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If you’re a newly admitted York U student, we at the #YUBlog want to wish you a warm welcome to campus and to Toronto! If you’re not from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), you can look forward to getting to know the capital of Ontario, the fifth-largest city in North America and home to the Lions’ Den, York University! – It’s an incredibly diverse city that’s worth exploring.
The distinct communities throughout the GTA provide opportunities for you to get to know people and embark on memorable day trips. Once you have fully experienced Toronto by visiting these top Toronto locations, you’ll feel a new sense of belonging and become a part of this amazing city! Enjoy the #YUBlog’s student guide to Toronto and its must-see locations.
Before you can discover Toronto, you first need to learn how to get there. York University is a great starting point for any city goer because you can access nearly every form of transit on campus that will take you almost anywhere in the GTA. During your time at York U, you’ll likely use the following transit providers:
- GO Transit: Access at Harry W. Arthur’s Commons (The bus loop outside Vari Hall).
- York Region Transit/VIVA/Züm: Access at Ian MacDonald Boulevard and at designated campus bus stops.
- TTC Buses: Access at Pioneer Village Station and at designated campus bus stops.
- TTC Subway: Access at York University Station or Pioneer Village Station.
To go straight downtown, you’ll most likely be staying on Line 1 Yonge-University (the yellow line on the TTC subway map). Learn more about the brand new subway extensions by checking out our previous #YUBlog post, “Introducing: TTC Subway Stations at York University”!
Toronto Locations to Explore
1) The CN Tower
One of Toronto’s most iconic structures is the CN Tower. You can buy your tickets online before you visit or on site at the box office from 9am to 10:30pm. No ID is necessary, but if you have a Hostelling International Card, an International Student Card or an International Student Exchange Card, you get 10% off the $38 General Admission adult ticket. The view from the top of the tower is breathtaking for any new Torontonian!
2) Dundas Square
If you’re looking for a lively, public space in downtown Toronto, you’ll definitely want to visit Dundas Square at Yonge and Dundas. Toronto’s own “Times Square” is home to numerous celebrations, theatrical events, dancing fountains and concerts during the summer months!
3) Toronto Islands
This beautiful regional park makes for a great day trip! At the Toronto Islands, you can enjoy any number of activities from the Centreville Amusement Park to beaches, pools, mazes, campgrounds and boating at the Toronto Island Boathouse. Tickets to the islands can be purchased for $7.87 online or by going to Jack Layton Ferry Terminal located at Queens Quay and Bay Street.
Success Tip: Many downtown locations offer student discounts and rates, so be sure to carry your student ID with you when travelling!
4) The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
Art student or not, the AGO and its nearly 95,000 pieces of artwork are great for any cultural outing. For a discounted student admission price of $11, you can enjoy diverse paintings, photography, sculptures and works by Canadian and international artists, as well as an impressive collection of Indigenous Canadian art.
5) The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
For a wonderful learning experience, visit the ROM! You can explore international collections, fashion collections, a dinosaur exhibit, contemporary art and “cabinets of curiosities” with over 1,000 rare scientific artifacts. The $16.50 student admission price gives you access to over 30 galleries. To top it off, the ROM offers ROMwalks, which are free walking tours of Toronto!
6) The Toronto Reference Library
Perfect for all of you bookworms, the Toronto Reference Library at Yonge and Bloor is only a few steps away from the TTC Subway. This is paradise for any student looking for a bit of quiet time, a study spot or a drink at the library’s in-house café.
Students are also eligible to get a Toronto Public Library card, which allows them to borrow materials from the library and access research databases and digital resources, like the Criterion Collection and Lynda Tutorials. Be sure to look out for social events, such as Comic Book Day, too!
Success Tip: For more tips about venturing out into the city, check out #YUBlog’s post, “International Student Guide, Part 4: Exploring Campus, the City, and Beyond”!
7) Harbourfront Centre
This iconic Toronto destination hosts free and inexpensive cultural, art and education events across the waterfront. You can also check out the local shops and restaurants and participate in recreational activities like concerts and boat rides at the Harbourfront Centre.
8) High Park
High Park, a stunning natural scene, offers a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the downtown core. In this green space, you’ll find opportunities for cycling, swimming in the public pool, playing sports and renting sports equipment, nature walks and visiting the High Park Zoo.
Success Tip: The York Federation of Students (YFS) offers student discounts and deals to events across the GTA. Check out the YFS Site to learn more!
9) The St. Lawrence Market
The famous St. Lawrence Market is the perfect shopping destination for fresh food, produce and even antiques during the Sunday Antique Market! Also keep an eye out for nearby festivals like Buskerfest, the largest busker festival in North America, and Woofstock, Canada’s largest outdoor festival for dogs.
10) Kensington Market
This unique multicultural shopping hub offers a one-of-a-kind shopping experience! Home to hundreds of small, trendy stores, you’ll find unique cafés, restaurants and vintage shops – the Kensington Market keeps it green and supports local businesses!
These #YUBlog top Toronto destinations offer a wide range of activities and services for students. Now that you’ve made YU your home, it’s time to explore the GTA!
Have any questions about visiting the downtown core? Comment below or tweet us @YorkUStudents!