Sights in Toronto

Toronto is on my “bucket list” of places I’d love to travel to and finding out more about what to do and see in Ontario’s capital and major city definitely aroused my curiosity. I hope that someday I will have the opportunity to check out Toronto for myself.

  • Art Gallery of Ontario—a glass and titanium exterior immediately draw visitors to this building that is known for its exhibitions of landscape paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries; a Canadian wing that has significant pieces by local artists such as Emily Carr, Cornelius Krieghoff, David Milne, and Homer Watson; and renowned artists like Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Picasso, Rodin, Degas, Matisse, and others; 317 Dundas Street
  • Bata Shoe Museum—a unique museum with 10,000 types of footwear from skydiving boots to iron-spiked shoes used for crushing chestnuts along with shoes worn by celebrities such as Elton John and Marilyn Monroe; 327 Bloor Street
  • Black Creek Pioneer Village—a recreation of a 19th-century village that consists of 40 buildings from the 19th and early 20th century including a town hall, weaver’s shop, printing shop, blacksmith, and school and featuring men and women in period clothing, farm animals, and a hands-on discovery center; 1000 Murray Ross Parkway
  • CN Tower—the tallest freestanding tower in the Western Hemisphere at 1,815 feet and 5 inches tall that serves as a telecommunications tower and has four floors including:
    • The Glass Floor Level—a high-altitude glass observation deck that allows you to take a picture from above
    • Look Out Level—another observation deck
    • 360 Revolving Restaurant—a nice restaurant
    • Sky Pod—the world’s highest public observation gallery
    • A ground floor marketplace with 12,500-square-feet of Canadian travel items and souvenirs including a shop that sells Inuit art; a café with seating for 300; the Maple Leaf Cinema that shows a 20-minute documentary about the construction of the tower; and the Themed Arcade with virtual experiences and a motion picture ride

Address: 301 Front Street West

  • Campbell House—the former residence of Sir William Campbell, the sixth chief justice of Upper Canada, that was moved to its current location in 1972 and includes early 19th century furniture and costumed guides that discuss the social lives of the upper class; 160 Queen Street West
  • Casa Loma—a castle that was commissioned by Sir Henry Pellatt, a soldier and financier, and has 98 rooms, two towers, secret panels, a large pipe organ, a mahogany stable, and five acres of gardens; 1 Austin Terrace
  • City Hall—a striking city hall that includes two curving towers of different heights, a circular council chamber, a large mural at the front entrance titled Metropolis, and a 9-acre square; 100 Queen Street West
  • Design Exchange—a modern building that was once home to the Toronto Stock Exchange and now features a permanent collection of more than 600 pieces of design including furniture, graphics, housewares, lighting, and tableware and an entertaining gift shop; 234 Bay Street
  • Dundas Square—Toronto’s version of Times Square with tables and chairs and 20 water fountains that shoot out of the floor as well as regular events from May to October; Yonge Street at Dundas Street
  • Fort York—an historic site where Toronto was founded in 1793 and where the Battle of York occurred in 1813 where Americans burned down provincial buildings; exhibits inside include restored barracks, kitchens, gunpowder magazines, and rotating museum displays; 250 Fort York Boulevard
  • George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art—a collection of ceramic pieces such as 17th century English delftware and 18th century European porcelain as well as a pre-Columbian collection dating back to Olmec and Mayan times; 111 Queen’s Park Crescent
  • Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum—a museum dedicated to Canada’s beloved sport that includes on display the 1893 Stanley Cup, goalie masks, skate and stick collections, players’ jerseys, video displays of big games, and a replica of the Montreal Canadiens’ locker room; Brookfield Place, 30 Yonge Street
  • Kortright Centre for Conservation—located fifteen minutes north of Toronto, this conservation center has three aquariums, 10 miles of hiking trails through various terrains, and a renewable-energy cottage; 9550 Pine Valley Drive, Woodbridge
  • Mackenzie House—home to William Lyon Mackenzie, Toronto’s first mayor and the designer of the city’s coat of arms, this museum features an 1845 printing press and other period furniture and equipment; 82 Bond Street
  • Old City Hall—opened in 1899 and used until the new city hall was built across the street in 1965, this building is where provincial courts, county offices, and the marriage bureau are located and above the front steps are satirical gargoyles; 60 Queen Street West
  • Ontario Science Centre—a modern science museum that has three linked pavilions on the side of a ravine and allows visitors to explore space, technology, and communications with interactive exhibits and simulations as well as offering a 25,000-square-foot Weston Family Innovation Centre which allows for interactive exploration and hands-on activities, a children’s science area for children eight and under, Toronto’s only public planetarium, and daily demonstrations; 770 Don Mills Road
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada—North America’s largest aquarium that is shaped like a shark and has more than 450 species of marine life in 45 exhibit spaces with simulated experiences such as a scuba diving experience; 288 Bremner Boulevard
  • Riverdale Farm—a living history 19th century farm with animals such as Clydesdale horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, and donkeys among others with a playground and wading pool for children; 201 Winchester Street
  • Royal Ontario Museum—Canada’s largest museum with over six million items and exhibits on science, art, and archaeology including a children’s learning center; the Crystal Court with dinosaurs, a modern culture display, and a bistro; a gallery of historical tribal pieces; a Chinese sculpture gallery with 25 stone Buddhist sculptures; a Korean gallery that is North America’s largest permanent Korean gallery; and a South Asian gallery; 100 Queen’s Park
  • Textile Museum of Canada—a museum with ten galleries that consist of over 12,000 artifacts such as men’s costumes from northern Nigeria and ceremonial masks from Papua New Guinea as well as rugs, cloths, and tapestries; 55 Centre Avenue
  • Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library—a library part of the University of Toronto with early writing such as a cuneiform tablet, an Egyptian papyrus, and 15th century European books; 120 George Street
  • Toronto Botanical Garden and Edwards Gardens—17 beautiful botanical garden areas along with an estate garden once owned by the industrialist Rupert Edwards and a garden for children to learn about nature; 777 Lawrence Avenue East
  • Toronto Police Museum and Discovery Centre—a museum dedicated to the police force in Toronto featuring a replica of a 19th century police station, a weapon collection, and interactive exhibits such as fingerprint analysis and quizzes as well as vehicles and videos; 40 College Street
  • Toronto Zoo—a 710-acre zoo with mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish in natural habitats; climate-controlled pavilions with botany such as a giant African baobab tree; a pair of Chinese pandas and a panda interpretive center; and an African savanna safari; Meadowvale Road, Exit 389 off Highway 401

Shopping in Ottawa, Canada

Ottawa offers a variety of shopping experiences from the Rideau Centre mall to shopping districts such as Sussex Drive and Bank Street.

  • ByWard Market—four square blocks of museums, cafes, specialty food stores, boutiques, galleries, restaurants, pubs, and hair and beauty salons; 55 By Ward Market Square
  • Ottawa Farmers’ Market—has a wide variety of foods, crafts, jewelry, and more; 1015 Bank Street
  • Workshop Studio and Boutique—sells clothes, jewelry, and accessories by over 150 of Canada’s newest designers; 242 ½ Dalhousie Street
  • Cube Gallery—has a selection of works by local artists including paintings and sculptures; 1285 Wellington Street West
  • Astrolabe Gallery—sells a variety of old maps and antiques; 71 Sparks Street
  • Bank Street—a shopping district with bargain goods, shops, boutiques, and antique stores
  • Rideau Centre—a large mall with over 200 stores including Club Monaco, Le Chateau, and Roots; 50 Rideau Street
  • Sussex Drive—a shopping street with local designer stores by designers such as Richard Robinson and Justina McCaffrey


For the Canada portion of the travel guide series I will be focusing not only on the national capital of Ottawa but the capitals and major cities of each province. To start the series off we will be checking out Ottawa and what attractions and shopping experiences it has to offer visitors.

Ottawa Attractions

  • National Gallery of Canada—home to a collection of European and Canadian paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and photos; 380 Sussex Drive
  • Notre Dame Basilica—a twin-spired ornate Gothic-style cathedral; 385 Sussex Drive
  • Canadian Museum of Nature—the national natural history museum of Canada is home to several excellent galleries including a fossil gallery, mammal gallery, bird gallery, water gallery, earth gallery, and many hands-on activities; 240 McLeod Street
  • Canada Aviation and Space Museum—teaches visitors about flight and aerospace technology with more than 130 aircraft and artifacts; 11 Aviation Parkway
  • Rideau Hall—official residence and office of every governor-general since 1867 set within a 79-acre urban paradise; 1 Sussex Drive
  • Canada Agriculture and Food Museum—allows visitors to forge personal connections with farm animals at its working farm as well as offering interesting exhibitions that highlight Canada’s agricultural history and problems; 861 Prince of Wales Drive
  • Laurier House National Historic Site—the former residence of the Prime Minister before the move to Sussex Drive; 335 Laurier Avenue East
  • Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada—offers an expansive collection of Canadian coins, currency, and tokens as well as foreign currency; 245 Sparks Street
  • Canada Science and Technology Museum—Canada’s largest science museum is home to displays of printing presses, antique cars, steam locomotives, and hands-on exhibits; 1867 St. Laurent Boulevard
  • Canadian Museum of Civilization—an architecturally elegant building with exhibits that depict Canada’s history from prehistory to the present as well as six longhouses, totem poles, and life-size reconstructions of an archaeological dig and hands-on activities for kids in the children’s museum; 100 Laurier Street
  • Aboriginal Experiences—once an Algonquin trading post, this site allows visitors to look inside tepees and a longhouse where traditional dances are performed twice a day as well as eat in an open-air café and make crafts in a craft workshop; Victoria Island, off Chaudiere Bridge
  • Canadian War Museum—a striking newer museum that depicts Canadian military history with artifacts and a re-creation of a walk-through trench and Peacekeepers’ command post along with a large artillery collection and military vehicles; 1 Vimy Place
  • Mackenzie King Estate—a 563-acre estate in Gatineau Park that was once the home of William Lyon Mackenzie King, former prime minister, who lived here during the summer in the early 20th century, and has formal gardens, ruins, natural woodlands, and two cottages to walk through (a third cottage is closed to visitors as it is the residence of the Speaker of the House of Commons); Promenade de la Gatineau Parkway, Gatineau
  • Parliament Buildings—three Neo-Gothic buildings that preside over Ottawa and overlook the Ottawa River and consist of the Peace Tower where the Memorial Chamber has five Books of Remembrance that list the names of Canadians killed in military service, the Library of Parliament which is the only original building saved from a fire in 1916 that has book-lined galleries, and the East and West Block which contain parliamentary offices and restored offices of the Fathers of the Confederation; Parliament Hill

Shopping in Cape Town, South Africa

From bustling marketplaces to more traditional brick-and-mortar stores, Cape Town has a variety of shopping experiences including malls, galleries, and niche stores.

  • Baraka Gifts and Décor—a shop with arts, crafts, jewelry, handmade leather notebooks, photo albums, and vintage and antique items; Shop 13A, Dixon Street, Cape Quarter
  • V&A Market on the Wharf—South Africa’s most enticing fresh food and produce market including a foodie bookshop, demo kitchen, and more culinary experiences; Dock Road
  • Canal Walk Shopping Centre—a large mall with a variety of international retailers, a hotel, cinema, and food court; Century City Drive
  • Watershed—sells home décor, jewelry, and souvenirs; Breakwater Boulevard, V&A Waterfront
  • Neighbour Goods Market—home to interesting stores and vendors and good food selection; 373-375 Albert Road
  • Kumanov Cosmetics—allows customers to make their own perfume and sells body creams and other body products; 3 Viola Road
  • The Book Lounge—a bookstore with a good selection of titles and a basement café; 71 Roeland Street
  • Rust-en-Vrede Gallery—an art gallery that displays the works of both established and new artists with a clay museum as well; 10 Wellington Road
  • Amiti Shop—a South African design collective with a large collection of locally designed goods including clothing, bags, home décor, jewelry, and art prints; 81 Long Street
  • The African Music Store—a specialty African music shop with over 3000 titles mostly including South African pieces but also a stock of pan-African music as well; 134 Long Street
  • Streetwires—sells wire art and demonstrates how wire art is made in the upstairs factory; 77 Shortmarket Street
  • Red Rock Tribal—a craft store set in a garden with wind sculptures, water features, scrap metal tortoises, and birds; Cape Farmhouse
  • AVOOVA—sells handcrafted gifts made from ostrich eggshells; 97 Bree Street
  • Africa Nova—a store that sells modern African art and unique original African pieces; Cape Quarter, 72 Waterkant Street
  • African Image—an African crafts store that sells modern art and township crafts, cloth from Nigeria and Ghana, West African masks, Malian blankets, and beaded designs from southern African tribes; Burg and Church Streets
  • Exclusive Books Waterfront—South Africa’s largest chain of bookstores with local and international magazines, African coffee-table books, and international best-sellers; V&A Waterfront, Victoria Wharf, Shop 6160
  • Greenmarket Square—a fun marketplace with clothing, locally made leather shoes and sandals, African jewelry, art, and fabrics; Longmarket, Burg, and Shortmarket streets
  • Mnandi Textiles—an African fabric store with West African and Dutch prints (South Africa was a Dutch colony at one point in its history) and African clothing for adults and children; 90 Station Road

Sights in Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is the capital of South Africa and has a rich maritime history and more somber history of apartheid and discrimination. It is certainly a place worth exploring for its wealth of museums, natural attractions, and family-friendly attractions.

  • Table Mountain—a mountain with excellent views and multiple hiking areas; Table Mountain National Park
  • Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden—internationally recognized as one of the seven most magnificent botanical gardens in the world with 528 acres that includes a garden and nature reserve as well as restaurants, a nursery, a gift shop, a bookshop, and a permanent Zimbabwean stone sculpture collection; Rhodes Drive
  • Cape Point Nature Reserve—located within the southern section of Table Mountain National Park and declared a World Heritage site with rugged rocks, cliffs towering more than 200 meters above the sea, and a storied maritime history; Cape Town Central
  • Green Point Park and Biodiversity Garden—adjacent to the Cape Town Stadium with views of the stadium and Signal Hill and themed areas within the garden; Bay Road
  • District Six Museum—a memorial museum to a neighborhood destroyed during South Africa’s apartheid period with maps, photos, and other artifacts from the old neighborhood; 15 25a Buitenkant Street
  • First South African Perfume Museum—includes a permanent collection that provides a glimpse into the world of perfumes; 3 Viola Road
  • Two Oceans Aquarium—provides a glimpse into the oceans surrounding the South African coast with sea creatures such as Knysna seahorses, sea turtles, and giant spider crabs as well as a touch pool and full ocean tunnel; Alfred Basin, Dock Road
  • Company’s Gardens—beautiful gardens with a national gallery, rose garden, vegetable garden, trees, and wildlife; 19 Queen Victoria Street
  • The Springbok Experience Rugby Museum—tells South Africa’s story through its most popular sport with more than 60 audiovisual displays where visitors can watch the history of South African rugby unfold as well as interactive activities for children; Portswood House, Portswood Ridge, Portswood Road
  • Cape Town Diamond Museum—illustrates the evolution of the diamond over time and the most famous South African diamonds; Level 1 The Clock Tower
  • Bugz Family Playpark—a large amusement park for young children with an indoor play area and outdoor playground; 56 Tarentaal Street
  • Simon’s Town Museum—a former Dutch East India Company property owned by the former governor contains crafts and artifacts that depict the cultural history of Cape Town and South Africa; Court Road
  • Chavonnes Battery Museum—home to international photography exhibitions and archaeology exhibits, models, displays, and information panels; Clock Tower
  • Warrior Toy Museum—home to a toy collection that includes model cars, dolls, soldiers, ships, and matchbox trains; St. George’s Street
  • Arderne Gardens—a collection of hundreds of species of trees and shrubs that is the best collection of exotic plants in South Africa; 222 Main Road
  • Cape Town Science Centre—home to science exhibits, workshops, puzzles, and games; 370B Main Road
  • Bishopsford Bonsai Garden—offers bonsai planting courses in the largest bonsai nursery in the Western Cape; 3 Muscat Lane South
  • Museum of Gems and Jewelry—shows the evolution of diamonds over time and teaches visitors about unique and rare gemstones as well as the history of jewelry; Huguenot House
  • Blouberg Beach—a popular beach divided into two bays that provide areas for surfers, sunbathers, families, and for activities such as kite flying and kite surfing
  • Bo-Kaap Museum—built in the 18th century, this museum was once the home of Abu Bakr Effendi, a Turkish scholar and Muslim leader, who wrote one of the first books in Afrikaans, and now recreates the lifestyle of a Malay family in the 19th century; 71 Wale Street
  • Boulders Beach—part of Table Mountain National Park, this beach is known for its colony of African penguins which can be viewed at their breeding beach which is not open to visitors and on penguin-viewing platforms; Kleintuin Road, Sea Forth, Simon’s Town
  • Cape Point—a park with incredible views from a platform of False Bay and the Hottentots Holland Mountains and an old and new revolving lighthouse are able to be viewed; off the M65 (Plateau Road)
  • Cape Town Holocaust Centre—a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust as well as an education center that reminds us of the dangers of prejudice, racism, and discrimination; 88 Hatfield Street
  • Castle of Good Hope—South Africa’s oldest building that was built between 1665 and 1676 by the Dutch East India Company that was designed as a fortress to replace an earlier fort erected in 1652 and has served as the headquarters of the Dutch East India Company and the governor’s residence; 1 Buitenkant Street
  • Groote Kerk—a Gothic church that is one of South Africa’s most famous churches and was built in 1841 on the foundation of a Dutch Reformed church built in 1704 featuring enclosed pews for wealthy families with doors, a large pulpit, and an enormous organ that is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere; Church Square, Parliament Street
  • Irma Stern Museum—a small museum featuring the paintings of Irma Stern, one of the greatest painters from South Africa, with paintings inspired by her trips to the Congo and Zanzibar and a collection of African artifacts; Cecil Road
  • Old Town House—a building designed in the Cape Dutch style that is home to the Michaelis Collection which is a 17th-century collection of Dutch paintings including some by Rembrandt; Greenmarket Square
  • Rhodes Memorial—a memorial dedicated to the memory of the prime minister who presided over the Cape from 1890 to 1896 whose vision was to develop a Cape-Cairo railway; the memorial is set atop Rhodes’s old estate, Groote Schuur; off Rhodes Drive
  • Robben Island—this island has had a long history in various incarnations as a prison where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, leper colony, mental institution, and military base that is now a museum and a World Heritage site featuring an embarkation center and conference center named after Mandela with interactive exhibits that display photos of life in the prison and boat rides across the water; Nelson Mandela Gateway
  • Scratch Patch—a gemstone factory that allows visitors to buy and fill bags with gemstones picked from a garden deeply filled with gemstones such as rare blue lace agate with an attached store that sells gemstone jewelry; Dido Valley Road, Simon’s Town
  • Slave Lodge—built in 1697 by the Dutch East India Company as a home for slaves, convicts, and the mentally ill, it became the supreme court from 1815 to 1914 and is now a museum that depicts slavery in Cape Town with temporary exhibits that delve into apartheid and racism; 49 Wale Street
  • South African Jewish Museum—this museum has its home in South Africa’s first synagogue and is adjacent to the Cape Town Holocaust Centre with interactive and multimedia exhibits about the Jewish population in South Africa, an active synagogue, a Discovery Center for tracing family histories, a gallery for rotating exhibits, an auditorium, a restaurant, and a shop; 88 Hatfield Street
  • South African Museum—a museum featuring rock art from ancient Khoisan culture, fossils of prehistoric reptiles and other animals, exhibits on sharks in Shark World, a planetarium, and photography exhibits; 25 Queen Victoria Street
  • South African National Gallery—an art museum with a collection of 19th and 20th century European art, South African pieces, and regularly rotating exhibitions on topics such as South African struggles with HIV/AIDS or documentary photography; Government Avenue
  • South African Naval Museum—a naval museum with model ships, navigational equipment, old diving equipment, life-size boats, and a submarine; Naval Dockyard, St. George’s Street, Simon’s Town
  • George’s Cathedral—once the seat of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the country’s first black archbishop of Cape Town who criticized apartheid and strove for a democratic government, this cathedral contains the largest stained-glass window in the country and a 1,000-year-old Coptic cross; 5 Wale Street

Shopping in Nairobi, Kenya

  • Westgate Shopping Mall—one of East Africa’s top shopping destinations with family entertainment and events as well as arts and craft kiosks and over 80 stores; Mwanzi Road
  • The Hub Karen—a shopping mall located in the suburbs of Karen Nairobi that is home to both local and international stores and everyday necessities like dining, medical care, offices, and a wellness center
  • Nairobi Gallery—home to the Murumbi collection of African art and artifacts
  • Utamaduni Craft Centre—has a variety of masks, textiles, jewelry, and home goods; Bogani East Road
  • Spinners Web Kenya—a Kenyan crafts store; Getathuru Gardens off Peponi Road
  • Matbronze Wildlife Art—a gallery with sculptures, jewelry, and souvenirs; No. 2 Kifaru Lane

There really isn’t a wealth of shopping venues in Nairobi but the ones featured do seem like they are very cultural and provide a glimpse of daily life in Kenya.

Sights in Nairobi, Kenya

This provides an introduction to the sights of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. It seems like an interesting place to check out and explore.

  • Nairobi National Park—one of the highlights of Kenya’s first national park is the black rhino; Langata Road
  • Karen Blixen Museum—the farmhouse where Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa, lived between 1914-1931; Karen Road
  • Nairobi National Museum—a museum that highlights Kenya’s heritage through cultural, natural, historic, and contemporary art as well as a snake park, botanical gardens, dining, and shopping facilities; Museum Hill
  • African Heritage House—a national architectural masterpiece home to a variety of African textiles, masks, art, artifacts, crafts, books, and photographs; Mombasa Road
  • David Sheldrick Orphanage for Rhinos and Elephants—a rescue center where you can see baby elephants and rhinos who will eventually be reintegrated into the wild; Magadi Road, entrance at maintenance gate
  • Railway Museum—a museum dedicated to trains with a rhino catcher that Theodore Roosevelt rode in, a carriage where a railroad builder was dragged out the window by a lion, and other rail transportation; off Haile Selassie Avenue
  • Kitengela—a glassworks, hotel, and sculpture garden that has beautiful sculptures made from recycled materials; Glass Lane, Oloosirkon

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