Lay of the Land
From the airspace above the US-Canadian border, downtown Toronto seems to rise climactically out of Lake Ontario—a shimmering wall of glass and steel, cranes and skyscrapers stretching from the city’s eastern beaches to its artsy West End and from the spire of the CN Tower to a network of subterranean pedestrian tunnels that offer a respite from winter.
Long a kind anchorage for immigrants (an estimated 50% of its population is foreign-born), Toronto has been famous mostly for its liberalism and livability. But over the last decade, the city has added a serious dose of hip to its résumé—and managed to do so without sacrificing its trademark friendliness.
For weekenders, crossing the border is more painless than ever. Porter Airlines, Toronto’s hometown hero carrier, now offers nonstop service from New York, Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C. into Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, located on an island in the Toronto Harbour. The regional hub is a mere fifteen-minute commute from the center of town and an attractive alternative to distant Pearson International.