A forest of glass and steel



It was one of the first things I asked when I arrived in Toronto: where is the name ‘Toronto’ derived from? A quick Google search – gee, why didn’t I think of that? – revealed that the name Toronto, a derivative of the word ‘tkaronto’, was first used by the Iroquois (a tribe that used to inhabit the area before the first Westerners arrived) and roughly means ‘forest in the water’. In the following days, as I walked around the streets of downtown Toronto, I couldn’t help but think of that meaning and how it applies to modern-day Toronto. Gone are the forests in the water. In its place, a new forest had risen – a forest of glass and steel!

Architecture stroll around downtown Toronto

A stroll around downtown Toronto, with its shiny skyscrapers, is a dizzying experience. I found myself straining my neck on many occasions just to catch a glimpse of the tops of these massive buildings that seemed to touch the clouds. I’m a big fan of architecture so it was a great joy for me to wander aimlessly around the downtown area and admire the huge glassy surfaces, interspersed with monumental buildings. The fact that the tallest buildings are all concentrated within a relatively small area reinforced the image of a forest in my mind. I knew I’d reached the edges of the downtown area as soon as the skyscrapers stopped! Armed with my iPhone, I took lots of photos of these impressive buildings. Join me on a little architecture tour around downtown Toronto!


The reflections in the glass surfaces – like the clouds in this building – were the first things I noticed


And I kept finding more stunning reflections!


The Bank of Montreal building at First Canada Place – Toronto’s tallest building


Toronto’s iconic CN Tower looms over the city like a mighty beacon


Shiny new skyscrapers stand side by side with their older brothers


The grand dame in Toronto – the Flatiron Building – with its modern-day ‘guards’!


The rear of the Flatiron Building is as intriguing as its front


As the sun set, the lights came on and I knew I had to go to one place for a phenomenal view of this forest of glass and steel…


The CN Tower!

… and I wasn’t disappointed! The night views of Toronto from atop the CN Tower were truly phenomenal!


Toronto’s bright lights seen from the top of the CN Tower

All photos above were taken with an iPhone 4.

Note: My trip to Toronto was a collaboration between iambassador, the Canadian Tourism Commission, Tourism Toronto and Shangri-La Hotel Toronto.

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10 Responses to “A forest of glass and steel”

  1. Lilian 16/12/2012 5:45 pm

    Awesome pics! I love shiny the glass buildings and the back of the flat iron building is pretty cool too. Can’t wait to get there and see it all for myself now! Thanks 🙂

  2. Kristin of Be My Travel Muse 16/12/2012 5:36 pm

    I never thought of buildings as beautiful but these shots are making me re-think. I love how the reflective glass makes it look like a building made of clouds.

  3. rob hermans 16/12/2012 2:38 pm

    lovely article… the idea of ‘the forest of glass’ .and the beautiful pics!

  4. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures 05/12/2012 4:21 pm

    Oh wow, these shots are awesome!!!

  5. Keith Jenkins 05/12/2012 3:30 pm

    Hi Sofie,
    Yup, I thought the back of the Flatiron building is really cool too!


  6. Sofie 05/12/2012 3:07 pm

    Loving the back of the Flatiron Building!

  7. Keith Jenkins 05/12/2012 11:45 am

    Thanks James! Pretty incredible what you can do with an iPhone! 🙂 Glad you like the photos!


  8. James Abroad 05/12/2012 11:32 am

    Wow.. those are pretty great for being shot with an iphone!!

  9. Keith Jenkins 05/12/2012 11:20 am

    Wow, thank you Lesley for the extra info on the Roy Thomson Hall! I heard that the main screenings of the TIFF takes place there. When I was there, they’d just lit the Christmas Tree in the square fronting the Hall. Loved the idea of getting everyone to dance or jump around to generate the power to light the tree. Very cool!
    Truly impressed by the buildings in Toronto and it was fun walking around looking for cool reflections. 🙂


  10. Lesley Peterson 05/12/2012 4:50 am

    Super photography! I’m so glad to see one of my favorite buildings appear in #5 in front of the CN Tower. The sloping basket-like building is Roy Thomson Hall (1982), designed by Canadian architect Arthur Erickson. Inspired by visits to Japan and by North American native cultures, Erickson designed the concert venue as a basket-like container.

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