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Is Toronto split up into many different areas or zones, and if so is it easy to get around the city

01:00 Mon 13th Aug 2001 |

Asks monkeysay

A. Like many major cities, Toronto is split up into different areas. But you could probably walk through one area to another seamlessly and not know the difference. The main areas of the city are known as Downtown, the Banking District and Greater Toronto.

Q. What is there to keep the tourists happy in each district

A. The best place to start off is in Downtown (which also includes smaller areas like Chinatown and Little Italy), as you'll get a real feel for the city. Here you'll find:

Art Gallery of Ontario: Located on Dundas St West, this gallery is known the world over for its amazing collections and should be part of any trip here. Its European Art section houses work from the Italian Renaissance to French Impressionism. It includes work by Pieter Bruegel (younger), Van Dyck, Degas, Renoir and Monet. Its 20th Century European Art section contains some great work by Picasso, Chagall and Gauguin.

The first floor of the museum is given over to Canadian art, and its influential Group of Seven painters and their contemporaries; this section includes work by Carr, Casson, Jackson, MacDonald, Thomson and Varley. Other features of this gallery are its Henry Moore Sculpture Gallery and its Contemporary Art section (includes work by Warhol and Rothko).

CN Tower: can be seen from anywhere in the city and is the highest freestanding structure in the world. Take a trip up in the lift to the observation deck and you'll be able to see the Niagara Falls.

Skydome: directly next door to the CN Tower is the home of the Blue Jays baseball team, the Skydome. If you visit out of season you can go on a tour of the ground.

St Andrew's Church: was built in 1876 in the Romanesque style for its Scottish congregation, the building is worth a visit as it stands out against its surrounding architecture.

Casa Loma: was built by Henry Pellatt (famous for using hydroelectricity to provide power throughout Ontario from Niagara Falls) and finished in 1914. It is an enormous, and somewhat eclectic, mansion complete with turrets and towers. Pellatt was determined to build a house that nobody could ignore. He has certainly done that, and it is really worth a visit as the building mixes modern architecture with medieval fantasy.

Bata Shoe Museum: exhibits footwear, famous and everyday, from around the world. It famously houses some of Elvis' shoes.

Harbourfront: the main place to go shopping.

Nathan Phillips Square: (on Queen Street) is home to a massive world-class ice rink, located directly in front of Toronto's new City Hall. The square is the epicentre of Toronto's Christmas celebrations, with a spectacular light display during evening skating. Open: November 11 2000-March 18 2001, daily 9am-9pm. Admission: Free, skate hire costs $7.50 (�3.50) for adults and $6.50 (�3) for children.

Banking District

Within the banking district you'll find a striking change in the architecture, as skyscrapers can be found beside much older buildings haphazardly on every street. One of the main attractions here is the Gallery of Inuit Art (Inuits are the indigenous people of Canada). Other attractions include the Union Railway Station, the Stock Exchange, the Design Exchange and the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Greater Toronto

Although mainly known as the suburbs, Greater Toronto too has some sites to attract tourists. These include the Ontario Science Centre (complete with interactive and multimedia displays) and Toronto Zoo, which covers a huge 700 acres of parkland, with over 5000 animals.

Q. What about nightlife -�is there much to do in Toronto

A. Toronto is a massive cultural hive of activity. Visiting the theatre - to see plays, opera, ballet or music - is a major pastime here. After London and New York, it has more theatres than any other city. The most famous theatre is probably the Royal Alex, as it hosts West End and Broadway plays. Some of the major theatres include, in alphabetical order:

Du Maurier Theatre (plays and musicals)

Ford Centre for Performing Arts (classical music)

Hummingbird Centre for Performing Arts (opera and ballet)

Pantages Theatre (musicals)

Poor Alex Theatre (modern plays)

Princess of Wales Theatre (musicals)

Roy Thomson Hall (Toronto Symphony Orchestra)

Royal Alexandra Theatre (plays)

St Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts (plays, usually Canadian).

Tarragon Theatre (plays, usually Canadian).

Toronto is also a city that is big on festivals and street celebrations. In June it hosts the Du Maurier Downtown Jazz Festival and the International Caravan (10-day celebration of Toronto's different ethnic communities, which amount to more than 60). In September the city hosts the Toronto International Film Festival and in October it holds the International Festival of Authors.

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By Karen Anderson

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