Toronto is laid out in a grid . . . with a few interesting exceptions. Yonge Street (pronounced young) is the main north-south artery, stretching from Lake Ontario in the south well beyond Hwy. 401 in the north. Yonge Street divides western cross streets from eastern cross streets. The main east-west artery is Bloor Street, which cuts through the heart of downtown.
"Downtown" usually refers to the area from Eglinton Avenue south to the lake, between Spadina Avenue in the west and Jarvis Street in the east. Because this is such a large area, it's been divided here into five sections. Downtown West runs from the lake north to College Street; the eastern boundary is Yonge Street. Downtown East goes from the lake north to Carlton Street (once College St. reaches Yonge St., it becomes Carlton St.); the western boundary is Yonge Street. Downtown North extends from College Street north to Davenport Road; the eastern boundary is Jarvis Street. The East End runs east until Woodbine, bound by Danforth and the lake. Downtown North is the area north Davenport Road to Eglinton Avenue. Uptown is anything north of Eglinton.
In Downtown West, you'll find many of the lakeshore attractions: Harbourfront, Ontario Place, Fort York, Exhibition Place, and the Toronto Islands. It also boasts the CN Tower, City Hall, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, the Rogers Centre (formerly known as SkyDome), Roy Thomson Hall, Chinatown, Kensington Market, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Eaton Centre. Downtown East includes the Distillery District, the St. Lawrence Market, the Sony Centre, the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, and St. James's Cathedral. Downtown North contains the Royal Ontario Museum, the Gardiner Museum, the University of Toronto, and chic Yorkville, a prime area for shopping and dining. The East End features Riverdale Farm, the historic Necropolis, Leslieville, Greektown, and The Beaches. Midtown is anchored by the Yonge−Eglinton intersection (colloquially referred to as “Young and Eligible” by locals, as most of the sparkly new high rises cater to the city’s young professional population). Uptown has traditionally been a residential area, but it’s now a fast-growing entertainment area, too. Its attractions include the Sunnybrook park system, the Ontario Science Centre, and the stunning Aga Khan Museum.
North Toronto is another developing area, with theaters such as the Toronto Centre for the Arts, galleries, and some excellent dining. It's not yet a prime tourist destination, but it is on the rise and gets a few mentions throughout this guide.
Note: Some of the primary attractions lie outside the downtown core or even the city limits. The Toronto Zoo, Paramount Canada's Wonderland, and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection are all full- or half-day trips.
In cold weather, it’s a good idea to quickly familiarize yourself with the labyrinthine walkways beneath the pavement. This miles-long network is an excellent way to get around the downtown core when the weather is grim. You can eat, sleep, dance, shop, and go to the theater without ever needing a coat.
You can walk from the Dundas subway station south through the Eaton Centre until you hit Queen Street; turn west to the Sheraton Centre and then head south. You’ll pass through the Richmond-Adelaide Centre, First Canadian Place, and Toronto Dominion Centre, and go all the way (through the dramatic Royal Bank Plaza) to the recently revamped Union Station. En route, branches lead off to the stock exchange, Sun Life Centre, and Metro Hall. Additional walkways link Simcoe Plaza to 200 Wellington West and to the CBC Broadcast Centre. Other walkways run around Bloor Street and Yonge Street, and elsewhere in the city. Look for the large, clear underground PATH maps throughout the concourse.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.