- Largest city in Canada and 5th in North America by population: ~2.6 million residents
- Financial, business, retail, advertising, pharmaceutical and fashion capital of Canada
- One of the most diverse cities in the world (50% of residents are foreign born)
- Nicknames: TO, T-Dot, Hogtown, “Centre of the Universe” (joke among Canadians)
- Currency: Canadian Dollar (CAD)
- Spoken languages: predominantly English
- Best time to visit: from May to October (winters can be very cold)
- Arriving via airport: public transport is $3.00 (directions), the express train to downtown (Union Station) is $27.50 one way, and a taxi is ~$50-60.
WHERE TO STAY
Anywhere in the Downtown core – bordered by Bloor St. on the north, Bathurst St. on the west, and Church St. on the east. If possible, somewhere within a few blocks of a TTC (subway) station.
- The TTC is the city’s public transport agency (link to official site). Consisting of bus, light rail, streetcar and subway routes, the TTC is a great way to get around downtown. Single rides cost $3.00, and include transfers. All-day and multi-day tickets are also available at any TTC subway station.
- Taxis can be called at 416-829-4222 or 416-751-5555 (Beck taxi). Fares start at around $4.50, with an additional $1.75 for every kilometer. Many residents prefer Uber to regular taxis.
- BIXI is downtown Toronto’s main bike sharing service, with stations spread throughout.
- Drinking age is 19, last call is 2 AM.
- Hip/local scene: bars along Ossington Avenue, between Queen and Dundas (directions).
- Trendy scene: lounges/clubs on King St. West, between Spadina and Bathurst (directions).
- College crowd: bars along Bloor St. West, between Spadina and Bathurst (directions).
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- CN Tower (world’s tallest free standing structure). Great views of the city and the lake on a clear day.
- Prince Edward Viaduct, an arch bridge famous for connecting historic East and West Toronto.
- The Distillery District, a collection of Victorian-era architecture and streets preserved from the late 19th century.
- The Royal Ontario Museum, Canada’s largest museum of natural history.
- Check out the shops and cafes along Queen Street West
- Walk through the packed and vibrant streets of Kensington Market
- Explore the downtown campus of the University of Toronto
- Walk from Downtown to Korea Town on Bloor Street West
- Zig zag through the busy Financial District
- Downtown Toronto contains many unique neighborhoods, each offering a unique flavor. Just walking a few blocks in any direction will take you to a completely new area, with its own ethnic foods and attractions. You may even stumble onto a festival – Toronto is renowned for its many festivals (popular ones include Caribana, Taste of the Danforth, and Toronto Ukrainian Fest).
- While Canadians are known to be polite and cordial, Torontonians are sometimes considered cold. This is the business city, and people are in a hurry.
- Canadians are very politically correct, and may take offense at overly xenophobic or sexist comments.
- Where to find good cheap eats: Koreatown (Bloor St. West), cafes on Queen St. (west of Spadina), Chinese and Viet restaurants in Chinatown (up and down Spadina) and cafes in Kensington Market.
- Dangerous areas: Toronto is one of the safest cities in the world. Use common sense at night and you should not encounter any trouble.
RECOMMENDED TORONTO GUIDE BOOKS
Recommended trip duration: 3-4 days