Here’s the thing about Torontonians: we have a bit of a chip on our shoulder when it comes to our global image.
We see our city as incomparable, yet we’re always being compared to New York or Chicago or London or (gasp!) Vancouver. So showing up knowing a few fun facts about Toronto will make your hosts feel good. And when your hosts are in the position to give you a big fat juicy contract, making them feel good with a little hometown knowledge is just about the best thing you can do.
Toronto is still the most multicultural city in the world.
We’ve had the honour for years, but you’d think we would’ve relinquished it by now to a Vancouver or an L.A. Not even close. The multicultural population of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is expected to reach 9 million by 2036. For context, the entire GTA population in 2016 was 6.4 million and among that number are people speaking more than 180 languages.
Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run in Toronto.
Toronto’s always been a baseball hotbed, and before the Rogers Centre, the SkyDome, Exhibition Stadium and the Blue Jays, we had Hanlan’s Point Stadium on Centre Island. It’s where the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team played (now they play at Christie Pits, and if you’re here in the summer you should totally check out a game) and it’s where a young Bambino stepped top to the plate as a member of the Providence Grays and put one out. Incidentally, it was his only minor league home run.
Toronto the Green.
People who fly into town in the summer are always amazed at how green Toronto is. It’s been described as a city in a forest and that’s not too far from the truth. Toronto has over 10 million trees and over 1,500 parks, which take up 18.1% of the city’s total area.
One in Four
That’s how many Canadians live within 160 kilometres (100 miles) of Toronto. So when the rest of the country gets all upset that we like to think of ourselves as the centre of the Canadian universe, it’s because we kind of are.
Union Staton is two blocks south of us, and where you’d go if you wanted to hop on the TTC. That’s our public transit system and it’s the second largest system in North America behind New York City. As for the newly renovated (and gorgeous) Union Station itself, over 200,000 people go through it on a typical business day.
If you’re here to make a movie, you’re not alone. One in four Hollywood movies is shot here, contributing to the 28,000 film-industry jobs in Toronto and a $1.5 billion industry.
Theatre’s a big number in Toronto — and a lot of it is just a block away from us on King Street West. Toronto is the third largest city for English theatre, behind New York and London.
If you have the time to check out the Toronto Islands, you really should. You’ll see beaches, an amusement park, yacht clubs and Toronto’s island airport (which you may have flown into to get here). What you won’t see, though, is a single car. The Toronto Islands is the largest urban car-free community in North America.
Build Build Build
Over 400 new skyscrapers have been green-lit in Toronto, with a large majority of them being residential to accommodate the massive population explosion we’re experiencing right now.
Toronto has over 35,000 hotel rooms — but not many are as comfy as yours.