Toronto Insider: What Pan Am visitors to Toronto want you to know

Toronto PanAm games ()

Our Toronto Insider Donna Paris shares more insider secrets on the host city of the FIPP World Congress, taking place from 13-15 October 2015 in Toronto, Canada…

This summer, Toronto hosted the Pan America Games, affectionately known as the Pan Am Games. It’s a huge sporting event held every four years and more than 6,000 athletes competed in sporting events here. Like the Olympics, there are opening and closing ceremonies, and first, second and third-place finishers are decorated with gold, silver and bronze medals. However, there are some events that you would never see at the Olympics. 

Such as bowling, for instance. And roller figure skating, where, just as in ice figure skating, competitors are judged on choreographed routines set to music that incorporate jumps, spins and other dancelike elements.

The first Pan Am Games were held in 1951 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Golf made its debut this year and more than 40 countries participated. Also, 37,500 rolls of toilet paper were required. And the speed of an arrow shot from an archer’s bow is 354 km/h. That is faster than a cheetah!

Anyway, here are a few tips from visitors to Toronto.

Start here.

The city of Toronto has an awesome website. Visit the Toronto Desk to pick up maps and guides on both Toronto and Ontario, and find out about must-see landmarks, attractions, neighbourhoods, events and tours.

TAP into TO!

There are several different ways to discover Toronto, from self-guided tours and professional tours to having your own Toronto greeter show you around! Pick what works for you. 

Take the TTC.

It’s easy, and on the TTC website you can access the Trip Planner, which gets you directions for the easiest, quickest way from A to B.

The city is full of great museums – visit one!

It’s true. There are some terrific museums in Toronto. Here are our Top 5.

1. ROM: The Royal Ontario Museum is a beautiful museum of art, world culture and natural history, conveniently located downtown. It’s one of the biggest museums in North America and more than 1,000,000 people walk through the doors every year.

2. Bata Shoe Museum: Just a stone’s throw from the ROM, you will find this museum. View this excellent collection of footwear from around the world, including ballroom slippers worn by Queen Victoria and one of Terry Fox’s running shoes.

3. The Textile Museum of Canada: Focusing on the exhibition, collection, conservation and research of the materials of everyday life, including traditional, innovative and experimental practices, it’s the only museum of its kind in Canada.

4. Spadina Museum: For more than a century, Spadina House was home to three generations of the Austin family, and now it’s operated by the city so visitors can get a glimpse into what the house looked like during those years and explore the estate’s six acres of restored 1905 gardens.

5. Aga Khan Museum: Opened barely a year, you will have to travel a little farther to get to this museum, but it’s well worth it. Here you will find a display and interpretation of artefacts relating to the intellectual, cultural, artistic and religious traditions of Muslim communities, past and present.

Eat something, you can get any kind of food you want here.

Yeppers, Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world and there are thousands of restaurants – too many to mention here. Visit The Fifty Best Toronto Restaurants and you’ll get a small sampling of excellent spots to nosh. Here you’ll find places that have been around for a long time, such as Biagio, Canoe and Harbour 60 Steakhouse, along with newcomers like Momofuku Noodle Bar, Edo and Foxley now making a big splash.

Pick up a newspaper…

…like NOW, with lots of ideas and Toronto Life magazine for great restaurant reviews. 

Or ask around – a concierge, people you meet at the conference and shopkeepers may have good spots to recommend. 

Go for a bike ride.

It’s such an easy way to explore the city. Bike Share Toronto has provided the city with a network of bikes throughout the downtown core, and docking terminals allow users to pick up and drop off bicycles from location to location, 24 hours a day, every day. Visit Tourism Toronto for a list of resources, including a citywide Toronto Cycling Maps. Know where to go but unsure of the best way to there? Check out Ride the City for the best cycling routes.

Go to the theatre.

With many live theatres across the city, you can find unique productions from any genre. 

Find free Wi-Fi and get all the info you need.

• Tourism Toronto: 1-800-499-2514

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