Toronto – Ontario – Canada
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is a museum of world culture and natural history. The Toronto Zoo, is home to over 5,000 animals representing over 460 distinct species. The Art Gallery of Ontario contains a large collection of Canadian, European, African and contemporary artwork, and also plays host to exhibits from museums and galleries all over the world. The Gardiner Museum of ceramic art is the only museum in Canada entirely devoted to ceramics, and the Museum’s collection contains more than 2,900 ceramic works from Asia, the Americas, and Europe. The city also hosts the Ontario Science Centre, the Bata Shoe Museum, and Textile Museum of Canada. Other prominent art galleries and museums include Design Exchange, Museum of Inuit Art, TIFF Bell Lightbox, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Institute for Contemporary Culture, Toronto Sculpture Garden, CBC Museum, Redpath Sugar Museum, University of Toronto Art Centre, Hart House, TD Gallery of Inuit Art and the future Aga Khan Museum. The city also runs its own museums, which includes the Spadina House. The Don Valley Brick Works is a former industrial site, which opened in 1889, and was partly restored as a park and heritage site in 1996, with further restoration and reuse being completed in stages since then. The Canadian National Exhibition is held annually at Exhibition Place, and it is the oldest annual fair in the world. The ex has an average attendance of 1.25 million. City shopping area’s include the Yorkville neighbourhood, Queen West, Harbourfront, the Entertainment District, the Financial District, and the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood. The Eaton Centre is Toronto’s most popular tourist attraction with over 52 million visitors annually. Greektown on the Danforth is home to the annual “Taste of the Danforth” festival which attracts over one million people in 2½ days. Toronto is also home to Casa Loma, the former estate of Sir Henry Pellatt, a prominent Toronto financier, industrialist and military man. Other notable neighbourhoods and attractions include The Beaches, the Toronto Islands, Kensington Market, Fort York, and the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Toronto is represented in seven major league sports, with teams in the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, Canadian Football League, Major League Soccer, Canadian Women’s Hockey League and W-League. The National Football League’s Buffalo Bills used to play select home games in the city from 2008 to 2013. The city’s major sports venues include the Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome), Ricoh Coliseum, and BMO Field. Toronto is home to the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the National Hockey League’s Original Six clubs, and has also served as home to the Hockey Hall of Fame since 1958. The city had a rich history of hockey championships. Along with the Maple Leafs’ 13 Stanley Cup titles, the Toronto Marlboros and St. Michael’s College School-based Ontario Hockey League teams, combined, have won a record 12 Memorial Cup titles. The Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League also play in Toronto at Ricoh Coliseum and are the farm team for the Maple Leafs. The Toronto Raptors entered the National Basketball Association in 1995, and have since earned six playoff spots in 19 seasons. The Raptors have won two Atlantic Division titles (2007, 2014). The Raptors are the only NBA team with their own television channel, NBA TV Canada. They and the Maple Leafs play their home games at the Air Canada Centre. The Toronto Rock are the city’s National Lacrosse League team. They won five Champion’s Cup titles in seven years in the late 1990s and early first decade of the 21st century, appearing in an NLL record five straight championship games from 1999 to 2003, and are currently first all-time in the number of Champion’s Cups won. The Rock share the Air Canada Centre with the Maple Leafs and the Raptors. The city is represented in the Canadian Football League by the Toronto Argonauts, who have won 16 Grey Cup titles. Toronto played host to the 95th Grey Cup in 2007, the first held in the city since 1992. Later in 2012, while hosting the 100th Grey Cup but also participants, they won the game to the delight of the home fans. In addition, the city has hosted several National Football League exhibition games; Ted Rogers leased the Buffalo Bills from Ralph Wilson for the purposes of having the Bills play eight home games in the city between 2008 and 2013. The city is also home to Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays, who have won two World Series titles (1992, 1993). Both the Argonauts and Blue Jays play their home games at the Rogers Centre, in the downtown core. Toronto was home to the International Bowl, an NCAA sanctioned post-season football game that pitted a Mid-American Conference team against a Big East Conference team. From 2007 to 2010, the game was played at Rogers Centre annually in January. Toronto, along with Montreal, hosts an annual Tennis Tournament called the Rogers Cup between the months of July and August. In odd-numbered years, the men’s tournament is held in Montreal, while the women’s tournament is held in Toronto, and vice versa in even-numbered years. Besides team sports, the city annually hosted Champ Car’s Molson Indy Toronto at Exhibition Place from 1986 to 2007. The race was revived in 2009 as the Honda Indy Toronto, part of the IndyCar Series schedule. Both thoroughbred and standardbred horse racing events are conducted at Woodbine Racetrack in Rexdale. Historic sports clubs of Toronto include the Granite Club (established in 1836), the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (established in 1852), the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club (established in pre-1827), the Argonaut Rowing Club (established in 1872), the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club (established in 1881), and the Badminton and Racquet Club (established in 1924). Toronto was a candidate city for the 1996 and 2008 Summer Olympics, which were awarded to Atlanta and Beijing respectively. The Canadian Olympic Committee was considering a Toronto bid for the 2020 Games, however, in August 2011 it was announced that Toronto would not bid for the 2020 games. It has been suggested that Toronto may bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Toronto will be hosting the 2015 Pan American Games in July 2015, and the 2015 Parapan American Games in August 2015. It beat the cities of Lima, Peru and Bogotá, Colombia, to win the rights to stage the games. The games will become the largest multi-sport event ever to be held in Canada (in terms of athletes competing), double the size of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
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