Being an important site of business, arts, culture and finance, the city of Toronto is a diverse panorama of multicultural ethnic groups and has a true cosmopolitan nature. Offering glimpses of its past and stunning vistas of bountiful nature, the city has a high-paced lifestyle and impressive festival culture. Every year millions of tourists visit the attractions and landmarks in Toronto that comprise of museums, ethnic markets, exhibition places, neighbourhoods, Fort York and a lot more. The annual fair & festivals, winter sports, adventure sports and activities; nature walks and outdoor activities – Toronto exceeds your expectations when it comes to vacation experiences. Before planning a trip to this Canadian city, here are some Toronto travel tips to save you time and effort and make sure you have an amazing holiday experience.
10 Toronto Travel Tips For An Amazing Vacation
We have compiled a perfect and all-inclusive Toronto travel guide for all the travellers which will surely help you enjoy a fantastic holiday!
1. Best Time To Explore Toronto
Toronto experiences amazing weather between May and November. The summer season is when the tourist rush is at its peak and the music festivals are also going on full throttle. The warm weather allows the tourists to enjoy all kinds of outdoor events and activities and is generally the best time to explore the city. For the snow-lovers, December onwards, the entire city becomes a winter wonderland with chilly weather and Christmas spirit being ambient. So, plan your trip as per your tourist interest and book the hotels and any special permits well in advance.
2. Traffic Rules
Apart from the side of the road; traffic signals; pavements; sidewalks; and pedestrian rush, there are many other things that you must be well versed with before you kick-start your Toronto vacation. Apart from Montreal, you can take a right on red light everywhere in Canada. The pedestrians can walk on the crosswalks and local tourist maps are readily available for getting around.
3. Languages To Master
English and French are the two official languages of Canada and both of them are equally popular in Toronto as well. However, as per the stats, around 95% of people in Toronto speak English. So, simply keep a French dictionary handy in your mobile and enjoy conversing with the locals. Apart from French, Chinese and Italian is also spoken here.
Canada is home to hundreds of ethnic groups of which immigrants are also a fairly large part. Hence, language diversity is inevitable.
Suggested Read: 6 Best Churches In Toronto To Marvel At The Ancient Architecture
4. Currency Exchange
ATMs are the best resorts for money matters as the transaction rates are high for currency exchange or withdrawals. Many hotels also offer currency exchange which might be available at lesser charges as compared to the banks. However, the ATM withdrawals are the best options as they allow you to travel with less currency in hand. This is one of the most important travel tips for visiting Toronto. Carrying a lot of exchanged currency will not only keep you worried but also land you in trouble.
5. Local Commuting
Public transportation is readily available and is the best choice for local commuting for the tourists. Toronto is one of the few places that have a separate network of bicycle lanes as well. Highways and public transits are catered by all kinds of vehicles and self-driven car rentals are easily available with hassle-free bookings and vehicle deliveries. There are pedestrian paths and multi-use trails as well.
- Subways and Trains – The Toronto Subway System is the backbone of the public transportation in the city with three rapid transit lines for heavy-rail system. Scarborough is a famous tourist attraction where light metro line is available for transportation.
- Road Transport – The buses and streetcars are also available for tourists and locals. The buses also cater to the areas where the subway is not available and are perfect for the adventurous tourists that wish to explore the outdoor activities in the remote areas of Toronto.
- GO Transit – GO Transit is also operated by the Government of Ontario and is another option for local commuting comprising of- rail and bus.
Private vehicles and Uber and Toronto Bike Share are the other popular transport means. Toronto Bike Share is a system of public bikes in which bikes can be hired from docking stations for short durations. So, you can relive your childhood days while exploring the lovely neighbourhoods of Toronto on a bike as well.
6. Best Neighbourhoods To Explore, Stay & Visit
Downtown is home to the main entertainment areas, event venues, Union Station (main rail hub) and is also the major financial district of Toronto. Uptown is located in the North with all the famous cultural attractions and the University of Toronto. Front, Queen, Dundas and King are the places where the most appealing neighbourhoods are located. If you wish to have a peek at the college street thoroughfare this is the best place.
We suggest booking an accommodation in downtown near some subway station or bus station to avoid local commuting expenses. Accommodations of all kinds and scales are easily available and can be booked online.
7. Festivals In Toronto
Some of the most popular festivals in Toronto are:
- Toronto International Film Festival – celebrated in September every year and is one of the premiere festivals in the world.
- Caribana – A vibrant celebration of the Caribbean culture, organized every summer with lots of Caribbean food items and shows to enjoy and indulge in.
- Toronto Santa Claus Parade – One of the largest parades in the world which is also the longest running children’s parade in the world.
- Toronto Gay Pride Parade – Toronto celebrates its Queer Communities for an entire week and this festival is celebrated on any one day of this week.
Please note that Toronto is open to same-sex people and relationships and the tourists should be prepared for that. Causing unnecessary ruckus or improper remarks will not only earn you frowns but can also land you in legal trouble.
8. Packing List
The Toronto Travel Guide cannot be complete without the details on packing list. Though the packing varies from person to person, the weather plays a key role in the same. Winters are harsh and bring snow as well. Chilly autumn also calls for heavy clothing which has windcheater like stuff or waterproof stuff. Heavy jackets; leggings under the pants; heavy woollen socks; thick coats and winter shoes are the best companions for the winter tourists.
If you are planning to travel in summer, beach wear and accessories are a must. Summer dresses; shorts; skirts; crop tops and jackets are some essentials. Men can opt for fashionable casuals as well. If you are staying at some high-end hotel, toiletries are not required.
9. Local Shopping
All of us love to indulge in shopping on our trips to bring home some souvenirs that remind us of our wonderful time in a new place. Toronto has plenty of famous shopping areas that offer a plethora of things to buy.
- Queen Street is the best place to shop vintage clothing and other items.
- Toronto has many cheap markets as well. However, don’t ignore the sales tax which is a whopping 15%.
- Eaton Centre and Hudson’s Bay Company are the most famous shopping stores that offer almost everything at affordable rates.
- Yorkville is home to the best and modern goods and is famous among the young population.
10. Where To Grab A Bite In Toronto?
When it comes to travel tips for visiting Toronto, eating options are one of the most important points. Toronto offers a wide range of eating options in terms of cuisine, prices and availability. The city has 15% sales tax which is valid on the restaurants as well. Apart from that, you have to pay the tips as well. It is a norm to ‘pay the tip equal to tax’ at the very least. So, choose the restaurant dining only if your budget allows.
The street food options are impressive and you can find many high-end Tofu stalls; and other stalls with large queues and delicious foods. The city offers Indian, Korean, Greek, Italian, American and Iberian cuisine. All types of food items are easily available, including the packed food. However, we suggest staying away from packed food to avoid any digestive issues.
- Best neighbourhoods for eating – Greek Town, Little Italy, Little Korea and tofu-dog stands.
- Best places for lively evenings – Entertainment District with lots of bars and eateries.
- CN Tower’s Revolving Restaurant for amazing dine-out experience at the most popular attraction of Toronto.
Canada’s cosmopolitan city is always buzzing with ambient restaurants, cafes and a hip nightlife! Toronto is the Canadian city that has got everything covered from it’s beaches to stunning architectural structures to marvel at, here are some Toronto travel tips to help you plan your trip to Toronto. Make sure you read through these handy tips to enhance your holiday experience in Canada.
Frequently Asked Questions About Toronto Travel Tips
A. Yes, Public transport is available in various forms such as buses, street cars, subways, heavy rails and light metro. Uber, GO transit and Toronto Bike Share are other popular budget commuting options.
A. Canadian dollar has strengthened against the US dollar and this has made the country a bit more expensive for the countries with large currency gap. However, budget accommodation and eating options and cheap local commuting make it easier to be explored on a budget.
A. Yes, Toronto is safe for groups, solo travellers, families, couples and even all girl groups. It is the 8th safest city in the world and the crime rate is low.
A. Weather is harsh in winters and be prepared for the same.
1. ETA Visa must be obtained well in advance.
2. Travel insurance is a must.
3. Tim Hortons is the best place for cheap and quick coffee, snacks and other eatables.
A. An average restaurant meal ranges from $7 to $40. The prices can vary depending on the food items, restaurants you choose and the neighbourhood you are in.
A. Yes, downtown is safe for all kinds of travellers at night as well as during the day.
A. Yes, VISA and MasterCard are the most popular cards and are widely accepted. Most of the places and merchants accept them.
A. Entertainment District of Toronto is located in Downtown and is a fantastic place to stay. Local eateries are also available in plenty and you can find a large number of cheap accommodations to stay at.
A. Toronto can be explored in 5 to 7 days.