Toronto is the urban heart of Canada. Its buzzing downtown, stunning architecture, and growing diverse population make it a fantastic city to explore. One can’t visit without taking in the best architecture in Toronto sprinkled throughout the city.
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Royal Ontario Museum
This museum’s facade is a piece of art in and of itself. The glass and aluminum-clad-steel structure known as “the crystal” towers ten stories high and creates a striking image for museum-goers.
The Crystal contained no right angles and was a particularly challenging piece to construct. Designed by Michael Lee-Chin, it represents the museum’s mission “to build bridges of understanding and appreciation for the world’s diverse cultures and precious natural environments.”
The ROM is one of the largest museums in North America and natural history and international culture. A wander through the museum takes a visitor on a journey through time and around the world.
This unique castle is an unusual sight in North America, making it one of Toronto’s landmark buildings. This stunning building, built in 1914, invokes the feeling of much older castles in Europe and is worth a visit. The Casa features a tunnel system, battlements, and today you can see a classic car collection in the old stables.
Besides being a tourist attraction, the Casa Loma is a popular spot for parties, corporate events, or a fancy date night at its signature steakhouse.
Toronto City Hall
In 1943, The City Hall building was badly in need of some modernization, but city leaders couldn’t agree on a new design. Finally, 20 years later, Viljo Revell’s design was chosen from hundreds of applicants in a design competition.
This quirky government building is majestic from the ground, with two asymmetrically curved towers flanking a circular dome. From an aerial view, it looks like an eye. The building is adjacent to Nathan Phillips Square, and together they form a distinct footprint in downtown Toronto.
One of the most photographed Toronto buildings is this curious red brick, the triangular structure that sticks out boldly in the St. Lawrence Market District. This Toronto landmark is a “must-see” for urban photographers and architecture lovers.
The Royal York
Situated in Toronto’s financial heart, the Royal York Hotel is a reminder of the city’s past life. Built in the 1920s with 28 stories and over 1,000 rooms, it was, at the time, the tallest structure in the entire British empire.
Though its size was overshot by the rest of the city’s buildings, its grandeur has stood the test of time. With some help from numerous renovations, of course. Now owned by the Fairmont Hotel chain, this magnificent building is worth visiting on any trip to Toronto, maintaining its classic art deco design and charm, nearly 100 years later.
The Art Gallery of Ontario
The Art Gallery of Ontario is an architectural treasure, inside and out. In 2008, the building underwent a massive expansion headed by Frank Gehry, a world-famous architect and Toronto native.
Today, the Gallery features an impressive 180-meter glass facade, a steel staircase that juts out of the building, and a striking wooden ramp that snakes through one of the galleries. Between an impressive international collection and Gehry’s architecture, art-lovers shouldn’t miss this museum when visiting Toronto.
Aga Khan Museum
This angular, stark white museum is aesthetically beautiful and pays tribute to the Toronto area’s diversity. The collection is dedicated entirely to Muslim culture and artwork. The museum is part of the Aga Khan Development Network, working to support people in need and provide educational opportunities.
The building itself was designed by Fumihiko Maki, inspired in every aspect by light. The modern design has elements of traditional Muslim culture sprinkled throughout.
It’s impossible to speak about Toronto architecture without mentioning the most crucial landmark in the city: the CN Tower. Built in 1976, visitors flock to see this impressive structure for themselves.
A visit to the tower will boast an incredible view of the city, a restaurant, a glass floor, an Edge Walk, and more. If heights aren’t your thing, you’ll get to enjoy the tower from a distance as well, as it’s visible throughout the entire city of Toronto.
Toronto is a modern, energetic, diverse city with a rich history and thriving culture. Art and architecture enthusiasts will enjoy visiting these and other stunning buildings throughout the city.