Written by Erika Gunn, CNN Toronto, Canada Written by Erica Gunn, CNN
Canada’s capital and largest city is always at the heart of any list of top holiday destinations. With an exceptional collection of towers and city center fountains, Soho’s Rocky Mountaineer Station and Franklin, Nova Scotia’s sprawling, 2,150-acre nature retreat, here are just a few of Toronto’s most festive cultural offerings.
1. Casa Loma
The year-round-themed theme gardens of this Warburg-designed Mediterranean-influenced sculpture park — which spans almost 300 acres — may be the main attraction, but it’s also a great place to reflect on the city’s Indigenous heritage.
The Story of True North , a striking blue sculpture by Sunward resident Eve Marie, pays homage to the 1858 -1866 War of 1812 while the installation Anna (The Story of Eewab Ahoy and the Lost Frontier) sheds light on Canada’s First Nations. The Empire of Light at Kettle and Drum is an extraordinary film installation, focusing on indigenous life during World War II.
Casa Loma will also host Celebrate Canada, an international festival with top Canadian performances of classical and contemporary music, on February 7 and 8.
Casa Loma , 55 Gardiner Expressway, Ontario, Canada; +1 416 779 9925
Niko’s Amato is a church in the heart of Toronto’s historic Casa Loma. Credit: Thomas Hartshorn/Getty Images
With its architectural star turn, dramatic vaulted ceiling and enviable views across Lake Ontario, Niko’s Church is a city-defining landmark. The church is named after its architect Niko Annero, whose steeples, triangles and murals have become the focal point of the city’s skyline.
It’s also a peaceful environment for meditation and artistic contemplation: Overlooking a natural stream, this church was the subject of Norman Rockwell’s famous American Century Museum paintings. Open since 1939, the historic structure has welcomed more than 5 million visitors.
Niko’s Church , 700 Church St., Toronto, Canada; +1 416 231 9419
3. The Grog Shop
The iconic Li Ka Shing building, known as The Grog Shop, has been a Toronto landmark since 1984. Credit: Photo credit: Thomas Hartshorn/Getty Images
One of Canada’s most important architectural landmarks, the iconic Li Ka Shing building has been a Toronto landmark since 1984. When the Shing family agreed to fund the refurbishment of Toronto’s landmark building, known as The Grog Shop, they specified a rooftop garden and swimming pool, both of which have been incorporated into the architecture.