Yonge-Dundas is the very heart of downtown Toronto—in more ways than one. After all, the major arterials of Yonge Street and Dundas St meet here, and the resulting intersection may be the city's busiest (at least for pedestrians). Virtually every visitor to Toronto passes through here at some point.
Yet more than just the physical heart, the Yonge-Dundas area also represents the commercial and political heart of the city. Shop at the Eaton Center and relax at Dundas Square; take in a show at the Mirvish Theatre, or visit two magnificent City Halls (one classic, one modern).
There may be crowds, but they're all here for a reason. The heart of Toronto holds an important place in the hearts of Torontonians and visitors alike.
Subway lineruns under Yonge Street from Front St to North York, with stations at Queen St, Dundas St, College St, and Wellesley St. The Dundas station puts you in the middle of the district with connections to the Eaton Centre and Dundas Square.
Being U-shaped, Subway Linealso runs under University Avenue along the western edge of the district. The district is served by two stations: Osgoode (at Queen St) and St Patrick (at Dundas St).
Subway line 1 is also called the Yonge-University line.
Subway line(also called the Bloor-Danforth line) stops just north of the district at the intersection of Yonge St and Bloor St.
- The 501 streetcar line runs along Queen Street at the south end of the district.
- The 505 streetcar line runs along Dundas Street passing through Dundas Square somewhat resembling Times Square. You can take the westbound 505 streetcar to Chinatown.
- The 506 streetcar line runs along Carlton Street on the east side of Yonge Street and College Street on the West. You can take the westbound 506 streetcar to Little Italy and High Park.
- 1 Arts and Letters Club, 14 Elm Street (2 blocks north of Dundas St W), ☎ . Private club but some events are open to the public. See "What's On" tab on the website. The Arts and Letters Club of Toronto is in a very attractive Victorian-era building built in 1891, which is a designated National Historic Site of Canada. The club brings together writers, architects, musicians, painters, graphic artists, actors, and others working in or with a love of the arts.
- 2 Campbell House, 160 Queen St W (Subway line 1 to Osgoode Station, or 501 streetcar to University Ave), ☎ . Tu-F 9:30AM-4:30PM Sa Noon-4:30PM, year round; Su Noon-4:30PM, May through September. This is one of the oldest remaining buildings in Toronto and is one of the few examples of Georgian architecture in Toronto. In 1972 it was under threat of demolition and a campaign started to save the house. It was at this time that it was moved to current location, restored and opened as a museum. Adult: $6.00; Student: $4.00; Senior: $4.00; Child: $3.00.
- 3 Canada Life Building, 330 University Ave (Subway line 1 to Osgoode Station, or 501 streetcar to University Ave). This building, built in 1931 by the Canadian Life Insurance Company, is one of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in Toronto. The building is perhaps best known for its weather beacon, installed on August 9, 1951. The beacon shines red for rain, white for snow, and lights running up or down it indicate a change in temperature. Normally, the building is closed to the public; however, its 17th floor observation deck is usually featured during the annual Doors Open event.
- 4 City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square (1 block west of Yonge St and Queen Station on subway line 1 or 1 block east of Osgoode Station on subway line 1). Toronto's modernist City Hall designed by Finnish architect Viljo Revell and was completed in 1965. Nathan Phillips Square features a reflecting pool that turns into a skating rink in the winter. The Peace Garden is on the middle west side of the square just beyond the elevated walkway. If you walk further west between the rear of Osgoode Hall and the modern Superior Court of Justice, you will see a park with a few sculptures and a fountain at University Avenue.
- 5 Church of the Holy Trinity, Trinity Square (on the west side of the Eaton Centre). This modest Gothic Revival church was built in 1847. It is approximately five storeys tall, and though the scale of the church is modest, its height is emphasized through details which point upward. With the rectory building, the church gives Trinity Square a rustic look despite the modern buildings around it. The square has densely planted trees along walkways, a decorative fountain of water falling from a wall into an ornamental pond, and an artificial stream.
- 6 Mackenzie House, 82 Bond St (3 blocks along Dundas St east of Yonge St then south on Bond St). Mackenzie House, built in 1830, was the last home of William Lyon Mackenzie, the city's first mayor. Mackenzie lived here from 1835 to 1837. Today the house has period furnishings and there is an exhibit of many 19th century printing presses in a nice mock-up of an old printing office. (Mackenzie was editor of his own newspaper, The Constitution). Mackenzie abandoned the house after participating in a failed rebellion in 1837.
- 7 Masonic Hall (Gloucester Mews), 601 Yonge St (2 blocks north of Wellesley St and Wellesley Subway station). This very attractive 5-storey, Victorian-era building was built in 1888 as a Masonic Hall. The building has a distinctive tower-like fifth floor with a peaked-cap roof.
- 8 Old City Hall (York County Court House), 60 Queen Street West (1 block west of Yonge St). This landmark, built in the Romanesque Revival style and completed in 1899, has a distinctive clock tower which can seen along Bay St from Front Street. The architect was E. J. Lennox who also designed Casa Loma. Old City Hall was home to Toronto's city council from 1899 to 1966. The building is a National Historic Site of Canada and currently serves as the York County Court House.
- 9 Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen St W (Subway line 1 to Osgoode Station, or 501 streetcar to University Ave), ☎ . M-F 8:30AM-5PM. This beautiful building was built in 1832 to house the Law Society of Upper Canada. It now houses the Ontario Court of Appeals and the Superior Court of Justice in addition to the Law Society. The building is open to the public; call ahead to arrange a tour.
- 10 Ryerson University Student Learning Centre, Yonge St at Gould St (1 block north of Dundas St). Yonge Street's newest landmark is the Ryerson University Student Learning Centre opened in 2015. The eight-story building features a glass façade, an elevated plaza and a rather distintive entrance. The glass façade has a distinctive glass skin to reflect a variety lighting throughout the building interior.
- 11 St Michael's Catholic Cathedral, 200 Church St (at Shuter; subway line 1 to Queen or Dundas, 501 streetcar to Church St, or 505 streetcar to Church St), ☎ . Gothic-style cathedral that is one of the oldest churches in Toronto.
- 12 Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Ave (East 1 block from St Patrick Station and University Ave then south on Centre Ave), ☎ . This museum is dedicated to the collection, exhibition, and documentation of textiles. It has displays on historic & ethnographic fabrics, plus contemporary art & hands-on exhibits.
- 13 Toronto Police Museum & Discovery Centre, 40 College Street (between Yonge St and Bay St), ☎ . Occupying 3,000 square feet in the atrium at Police Headquarters building, the museum reflects the tradition and history of policing in Toronto.
- 14 Toronto Fire Station 314, 32 Grosvenor St (near Yonge Street). Active fire station; interior not open to public. This Tudor-style fire station was built in 1929. Toronto has a number of attractively-styled fire stations built before 1940 in the older parts of the city.
- 15 Tower of former Fire Hall 3, 484 Yonge Street (Look north from the corner of Yonge St and Carlton St). All that is left of Fire Hall 3, built in 1872, is its elegant clock tower, the main structure having been demolished and replaced a retail building. The building owner did a nice job of renovating the clock tower and the retail building, giving the latter a pleasant period look to match the tower.
- 16 Yonge-Dundas Square (Dundas Square), 1 Dundas St E (Dundas Station on subway line 1). Dundas Square is a bustling outdoor public space & live-event venue hosting free concerts, movies & community events. The square has fountains and sitting areas and is surrounded by buildings with colourful electronic billboards.
- 17 Yonge Street map, Eaton Centre, Yonge St (at the SW corner). There is bronze map of "Yonge Street" set in the sidewalk across the street from Yonge-Dundas Square 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 kilometres (1,178 mi) long, and Yonge Street, 88 kilometres (55 mi) long, were one and the same.
- 1 Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas and VIP, 10 Dundas Street East (NE corner of Yonge St & Dundas St), ☎ . One of the first new movie houses along Yonge St in decades.
- 2 Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, 189 Yonge St (Subway line 1 to Queen Station), ☎ . These two theatres are the last remaining Edwardian stacked theatres in the world. They were opened in 1913, showing mainly Vaudeville acts. After the decline of Vaudeville, the upper level Winter Garden closed and the lower level Elgin was converted into a cinema. By the 1970s the Elgin was showing a mixture of B-movies and pornography, but in the 1980s the Ontario Heritage Foundation bought both theatres and restored them to their original glory. They now show mainly Broadway plays and musicals and serve as venues for the Toronto International Film Festival.
- Tours of the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatres. Thursdays at 5PM Saturdays at 11AM; but check website for cancelations. This 1½-hour tour will recount the history and restoration of this National Historic Site of Canada. You will see the original and new lobbies, a backstage exhibit housing the Winter Garden’s original Simplex Silent Film Projector, a dressing room containing artifacts from the time period, and samples from the world’s largest collection of vaudeville scenery. Adults $12, Students/Seniors $10, cash only.
- 3 Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria St (Subway line 1 to Dundas Station), ☎ . This theatre opened as the Pantages Theatre in 1920, hosting films and Vaudeville acts. In the 1970s it was split up into several cinemas to form a modern multiplex. It was restored and reopened as a theatre in 1989, most famously hosting Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera for more than ten years.
- 4 Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St W (Osgoode Station on subway line 1), ☎ . See a performance of the Canadian Opera Company, or the National Ballet of Canada.
- 5 Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St (main entrance faces Shuter St opposite the Eaton Centre), ☎ . Closed for renovations until late 2020. A performing arts theatre with renowned acoustics, Massey Hall opened in 1894 and is today a designated National Historic Site of Canada.
Large stores and shopping centres
Here is a listing of some large stores and shopping centres listing them from south to north:
- 1 CF Toronto Eaton Centre, 220 Yonge St (Subway line 1: Dundas or Queen). M 10AM-6PM, Tu-F 10AM-9:30PM, Sa 9:30AM-9:30PM, Su 10AM-7PM. The Eaton Centre is the city's (and perhaps the country's) best known shopping centre and Toronto's most-visited tourist attraction. In large part, this is due to the mall's simply massive size, demonstrated by the eight-storey glass-roofed atrium running nearly its entire length between Dundas and Queen Streets. The complex boasts more than 285 shops and services, including most of North America's most popular brands, and two food courts catering for every taste. The flock of fibreglass Canada geese suspended from the ceiling are a popular photo op. In 2014, the Eaton Centre acquired the large, elegant Hudson's Bay department store building on the south side of Queen Street, with portions of the building dating from 1895. A tunnel, a footbridge and a street level crosswalk connect the Hudson's Bay building to the rest of the Eaton Centre.
- 2 Hudson's Bay Queen Street (The Bay) (in the Hudson Bay building on the south side of Queen St), ☎ . The Hudson's Bay Company is the oldest company in North America, founded in 1670 as a fur-trading company but is today a chain of department stores in Canada. This flagship store offers a large variety of moderately priced goods.
- 3 Saks Fifth Avenue, 1 Queen St E (in the Hudson Bay building on the south side of Queen St at Yonge St). This is the first Saks Fifth Avenue store in Canada and shares a building with Hudson's Bay which owns Saks Fifth Avenue. There are hardly any separators between the Saks and Bay areas of the building. Saks offers expensive, high-end goods (examples: pair of jeans $400, long-sleeved T-shirt $285, scarf $627, Manolo Blahnik heels $695).
- 4 Nordstrom, 260 Yonge St, ☎ . High-end, 3-storey department store.
- Apple Store, Eaton Centre. Browse for the latest technologies, get help from an on site 'genius', or simply admire the industrial design of the latest Apple products.
- Mark's, Toronto Eaton Centre, 65 Dundas St W. Casual and outdoor clothing. If you're coming from a warm country during winter, a popular store with locals that work outdoors where you might find fairly-priced winter clothes is Mark's inside the mall.
- 5 Atrium on Bay, Dundas St between Yonge St and Bay St (direct underground link from Dundas Station on subway line 1 and the Eaton Centre). The Atrium on Bay has a small, 2-level shopping centre.
- LCBO (liquor) store, Atrium on Bay, basement level (Near the entrance to Dundas Station).
- 6 College Park, 444 Yonge St (SW corner at College St, College Station on subway line 1), ☎ . A small shopping mall in the former Eaton's College Street store.
- Winner's, College Park (ground floor). Winner's is a favourite of Toronto's bargain hunters looking for brand name clothing.
- 7 Maple Leaf Gardens, 50 Carlton St (1 block east of Yonge St and College Station on subway line 1). Maple Leaf Gardens is a beautiful early-20th century hockey arena and was the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1931 to 1999. The building has been converted into a sports arena for Ryerson University and into a Loblaws supermarket.
- Loblaws, Maple Leaf Gardens, ground floor. In addition to the expected grocery store selection, this Loblaws supermarket also features an 18-foot tall wall of cheese, a tempting pastry counter, a cooking school, open concept food preparation areas and a seating area to enjoy foods prepraed in the store.
- LCBO (liquor) Store, Maple Leaf Gardens (2nd floor).
Downtown Yonge is the shopping/restaurant area along Yonge Street from Richmond St in the south and to Bloor St in the north. (Officially, "Downtown Yonge" ends just 2 blocks north of College St at Grosvenor and Alexander Streets, but from a visitor's point of view, it continues seamlessly to Bloor St.) There are many small shops and restaurants mostly lining the sidewalks along Yonge St.
- From Richmond St to Dundas St, there are small shops and restaurants lining the east side of the street opposite the Bay and the Eaton Centre on the west side.
- Dundas St north to Gerrard St, is is a favourite of Torontonians looking for bargains despite being a little rundown and sleazy (with strip clubs and porn shops both being part of the ambience).
- From College St to Bloor Street there are dozens of small shops, including several used book stores, comics stores, used record stores, dollar stores and just about everything else you can imagine. Although the stock may be a little run down, the area is safe, clean, busy and popular day and night.
- 1 Lai Wah Heen Restaurant, 108 Chestnut St (DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (2nd floor)), ☎ . Open daily. Dim sum at lunch, a la carte menus at lunch and dinner, take-out available. Luxurious, Hong Kong-style dim sum. Expensive.
- 2 Paramount Fine Foods, 253 Yonge St (½ block south of Yonge-Dundas Square), ☎ . Middle Eastern restaurant serving barbecued halal meats, house-baked pitas & baklava made on-site.
- 3 The Pickle Barrel Restaurant, 312 Yonge Street (Atrium on Bay, NW corner of Yonge & Dundas), ☎ . A large menu of North-American cuisine. It also has a selection of dishes from further afield, their take on traditional English fish and chips is a nice surprise using halibut instead of cod or haddock. Reasonable prices, decent food but nothing fancy. Nowhere near as much fun as any of the above places.
- 4 Ramen Raijin, 24 Wellesley St W Rear (at rear of building on Phipps St), ☎ . Japanese restaurant specializing in ramen, a noodle soup with a choice of meats and ingredients.
- 5 Salad King, 340 Yonge St (Almost 1 block north of Dundas Station, on the west side of Yonge St near Elm St), ☎ . Some of Toronto's best Thai food in a very convenient location; just don't come here to relax. Often with a considerable line at meal times, the funky-cafeteria style seating certainly won't give you much privacy, but you'll see why people subject themselves to it. Try the golden curry chicken. $4-9.
- 6 Swiss Chalet, 362 Yonge St (between Dundas St and College St). Despite its name, this restaurant chain was started in Toronto. The specialty is barbecued chicken with chalet sauce. As an appetizer, try garlic cheese loaf. Wheelchair accessible. $25 lunch for 2 with non-alcoholic beverages, tax and tip.
- 7 Uncle Tetsu's Angel Cafe, 191 Dundas St W (1 block east of University Ave; 505 streetcar), ☎ . Japanese-style maid café featuring desserts (specialty: cheesecake) with coffee. There is a limited performance schedule to see the cute "maids" sing and dance.
- 8 Uncle Tetsu's Japanese Cheesecake, 598 Bay St (NW corner at Dundas St 1 block west of Yonge St), ☎ . The cake has a light, delicious taste with an eggy rather than a cheesy taste. This shop can be quite busy, originally having 2 hour lines, but lately the line is shorter. Take-out only.
- 1 The Duke of Gloucester (Yonge and St Mary Street), 649 Yonge St (Subway lines 1 or 2 to Yonge/Bloor station then walk two blocks south), ☎ . M-F noon-2AM, Sa Su 10AM-2AM. Great no-nonsense English pub. Good selection of beer at reasonable prices. Not much in the way of food, though. under $15.
- 2 3 Brewers, 275 Yonge St (Subway line 1 to Dundas station), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-midnight, F Sa 11AM-1AM, Su 11AM-11PM. Great brewpub across the street from the Eaton Centre. The beer is excellent and the food is in the style of the Alsace region of France, where the chain started.
- 1 Backpackers on Dundas, 126 Chestnut St (On the corner of Dundas and Chestnut; but the sign is on the second level, so be sure to look up!), ☎ . A bright and friendly hostel, extremely well situated within walking distance of Yonge and Dundas. Clean but only a few rooms, all dorms. $24-28, no membership needed, $10 key deposit.
- 2 Bond Place Hotel, 65 Dundas St E (2½ blocks east of Yonge St), ☎ , toll-free: . Downtown hotel near Toronto subway (TTC) and 2 blocks from the Eaton Centre. Rooms feature hardwood floors, LCD TVs and spa bathrooms. Other amenities include fitness room, business services, parking and airport shuttle drop-off. $159 and up (rates can be cheaper in off-season).
- 3 Courtyard Toronto Downtown (Marriott), 475 Yonge St (1 block north of Carlton St), ☎ . Offers accommodations, a wedding location, meeting space, banquet facilities, and hotel packages. Two blocks from the University of Toronto.
- 4 Neill-Wycik Summer Hotel (Neill-Wycik Backpackers Hotel), 96 Gerrard St E (Between Jarvis & Church), toll-free: . This student co-op apartment building converts to a hostel for May through August and provides cheap accommodation. All rooms are private and locked, with shared bath. Continental breakfast included. Dorm beds $28, private rooms $53-120.
- 5 Sheraton Centre, 123 Queen St W (TTC: 501 Streetcar to Bay St), ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. This is one of Toronto's largest hotels and has been voted the ugliest building in the city. While it may appear horrid from the outside, it is the complete opposite on the inside. The lobby is full of wood paneling and dark red and the rooms are reasonably pleasant. Rooms on the north side of either tower provide wonderful views of Nathan Philips Square and City Hall. Amenities include a year-round pool, 24-hour fitness centre and business centre. The hotel is connected to the PATH. $130-$200/night.
- 6 Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre, 525 Bay St, ☎ . At Toronto’s Eaton Centre, this hotel features a swimming pool, fitness centre, restaurants, and meeting facilities. From $179/night.
- 1 City Hall Library, Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St W (within Toronto City Hall), ☎ . Closed weekends and holidays. Wi-fi, computers with internet access.
- 2 Toronto Atrium on Bay Post Office, 595 Bay St (within the Atrium on Bay shopping centre). Closed weekends and holidays. Stamps and shipping services, money orders.
Here is a list of adjacent districts:
- Downtown East: Church-Wellesley Village, Cabbagetown.
- Entertainment and Financial Districts: CN Tower, Ripley's Aquarium, Roy Thomson Hall, Union Station.
- Kensington-Chinatown: Kensington Market, Chinatown, Art Gallery of Ontario.
- Yorkville and the Annex: Royal Ontario Museum, University of Toronto, Yorkville.
|Routes through Yonge-Dundas|
|Vaughan ← Yorkville and the Annex ←||N S||→ Entertainment and Financial Districts → Reverses direction → North York|