This city is the capital of Ontario in Canada. It is powerful in terms of economics and business, and is one of the world's most livable cities. There are lots of reasons to visit Toronto, whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, and on average the city receives 21 million travelers every year. It is home to the biggest zoo in the country, the largest underground shopping system, over 8,000 restaurants and seven different major league sports teams which gives visitors lots of choices when it comes to tourist activities. Toronto is a top multicultural city and a green city as well with about 1,600 beautiful greenspaces available for you to explore, including some nice spots along the coast of Lake Ontario.
Toronto is Canada's largest city and the fifth biggest of all North American Cities. With a place so big it can be easy to get lost and it might be a good idea to do some research on how to get around the city before your vacation. The city has two airports (Toronto Pearson International Airport and Billy Bishop Airport in downtown Toronto), an underground system with subway stations, lots of bus stops, and streets that are accessible both by car and by foot. This guide should help you to become more familiar with the city and how its public transportation works which should help you get where you need to go.
Toronto Union Station is the hub of all things travel in this bustling city. The GO trains head out to the suburbs, and buses make their way about the city as does the subway. There is also the UP Express, which easily transports people from Downtown Toronto to Pearson Airport.
Travelers tip: To keep your things safe while out exploring the town, store your stuff with a luggage storage service. Pick them up later after you've seen the sights!
How to get around Toronto by train
The Toronto Transit Commission, TTC for short, runs most of the city's public transportation. They are in charge of the subway, buses and streetcars which are all great transit options for getting around the city. However, if you want to get somewhere fast then using the subway trains is your best option.
They can't bring you everywhere since there are only two lines; the Yellow Line which goes from the North to South, and the Green Line which takes you East-West, but they can help you get from one side of the neighborhood to the other pretty quick. If you check the map you will also see two small lines branching off from the Green Line which are called the Scarborough Line and the Sheppard Line. They can bring you slightly further into the Scarborough area and the Northern part of Toronto.
The subway stations are open every day between 6 am to 1:30 am with the exception of Sundays when they open at 8 am. The trains pass by every couple of minutes so you can get around easily and whenever is the most convenient for you. Single rides are affordable at about $3.25 local currency although you can choose by buy day passes or week passes which are definitely worth investing in if you think that you will be using the subway often. A day pass costs about $12.50 Canadian and you will be charged about $44.00 for a week pass. If you buy these passes then you are free to use the subway trains as often as you want while they are active.
How to get around Toronto by bus and streetcar
If you need to go further than the subway can bring you then you will have to take the bus or streetcar. They are also a great option if you are out in the late hours of the night or early morning since many of the streetcar services run 24 hours per day. Be aware that they will only arrive every 30 minutes between 1:30 am and 5 am but come more frequently during other times of the day. They are usually pretty efficient but can be quite slow during the rush hours when the city streets are congested.
You will board the streetcar using the rear doors and they only pickup at designated stops so if you want to take one you should make your way to the nearest one and wait. They look like something between an aboveground subway train and bus that follows tracks along the ground and the streetcars work similarly to some buses where you have to pull the yellow cord when your stop is announced.
The TTC buses operate at similar times to the subway and you can catch them between 6 am and 1 am, although on Sunday the routes start at 8 am. They are your best choice when looking to get to areas outside of the city centre and usually arrive every 10 minutes or so. If you are riding between 9 pm and 5 am, passengers can ask bus drivers to drop them off at a location between two stops which make it safer and easier for anyone who is traveling alone during the night. Toronto's buses are accessible for wheelchairs and strollers too.
There is also the Blue Night Network buses which arrive every half hour all night but only travel on the major bus routes. They are a good choice for when you need to get somewhere quickly since they don't make as many stops as normal buses do. They only run during the night or early morning but you will see them if you are out and about between 1:30 am and 5 am on weekdays and until 6 am and 9 am Saturdays and Sundays respectively. These buses can easily be identified by their reflective blue bands.
Getting between neighborhoods can be simple using the public transit and subway system as well as the local ferry which can bring you to the Toronto Islands. To use it you must go to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal located in the downtown part of the city which is where the ferry departs. Once you buy your ticket you can ride the ferry to one of three places; Centre Island, Ward's Island or Hanlan's Point. Getting to attractions found on the islands, like the Toronto Island Park, will have to be accessed by ferry. Tickets cost less for children.
How to get around Toronto by car
Toronto is a big city that can be navigated by car although many people do not recommend it. There is usually a lot of construction going on around the streets of Toronto which can lead to traffic congestion throughout the day and especially during rush hour. A good way to avoid being stuck in traffic is to take the Highway 407 which runs East to West and is often less busy than the 401. Keep in mind that this speedway uses an electronic tolling system to track how far you drive using cameras, and they will bill you directly in the mail.
If you need to drive around the city then you can, although there are several things that you will need to keep in mind. When driving you should always be mindful of your surroundings, especially in towns like this one. If you find yourself in Downtown Toronto then you will need to keep an eye out for the streetcar stops since that is where lots of pedestrians gather to get on or off. As well, car drivers must always stop at crosswalks when they see pedestrians and need to check their blind spot at stop signs in case any cyclists are riding beside you.
Another challenge in Toronto is finding parking. There are some private lots located around the city although they can be expensive to use. Be sure to have a couple extra dollars with you to use for parking and check the meter often so you don't stay overtime. If you are driving before 7 am or after 6 pm, then you might be able to find a spot in private lots for reduced fare. You can sometimes find parking on the streets or in lots that are open to the public which can be more affordable, but in general the prices are different in each neighborhood.
If you need to get somewhere by car but don't want to drive yourself, you can benefit from the local taxi service. These cars can be spotted driving around the entire city so it won't be too difficult for you to hail one. If you can't find any in the streets, make your way to the nearest major hotel which will most likely have a lineup of taxis outside of its doors. You will be charged by distance and sometimes the prices will go up if there is a lot of traffic. Most taxi drivers accept payment by credit or debit card but you should keep some cash on you in case, and always remember to tip.
Can I get around Toronto by foot?
Getting between different neighborhoods or areas in Toronto can be difficult by foot but once you arrive somewhere then walking around to explore can be simple and rewarding. Traveling by foot is always recommended especially if you want to get to know the city better. Chances are you will see something interesting by wandering the streets on your own, and often some of the best restaurants and activities are found by going through small side streets. As always, be safe when walking around Toronto, and don't go anywhere alone if you can help it.
The city also offers a bike sharing program called Bike Share Toronto which is used often by locals and visitors. To use the sharing system you can stop by any of the 300 stations scattered around town and choose one of the available bikes to use for as long as you'd like. The first half hour of each ride is free and you will be charged a couple of dollars if you use the bike for longer than that unless you buy a day pass for about $7.
Once you are finished with the bike you can drop it off at any of the other docking stations and it does not need to be the same one that you got the bike from. This is convenient as you can use them for one-way trips to different landmarks or attractions. There are about 3,000 individual bikes in the city so you will have no problem finding one to rent. As always, be safe when using the bicycles and be aware of automobiles and pedestrians. It is important to obey the rules of the road even if you are on a bike, which will make it safer for everyone.
Traveling Around the City of Toronto
Thanks to the Toronto Pearson International Airport, getting in and out of the city is easy. Finding your way around a new city can be difficult but once you get the hang of it Toronto's public transport can get you to different parts of town quickly and easily. Toronto offers a refillable transfer ticket called the PRESTO Card which is a cost effective option that can make getting around easier since you can buy several passes at once.
Visitors who are going to be using the TTC transit buses and streetcars often can buy a day pass or weekend pass which allows unlimited travel. If you don't have a PRESTO Card you will have to buy a ticket before using the bus or metro so you should bring exact change. Getting around Toronto by car can be slow and frustrating during rush hour, although in off peak hours it is a good option. If you don't want to worry about parking you can find taxis circling around the city, and other companies like Uber or Lyft can be accessed using their own ride hailing apps.