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Meet Toronto - One of Chicago's Sister Cities

Updated on February 24, 2012
Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean resides in North Dakota, where she works as a freelance writer and blogs at Faith's Mom's Blog.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
early winter in Toronto
early winter in Toronto
Toronto is located on Lake Ontario
Toronto is located on Lake Ontario
More of Toronto with the CN Tower in the background
More of Toronto with the CN Tower in the background
Toronto's financial district at night
Toronto's financial district at night

Sister Cities are cities that are twinned geographically and politically with one another. The goal of forming a relationship with another is to foster human contact and cultural interchange. Chicago is a sister city of Toronto. Other sister cities of Toronto include Frankfurt, Germany and Chongqing, China.

Like Chicago, Toronto has a large multi-ethnic population where a wide variety of faiths are practiced. Toronto and Chicago also have other likenesses including:


  • Toronto - 2.5 million
  • Chicago - 2.8 million


  • Both cities are located in a humid continental climate zone with four distinct seasons being warm and humid in the summer and cold in the winter.


  • Toronto is located on the shore of Lake Ontario and is intersected by two rivers
  • Chicago is located on the tip of Lake Michigan with two rivers flowing either partially or entirely through the city


  • Toronto is a major international centre for business and finance and is generally considered the financial capital of Canada
  • Chicago is a major world financial center, with the second largest central business district in the U.S.


  • The Great Toronto Fire of 1904 destroyed a large section of downtown Toronto, and caused more than $10 million in damage
  • The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed one third of the city

Great Sports Cities:

  • Toronto - Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Argonauts (Canadian Football League), Toronto Rock (National Lacrosse League)
  • Chicago - Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls, Chicgo Blackhawks, Chicago Bears

Both City's National Hockey League (NHL) teams, The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Chicago Blackhawks are members of the original six NHL teams.

Toronto Lotus Flower Performing Arts Troupe performs traditional dances
Toronto Lotus Flower Performing Arts Troupe performs traditional dances
Falun Dafa celebration at Nathan Phillips Square in front of Toronto City Hall
Falun Dafa celebration at Nathan Phillips Square in front of Toronto City Hall
Koreatown at night
Koreatown at night

Cultural Diversity

About 49% of Toronto's population were born outside of Canada, making it one of the world's most diverse cities. Over 140 languages and dialects are spoken in Toronto, and just over 30 percent of the city's residents speak a language other than English or French at home.

In 2004, the United Nations Development Programme ranked Toronto second behind Miami, in its list of the world's cities with the largest percentage of foreign-born population.

In 2006, the top five visible minority groups in Toronto were:

  • South Asians making up 12.0 per cent;
  • Chinese at 11.4 per cent;
  • Black at 8.4 per cent;
  • Filipino at 4.1 per cent;
  • Latin American at 2.6 per cent.

After English, the top 5 mother tongues spoken in 2006 were:

  • Italian
  • Chinese
  • Cantonese
  • Punjabi
  • Tagalog (Filipino)

Neighbourhoods such as Koreatown, Chinatown, Little Jamaica, Greektown, Portugal Village and Corso Italia are examples of Toronto's large ethno-cultural population.

The CN Tower
The CN Tower
Polar bears at the Toronto Zoo
Polar bears at the Toronto Zoo
paddling through Toronto Islands
paddling through Toronto Islands
World of Hockey Zone
World of Hockey Zone
Inside the Market
Inside the Market

Tourist Attractions

If you ever go to Toronto, you will find there is not a shortage of things to do. Besides the numerous restaurants, theatres, shopping centers and an endless list of events and festivals to attend, below are some main attractions that Toronto has to offer.

The CN Tower

The CN Tower is a communications and observation tower and stands at 1,815 ft.. It held the world record for 30 years for the world's tallest building, tower, and freestanding structure. It is located in downtown Toronto. On a clear day, visitors to the CN Tower's observation deck can see over 100 miles -- that's all the way to Niagara Falls and across Lake Ontario to New York State. It was recently nominated as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

The Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo is home to over 5,000 animals in their natural environment. The zoo covers 710 acres, making it one of the largest zoos in the world. The Toronto Zoo is divided into six zoogeographic regions: Indo-Malaya, Africa, the Americas, Australasia, Eurasia and the Canadian Domain. Some popular attractions at the zoo include: the 10-acre Tundra Trek, the Gorilla Rainforest and Zellers Discovery Zone which includes Kids Zoo and Splash Island.

Toronto Islands

Only a 10-minute ferry ride from the foot of Yonge Street, the Toronto islands offer a panoramic view of the city skyline. Centre Island offers miles of parkland with beaches, barbecues and picnic tables, boat rentals, bicycle paths, a children's farm and even an amusement park. Included in the Toronto Islands is Centre Island which comprise the largest urban car-free community in North America (some service vehicles are permitted).

Hockey Hall of Fame

The Hockey Hall of Fame includes many interactive exhibits for both kids and adults alike. There is also a replica NHL dressing room, trophy room and a gift shop and is home to the Stanley Cup. The Hall of Fame also includes "World of Hockey Zone" which is a 3,500 square-foot area dedicated to the global game, including World and Olympic competition and profiles on all International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Member Countries. The Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Brookfield Place in downtown Toronto.

St. Lawrence Market

Food and Wine magazine considers St. Lawrnece Market to the one of the world's best 25 food markets. It is located in the historic Old Town Toronto neighbourhood at Jarvis and Front Streets. There are over 50 gourmet food vendors and over a dozen lunch counters. The Market Gallry showcases archival art and photographs from the City's collection. it is also home to the 200-year-old Saturday Farmers' Market and Sunday Antique Market.

Of course, the above attractions are only the tip of the iceberg. You would need to spend days in this great city to take in all of their wonderful attractions and all the city has to offer.

A Livable City

One more fact about Toronto - Because of the city's low crime rates, clean environment, high standard of living, and friendly attitude to diversity, Toronto is consistently rated as one of the world's most livable cities but has also been ranked ranked as the most expensive Canadian city in which to live.

the city of Toronto as seen from the CN Tower
the city of Toronto as seen from the CN Tower

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