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A recreational wonderland that sits a mere 10-minute ferry ride away from Toronto Harbor, the Toronto Islands constitute a set of 15 small isles in the midst of Lake Ontario. The islands are connected to one another by pathways and bridges that can be traversed on foot. Sprawled across 820 acres (330 hectares) of the lake's expanse, the Toronto Islands are home to the Snake Island, the South Chippewa Island, Mugg's Island, and Forestry Island, with the Centre Island emerging as the biggest of the group. Away from the city's furious bustle, the islands offer a serene retreat with their car-free stretches, and are home to a plethora of landmarks including the Centreville Amusement Park, the clothing-optional Hanlan's Beach, a Frisbee golf course, and the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
At a dizzying height of 553.3 meters (1,815.3 feet), the slender form of the CN Tower rises high above the city skyline. One of the world's tallest towers, unmatched by any freestanding structure in the Western Hemisphere, this stunning landmark was built in 1967 by the Canadian National Railway to serve as a communications and observation facility. At that time, this man-made pinnacle was unsurpassed by any other across the world and remained as such until 2007. The Look Out Level of CN Tower grants spectacular view of the city for miles around from a height of 346 meters (1,136 feet), while the SkyPod sits an additional 33 storeys above for a unique perspective of the world. The EdgeWalk, another of the tower's attractions, is the world's highest hands-free walkway. Not for the faint hearted, walking along the open-air walkway is an experience like none other. The EdgeWalk is perched on the roof of the 360 Restaurant where dinner is served in full view of Toronto's twinkling skyline.
Built over three years beginning in 1911, Casa Loma was born of the lofty ambitions of the Canadian financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt. Inspired by the castles of Europe, Pellatt sought to employ the formidable resources at his disposal to build for himself a grand chateau in the heart of Toronto; an abode truly befitting the aspirations of the magnate. Built in the Gothic Revival style, Casa Loma appears to have sprung from the pages of a fairy tale, replete with hidden passages and generously adorned with exquisite art. The castle features 98 lavishly decorated rooms and is surrounded by a beautiful estate complete with its own conservatory, gardens, and stables. The Great Hall's sculptured pillars, the Conservatory's stained glass ceiling, the Library's impressive cache of books, and the subterranean tunnel to the stables outside are just a few of the many treasures that define the estate. Pellatt's triumph was short-lived, however, his businesses buckling in the aftermath of World War I, forcing him to sell his home. Today, Casa Loma is a museum and popular event venue.
Built in 1793, Fort York National Historic Site was established to protect Toronto Bay from American invasion. It lies just east of Exhibition Place and represents Canada's largest concentration of original War of 1812 buildings. Period-costumed staff provide guided tours highlighting the blockhouses, barracks and officers' quarters. The staff give demonstrations of what military life was like in the early 18th Century. Special events throughout the year include a Battle of York Commemoration, Victoria Day Celebration and Canada Day at Fort York.
Located near the city center in Toronto, the Distillery Historic District is a prominent area of the city where the Gooderham and Worts Distillery used to operate until 1990 CE. The distillery was touted as one of the biggest facilities in the world. After its closure, the Victorian-era buildings of the property became the Distillery District of today. Today, it houses many shops, restaurants and commercial complexes. However, the historic facade of the distillery is still intact and can be seen.
It is hard to imagine a wilderness area near the thriving business district of downtown Toronto, but that is just what one finds at Rouge Park. The large park is home to a variety of rare plant and animal species which can be admired from areas like Glen Eagles Vista. Rouge Park is ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing, camping, swimming and picnics. Two national historic sites, the Toronto Carrying Place Trail and Bead Hill, are located within the park.