Toronto is full of interesting secrets. Even the most seasoned citizens have yet to discover the city entirely. Getting to know the quirks and oddities of Toronto's past and present is part of what makes living in it so exciting.
Of the countless secrets Toronto is hiding, here are 8 interesting ones that you may not have known about after all this time:
A private cafe in hides in plain sight on Yonge and Adelaide
At the northwest corner of Yonge and Adelaide, there lies a seemingly ordinary café filled with seemingly ordinary people. But there's something different about this particular spot - only a certain group of people can get into it.
Bistro 1858 is actually a private restaurant for Deloitte employees. It's the most recent addition to the Bay Adelaide Centre's east tower and it's exclusive to the accountants who work there. Those who aren't employees at the company can only ever go as far as the entrance, where a largely printed "No Entry" sign stands between you and the restaurant.
Part of St. Patrick Station has been sealed off for years
The gruesome murder of a 16-year-old girl resulted in a part of the St. Patrick Station to be sealed off from use.
The victim, Mariam Peters, was a student at A.Y. Jackson Secondary School. On the night of November 7, 1975, she proceeded to the station after visiting her grandfather at the Mount Sinai hospital. While walking through one of the passageways, she was met with a killer who stabbed her 16 times. That passageway is now one of three at the station that has been closed off to the public. The incident led to a TTC and Metro study to make the subways safer.
There's a Hindu temple made entirely of marble
One place in Etobicoke has the ability to make you feel like you've been transported halfway around the world. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir temple is a glorious structure made of almost 24,000 precisely-cut Italian marble pieces.
At nighttime, the temple is set aglow with colourful shades of light, and a marvelous extended fountain in front of it leads to its entrance.
Some houses on Shaw St are totally crooked but apparently still livable
The residential community built over Garrison Creek consists of two homes that have been coined "The Crooked Houses on Shaw St" for their characteristic tilted stances.
The cause of the leaning is attributed to the ground upon which the houses were built on - the soil beneath has spent the past century settling in. Despite the damages, the houses appear to still be livable, and one of them was even put up for sale in 2015. The City of Toronto has stated that any repairs to be made to the homes are the responsibility of the homeowners.
Toronto City Hall resembles a giant eye
Toronto City Hall is one of the most distinct buildings in the entire city. Its unique architecture is marked by two uneven curved pillars cradling a circular structure in the middle.
The architects behind the design took inspiration from the shapes that resulted from shadows of a curved lamp. They never intended it for it to have a meaningful resemblance to anything; however, people began to call it "The Eye of the Government" because it somewhat resembled an unblinking eye at certain angles.
A rare tree exists in Edwards Gardens
A massive dawn redwood (or metasequoia) stands tall near the Children's Centre and Teaching Garden within the Edwards Gardens.
The tree is believed to have been plotted back in the 60s by a gardener as a birthday gift to his wife. It is one of the oldest deciduous conifers in the city, and has even won an award of distinction in LEAF's Great Toronto Tree Hunt.
Odd, oversized buttons in a Kensington restaurant serve a special purpose
Otto's Berlin-Döner is a German restaurant that serves excellent Berlin-style kebabs and currywurst. It's also home to one of the coolest washrooms in the city.
Affixed on the walls of its single-user washrooms are large, red buttons with no labels. The washroom-goer is afflicted with a torturing curiosity of what purpose the button could potentially serve. When enough courage has been mustered to press it, one realizes that its not a panic button or anything of the sort - it's actually a party button. Strobe lights, flashing colours, a rotating disco ball and loud music are immediately activated once it has been pressed. Talk about a party in the pooper.
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