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. Midtown extends from College Street north to Davenport Road; the eastern boundary is Jarvis Street. The Danforth/the East End runs east to Danforth Avenue; the western boundary is Broadview Avenue. Uptown is the area north of Davenport Road.
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), Chinatown, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Eaton Centre. Downtown East includes the Distillery District, the St. Lawrence Market, the Sony Centre (formerly the Hummingbird Centre), the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, and St. James's Cathedral. Midtown contains the Royal Ontario Museum, the Gardiner Museum, the University of Toronto, Markham Village, and chic Yorkville, a prime area for shopping and dining. The Danforth/the East End features Riverdale Farm, the historic Necropolis, and Greektown. Uptown has traditionally been a residential area, but it's now a fast-growing entertainment area, too. Its attractions include the Sunnybrook park system and the Ontario Science Centre.
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.
Finding an Address -- This isn't as easy as it should be. Your best bet is to call ahead and ask for directions, including landmarks and subway stations. Even the locals need to do this.
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 donning 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 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.
This underground city even has its own attractions. First Canadian Place, in particular, is known for free lunch-hour lectures, opera and dance performances, and art exhibits.