The "6" is the home of the Blue Jays, FC soccer team, Maple Leafs and of course Drake. There is much more to the city than these famous figures. Toronto is the most populous metropolitan area in Canada and also the 4th largest city in North America. There are a ton of attractions to see if the city, but for those of you who are not spending a lot of time in Toronto here is a quick guide to the city.
Population: 2,800,000 million
Climate: Humid Continental Climate
Currency: Canadian Dollar (CAD)
Official Language(s): English
Before you Arrive
Unfortunately, most countries require visas to visit Canada. Good news is that countries that have visa free access are able to stay 6 months at a time. If you are from a country that requires a visa you can apply here.
There is one major airport in Toronto, Lester B. Pearson International Airport. Pearson is located on the border of Mississauga and Toronto, and is 26.5km from the city centre.
There are plenty of way to get to the main core; taxi, uber, bus, train. A taxi is fast but can also be pricey. A taxi would get you to the main core within 20 mins, but also set you back $50-60 plus tip.
With the TTC buses you would have to transfer a few times from the bus to the subway. The ride can take up to 2 hours. From pearson you can take buses 52 Lawrence West and 192 Airport Rocket. The fastest would be the 192 which gets you to the subway in about 20 minutes, from there the subway ride is about 40 minutes. These buses will both take you to the subway station where you will need to transfer and take the train to the city centre. The TTC costs $3.25 for one way. Tokens and day/week passes are also available.
Tokens- 3 for $9
Day pass- $12.50
Weekly pass- $42.25
Union Pearson Express
This is the newest, most convenient way to get to Downtown Toronto from the airport and vice versa. This trip only takes 25 mins. There is also free wifi, charging stations and airline check-in kiosks on the train. This express train costs $12 each way.
The best way to get around Toronto would be by bus, streetcar or subway. The subway system is very simple so it's not hard to navigate. The buses are pretty simple as well but understanding the transfer system can be quite a headache. Taxis can be expensive if you are going long distances. Toronto also uses the Uber system, so if you are into using that app it's a convenient way to get around. If you are staying in the Downtown area I would suggest walking to most places, as it's very scenic.
What to See
There are tons of attractions in and around Toronto. The best way to see the city may just be on the sight seeing bus. The bus drops you off near 21 different attractions and you get a free boat cruise ticket. It costs $38 plus taxes and is valid for 2 days.
Some major points of interest are Harbour Front, Hockey Hall of Fame, CN Tower, Casa Loma, Eatons Centre, St. Lawrence Market, Yorkville, Royal Ontario Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, King & Queen Street West, Kensington Market, Yonge Street, The Distillery District, Toronto Islands, etc.
What to Eat & Drink
Toronto is a very culturally diverse city. So, a lot of the food options are reflective of the various cultures that live in the city. There are still a lot of authentic Toronto foods you can try but there are just not an abundance of restaurants.
Must try Dishes:
Fries smothered in gravy and swiss cheese
Grilled hot dogs or sausages
Pizza with pepperoni, mushroom and Canadian bacon. It's so delicious!
You can get timbits at the Tim Hortons coffee shop. Timbits are bite-sized donuts you can fit in your mouth.
A fried pastry made to look like a beaver tail with toppings like whipped cream, banana slices, chocolate, cinnamon sugar, etc.
Where to Stay
Staying in Toronto has it's perks but can also be very pricey. 2 star hotels can cost around $100/night depending on the neighbourhood. Here are some great neighbourhoods to stay in where hotels are moderately priced.
Chinatown is very popular amongst tourists as well as locals becuase of the cheap, delicious eat. Also, it's a great place to shop and buy souvenirs. These hostels range from $40 & up. They also have private rooms if you don't want to share your space with others.
Check out- Planet traveler, Alexandra Hotel, Backpackers on Dundas
Church Street is home to Toronto's LGBTQ community. It's a very vibrant and an upbeat neighbourhood. There are tons of bars and restaurant to choose from and this area is right in the heart of Downtown Toronto.
Check out- Hostelling Toronto, Hi Hostel
Here are some other great places to visit outside of Toronto's downtown core!
Niagara Falls-- Niagara Falls is one of the most well-known attractions in Ontario. Although it is not located in Toronto, it is only an hour away. Now there is a flight from Downtown Toronto to Niagara Falls which takes a mere 12 mins, however it's not cheap.
Scarborough Bluffs-- Scarborough is an eastern suburb of Toronto. The Scarborough Bluffs is an escarpment that is extremely popular. There are a few parks surrounding the escarpment that people use for picnics and other things.
Ottawa-- Toronto's capital city and home to the federal government, Ottawa is a great place to visit if you are looking to get away from the craziness of Toronto. Ottawa is only 4 hours away and has daily bus and train departures.
Georgian Bay-- Georgian Bay is about 2.5 hours north of Toronto. There are over 30,000 islands, clear blue waters and tons of beaches.