Harbourfront Centre Toronto is where local Torontonians and
tourists come to play. You'll find concerts,
theatre, parkland, cruises, boating, and more.
From the highway or from the water, the Toronto harbourfront may look like a concrete and glass forest of condominiums. But tucked into this bland, high-density space is a piece of land that has been saved for public enjoyment: an oasis known as Harbourfront Centre.
This 10-acre park along the shore of Lake Ontario is just a short walk from Union Station in downtown Toronto. It stretches from the Queen’s Quay Terminal in the east to the Nautical Centre in the west. The area includes several buildings housing art galleries, performance spaces, shops and restaurants. The outdoor space – the main draw – also includes performance areas and green space for relaxing.
When I think of the Toronto Harbourfront, I think of music first. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been swept away by Celtic fiddles, sexy saxophones or Aboriginal drums from its outdoor stages. The price is right (free) and the music is varied and interesting.
During the summer, outdoor buskers also perform in the park. There are also plenty of festivals mixing music and art and food.
There are some indoor concert spaces as well, and some of the concerts are free and some charge a fee. The indoor concerts run year ‘round.
Fans of contemporary dance might want to catch a show at the Fleck Dance Theatre (previously called Premiere Dance Theatre) which features hot-ticket troupes from Canada and abroad.
In October, there’s a celebrity buzz down by the water with the annual International Festival of Authors, but if you miss that week, watch for other readings throughout the year.
The pond for paddle boats behind the York Quay Centre turns into an ice skating rink in the winter. Indoor lockers and change rooms are available on-site.
From the shore you can board boats offering tours of the harbour. Some offer meals as well. For a cheap(er) tour, you can take the ferry over to the Islands and just ride back without getting off.
A marina is available.
Looking for something fast and cheap? Lakeside EATS is a food court offering fast food at the York Quay Centre facing the pond/ice rink. Or for a really quick bite, look for the hot dog stands and chip trucks scattered around the park.
The International Marketplace during the summer features booths selling handcrafted materials from local artisans and imported works from craftspeople from around the world.
Art lovers can check out Bounty for fine Canadian crafts in the York Quay Centre, or the latest Power Plant exhibit of contemporary art.
Harbourfront Toronto is just south of the main downtown (financial district) of Toronto, on the shore of Lake Ontario. It's a ten minute walk or a five minute streetcar ride from Union Station and several large hotels.
To find out what’s on and for a map of Habourfront Centre Toronto, see http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com
In the Neighbourhood