The Harbourfront neighbourhood in Toronto encompasses the area from the lakeshore corridor railway line in the north down to Lake Ontario in the south and from Exhibition Place in the west to Parliament Street in the east. Nearly the entire neighbourhood is built on land reclaimed from Lake Ontario in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Prior to the 1980s, the area was largely industrial, especially the section south of the Gardiner expressway, which was built in the 1930s and acted as a barrier to development until the 1980s, when a lack of available space downtown led property developers to start building large condominium developments in the Harbourfront neighbourhood. Queen's Quay acts as the main street for the neighbourhood, containing an abundance of fast-food restaurants and convenience stores. Most of the shopping is in Queen's Quay Terminal, a large shopping and condo development which acts as something of a central point for the neighbourhood. On the south side of Queen's Quay is a series of slips separating large piers containing a mixture of condo towers, repurposed warehouses and small parks. In the summer, the neighbourhood is a buzz of activity with small concerts and festivals occurring in the park. While the area west of Yonge Street is full of high rise condo developments and activity at all hours, the area east of Yonge Street remains nearly entirely undeveloped and consists of a series of small, largely abandoned warehouses and empty lots, as well as the enormous Redpath sugar refinery; despite this, there is a large Loblaws supermarket at the intersection of Queen's Quay and Jarvis Street.
There is a separate article for the Toronto Islands across the harbour from Harbourfront.
The 509 LRT streetcar line runs underneath Bay Street from the Union Station subway station to an underground station at the intersection with Queen's Quay West, at which point it leaves the tunnel and proceeds West along Queen's Quay in a separate right-of-way, making stops at the major intersections; its western terminus is Exhibition Place. The 510 LRT streetcar line follows the same route from Union Station to the intersection of Queen's Quay and Spadina Avenue, at which point it turns and heads north on Spadina, still in its own right-of-way, to Spadina subway station at the intersection of Spadina and Bloor Street. The 511 streetcar line runs with traffic along Bathurst Street from Bathurst subway station to the intersection of Bathurst and Fleet Street, where it turns and follows the same route as the 509 West to Exhibition Place.
By subway and train
The nearest subway station is Union Station. From there you can either take the 509 or 510 streetcar to Queen's Quay or you can walk south along Bay Street from Front Street, underneath the railway tracks and the Gardiner expressway to Queen's Quay. Union Station is also the main terminus for commuter and intercity trains.
For more information on the subway and streetcar lines, visit the Toronto Transit Commission website
The Gardiner expressway runs the length of the harbourfront one block north of Queen's Quay and there are exits at Spadina, York, Bay, and Jarvis. There is a large parking garage underneath the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel and several commercial surface lots, including ones at Queen's Quay and York Street, Queen's Quay and Rees Street, on Bay Street across from the Air Canada Centre and on Queen's Quay next to the Redpath sugar refinery.
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is on the Toronto Islands, across a narrow channel from Harbourfront. Located on the mainland just south of Queens Quay West is the Bathurst Street Terminal for Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. . From the Bathurst Street Terminal, there is a an pedestrian tunnel connecting to the airport. The airport supports only propeller airplanes; that is, no jets. Porter Airlines is the only operator out of the island airport, operating to many destinations including Montreal, New York City, Quebec City, Halifax and Chicago. Porter offers a free shuttle bus service (15 minute frequency) between the Bathurst Street Terminal and Union Station (boarding at the southwest corner of York and Front Streets). Also, the 509 streetcar connects Union Station to one block north of the Bathurst Street Terminal (streetcar stop: Bathurst St at Queens Quay West).
Sites are listed from east to west.
- The Waterfront, Queens Quay. A massive redevelopment of the city's 46-kilometre waterfront is underway in the city. The redevelopment of Queens Quay West was completed in 2015 providing a bycycle path and a wider pedestrian area. Toronto's waterfront is already quite spectacular, with galleries, walking trails and art, film and theatre complexes.
- Redpath Sugar Museum, 95 Queen's Quay East (Bus 6 or 75 to Queen's Quay & Jarvis), ☎ +1 416-366-3561. Mon-Fri: 10h-12h, 13h-15.30h. This small museum is in the enormous Redpath Sugar Refinery and details the production of sugar.
- Yonge Street plaque, Yonge St at Queens Quay (in the sidewalk along the water's edge). This is the southern end of Yonge Street where there is decorative bronze plaque set in the sidewalk to promote the urban myth that Yonge Street is the longest street in the world. Until 1999, the Guinness Book of World Records supported this myth because it incorrectly assumed that provincial Highway 11, 1,896 kilometres (1,178 mi) long, and Yonge Street, 88 kilometres (55 mi) long, were one and the same. Yonge Street is only a relatively small portion of Highway 11. There is also a Yonge Street map at Yonge and Dundas Streets again to promote this urban myth.
- Museum of Inuit Art, 207 Queens Quay W (In the shopping centre of the Terminal Warehouse; streetcar stop: Harbourfront Centre), ☎ +1 416-640-1571. Small museum displaying Inuit art. The museum shop also sells Inuit art. (There is also the separate TD Gallery of Inuit Art in the Financial District.)
- Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, 231 Queens Quay W (South of Lower Simcoe St; streetcar stop: Harbourfront Centre), ☎ +1 416-973-4949. Closed Mondays except holiday Mondays. Exhibitions rotate, consult the website to see what's currently on display.
- Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West (At Lower Simcoe St, Streetcar stop: Harbourfront Centre). Harbourfront Centre is the arts and entertainment hub of the district. In the summer there is a full schedule of events and performances for the whole family.
- Bill Boyle Artport, 235 Queens Quay W (509/510 streetcar to Harbourfront Centre), ☎ +1 416-973-4600. Art gallery and work shops. On the east side of the building, there is a raised ailsle where visitors can look into artist workshops. Sometimes, the art gallery is empty when there is a change in exhibits. Admission free.
- Spadina Quay Wetlands, 441 Queens Quay W (A few metres west of Spadina Ave; streetcar stop: Spadina/Queens Quay). An urban wildlife sanctuary and wetland restoration site.
- Toronto Music Garden, 479 Queens Quay West (West of Spadina Ave; streetcar stop: Spadina/Queens Quay). Designed by cellist Yo Yo Ma and landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy, the Toronto Music Garden is an interpretation of Bach's First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello. Wheelchair accessible.
- Ireland Park, Queens Quay W (West of Dan Leckie Way; streetcar stop: Dan Leckie Way; at the end of the wharf.). Ireland Park contains a memorial about the Irish Potato Famine of the mid-19th century. This memorial, depicting life-size statues of hunger victims, is similar in style and identical in purpose to a memorial on the Liffey River in Dublin.
- Fort York National Historic Site, 250 Fort York Blvd (509 or 510 streetcar to Fort York Blvd). Fort York is a historic site of 19th century military fortifications and barracks. The fort was built by the British Army and Canadian militia troops in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, to defend the settlement and the new capital of the Upper Canada region from the threat of a military attack, principally from the newly independent United States. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1923.
- Exhibition Place, 200 Princes' Blvd (509 streetcar to Fleet St or Exhibition Loop). In addition to the exposition buildings, there are a few other sites of interest at Exhibition Place, Toronto's fair grounds. Except during the CNE, admission is free. See also Exhibition Place events.
- Princes' Gates (Strachan Ave & Princes' Blvd). The Princes' Gates is a large ceremonial Beaux-Arts monument marking the eastern entrance to Exhibition Place. The gates are named for Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), and his brother, Prince George (later the Duke of Kent), who visited in 1927. The monument is a 300-foot-long, 18-column structure with a 41-foot-high central arch, topped by the Goddess of Winged Victory statue. There are nine pillars to either side of the main arch, representing the nine Canadian provinces in existence at the time of construction. Flanking the central arch are various figures representing progress, industry, agriculture, arts, and science.
- Shriners' Peace Memorial (SW of Prince Edward Island Crescent). Located in a Rose Garden, this monument depicts a winged angel holding aloft a crown of olive branches and standing upon a globe held aloft by female sphinxes. The Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (better known as the Shriners) presented the monument to the people of Canada on June 12, 1930 as a symbol of peace and friendship between the United States and Canada. The winged angel faces the Niagara River, which forms part of the Canada-United States border.
- Fort Rouillé Monument (just west of Shriners' Peace Memorial and the Rose Garden). A large obelisk marks the site of the French-built Fort Rouillé erected in 1750 and 1751. The governor of New France ordered its construction to establish a French presence in the area, and to intercept the trade of Indians traveling towards an English fur-trading post in present-day Oswego. It was a small palisaded fort with a bastion at each of its four corners, and contained five main buildings: a corps de garde, storeroom, barracks, blacksmithy, and a building for the officers. The French garrison destroyed the fort in 1759, while retreating from invading English forces. The outline of the original fort has been marked out in concrete around the obelisk.
- Scadding Cabin (just west of the Fort Rouillé Monument). This one-room cabin is located adjacent to the Fort Rouillé Monument and behind the CNE Bandshell. It is the oldest building in Toronto. It was built by the Queen's York Rangers in 1794 on behalf of John Scadding, who served as clerk to John Graves Simcoe, the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada. The original cabin was moved from its original site on the Don River and to its present site just prior to the opening of the Toronto Industrial Exhibition (later the CNE) in 1879.
- Toronto Harbour Tours, 145 Queens Quay W (At York Street; streetcar stop: Harbourfront Centre), ☎ +1 416-203-7786. Boat tours of the harbour.
- Mariposa Cruises, 207 Queens Quay West (Queen’s Quay Terminal building; streetcar stop: Harbourfront Centre), ☎ +1 866-627-7672. Harbour tours. There is a Mariposa Tours summer kiosk. by the wharf.
- Tallship Cruises Toronto (Kajama), Great Lakes Schooner Company, 249 Queen's Quay West, Suite 111, ☎ +1 416-203-2322, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cruises on a tall sailing vessal. The Kajama summer kiosk. is located where the ship Kajama moors.
- Fleck Dance Theatre (formerly Premiere Dance Theatre), 207 Queens Quay West, 3rd Floor, Queen's Quay Terminal, ☎ +1 416-973-4000. Features modern dance and theatre performances from around the world.
- Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre, 283 Queens Quay W (South of Rees St streetcar stop in a small building near the wharf), ☎ +1 416-203-2277. Canoe & Kayak Rental Service
- Wheel Excitement, 249 Queen's Quay West. Bicycle and inline skate rental. Located right on the Martin Goodman Trail.
- Natrel Rink, 235 Queens Quay West (South of York Quay Centre). In the winter, the Natrel Rink is Canada's largest artificially-cooled outdoor skating rink. Skate rentals available. Music and Friday DJ nights.
- Exhibition Place events (509/510 streetcar to Exhibition Loop). The following are the major events at Exhibition Place. See also Exhibition Place for points of sightseeing interest.
- Canadian National Exhibition (The Ex, CNE), 200 Princes' Boulevard. Annually from mid-August to Labour Day. The Ex is a annual fair offering an amusement park (The Midway), a casino, live entertainment, an international market, agricultural exhibits including livestock and a variety of other exhibits. It is Canada's largest fair and the fifth largest in North America, with an average annual attendance of 1.3 million.
- Indy Toronto, ☎ +1 416 588-7223. IndyCars race through the streets at Exhibition Place for a thrilling annual weekend event at Exhibition Place.
- Ontario Place (509/511 streetcar to Exhibition Loop then walk ½ km south to the lake). Ontario Place is a former theme park built on man-made islands that still hosts summer concerts at 2 outdoor venues:
- Queen's Quay Terminal, 207 Queen's Quay West (509 & 510 Streetcars to York St), ☎ +1 416-203-3269. Sun-Wed: 10h-18h, Thu-Sat: 10h-21h. Large shopping, restaurant and condo development in a beautiful art deco warehouse. Contains a number of small, tourist-oriented shops as well as several restaurants and cafes and a medium sized Sobey's supermarket. As of December, 2015, almost all of the shops were closed for mall renovations.
- International Marketplace. On weekends in the summer, the outdoor International Marketplace at Harbourfront Centre hosts a range of arts and crafts vendors.
- The Nautical Mind, 249 Queens Quay W #108 (faces Robertson Cres, south of Rees St streetcar stop), ☎ +1 416-203-1163. Independent book store specializing in marine books and charts.
- The Dock Shoppe, 350 Queens Quay W (East of Spadina Ave), ☎ +1 416-362-3625. Marine supply store.
Also check the Drink section for pubs serving meals.
- Lavazza Espression, 225 Queens Quay W (West of Queen's Quay Terminal), ☎ +1 416-366-0202. Espresso bar. Light meals from the counter.
- Swiss Chalet Rotisserie & Grill, 266 Queens Quay W (East of Rees St), ☎ +1 416-596-7292. Specialty: BBQ chicken with Chalet sauce. Moderately priced.
- Sobeys Urban Fresh, 207 Queen's Quay W (Inside Queen's Quay Terminal) (509 & 510 Streetcars to York St), ☎ +1 416 603-1212. 7am-11pm, 7 days/week. Medium sized supermarket, smaller than Loblaws but much better located. Inside Queen's Quay Terminal shopping centre, with entrance off Queen's Quay. There is a salad bar and other prepared food which can be consumed at tables within the mall, or to make a picnic to eat in one of the small parks on the waterfront.
- Loblaws, 10 Lower Jarvis St (Bus 6 or 75 to Queen's Quay & Jarvis), ☎ +1 416 304-0611. M-F 8h-23h, Sa 7h-23h, Su 8h-20h. Very large supermarket, however it is in the undeveloped end of the harbourfront and the walk from the streetcar can be unpleasant. Instead, take the #6 bus down Bay St, which will take you directly to Loblaws.
- Amsterdam BrewHouse, 245 Queens Quay West (On wharf by Robertson Crescent; streetcar stop: Rees Street), ☎ +1 416-504-1020. 14,000-sqft lakeside brewery & restaurant serving craft beer with local foods. Patio.
- Watermark Irish Pub, Queens Quay Terminal, ☎ +1 416-214-2772. Panoramic view of Lake Ontario, lakeside patio. Traditional pub food with a focus on seafood.
- Westin Harbour Castle, 1 Harbour Square. Indoor pool, gym and spa facilities, on-site restaurants.
- Radisson Admiral Hotel. 249 Queen's Quay West (at Harbourfront Centre). Outdoor pool, fitness centre, business centre, complimentary in-room wireless Internet. Restaurant and bar on-site.
- Fort York Library, 190 Fort York Blvd (511 streetcar to Fort York Blvd or 509 Harbourfront to Fleet St and walk 1 block north), ☎ +1 416-393-6240. Wi-fi, computers with internet access.
- Shoppers Drug Mart, 390 Queen's Quay W (509 or 510 streetcar to Spadina Ave & Queens Quay W). Post office outlet within the store.
|Routes through Harbourfront|
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