"The city had been built by people from innumerable elsewheres. It was a chaos of cultures ordered only by its long streets. It belonged to no one and never would, or maybe it was a million cities in one, unique to each of its inhabitants, belonging to whoever walked its streets." — André Alexis
Canada is our neighbor. I selected Toronto to be included in our initial launch of featured cities within our Cities of Wonder Erasable Book Collection, because when I was a child we would head to Niagara Falls on our route home from New York City. I had the opportunity to take in both sides of Niagara Falls, Canada's perspective and the view from the United States, including the Upside Down House.
Toronto is an international city, and I find it beautiful in its own unique ways, always reminding me of our lakefront scene at home in Chicago. It is also fascinating to me that over 30 percent of Toronto residents speak a language other than English or French. Just hop on a subway and simply listen. In fact, BBC Radio named Toronto "the most multicultural city in the world" over London. York, Toronto's original identification, was incorporated and renamed Toronto in 1834. Fast forward to the here and now, and Toronto is currently known as Canada's largest city with a population of nearly 5.6 million people. Deemed the world's "fourth most livable city", Toronto is also home to over 8,000 restaurants. Now, I am hungry and brainstorming a blog post on the top places to dine in Toronto!
FUN CITY FACTS ABOUT TORONTO
1. TORONTO IS THE THIRD LARGEST MOVIE PRODUCTION HUB IN NORTH AMERICA.
A quarter of films set in American cities are actually filmed in Toronto, with the city being colloquially referred to as Hollywood North.
2. THERE ARE OVER 1.6 MILLION DAILY TRIPS ON THE TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION (TTC), AND THE TTC'S SYSTEM IS THE SECOND LARGEST IN NORTH AMERICA.
The TTC's system operates the 501 Queen, an East to West streetcar route in Toronto and one of the longest surface routes operated by the TTC.
3. THE COLDEST TEMPERATURE EVER RECORDED IN TORONTO WAS -31.3°C, WITH A WIND CHILL OF -44.7°C.
On January 4, 1981, this temperature was recorded at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
4. TORONTO IS THE ONLY CANADIAN CITY WITH REPRESENTATION IN SEVEN MAJOR LEAGUE SPORTS.
Toronto Argonauts (Canadian Football League); Toronto Blue Jays (Major League Baseball); Toronto FC (Major League Soccer); Toronto Maple Leafs (National Hockey League); Toronto Raptors (National Basketball Association); Toronto Rock (National Lacrosse League) and the Toronto Wolfpack (Super League Rugby). The great Babe Ruth his his first professional home run in Toronto!
5. TORONTO IS ALSO HOME TO OVER 50 MAJOR ATTRACTIONS INCLUDING ART MUSEUMS, HERITAGE SITES, CULTURAL CENTERS AND ZOOS.
Hundreds of events, festivals, regattas and marathons take place throughout the year in Toronto.
6. TORONTO PEARSON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IS THE BUSIEST AIRPORT IN ALL OF CANADA.
In 2015, 41 million travelers passed through the airport.
7. THERE ARE 301 MEASURABLE DAYS OF SUNSHINE IN TORONTO.
The month of December has the fewest days (19), while July and August have the most days (30). Toronto gets an average yearly precipitation of 831 mm, with summer usually being the wettest season in Toronto.
8. THERE ARE OVER 23,700 ARTISTS IN TORONTO.
Toronto is home to 93 percent more artists than any other Canadian city. Arts and culture contribute $11.3 billion annually to Toronto's GDP.
9. TORONTO IS HOME TO THE LONGEST STREET IN THE WORLD, YONGE STREET.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Yonge Street is 1,896 km long.
10. ACCORDING TO MULTIPLE SOURCES, TORONTO IS THE SAFEST METROPOLITAN AREA IN NORTH AMERICA.
A North American low of 78.4 violent crimes were recorded last year in Toronto compared to a high of 2,122.9 in Detroit, Michigan. As a result, the EIU ranks Toronto as the fourth most livable city in the world in terms of safety, public transit and cleanliness.
11. TORONTO'S MAJOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO TECHNOLOGY INCLUDE ADVANCEMENTS IN SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS, DIGITAL MICROWAVE TRANSMISSION AND DATA DISTRIBUTION NETWORKS.
Toronto is considered a global hub for IT and new media development — employing over 90,000 people in the technology sector and contributing more than $8 billion in annual employee wages.
12. THE TORONTO ZOO IS THE LARGEST ZOO IN CANADA, AND IT IS THE THIRD LARGEST IN THE WORLD — HOUSING 16,000 ANIMALS OF 491 DIFFERENT SPECIES.
In 2013, the Toronto Zoo rented two giant pandas from China for $1 million per year. The zoo also paid an additional charge of $200,000 per each of the two cubs who have been born.
13. PATH IS THE LARGEST CONTINUOUS UNDERGROUND SHOPPING MALL IN NORTH AMERICA, FEATURING OVER 1,200 STORES.
According to Guinness World Records, PATH is the world's largest underground walkway with a total of 29 km (18 miles) of retail space, connecting 50 office towers, 5 subway stations, six hotels and one railway terminal.
14. TORONTO HAS NEARLY 10,000 STREETS AND ALMOST 10 MILLION TREES.
Toronto has nearly 4 million publicly-owned trees. Approximately 600,000 of these are street trees, and an estimated 3.5 million trees are located in parks, ravines and other nature areas.
Jaq Jaq Bird's Cities of Wonder Erasable Book Collection allows children to trace and illustrate their travels, in-person or imaginary, all while learning to love the world around them. Each book includes an educational, interactive map guide featuring landmarks, facts and more about the city.