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Toronto Skyline: Best Places to Take Pictures

Ireland Park
Ireland Park

Skylines of any big metropolitan city are modern architectural marvels. High rise skyscrapers competing to kiss the sky provide a magnificent sight to behold. For photographers who are interested in shooting modern architecture, buildings and cityscapes, skylines are fantastic subjects. The beautiful cosmopolitan and diverse city of Toronto features a wonderful skyline on the shores of Lake Ontario. The Toronto skyline is a gorgeous subject for photographers to point their cameras on. Are you planning to visit Toronto and want to know some of the best spots for capturing photographs of the city’s gorgeous skyline which overlooks Lake Ontario? In this post we will discuss about some of the best spots from where you can take some gorgeous shots of Toronto’s ever evolving skyline. We will talk about the best camera spots and also throw in some tips for you to get some stunning skyline shots. All the places mentioned in this post are accessible to the general public without any special permission. Most of them are free and a few have a nominal entrance fees. You may find other more unique angles online, but these may be from private locations where photographers have gained access to that photo spot, with or without permission. Toronto does lack easily accessible high spots and aside from going on a Helicopter tour or going on top of the CN Tower, it’s almost impossible to find decent aerial locations. However, Toronto still has some great spots for taking pictures. Check them out.

Toronto Skyline: Best Spots to Take Its Pictures

Humber Bay

Humber Bay is a fantastic place for a walk and to enjoy and capture the spectacular Toronto Skyline. This part of Lake Ontario is west of downtown, and it has a boardwalk and beach area. Further down the path, there is an arched bridge which serves as a great spot for taking pictures as well. For early bird photographers, this is a great place to capture the moment when the rays of the rising sun hit the Toronto skyline. 

Best time for photography: Sunrise/early morning

Polson Pier

Polson Pier – Toronto, ON

Slightly to the east of the city you’ll find Polson Pier. This is one of the best spots for capturing the Toronto skyline and provides an awesome perspective all year round, including in the winter. It’s easy to reach. You can get here by bus, car, or a cab. If you happen to visit Polson Pier in the winter, ensure that you are properly wrapped up with warm clothing. The cold winds cause a massive drop in temperatures.

Best time for photography: Sunset and blue hour

Trillium Park

Trillium Park is one of the newest parks of Toronto and is situated deep downtown, but west a little and jutting out into Lake Ontario. It is nice to go here both day and night to enjoy this view and capture stunning shots of the Toronto skyline.

 Best time for photography: All times of day 

Riverdale Park East

This park offers one of the best views of Toronto’s skyline. The view is within the city and slightly east of downtown. The quickest way to get here is getting off at Broadview Station and taking a tram south or walking for around 5 mins from the station. A couple of things that stand out about this viewpoint is that in the foreground you have a hill that overlooks a running track and also a baseball cage and it is nice to sit and just watch people on the track or playing baseball with the skyline in the background. 

Best time for photography: Morning/sunset/blue hour

CN Tower

The CN Tower is one of the cities most iconic and globally renowned attractions. Since it is 533 metres high, it also serves as one of the best spots to see and take pictures of the Toronto skyline. There is an entry fee for the CN Tower but it’s definitely worth the price of enjoying Toronto’s skyline from a top down perspective. 

Best time for photography: Sunset/blue hour.

Ireland Park

The Ireland Park is located towards the city’s waterfront and offers a side view of Toronto’s skyline. The water of Lake Ontario can be particularly still here at times and you might even be able to capture beautiful reflections in your photographs. You can also visit this location in the winter when there will be ice on the lake which is sometimes very reflective. Sometimes, the ice can be cracked, adding a more interesting perspective to your skyline shots.

Best time for photography: Sunset/blue hour.

A Helicopter Tour

If you want a completely unique and aerial view of Toronto’s skyline, you can go for a helicopter tour. These tours wrap up very quickly so ensure that you have your camera set up and ready before you board, such as a fast enough shutter speed to accommodate for the speed of the moving helicopter.  

Best time for photography: Day time with ample sunlight since you will need to use fast shutter speeds for your shots. 

The Islands of Toronto

One of the best and also the most popular spots to capture the skyline is to head over to the Islands. By taking the ferry you can get off at either Ward’s, Centre or Hanlan’s Islands, and all of them offer a slightly different view of Toronto’s skyline.

Centre Island

The Centre Island is one of the most popular spots that face the city directly. Once you get off the ferry, head to the Olympic Island where you will find lots of spots to enjoy the view of Toronto’s skyline. Also nearby you will find the Centreville Theme Park and directly on the other side (away from the city) is a beach which is great fun during the hot summer months.

Best time for photography: Sunset/blue hour

Ward’s Island

This island is towards the east of the City and provides the Skyline’s view at a slight angle. The island also features small houses where the island’s residents live. This particular spot also has a small beach facing towards the city which is great to add into your shots too.

Best time for photography: Sunset/blue hour.

Hanlan’s Island

This is not necessarily the best view, although still nice to go to if you have time. If you like walking you could get off the ferry at this point and then walk round to Centre and Olympic Island, although it may take around an hour. Also, certain sections of the island have been flooded because of the rising water levels of Lake Ontario.

Best time for photography: Sunset/blue hour

Boat Cruise

Another way to get stunning shots of the Toronto skyline is to embark on a boat cruise. These comfortable cruises will give you plenty of time to capture Toronto’s skyline from various angles or just view it from multiple angles on the magnificent waters of Lake Ontario.  

Best time for photography: Sunset/Blue hour.

Quick Tips for Stunning Skyline Photographs 

  • Skyline shots look best if they are shot during sunrise or sunset. Try and get up early to capture the first rays of the rising sun as they bathe the buildings in gold. You can also reach your vantage point around dusk and set up your camera to take some beautiful pictures of the setting sun along with the skyline.
  • Night time shots also work well for skylines since most buildings have beautiful lighting. You can get some stunning long exposure shots at night.
  • Use filters such as the ND Filter in case you want to have smoothened water and streaky clouds effect.

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