The city's grid pattern is pretty easy to negotiate; most downtown streets have meters. If you don't want to take charge of any wheels yourself, there are easy-to-access bus and streetcar routes.
Toronto Pearson International Airport is just west of the city. www.gtaa.com; towncar pick-ups can be arranged through the hotel, or else the bus and subway are possible. Toronto City Centre airport is central, as to be expected.
Toronto is served by the VIA Rail System, with connections to the Amtrak system via Niagara Falls. Or jump on the subway or a streetcar. For more info go to Toronto Transit Commission website: www3.ttc.ca
Canada is +1; Toronto is 416.
In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje portrays Toronto in the 20s and 30s; the same characters resurface in The English Patient. Margaret Attwood's Life Before Man or The Blind Assassin which takes place in a small town near Toronto in the 19th century. Many of Alice Munro's short stories are set around Toronto, including the recent collection, Runaway.
Do go / Don't Go
This is a country with four seasons, so choose your favourite and you can be pretty sure its most stereotyped characteristics will apply: snow in winter, sun in summer and pretty autumn colours in October. Peak tourist season starts on Victoria Day (Monday before 25 May) and ends on Labour Day (first Monday in September).
This is a town with a sophisticated palate and eclectic tastes. Whether you're a carnivore who craves Modern Canadian care of a Yukon caribou steak or an 8-ounce burger with brie, or you're a health-conscious vegetarian with a hankering for Asian fusion, there's eaterie here for all.
Taxis are abundant and easy to flag down. You can pay by credit card.
Just like on the other side of the border it is customary to tip 15 per cent minimum. It is nice to tip staff in hotels; carry a handful of loonies and toonies ($1 or $2 coins).
The Canadian Dollar (CAD$).
Winter: Your thermals and woollies. Summer: Take light clothing but also some years and rainy-weather essentials just in case.
It's not just what's inside the museums - the architecture's worth a look. Toronto's Frank Gehry has worked magic on Art Gallery of Ontario at 317 Dundas Street West (+1 416 979 6648; www.ago.net); and Daniel Libeskind has given Royal Ontario Museum crystal splendour at 100 Queen's Park (+1 416 586 8000; www.rom.on.ca). Even to non-ceramic fanatics, the Gardiner Museum is extraordinary at 111 Queen's Park (+1 416 586 8080; www. gardinermuseum.on.ca). Footwear fetishists will love the Bata Shoe Museum at 327 Bloor St West (+1 416 979 7799; www.batashoemuseum.ca).
Toronto is a smoke-free city except at designated outdoor terraces.
With 300 stores and restaurants, Eaton Centre on Yonge Street, between Queen and Dundas West is your ultimate shopping mall. The most upscale option though is Hazelton Lanes at 55 Avenue Rd in Yorkville.
Where to get a prime eyeful other than the world's tallest building, the CN Tower? Head for the Sky Pod, which is 1,465ft off the ground.
Take a trip to China without leaving Canada. The Chinese community here has created four communities, the largest of which is on Spadina Avenue. A feast for the senses, you can experience the sights, sounds and flavours thanks to street signs and tempting stalls spilling onto the pavement with Chinese delights.
July During the third week it's Beaches International Jazz Festival, the largest free festival, in the Beaches part of town (www.beachesjazz.com). Late July/early August The continent's biggest Caribbean festival adds colour and zest, particular when the parade rolls in (www.caribanatoronto.com). September Toronto International Film Festival a rival to Cannes (www.tiff09.ca).