Toronto, ON

City Population: 2,615,060 | City Area: 630 sq. km (240 sq. mi) | Population Density (in sq. mi): 10,750 | Elevation: 76 m (249 ft)
Dates Visited: 08.28.12 – 09.06.12

Toronto is best described as a colorful kaleidoscope of different cultures. The largest city in Canada (fifth largest in North America), “T-Dot” prides itself as being one of the most cosmopolitan and international cities in the world–over half of the city’s residents were born outside of Canada. A leader in green technology, the arts, and business, it’s no surprise that Toronto consistently ranks as one of the world’s most livable cities.

Toronto is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario right across the border from New York. For most of the 1900s, the central Toronto waterfront was utilized as an important industrial port. At the turn of the century, however, most of the old industries shut down or moved away; much of the old industrial land was abandoned and left to decay. Riddled with brownfields, graffiti, and rusting industrial relics, in 2006, the Toronto waterfront was even entered into Project for Public Spaces‘ Hall of Shame as one of the top 10 worst waterfronts.

Now, however, the city is determined to turn that ranking on its head. In 1999, the Waterfront Toronto group was formed to take charge of an ambitious waterfront revitalization project, one of the largest urban redevelopment projects currently underway in North America. The revitalization effort, which is expected to take 25 years to complete, will create approximately 40,000 new jobs and 40,000 new residences through the redevelopment of 800 hectares (1,977 acres) along Lake Ontario.

Right now I’m sitting in one of Toronto’s public libraries within the new city hall at Nathan Phillips Square–it’s within the building of the picture at top. It’s my second day in Toronto thus far, but I already love it. Bikes are everywhere. Parks stretch on for miles. And the water glitters and glistens.

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