Toronto Travel Guide
Toronto offers an intense, curious and urban experience like no other. The city enchants all its visitors, from foodies to cultural travellers, as it offers all kinds of gastronomy, shows, festivals, monuments, nightlife, nature and much more.
Its unique appeal and proximity to Niagara Falls make Toronto a very special travel destination. The ideal is to let the city surprise you at its own pace.
Toronto’s multicultural character is evident when you look at its various districts. You can immerse yourself in Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Korean or Italian environments all in the same walk through the city.
- Top 5 reasons to visit Toronto
- What to do in Toronto
- When to visit Toronto
- How to get to Toronto
- Where to stay in Toronto
- Getting around Toronto
- Cost of living in Toronto
- Where to eat in Toronto
Top 5 reasons to visit Toronto
The music scene
Toronto is a vibrant musical hub, integrating venues such as the Danforth Music Hall. There you can enjoy countless shows, featuring both budding artists and singers like Norah Jones and bands like U2. The independent music scene has a privileged place in Toronto. Indie events are held year-round in such temperamental settings as The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar, the Mod Club Theatre and The Drake Hotel.
The National Tower of Canada is the emblem that identifies Toronto internationally. It is one of the world’s tallest communications towers and, from its vantage point, offers a unique panoramic view of the city. There is also an outstanding restaurant there.
St. Lawrence Market South
This centrally located market is housed in a landmark brick building in Toronto. An ever-lively atmosphere flows inside, offering a wide variety of typical local foods and products, which can be tasted and purchased or simply viewed.
Among Toronto’s peculiarities is The PATH, a system of underground galleries that allow you to move around downtown without going outside during the city’s harsh winters. These corridors are one of Toronto’s curiosities that should be visited.
Ice hockey is Canada’s national sport, although Toronto also has teams for baseball, basketball, Canadian football and soccer. There are two main sports venues, the Scotiabank Arena, where ice hockey and basketball are played, and the Rogers Centre, an outdoor stadium with a drop-down roof where baseball and Canadian football games are played.
What to do in Toronto
Explore Distillery District
This is the fashionable part of town. It is located in the eastern sector of downtown Toronto and is an area that has come back to life thanks to the opening of many trendy bars and restaurants. In the past it was an almost abandoned industrial area.
Discover Kensington Market
Alternative and with a hippie identity, Kensington Market is a quiet, bohemian area that looks like an island in the middle of the city’s hustle and bustle. Its streets are lined with pretty cafes serving homemade cakes, small restaurants and second-hand clothing stores.
Visit the Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum is one of the city’s main cultural references. It houses art and natural history exhibits and is always home to exceptional temporary exhibitions, which are among the main attractions of Toronto.
Digging into the city’s past life
Casa Loma is a small palace that dates from the beginning of the 20th century, and its attraction lies in its neo-Gothic style, a rarity in the city, in its gardens and in its interior decoration. There you can see furniture and objects from the golden years of the first half of the 20th century.
Make an excursion to the islands
In Lake Ontario there is a small group of islands connected by several bridges. This place invites to enjoy long walks, go for a picnic or take a bath in some of its beaches. To reach the islands you must take one of the ferries that leave from the Yonge Street pier, whose ticket costs C$ 7.71.
When to visit Toronto
You’ll find something to see and do in Toronto all year round, although the largest influx of travelers takes place during the summer, thanks to the pleasant climate, festivals and the possibility of enjoying outdoor activities.
Summer events include Luminato, an arts and literature festival held in June, and Summerlicious, perfect for Grastronomes, held in July. In the same month you can experience the Gay Pride march, the Jazz Festival and an endless number of concerts and other events.
Autumn is a colorful time of year in Toronto, thanks to the city’s many parks, including High Park and Riverdale, and in the winter there are events like the MuchMusic Video Awards.
How to get to Toronto
The Toronto Pearson International Airport is the main airport in the city’s metropolitan area, which is about 27 kilometers away. A convenient way to get downtown is to take the TTC integrated transportation network bus 192 to Kipling GO subway station and from there complete the subway journey. The total cost of the trip is C$3.25 and it takes about 45 minutes. A taxi to downtown Toronto costs between C$ 50 and C$ 60, and the trip takes about 30 minutes.
VIA Rail trains offer connections from many Canadian cities. From Montreal, for example, the economy ticket costs C$123, although there are last-minute offers available for up to C$90. The trip from New York takes between 10 and 12 hours and costs $158 (US dollars). All trains arrive at Toronto’s main station: Union Station.
From the United States it is possible to reach Toronto via I-90, I-86 and I-390. Canadian Highway 401 connects Toronto with Montreal, while Highway 400 leads to the town of Greater Sudbury, from where you can reach other cities in Ontario.
Greyhound, Megabus and Coach Canada operate bus lines between Toronto and several cities in the United States, including New York and Boston. A trip New York – Toronto on Greyhound buses, for example, costs between $52 and $65 (US dollars).
Airports near Toronto
YYZ Toronto Pearson Intl
YTZ Toronto City Centre
YKF Toronto Kitchener-Waterloo
Where to stay in Toronto
The city has elegant and exclusive hotels, many of them located in Yorkville, such as The Hazelton Hotel, whose rates are around C$ 580 per night. In addition, there is a range of boutique hotels, such as the Madison Manor Boutique Hotel, with rates of approximately C$ 186 per night. Among the budget accommodations is the Hi Toronto Hostel, where you can stay for C$ 50 per night.
Popular neighborhoods in Toronto
Center. This is the nerve centre of Toronto and is full of nightclubs and a wide range of entertainment for all tastes. It is also part of the city’s thriving financial and technology district.
Roncesvalles. Known as “The Roncy,” this neighbourhood offers authentic and attractive spaces. Between Bloor and Queen streets there are many creative spaces, beautiful cinemas and rogue restaurants and bars, such as Round the Horn.
Queen West. This dynamic and thriving district is home to some of the most fashionable shops, art galleries and great cocktail lounges offering musical entertainment. There are also plenty of craft shops and lively terraces, such as the Sky Yard bar on the rooftop of The Drake Hotel.
Getting around Toronto
Toronto’s integrated transportation system, known as the TTC, includes a network of subways, streetcars and buses and covers routes to domestic and international destinations. Currently, the ticket on any mode of transport, equivalent to 1 token, is C$3.25 for adults and $ 2.10 for students and seniors. It is also possible to acquire 3 tokens for C$ 9, daily passes for C$ 12,50 and weekly passes for C$ 43,75.
Getting around by taxi is convenient in downtown Toronto, but not for longer transfers. The flag descent costs C$4, to which C$1.74 per kilometre is added later.
Having a rental car in Toronto is a good idea to move freely in this great city and its surroundings. It is possible to park on the street in downtown for rates ranging from C$2 to C$6. Renting a standard car from companies like Avis and Routes Car Rental costs around C$45 per day.
Cost of living in Toronto
Toronto’s most famous shopping spot is the Toronto Eaton Centre, which offers stores of the biggest fashion brands, as well as a huge luxury food court known as Urban Eatery. You can eat there for about C$12. On Bloor Street you’ll also find brands like Chanel and L’Occitane, and there are second-hand clothing stores and outlets all over the city.
Supermarkets and groceries
Major supermarkets in Toronto include No Frills, Food Basics, Loblaws, Longo’s and Rabba Fine Foods. Pusateri’s, on the other hand, sells Italian groceries, and there are also many ethnic shops and small grocery stores throughout the city. As a guideline, consider that a liter of milk costs C$2.70; and a loaf of fresh bread, C$3.20.
Where to eat in Toronto
Toronto’s dining experience shines through its diversity. It includes everything from signature cuisine, like that of the Asian restaurant Momofuku, to the typical Italian flavours of Terroni. If you’re looking for eclectic restaurants, try Mother’s Dumplings, which specializes in Chinese cuisine, and Grand Electric, which serves delicious fish tacos. If you have a refined palate, try the proposals of Buca Osteria & Bar, Enoteca Sociale or one of Chef Susur Lee’s establishments.
Gerrard Street is a great emporium of Indian food, while Spadina Avenue and Bloor Street are home to many Asian restaurants. When you’re in the mood for home-cooked Italian food, Little Italy in College West is excellent. In a cheap restaurant you can eat for C$ 18 per person, while a dinner for two in a good restaurant can cost about C$ 75.