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.
Toronto has always been a waterfront city, but the harbour was strictly industrial for most of the city's history. The original shoreline was further north than where it is today (close to Front St); parts of the harbour were filled from the 1800s onward, as the lakebed was dredged to accommodate larger ships, and new space was needed for shipping activities, factories, and warehouses. As the railways began to shape the region's economy, they also shaped the land along the waterfront, building a large yard between the harbour and the city's downtown as well as a network of tracks to serve industry.
After peaking in the mid-1900s, changes in transportation and manufacturing made Toronto's harbour less valuable to industry. Governments began planning for a waterfront with a mix of uses, eventually replacing many of the industrial and shipping facilities that separated the growing city from Lake Ontario. In the early 1970s, Ontario Place and the Harbourfront Centre opened to attract families and visitors to the lake on the west side of Yonge St, inspired by Expo 67 in Montreal and the plans for Granville Island and False Creek in Vancouver.
The east side retained its industrial character for a few more decades- the Redpath Sugar Refinery and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario warehouse only opened around 1950. By the 1980s, a warehouse block at Queens Quay and Jarvis St was a large nightclub complex that was an important part of Toronto's music scene until it was demolished in 2015, when it was known as The Guvernment. At that time, the east half of the Harbourfront was mostly empty lots and sprawling parking lots. Today, many of those lots have been redeveloped with typical Toronto residential towers, new parks, and a George Brown College, surrounding the sugar refinery.
Queen's Quay acts as the main street for the neighbourhood, with 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. The south side of Queen's Quay, along the lake's edge, is a series of slips separating large piers with a mixture of condo towers, repurposed warehouses and small parks.
In the summer, the neighbourhood is a buzz of activity with small concerts, festivals and markets in the park and plaza around Harbourfront Centre, cyclists and skaters crossing the downtown on the Martin Goodman Trail, and daytrippers catching ferries to the Toronto Islands across the harbour.
From Union Station, theHarbourfront and Spadina streetcars run underneath Bay Street to an underground station at Queen's Quay West. Both routes then run above ground along Queens Quay. The 509 continues west until Exhibition and the 510 turns north at Spadina Ave, to the subway at Spadina Station. Some southbound streetcars from Spadina Station turn back at Queens Quay and Spadina Ave instead of continuing east to Union Station.
At Exhibition Loop/Exhibition GO, thestreetcar connects to the Bathurst streetcar, which runs between Exhibition and the Bathurst subway station. GO Transit's Lakeshore West line serves the adjacent rail station.
Dufferin Gate Loop, at the far north-west end of Exhibition Place, is served by about half of the streetcars on routeKing, in addition to buses on Dufferin Ave.
While Queens Quay West (west of Yonge Street) is well served by streetcar, only bus routes serve Queens Quay East. Bus routes 19, 72B, 202 run from the east side of Union Station on Bay Street to George Brown College (between Sherbourne Common and Sugar Beach Park) beyond which there is little of visitor interest.
By subway and train
The nearest subway station is Union Station on Line website .. From there you can either take the 509 or 510 streetcars to Queen's Quay or you can walk south along Bay Street from Front Street, passing underneath the Gardiner Expressway. For more information on the subway and streetcar lines, visit the Toronto Transit Commission
Union Station is also the main terminus for GO Transit trains and buses, and intercity trains operated by VIA Rail. Mosttrains also stop at Exhibition GO, which is a short walk to destinations in the western half of the Harbourfront, such as Exhibition Place and Trillium Park.
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.
1 Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. The island airport (Porter Airlines, Air Canada) is accessed by a tunnel from the mainland at Bathurst Street south of Queens Quay West. See the Toronto article for further details.
The Waterfront is massive redevelopment of the city's 46-kilometre waterfront in the city. The redevelopment of Queens Quay West was completed in 2015 providing a bicycle path and a wider pedestrian area. Toronto's waterfront is already quite spectacular, with galleries, walking trails and art, film and theatre complexes. Redevelopment of Queens Quay East is still underway, but there are a few sites to see east of Yonge Street.
Sites are listed from east to west.
- 1 Sherbourne Common, 61 Dockside Dr (east of Bay St, south side of Queens Quay; bus 6, 72B or 75). Sherbourne Common is a modern park with a 240-m-long water channel, three nine-metre-tall art sculptures, and 182 planted trees. Underground, there is a water filtration plant.
- 2 Sugar Beach Park, 11 Dockside Dr (900 metres east of Bay St, south side of Queens Quay; bus 6, 72B or 75). Sugar Beach has a sandy beach with ornamental lighting, umbrellas, Muskoka chairs, a rocky amphitheatre, and pedestrian areas paved with granite setts arranged in a stylized maple leaf motif. The beach, on a former industrial dock, has sunbathing but no swimming facilities. Across from Sugar Beach, you might see a large ship unloading sugar at the sugar plant.
- 3 Redpath Sugar Museum, 95 Queen's Quay East (Bus 6, 72 or 75 to Queen's Quay & Jarvis), ☏ . n-F 10AM-noon, 1-3:30PM. This small museum is in the enormous Redpath Sugar Refinery and details the production of sugar.
- 4 Pier 27, 29 Queens Quay E (next pier east of Yonge St). Pier 27 is a condominium development on a former industrial wharf. It contains glass-faced buildings with an unusual design: There are four 10-storey towers, and on top of them sit 3-storey buildings like large box-like bridges at different angles overlapping and connecting pairs of 10-storey buildings. Between the two main buildings there are a series of metal sculptures mostly resembling giant blooming flowers. At the rear of the buildings is a peaceful wharf promenade with benches where you can watch ferries depart to the Toronto Island. On the west side of Pier 27, you can usually get a view of the Trillium, a side-wheel ferry built in 1910 and now in semi-retirement.
- 5 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 km (1,178 mi) long, and Yonge Street, 88 km (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.
- 6 Love Park, 96 Queens Quay W (at York St). This small park has a large heart-shaped pond with a tiny island. A pedestrian path circles the pond. There are tables and chairs near the park's south-east corner. (Note: The nearby tables on the patio for Impact Kitchen are not part of the park.)
- 7 Banksy mural, 1 York St (Take escalator at NW corner of building to 2nd floor). A Banksy graffiti mural, depicting a policeman and dog, is on concrete slabs placed in a glass case. The slabs were carefully salvaged from a demolished building. Banksy created the piece during a 2010 visit, and the work is the only survivor from that visit.
- 8 Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, 231 Queens Quay W (south of Lower Simcoe St; streetcar stop: Harbourfront Centre), ☏ . Tu W 10AM–5PM, Th 10AM–8PM, F–Su 10AM–6PM, holiday Mondays 10AM–5PM. Exhibitions rotate, consult the website to see what's on display. Free.
- 9 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.
- 10 Bill Boyle Artport, 235 Queens Quay W (509/510 streetcar to Harbourfront Centre), ☏ . Art gallery and workshops. On the east side of the building, there is a raised aisle where visitors can look into artist workshops. Sometimes, the art gallery is empty when there is a change in exhibits. Admission free.
- 11 HTO Park (south of Queens Quay between Rees St and Spadina Ave). This public park by the water's edge contains a sandy area with beach umbrellas and lounge chairs. It is used for relaxing, sunbathing but not for swimming. On the west side of the park, one may see two fire fighting boats beside a fire hall. On the east side of the fire hall, there is a memorial to firefighters who died on duty. The name HTO is a play on H2O and "TO" which is a nickname for Toronto. There is also a HTO West Park, without a sandy area, just across the inlet from the fire hall.
- 12 Chinese Railroad Workers Memorial, 9 Blue Jays Way (south side of railway corridor, west side of Rogers Centre). The memorial commemorates Chinese workers who died in the 19th century doing railway construction. It consists of a full scale mockup of a small wooden railway trestle under construction with two statues of construction workers.
- 13 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.
- 14 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.
- 15 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.
- 16 Queen's Wharf Lighthouse, Fleet St (west of Bathurst St; 509/511 streetcar to Bastion St). Interior not open to public. This quaint lighthouse was built in 1861, decommissioned in 1911, and moved to its current site in 1929.
- 17 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.
- 18 Trillium Park, 955 Lake Shore Blvd W (Strachan Ave south to Remembrance Dr then west to park entrance). The park has natural-looking landscape with native tree and shrub species, trails, rolling landforms, rock outcrops, pebble beach and a great view of the CN Tower and downtown skyline.
- 19 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.
- 20 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.
- 21 BMO Field, 170 Princes' Blvd. Home of the Major League Soccer team Toronto FC since it began play in 2007, with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League joining them in 2016. The current capacity is 30,000, normally restricted to 25,000 for Argos games, but can be expanded with temporary seating. With Canada now confirmed to be cohosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup alongside the US and Mexico, it is likely the stadium will be expanded to 40,000 in time for that event.
- 22 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.
- 23 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.
- 24 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.
- 1 Toronto Harbour Tours, 145 Queens Quay W (At York Street; streetcar stop: Harbourfront Centre), ☏ . Boat tours of the harbour.
- 2 Mariposa Cruises, 207 Queens Quay West (Queen’s Quay Terminal building; streetcar stop: Harbourfront Centre), ☏ . Harbour tours. There is a 3 Mariposa Tours summer kiosk. by the wharf.
- Tallship Cruises Toronto (Kajama), Great Lakes Schooner Company, 249 Queen's Quay West, Suite 111, ☏ , email@example.com. Cruises on a tall sailing vessal. The 4 Kajama summer kiosk. is located where the ship Kajama moors.
- 5 Fleck Dance Theatre (formerly Premiere Dance Theatre), 207 Queens Quay West, 3rd Floor, Queen's Quay Terminal, ☏ . Features modern dance and theatre performances from around the world.
- 6 Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre, 283 Queens Quay W (South of Rees St streetcar stop in a small building near the wharf), ☏ . Canoe & Kayak Rental Service
- 7 Wheel Excitement, 249 Queen's Quay West. Bicycle and inline skate rental. Located right on the Martin Goodman Trail.
- 8 The Bentway, 250 Fort York Blvd (Just south of Fort York Historic National site), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. A public space located under the Gardiner Expressway. In summer, it hosts art shows and musical performances. In summer, the space transforms into an outdoor (but covered) skating trail. Skate rentals are available. Free.
- 9 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, ☏ . IndyCars race through the streets at Exhibition Place for a thrilling annual weekend event at Exhibition Place.
- Toronto FC. The first Major League Soccer team in Canada (since joined by teams in Vancouver and Montreal), TFC plays at BMO Field, which was built specifically for the team but later expanded to allow it to host the Argonauts (below). TFC has become one of the league's powerhouses, notably becoming the first Canadian team to claim the MLS Cup (league championship) in 2017.
- Toronto Argonauts, ☏ . Toronto's entry in the Canadian Football League, the team has existed since 1873—making it the oldest existing professional sports team in North America still using its original name. The Argos have won the CFL's championship, the Grey Cup, a record 18 times, including in 2022. The team joined Toronto FC at BMO Field in 2016.
- 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:
- 1 Harbourfront Centre Shop, 235 Queens Quay W, ☏ . 11am-6pm. Some products are made by artists working within Harbourfront Centre's Craft & Design Studio.
- 2 International Marketplace. On weekends in the summer, the outdoor International Marketplace at Harbourfront Centre hosts a range of arts and crafts vendors.
- 3 The Nautical Mind, 249 Queens Quay W #108 (faces Robertson Cres, south of Rees St streetcar stop), ☏ . Independent book store specializing in marine books and charts.
- 1 Queen's Quay Terminal (Terminal Warehouse), 207 Queen's Quay West (509 & 510 Streetcars to York St), ☏ . Su-W 10AM-6PM, Th-Sa 10AM-9PM. This shopping, restaurant and condo development is in a beautiful art deco warehouse. Since the closure of most shops by December 2015, Queen's Quay Terminal has changed from being a shopping centre to being an eatery centre with the opening of new or renovated eating establishments.
- Farm Boy (ground floor of Queen's Quay Terminal), ☏ . 8AM-10PM, 7 days/week. Supermarket 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 on an outdoor patio overlooking a wharf, or to make a picnic to eat in one of the small parks on the waterfront.
- Tim Hortons (ground floor).
- Pearl Harbourfront Chinese Cuisine (second floor of Queen's Quay Terminal), ☏ . M-F 11AM–3:30PM 5–10PM; Sa Su 10:30AM–3:30PM, 5–10PM. Cantonese cuisine including dim sum. More expensive than in Chinatown but the quality is generally better and you get a second-floor view of the harbour.
- The Goodman Pub & Kitchen (SE corner on ground floor). M-Th 11:30AM-midnight, F 11:30AM–1AM, Sa 10:30AM–1AM, Su 10:30AM–midnight. Pub and restaurant with indoor seating plus a seasonal patio overlooking the harbour.
- Joe Bird (south side of Queen's Quay Terminal), ☏ . Chicken-oriented menu; table service with seasonal patio seating overlooking the harbour, plus a food truck for take-out. The restaurant design has a surreal characteristic. If you approach the restaurant from within the mall, you will see the food truck parked next to the restaurant wall. If you look into the side window of the food truck, you will notice that the kitchen within is larger than the truck interior. Mains $9-15 before tax & tip.
- Pie Bar (south side of Queen's Quay Terminal), ☏ . Pasta and pies (but not sweet pies); table service with seasonal patio seating overlooking the harbour; take-out gelato counter on the mall side of the establishment. Mains $11-25 before tax & tip.
- 2 BeaverTails, 145 Queens Quay W (at York St and Harbour Sq), ☏ . 11AM-7PM; in winter open only on weekends & holidays. A pastry shop with a small seating area offering a line of fried dough pastries, hand stretched to resemble a beaver’s tail.
- 3 Swiss Chalet Rotisserie & Grill, 266 Queens Quay W (east of Rees St), ☏ . Daily 11AM-10PM. Specialty: BBQ chicken with Chalet sauce. Moderately priced.
- 4 Loblaws, 10 Lower Jarvis St, ☏ . 7AM-10PM. This large supermarket is about a 700-metre (2,300 ft) walk east from the streetcar. Inside there is a Starbucks, a salad bar and a deli counter near a staircase leading to the upper level eating area. However, the Loblaws at Bathurst Street appears to be more attractive for in-store eating.
- 5 Loblaws, 15A Bathurst St (509 or 511 streetcar to Fleet St & Bathurst St stop), ☏ . 7AM-10PM. This large supermarket has deli counters with ready-to-eat food and a comfortable in-store seating area. The store is within a renovated, former grocery warehouse of which the attractive old exterior building walls have been preserved.
- 6 Medieval Times, 10 Dufferin St, ☏ , toll-free: . While you are enjoying the dinner, knights will perform hand-to-hand combat, ride on horseback, and joust with each other to win the lady's heart. Adults $69.95, Children $47.95.
Also check the Drink section for pubs serving meals.
- 1 Amsterdam BrewHouse, 245 Queens Quay West (On wharf by Robertson Crescent; streetcar stop: Rees Street), ☏ . 14,000-sqft lakeside brewery & restaurant serving craft beer with local foods. Patio.
- 2 The Slip, 235 Queens Quay W (beside Natrel Pond near the water's edge). noon-10PM, later F Sa. Seasonal patio bar with a view of the harbour. $10 margaritas.
- 1 Westin Harbour Castle, 1 Harbour Square. Indoor pool, gym and spa facilities, on-site restaurants.
- 2 Radisson Admiral Hotel Toronto-Harbourfront, 249 Queen's Quay W, ☏ , RHI_TORO@radisson.com. 249 Queen's Quay West (at Harbourfront Centre). Outdoor pool, fitness centre, business centre, complimentary in-room wireless Internet. Restaurant and bar on-site.
- 2 Fort York Library, 190 Fort York Blvd (511 streetcar to Fort York Blvd or 509 Harbourfront to Fleet St and walk 1 block north), ☏ . Wi-fi, computers with internet access.
- 3 Shoppers Drug Mart, 390 Queen's Quay W (509 or 510 streetcar to Spadina Ave & Queens Quay W). Post office outlet within the store.
- Downtown East — follow Parliament St north under the Gardiner Expressway, at the east edge of the Harbourfront to explore the Distillery District.
- Entertainment and Financial Districts — some of Toronto's most famous landmarks are found here, such as the CN Tower.
- Kensington and Chinatown — Queen Street West is home to a range of independent and mainstream shops and restaurants. Further north, Kensington Market is a cluster of unique shops, bars and restaurants between Dundas and College Streets.
- Toronto Islands — without the large buildings and traffic of downtown, biking, disc golf, swimming, or just having a picnic are popular activities. Centreville Amusement Park is a collection of rides and attractions, mostly for children.
|Routes through Harbourfront|
|Hamilton via ← West End ←||W E||→ Entertainment and Financial Districts → East End|
|END ← Entertainment and Financial Districts ←||N S||→ Etobicoke → Niagara Falls|