Have you ever lived in a city and not really spent much time seeing what it has to offer? This is quite common to most people I talk to. We don’t seem to take the time to “visit” our own homes, but we spend time traveling to other places in the world.
Yet, our own city can offer some fantastic secrets and hidden gems that might surprise you. I recently accompanied my husband on a business trip to Toronto.
Since he was at a conference for 3 days, I had the opportunity to explore a new city on my own. While researching the internet, I searched for the best photography spots in Toronto.
My husband, Brian, was born in Toronto and lived there much of his life. However, it was my first time in Ontario. While Brian was working, I had three days to explore Toronto while staying downtown.
Do you remember the Beatles song “All you need is love?” How can you not feel the love with this incredible Love lock installation in the Distillery District?
This trendy shopping area entices visitors with its award-winning dining options, artistic installations, and cobblestone alleys filled with interesting boutiques.
Not only is this a photographer’s paradise, but it’s a fabulous place to enjoy a few hours admiring the historic buildings, browsing the galleries, and enjoying the unique art structures dotted around the area.
While the Distillery District might pack a punch in your wallet, it’s a fun place and one of the best photography spots in Toronto.
Located on Toronto’s waterfront, a short walk from the CN Tower, is the HTO park. Known as “Toronto’s Urban Beach,” this fun manmade park offers visitors a bit of whimsy with its yellow sunshine umbrellas.
The park has a contemporary design with colorful Muskoka chairs, sandy beaches, and grassy knolls.
Not only can you snap an excellent shot of the CN Tower from the park but also the beach and the waterfront too.
Nathan Phillips Square
Nothing says Toronto more than a colorful 3D Toronto sign itself, which can be found at Nathan Phillips Square.
The letters are almost 10 feet tall and are lit at night by LED lighting, with color selections changed for different occasions. The Toronto sign will glow green on St.Patrick’s Day, red and white on Canada Day, orange at Halloween, and rainbow on pride month.
Unfortunately, during my visit, the pond in front of the sign was drained and under construction and the sign was unlit.
If you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary, there is no better place than the Toronto Waterfront Wavedecks. This series of award-winning structures were designed as part of the revitalization of the central waterfront.
Each of the four wooden wavedecks adds an artistic and dramatic element to the waterfront area. Their undulating curves are constructed over water, which creates extensive and much-needed fish habitat.
Of the four wooden wavedecks, the most dramatic of these is the Simcoe Wavedeck. The Simcoe Wavedeck is definitely one of the best photography spots in Toronto.
While Berczy Park has been open to the public since 1980, recent revitalization efforts have made it a cool place to hang out. Sit on a park bench or wall and read a book or enjoy a latte from a nearby coffee shop while you people watch.
The focal point of the park is a fun and whimsical fountain; all dog lovers will enjoy. The two-tier fountain features life-size cast-iron statues of 27 dogs and one single cat. Each dog spouts water into the fountain which has a large dog bone in the center.
The cat looks north towards the two bird statues perched on a nearby lamppost. The fountain also includes a ground-level trough to provide drinking water for real dogs.
If you look to the east, you can see a stunning Trompe-l’oeil on the back of the Gooderham Flatiron building, painted by Derek Michael Besant. The painting creates the illusion that there are windows on the west façade of the Gooderham Building.
While I am mentioning the Gooderham Building, be sure to walk around this exciting piece of architecture and admire its fantastic shape.
This five-story red brick building is a grand structure that currently houses the most expensive office space in Toronto. Extensively renovated, the building also has a small pub in the basement.
The Gooderham Building is well-known both for its narrow wedge shape and for the mural on its back wall.
No visit to Toronto is complete without some awesome CN Tower photos. At the base of the tower, visitors line up to take their turn in doing selfies in front of the CN Tower 3D sign, which is lit up at night.
Let’s not forget the large Canada sign also, which again is illuminated at night.
If you want to take some aerial views of downtown Toronto, ride the elevator to the top. The views are particularly spectacular at night while you enjoy a delicious meal in the revolving restaurant.
While you are walking the downtown area, be sure to look back at the CN Tower. There are plenty of opportunities to get some great photos.
For avid photographers, there is no better place than colorful Graffiti Alley in the heart of Toronto. I discovered Graffiti Alley online while trying to find places to visit during my husband’s business trip.
For me, this was a little gem, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. Each twist and turn in the alleyways revealed terrific pieces of artwork, all different and unique in their own way.
For me, this is one of the best photography spots in Toronto and the number of clicks on my camera tells me so. After my visit to Graffiti Alley, my husband relived my experience there through my pictures.
While he grew up in Toronto, he didn’t know such a place existed.
While Europe has real fairy tale castles, Toronto has Casa Loma. Casa Loma is a Gothic Revival Mansion constructed in the early 1910s by Sir Henry Pellatt. It’s considered one of Canada’s best castles.
With 98 rooms and over 60,000 square feet, it’s the most substantial private residence in Canada.
During my trip to Toronto, I spent a few hours visiting Casa Loma and enjoyed learning about its history. The rooms are impressive and the gardens lovely.
While my visit to Toronto was short, at only 3 days, I managed to pack in full days of wandering the city and seeing exciting places.
Happy travels ~ Karen