landmarks this summer.

1. Distillery District

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What used to be a large whiskey distillery way back in 1832 is now part of the pedestrian-only Distillery District. Here, you can wander around, checking out the historic buildings and public art installations, pop into one of the many cute shops, or relax by grabbing a drink and a bite to eat on one of the many patios.

2. St. Lawrence Market

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St. Lawrence Market is great any time of year, with dozens of vendors selling delicious food and drinks. In the warmer months, there’s an outdoor market with even more fresh fruit and veggie options. It’s also a great spot to grab a coffee and a tasty treat to be enjoyed on one of their many picnic tables.

3. Nathan Phillips Square

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Few sights scream Toronto more than the light-up Toronto sign in Nathan Phillips Square. Although there isn’t a skating rink in the summer months, you’ll still get a great view of City Hall and can take some cute pictures by the fountains. And if you’re a fan of The Handmaid’s Tale, you’ll recognize the area from some important scenes in the show.

4. Kensington Market

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Whether you want some cool bars, really great food, or amazing vintage shops, Kensington Market has it all. The area’s managed to keep its bohemian feel over the years — thanks to some protection from the City that prevents major development — and it’s definitely a favourite among Toronto’s hipster crowd.

5. Graffiti Alley

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Taking a walk down Graffiti Alley in Toronto’s Fashion District neighbourhood is a great way to spend an afternoon. You can take in some of the city’s most iconic public art pieces and, yes, take some fun pictures in front of them too.

6. Toronto Harbour

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Toronto’s harbourfront is not to be missed. You can walk along the water, grab a snack from one of the many stands (including Beaver Tails!), and sit and watch the waves from one of the many parks along the stretch.

7. Gooderham Building

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Toronto’s very own Flatiron Building dates all the way back to 1892 (that’s a few years before New York City built their iconic version). The iconic building is not only a cool piece of Toronto architecture, but it also has Berczy Park right behind it, where you can take in the illusionist mural that’s painted on the back of the building.

8. CN Tower

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The CN Tower is so iconically Toronto, and it’s kind of hard to miss no matter where you are in the city. Although it may no longer be the world’s tallest free-standing structure, it’s still the tallest in Canada and North America.

9. Grange Park

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Grange Park is not only a great picnic spot in the summer thanks to its grassy lawns, but you also get a view of The Grange — one of the oldest buildings in Toronto that is now a national historic site.

10. Casa Loma

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The gardens of this early 1900s gothic-style mansion are the perfect place to be on a warm summer day. You can take in the stunning grounds and architecture and then cap it off with a drink on the garden patio.

11. Union Station

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Toronto’s transportation hub has been serving commuters since the early 1900s. But when you really take a moment to take in the national historic site’s architecture, especially in the Great Hall, it really is quite stunning.

12. Sugar Beach

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Who says you need to go far to have a beach day? Sugar Beach is right downtown, and its Muskoka chairs and iconic pink umbrellas are not to be missed.

13. Yonge-Dundas Square

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With its massive billboards and in-ground water features, Yonge-Dundas Square is great to visit day or night. If you’re really lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the city’s truly iconic landmarks: the Toronto “Believe” man.

14. High Park

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Over on the west side of the city is one of Toronto’s biggest parks. With all of its winding pathways and great views, it’s easy to get lost in the greenery here. And if you want to make a day of it, you can pack a picnic or pick up some food from one of the stands.

15. Toronto Islands

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You haven’t fully experienced Toronto until you’ve taken a trip to the islands. A short ferry or water taxi ride will give you access to so many great parks, beaches (including a nude one), and restaurants with amazing skyline views where you can see some of the other Toronto landmarks from afar.

Laura HanrahanLaura Hanrahan

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