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Toronto City Guide

Toronto Organized Tours Overview

©2006 Tourism Toronto The Toronto Hippo Tour Bus tours the town and then ends up with a dip in Lake Ontario and a ride around the Ontario Place amusement park.

Enjoy a narrated tour of the downtown Toronto and all its key attractions in the comfort of a traditional English double-decker bus, or an authentic open-air trolley. Hop on and hop off according to your own interests and schedule. Pick up is at 123 Front St and most major hotels. Call (416) 594-3310.

The Toronto Hippo Tour Bus (416-703-4476) ends its trip around town with a splash into Lake Ontario and a boat ride around the space-age pods of Ontario Place.

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On a sunny afternoon, there's no better way to see Toronto Harbor than on a boat, where you can learn about the history of the city while catching cool breezes off Lake Ontario. A traditional three-mast tall ship called Kajama (416-203-2322) cuts an especially dramatic figure as it glides around the Toronto Islands, where Babe Ruth hit the first home run of his professional career. The Islands are home to Toronto's three yacht clubs and Centreville -- an old-fashioned amusement park with an old-fashioned log flume ride, a historic carousel and swan pedal boats lending it a nostalgic air.

One of the best tours is offered on Sunday afternoons from The Royal Ontario Museum. Each week one of their knowledgeable guides focuses on a different district, bringing Toronto history alive for residents and visitors alike. Historian Bill Genova offers more than a dozen tours that take you to areas as diverse as Little India, the Gay Village, and the Distillery District.

For 15 years, resident foodie and fan-of-the-offbeat Shirley Lum has been giving tours of Toronto's nooks and crannies. Consider the Kensington Foodies Roots walk, which captures the culinary history of this vibrant multi-ethnic neighborhood while sampling Jewish, East Indian, and Lebanese snacks, and culminates with decadent truffles made from Belgian chocolate.

The Foodies Gaslight Stroll winds through the Rosedale and Yorkville areas with stops at a coffeehouse, a cookbook store, and historic points of interest along the way. There's a culinary tour of the St. Lawrence Market and a Charles Dickens walk that recounts his visit to Toronto -- all of it served up with Lum's renowned sense of humor and great knowledge of her subject.

Is it Toronto the Good or Toronto the Ghoulish? You decide when you take a tour with Muddy York Tours. Take one of their walking tours and you'll get insights into (and sightings of?) the ghosts from Toronto's past that still haunt the present. Guide Richard Fiennes-Clinton cuts a dramatic figure, resplendent in a top hat and cape and carrying a lantern. He clearly relishes re-telling all the chilling tales, and gives participants a thorough grounding in all things spectral in Toronto's downtown.

If a daytrip to Niagara Falls is on your list of things-to-do, take a tour with Chariots of Fire. Their all-day itinerary includes two hours free time at the falls and the historic village of Niagara-on-the-Lake, as well as time at the Skylon Tower observation level. Other stops along the way include the Niagara Whirlpool, the hydroelectric dam, floral clock, Queenston Heights, and Pillitteri Estates Winery.

Toronto hotels range from the traditional to the luxurious. If you're not sure where to stay while visiting Toronto, keep reading our guide to Toronto hotels and lodgings.

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