Yonge Street is the central vein of Toronto, starting at Lake Ontario and slicing the city in half as it travels through Dundas Square and north to the suburbs. Tourists gather below the enormous billboards and flashy lights in Dundas Square, especially in the summer, when the large public area comes alive with outdoor festivals and entertainment. The few sights in this neighborhood, namely the Eaton Centre and Nathan Phillips Square, get a lot of attention from both locals and visitors.
Tourists always end up here, whether they want to or not. Usually it's the enticement of nonstop shopping in the Eaton Centre, Toronto's biggest downtown shopping mall, or the shops lining Yonge Street, nearby. Others see the allure of outdoor markets, ethnic food festivals, and street concerts in the bright and lively, larger-than-life Dundas Square.
To catch a glimpse of what locals are up to, grab lunch and dine alfresco at Nathan Phillips Square. Under the omnipresent gaze of City Hall—the two curving buildings were designed to resemble a watchful eye—nearby suits from the Financial District and spent shoppers populate the benches in all weather. During the winter, the water fountain at Nathan Phillips Square becomes an ice-skating rink that draws in gaggles of giggling teenage girls, young couples holding hands, and little ones testing out their skates for the first time.
There's also a selection of distinct museums. History buffs will enjoy the MacKenzie House, the former home of Toronto's first mayor; contemporary fashion and design are highlighted at the Museum for Textiles; and at the Toronto Police Museum, kids can hop aboard a 1914 paddy wagon or examine their own fingerprints.