I lived in Toronto for eight years and return regularly to visit my family. But it’s changed a lot since I lived there. It seems busier than ever and unfortunately it feels to me like the city is starting to fall apart. I don’t think enough money has been put into infrastructure over the years. Nonetheless it’s still one of Canada’s great cities to visit – especially for culture, dining and shopping. Visit in the fall if you have the choice as its usually sunny and warm but without the summer humidity. Enjoy these 50 fun, weird and interesting facts about Toronto.
Random interesting facts about Toronto
Toronto is the capital of Ontario. The city of Toronto started off as York, the capital of Upper Canada in 1793. York was incorporated and renamed Toronto in 1834.
Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America in 2023. Larger cities include Mexico City, New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Toronto is Canada’s largest city. The Greater Toronto area boasts approximately 6,372,000 residents in 2023. Finding affordable housing is also now one of the top issues facing the city.
Over 30% of Toronto residents speak a language other than English and French. Just ride the subways and that fact will hit home. Dual language street signs can be found in Little Italy, Little Portugal and Chinatown.
Toronto is considered to be one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Did you know more than 180 languages are spoken in the city – one of the interesting facts about Toronto. Also, 53% of Torontonians are born outside of Canada.
Nathan Phillips Square is named for the mayor of Toronto from 1955-1962. Toronto’s City Hall is located at the square. The square is used for concerts, art displays, the winter festival of lights and even demonstrations.
Movie stars from Toronto include Jim Carrey, Mike Myers and Eugene Levy. My husband was the soccer coach for Eugene’s son when he was all of six.
The St. Lawrence Market is one of Canada’s great food markets. The selection is outstanding. Runner up in my books is Kensington Market.
Interesting facts about weather in Toronto
Toronto has 301 days of measurable sunshine. December has the fewest days – only 19, while July and August have on average 30 days.
On the summer solstice the sun rises at 5:37 AM and sets at 9:03 PM. On the winter solstice the sun rises at 7:50 AM and sets at 4:45 PM.
The coldest temperature ever recorded in Toronto was -31.3°C (-24.3°F) on January 4, 1981. The wind chill on that day was -44.7°C (-48.5°F), the coldest ever.
The highest temperatures ever recorded were 41°C (105°F) from July 7 – 9 in 1936.
Toronto had to deal with two major snowstorms two weeks apart in January 1999. The first dumped 40 cm (15.75 inches) and the second dumped 118 cm (46.5 inches).
Interesting facts about business in Toronto
The Toronto Stock Exchange is the third largest in North America and the seventh largest in the world based on capitalization.
Toronto ranks second as the world’s most business competitive global city.
Toronto is the twelfth most economically powerful city city in the world – based on economic output, innovation, its’ global economic power score and its’ financial center score.
The Toronto region accounts for 18.5% of the GDP in Canada in 2023.
Toronto is North America’s third largest venue for movie production. There are over 25,000 jobs in feature film production.
Toronto has more than 7,500 restaurants. And many restaurants are now encouraging a 20% tip.
Sports in Toronto
The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967. And despite being consistently one of the worst teams in the NHL, they have a loyal fan base and tickets are always sold out.
Toronto boasts many other professional sports teams – The Toronto Raptors (basketball), The Toronto Blue Jays (baseball), The Toronto Argonauts (football), the Toronto FC team (soccer), Toronto Rock (National Lacrosse) and the Toronto Marlies (American Hockey League).
There are 52 outdoor skating rinks in Toronto – open from the beginning of December until the end of February.
Toronto is home to three universities, a degree granting college of art and design and four colleges of applied arts and technology.
The Toronto Zoo is the largest in Canada. It is home to over 5,000 animals representing 500 species and is situated on more than 700 acres of land beside Rouge National Urban Park.
The Toronto Islands, just a short ferry ride away from downtown Toronto, comprise the largest urban car-free community in North America. They are also a very popular recreational destination and home to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
Physical geography of Toronto
Toronto sits on the northwest shore of Lake Ontario.
Toronto is 76.5 metres above sea level. The highest point – 209 metres – is at the intersection of Steeles Avenue West and Keele Street.
Toronto’s shoreline stretches 43 km as the crow flies – or 138 km if bays and islands are factored in.
Parks in Toronto
Toronto’s plant hardiness zone is six – and is considered to be on the eastern edge of the Carolinian Forest zone.
There are over 1,600 named parks in Toronto.
High Park is Toronto’s largest public park. Walk along the Grenadier Pond and you won’t feel like you’re in a big city. It also boasts a zoo, playgrounds, a dog park, sports facilities and many hiking trails.
There are about 10.2 million trees in Toronto of which four million are publicly owned.
Art, tourism and events in Toronto
Over 27.5 million people visit Toronto on an annual basis. There are about a quarter of a million people who work in tourism and hospitality. Brazil, India, China and South Korea are the fastest grown markets for Toronto.
You’ll find over 36,000 hotel rooms in Toronto.
Toronto is one of the largest cultural centers in North America. You’ll find The National Ballet Company, The Canadian Opera Company, The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir as well as loads of small theatres and those boasting Broadway style productions.
There are over 200 public art works and historic monuments that are owned by the city.
Toronto is home to over 70 film festivals. TIFF – the Toronto International Film Festival is an annual occurrence every September. Lots of big name movie stars make an appearance while it’s on.
Caribanais the largest single day parade in North America. The parade route is 3.6 km long. It starts at 10 AM and finishes sometime around 8 PM. Over one million spectators come to see over 10,000 costumed participants.
Twenty five Members of Parliament represent Toronto in the House of Commons in Ottawa.
Twenty five MPP’s represent Toronto in Ontario’s Provincial government.
The City of Toronto’s government is the sixth largest in all of Canada. The 2023 operating budget for the City of Toronto is 16.17 billion dollars.
There are approximately 50,000 employees working for City of Toronto government – including those that work on agencies, boards or commissions.
Interesting facts about transportation in Toronto
There are approximately 9,520 streets in Toronto covering 5,600 km. The longest street is Lawrence Avenue East (other than Yonge Street.)
Yonge Street was once considered to be the longest street in the world. No more. It starts at Queen’s Quay and ends at a farm access lane west of Keswick – not 1,896 kilometres later in Rainy River as was originally thought.
As of 2022 there are over 1.8 million trips every day on the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) which includes subways, buses, and streetcars.
Toronto’s transit system is the second largest in North America and has the highest per capita ridership rate. I do wish they’d work harder to clean up the subway stations though.
One of the interesting facts about Toronto is that Toronto’s Pearson Airport is the busiest in Canada and the fourth busiest in North America.
PATH is the largest underground pedestrian system in North America. It connects 1,200 stores and restaurants, 50 office towers, 20 parking garages, five subway stations and a railway terminal over its’ 28 km length. Each letter in PATH is a different colour representing a different direction: P is red and points south. A is orange and points west. T is blue and directs north. H is yellow and points east. The world’s largest underground sidewalk sale happens once a year with all the businesses found along the PATH.