In a nutshell

Toronto is Canada's financial capital and a world-class financial centre, second only to New York City in North America. The city's Financial District is where the magic happens with the country's "Big 5" banks and largest financial institutions, along with non financial firms such as Canadian icon Tim Hortons, having their head office within its boundaries. Besides its financial function, the area is also one of the city's main civic centres hosting City Hall and several court houses.

Bay Street is the district's main thoroughfare linking Union Station, a major transit node and Canada's busiest railway station, to the south, to Old City Hall sitting at its northern limit. If Toronto as a whole is no Paris when it comes to public transportation, its financial core rivals its European counterpart with no less than five subway stations, all converging towards Union Station. There, passengers can catch commuter and passenger trains as well as the UP Express connecting to Pearson Airport.

From an architectural standpoint, wanderers will get to see an eclectic mix of heritage and newer buildings. Of particular interest are the 1899 Romanesque Old City Hall and its 104m clock tower, the 1931 Art-Deco Commerce Court, once the tallest structure in the British Empire, and the 1967 International Style Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower designed by acclaimed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Not surprisingly, the area is bustling with office workers on weekdays but rather quiet on weekends with most restaurants and stores shutting down.

At a glance

  • Bridges
  • Heritage
  • Modern
  • Parks
  • Urban Art

Things to do

Places to read about and see

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Toronto City Hall
Toronto City Hall
Did you know? City Hall was built on the site of Toronto's first Chinatown (1890's - 1960's).
Old City Hall
Old City Hall
Did you know? Old City Hall narrowly escaped demolition in the 1960's as defunct department store chain Eaton's wished to incorporate the land into a mega office development. Following much public outcry, the project morphed into the Eaton Centre and the Bay St landmark was preserved.
Osgoode Hall
Osgoode Hall
Did you know? Osgoode Hall Law School of York University was located in Osgoode Hall from its founding in 1889 to 1969.

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