toronto instagram

Toronto Instagram star captures the beauty of the city at dusk

Maria Rio only got into photography about one year ago. Over the past 12 months, she garnered more than 40,000 Instagram followers who like and comment on her photos that document Toronto.

Rio says she fell into photography almost by accident. While out for dinner one night, her friends were admiring a photo of a bench. Rio joked that anyone could take a picture like that. Her friends told her to prove it.

A photo posted by Maria Rio (@see.toronto) on

For her account @see.toronto, she uses a Motorala Hasselbad, but started out with a Samsung Galaxy 5S. She does everything on her phone, including editing via the Snapseed app.

A photo posted by Maria Rio (@see.toronto) on

Over the past year, she's connected with the local Instagram community and has learned a lot from other Toronto photographers. She also likes sharing her newfound passion with this crew.

A photo posted by Maria Rio (@see.toronto) on

“They understand when you want to go outside and it’s a blizzard and like negative 30 degrees,” she says.

A photo posted by Maria Rio (@see.toronto) on

Currently, Rio works fulltime in the non-profit sector and is finishing up a double degree in English and history at the University of Toronto - the on-campus architecture is one of her favourite subjects to shoot.

A photo posted by Maria Rio (@see.toronto) on

She also likes going down to Polson Pier and frequents a hidden spot at Woodbine Beach.

A photo posted by Maria Rio (@see.toronto) on

Rio came to Toronto when she was nine years old as a refugee from Mexico and now, she loves showing off the city via Instagram. She says she get encouraging messages from people located around the world.

A photo posted by Maria Rio (@see.toronto) on

As she continues documenting life in Toronto, she hopes to improve her photography skills and is saving up to buy herself a DSLR camera.

A photo posted by Maria Rio (@see.toronto) on

“I started this with the intention of having a hobby and doing something new," she says. "And I’ve met so many cool people along the way."

A photo posted by Maria Rio (@see.toronto) on

That's sentiment echoed by many local Instagram stars - even though they work online, they make meaningful and lasting connections IRL too.

Lead photo by

Maria Rio

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