Canada's Best Business Centers: Toronto
Perhaps it’s no surprise that Toronto, Canada’s largest city, does everything on a grand scale. Its face has been completely transformed in the past five years by museum renovations, the construction of a stunning new opera house, and a skyline that is changing with the addition of new towers by Ritz-Carlton and Trump. At the same time, local government has passed a series of bylaws to make Toronto more eco-friendly. For businesses, this translates into regulations for new construction (buildings with more than 2,000 square meters of floor space now require a city-sanctioned roof garden), and new requirements for energy efficiency. In April 2010, the city began to regulate all signage, including billboard advertising. But it remains to be seen whether all these changes will stick after Toronto’s mayoral election in October, since the incumbent responsible for these bylaws isn’t in the running.
One area that has benefited from the citywide renovations is the Distillery District. The former home of the Gooderham-Worts Distillery, the biggest 19th-century distiller in the country, the neighborhood has been reinvented as an arts, entertainment, retail and dining complex. The redbrick Victorian buildings are laid out along traffic-free cobblestone streets lit by gas lamps at night. But the scenic Distillery District isn’t a tourist trap: locals fill the nearby condos, come to hear live music and see its indoor and outdoor art exhibits, and shop at its farmers’ market on summer Sundays. A visit here will give you a sense of Toronto’s pulse.
If you have a weekend to spare, there’s no better way to spend it than by playing the way the locals do: by taking a trip to the Muskoka region, a 90-minute drive north of Toronto. Famous as cottage country for the rich and famous (Tom Hanks, Goldie Hawn and many others own homes here), Muskoka is an intriguing mix of the natural—lovely lakes and unspoiled wilderness—and the sophisticated, with fine dining and top-notch spas. It’s also home to some of Canada’s best golf courses, designed by the likes of Nick Faldo, Mark O’Meara and Mike Weir. Top courses to play include the Rock, Deerhurst Highlands and the Grandview, all of which make great use of the natural rock outcroppings that mark the region.
Where to dine
Canoe 66 Wellington St. W. 416-364-0054 canoerestaurant.com
This restaurant boasts a gorgeous view of Toronto from its perch on the 54th floor of the Toronto Dominion Tower.
Conviction 609 King St. W. 416-603-2777 convictionrestaurant.comA must-visit spot, Conviction is helmed by one of the city’s most famous chefs, Marc Thuet, and staffed by reformed convicts
Where to sleep
Hotel le Germain 30 Mercer St. 866-345-9501 or 416-345-9500 germaintoronto.com
This boutique hotel combines luxury with whimsical touches, like elevators “wrapped” in lines of poetry.Park Hyatt Toronto 4 Avenue Rd. 800-233-1234 or 416-925-1234 parktoronto.hyatt.com
Located in a historic art deco building with a rooftop bar that overlooks downtown Toronto, the Park Hyatt is a favorite of business travelers.