Toronto is one of North America’s great cultural crossroads. Its placement on the north shore of Lake Ontario puts it just an hour’s drive from New York state, and there is enormous mutual influence between this great Canadian metropolis and the American town of Buffalo, NY, just across the border. American tourists frequently visit Toronto during the mild summer months, and Toronto natives often hop across the border for a vacation in the States. In addition, huge numbers of immigrants from all over the globe add to Toronto’s cultural abundance, and it is frequently referred to as one of the most multicultural cities in the world.
The city has had a mix of cultures almost from its founding. In the 18th century, it was a tiny trading post with a fairly homogeneous population of French traders and fur trappers. But almost immediately after it was born, the influence of British settlers and Native Americans affected the city’s cultural mix. Over the centuries, waves of migrants from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America have added enormous breadth and diversity to Toronto’s population.
Due to its mix of outstanding food and attractions, Toronto is a popular city with tourists, especially Americans. Visitors from outside Canada often fear the legendary cold of Canadian winters, but this is largely exaggerated. To be sure, it does get cold – bitter winds blow across the lake, and temperatures in January average about 25º F – but this is no worse than American cities like Boston or Chicago. Dress appropriately, keep an eye on the weather forecast, and the cold is entirely manageable even in the dead of winter.