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Toronto offers non-stop adventures for the willing tourist, to get a sense of how big, various and magical Toronto is, the best place to start is the CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the world, from this vantage point, visitors get a bird's-eye-view of the city's striking skyline and unique geography.Known as the "economic engine of Canada", Toronto is considered a major world city, exerting significant regional, national, and global influence. Toronto is Canada's financial, cultural, and health sciences centre. It has one of the most diversified economies in North America with the largest concentration of head offices in a variety of fields, the highest concentration of cultural workers and institutions, and the largest arts community in Canada. Indeed, in January 2005, it was designated by the federal government as one of Canada's cultural capitals. It is one of the safest cities to live in North America; its crime rate is lower than that of any major U.S. metropolitan area and is one of the lowest in Canada as well. In addition to being an important cultural and commercial center, Toronto is also a major multiethnic metropolis. The city's population numbers more than 4.5 million people, and its residents come from countries around the world and from all manner of ethnic backgrounds. On any given day, and in most quarters of the city, a hundred different languages can be heard on the streets, from Hindi to Greek to French.
The City of Toronto covers an area of 641 km² (247 square miles) and is bounded by Lake Ontario to the south, Etobicoke Creek and Highway 427 to the west, Steeles Avenue to the north, and the Rouge River to the east. Toronto is the largest city in Canada and since the 1970s has been one of the fastest-changing cities in North America, experiencing an enormous growth in foreign-born residents. In 1998, the cities of Metropolitan Toronto (Toronto, York, East York, North York, Etobicoke, and Scarborough) were merged as Toronto, instantly becoming the continent's fifth largest city.