Want to know some of the best spots in Toronto for Instagram and Photography? In this guide I will tell you the spots I discovered whilst living in the city. I lived in the city for 15 months, and as a photographer I spent much of my spare time exploring and searching for the best photo spots. All these spots are publicly and legally accessible, many are free but some such as the CN Tower you’d have to pay for.
So keep reading for my guide to the Best Instagram and Photography spots in Toronto.
Nathan Phillips Square, City Hall and Old City Hall
Nathan Phillips Square is at the center of the city, and is awesome to photograph pretty much all throughout the year. In the winter they have ski skating on the pond in front and in recent years they have introduced a bright Toronto light sign. For a good perspective of the Old City Hall, it’s good to go up the steps to the upper platform which is directly opposite the Old City Hall across from the pond. Use the pic below as a guide.
Address: 100 Queen St W, ON M5H 2N2
Royal Ontario Museum (Royal Ontario Museum)
The front facade of the Royal Ontario Museum is called the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal and is creative architecture at its best. I personally recommend taking pictures of the Rom at night and with the blur of traffic going past. It does also look good during the day.
Address: 100 Queens Park, ON M5S 2C6
Museum Subway Stop
Close to the Rom is the Museum Subway Stop. The platforms have been designed with this in mind with fantastic pillars and designs.
Address: Museum, Line 1
One of the coolest buildings in the city, the Gooderham Building, also known as the Flatiron is superb. From some angles you can get the CN Tower in the shot too.
Address: 49 Wellington St E, ON M5E 1C9
I wouldn’t say Casa Loma is the easiest building to photograph. Few things that may help is to use a wide angle lens, or visit in the spring/summer and then try and compose your shot with flowers in the foreground such as below.
Address: 1 Austin Terrace, ON M5R 1X8
Polson Pier is one of the classic Toronto spots, but most tourists probably aren’t aware of this location. To get here you take bus #72A from Wellington Street West near King Station and then get off at Cherry Street. You then have a five minute walk past the Asian supermarket and it’ll be on your right. Check the location (Polson Street) in Google before you go too. Or you could also just jump in an Uber.
Address: 2 Polson Street, ON M5A 1A4
University of Toronto
University of Toronto, or UOT, is a great place to visit and walk around. Some of the colleagues and buildings including Robarts Library, Knox College and many more have stunning architecture, and the university is often used a location for weddings and movies.
Address: King’s College Cir, ON
Humber Bay Bridge and viewpoint
Around Humber Bay bridge you get great views towards the city and also have the Humber Bridge which is great to photograph. This is a great sunrise spot and during certain times of the year you’ll be able to get the sun rising up behind the downtown skyline.
Address: Humber Bridge (you’ll find in Google)
Rush Lane/Graffiti Alley
Graffiti Alley off Spadina Avenue is pretty cool to wander along. Sometimes you may capture artists at work too.
Address: Rush Lane, ON M5V 2W1
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
The AGO is awesome and is great to photograph from the outside and inside. Few of the best spots in the museums is the main spiral staircase in one of the main halls and this cafe. You can even visit for free on Wednesdays after 6pm. Head to www.ago.net/how-to-visit-for-free for more info.
Address: 317 Dundas St W, ON M5T 1G4
View from the CN Tower
A visit to Toronto should definitely include a trip up the CN Tower, which was once one of the tallest towers in the world from 1976-2010! The Tower has various floors that are accessible, including the main lookout levels at 342m and 346m, a restaurant at 351m and a Skypod at 447m. For those wanting a thrill you could also do the EdgeWalk.
Address: 301 Front St W, ON M5V 2T6
From a Helicopter
Although a helicopter ride goes extremely quick, they are a great way to get some areal views of the city. Unfortunately you are probably going to be shooting through glass so you may have problems with reflections.
Skywalk at Union station
The Skywalk is pretty cool but not the easiest to photograph. Something you could try is taking pictures on a 0.3-1 second exposure so the people become slightly blurred, giving a sense of motion. I always intended to do this but never got round to it.
Address: Skywalk, ON M5J 1C3
This is a classic Instagram spot and if you follow any Instagram hubs you’ll often see this interior come up. It’s located a short walk up from Bay Street from Union Station.
Address: 181 Bay St, ON M5J 2T3
Not just a great place to relax, Sugar Beach is also a great place to go and take photographs, and you can even take photographs in the winter such as below.
Address: 115 Queens Quay E, ON M5A 1B6
Scarborough Bluffs Park
A little bit East of the City is Scarborough Bluffs Park which is a series of nice beaches, parks, boat houses. The view below is from Scarborough Bluffs Park towards Bluffers Park. To get here and to the park below it’s not that easy and I recommend an Uber, Taxi, drive or to cycle. The road leading down to the lower park and beaches is Brimley Road South. You can also use public transport (bus 12 or 302) and walk down but it’s not the nicest walk to be honest.
Address: 61 Under Cliff Dr, ON M1N 3Z5 (upper park)
OR: 52 Bluffers Park, ON M1M 3W3 (lower park)
Upwards Perspectives in Downtown
All along downtown and in particular this spot near King Street West and Bay street are huge skyscrapers. Use a very wide angle lens to get shots like the below.
Address: 244-254 Bay St
Cool Camera wall along Scollard Street
A little bit north of downtown is this very peculiar building which has hundred of cameras on the facade of the wall. The closest subway station is Bay Street and it’s cool to checkout if you are in the area.
Address: 125 Scollard St
Spadina Avenue Bridge towards the CN Tower
From the bottom of Spadina Avenue is a bridge going over the railway tracks. It’s quite a cool spot to get shots and if you take a long exposure at night you may get trails from the trains.
Address: Spadina Avenue, close to where it intersects with Front Street W.
The Atrium Mall is located near Yonge-Dundas Square and if you lookup you see this futuristic type architecture.
Address: 595 Bay St, Toronto, ON M5G 2C2
High Parks is a wonderful place to go all year round and a nice escape from the city. During spring you’ll find Cherry Blossoms in some parts which are fun to photograph. And during the autumn the trees will change into stunning colours!
Another good spot during the Cherry Blossom season is Trinity Bellwoods, where you’ll find some of the flowers here (and lots of people taking photographs). It’s also another nice place to go and relax.
If you start at Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and then walk along the waterfront it’s quite nice. Along the way you’ll see plenty of good photo opportunities. I recommend walking as far as Marina Quay West and Ireland Park.
Marina Quay West
To get some great harbour perspective this is the ideal spot. I recommend using a wide angle lens as you’ll struggle to get the CN Tower, and the water otherwise. The shot below was taken in the winter so there’s ice but you can often get perfect reflections when it’s not frozen.
One of my favourite viewpoints is Ireland Park. It’s also pretty cool in the winter when you may get cracked ice. At certain times the water here can sometimes be quite still giving you great reflections of the city.
Slightly West of Downtown and just down from Spadina Avenue is Canoe Landing and also this interesting skittle artwork!
Most of the classic Toronto shots are from Toronto Islands, and a visit to the city wouldn’t be complete without you heading there. I recommend heading here before sunset and staying until after the blue hour. When you see the skyline from this perspective for the first time you’ll feel in awe.
The ferry goes to three points and the best photo positions are from Ward’s Island and Centre Island. The ferry leaves from Jack Layton Ferry Terminal which you’ll find at the bottom of Bay Street. The closest Station is Union.
Ferry Address: 9 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2H3
The Distillery Historic District
The Distillery has beautiful old architecture and is also the location of the main Christmas Market. Around this area are also some bars and galleries worth checking out.
Address: 55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4
Charles Street East and Rogers Way
Another popular artwork to take pictures of is outside a building at the corner of Charles Street East and Rogers Way. The closest subway here Bloor-Yonge.
Address: 596 Ted Rogers Way Toronto, ON M4Y
HTO Park is another one of Toronto’s city parks/beaches and this one is located a short walk from the CN Tower. The park is always open so you can get some snowy shots in the winter, or get some warmer shots during the other times.
Address: 339 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5V 1A2
Riverdale Park East
This park which is just down from Broadview Station, and is a great spot for sunset and evening shots. I’ve seen some of the most amazing sunsets of my life from this perspective. This spot is also great in the winter with snow on the trees and the field. It can get extremely windy and cold, so if visiting this point in the winter wrap up VERY warm. You can get here by walking down from Broadview Station, or you can also get the trams 304, 504 or 505 down from the station.
Address: 552-560 Broadview Ave, ON M4K
Massey Hall is a famous venue holding concerts and other events. The architecture is pretty cool as you can see below.
Address: 178 Victoria St, ON M5B 1T7
Fairmont Royal York
As well as being a nice place to stay the Fairmont Royal York has a stunning lobby with the beautiful clock and staircase you can see below. A good viewpoint is from the upper level of the lobby which you can take the stairs to.
Address: 100 Front St W, ON M5J 1E3
The Kensington Market is an odd, colourful and very photogenic area which I highly recommend checking out! You’ll find lots of street photography opportunities here.
Address: 282 Augusta Ave, ON M5T 2L9
Nice Torontonian Streets
Around the outskirts of downtown are lots of beautiful Torontonian streets which are fantastic to walk around. Many of the houses have patios and beautiful styles with almost all the houses having a slightly different design. Here are some streets which are pretty nice to not just photograph but also walk around.
Lake Shore boulevard East near Woodbine Beach
Spadina is pretty much the China/Asia part of the city and is pretty cool to take photographs from. You can also try and get photographs of downtown with some trams going past here.
King Street and Queen Street
These two streets are particular nice from the West and you’ll find awesome shops and restaurants along the way.
Quite a cute street and from the bottom you’ll reach Lake Ontario where you can walk along the waterfront which is quite nice towards Humber Bay Bridge (mentioned above).
Others spots in Toronto
Head down to Toronto’s arteries of Ravines. Nice spots are the David Balfour Park Trail, which you’ll find close to St Clair Station, and Nordheimer Ravine close to St Clair West Station.
Roy Thomson Hall
The Roy Thomson Hall is another downtown spot and you’ll be able to get the Hall and also the CN Tower peaking between some skyscrapers from this angle.
Tommy Thompson Park
This park is behind the Toronto Islands but connects to the mainland. It’s a bit fiddly to get to and the nicest way is to hire a bike, but not a city bike as they are expensive if used for long periods in one go. You should then cycle along Cherry Street towards Cherry Beach and then follow the paths all the way around. One you get into Tommy Thompson Park you’ll also find lots of birds too and it’s best to have a zoom lens for shots of wildlife and the city from this perspective.
During the annual DoorsOpen event you get free and special access to buildings all around the city. This includes the City Hall Roof, Commerce Court North, City of Toronto Archives, Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre and many more. I think there are around 150 buildings that take part in this.
I hope this posts helps you get some great pictures for Instagram whilst you are in the city. Do you know of any other good photo spots in Toronto? Please leave a comment below!
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