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Quirky and Cool Toronto

By Lucy Izon | @CanadaCool

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When you are wandering down the downtown core, here are some of the cool and quirky sites to watch for:

Toronto City Hall

What makes us cool? You can start with the fact that we cool our 140 office towers with water piped in from the floor of Lake Ontario. We also have the only City Hall that ever appeared in Star Trek, in fact it’s appeared twice (yup, it does look like a flying saucer).

Stroll the sidewalks near Roy Thomson Hall and explore Canada’s Walk of Fame. More than 140 stars embedded in the pavement honour cool Canadians: Michael J. Fox, Alanis Morissette, William Shatner (Captain Kirk), Martin Short, Sandra Oh, Mike Myers, Shania Twain, Paul Anka, Kiefer Sutherland, Kim Cattrall, Alex Trebek and many more. See what you can find on the Canada’s Walk of Fame Star Map.

Royal Bank Tower

Those golden RBC towers across from Union Station really are made with over one million dollars of gold, and next door, on the 14th floor of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, the chefs have an herb garden and 350,000 bees. The bees produce as much as 800 pounds of honey a year. Go down the steps in the lobby of hotel One King West and there’s a historic bank vault so large it’s rented out for parties.

Head over to University north of Queen and look up to the roof of the Canada Life Building – the lights running up and down or flashing on the tower signal our weather forecast. And, when the weather turns, head underground. PATH, our underground pedestrian system links 50 office towers and covers 27 km. (16 miles). According to Guinness World Records, it is North America’s largest underground shopping complex.

Head north on University and you’ll pass the ivy-cloaked stone buildings of the University of Toronto. It was here in the 1920’s that Frederick Banting and Charles Best made one of the twentieth century’s most important medical discoveries – insulin.

University of Toronto. Photo by Shi Guangzhi

The Bata Shoe Museum on Bloor St. houses the world’s largest collection of shoes: from Elvis Presley’s blue and white leather shoes to Marilyn Monroe’s red pumps. What we really like – they also have Napoleon’s Dirty Socks.

We even have a farm in heart the city – horses, cows, chickens, etc. Kids love the 7.5-acre Riverdale Farm in Cabbagetown, and it’s free.

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