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Toronto Travel Guide

 

Last updated December 9th, 2018

Introducing the city of Toronto

Toronto is large, vibrant, multi-cultural with a renowned food scene, urban yet eco-friendly, culturally thriving with urban pleasures and plenty of parks that provide green spaces throughout the city.

It is Canada’s largest city and has a friendly population which makes the city easy to like. It’s a great place for dining, shopping, relaxing and exploring its many attractions including Toronto Islands, CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

The seasons also play an important role in the lives of locals.

The weather changes are dramatic. Windy April is hardly a spring that the locals head out to enjoy. July however is a lively month, though humid, with overflowing patios, packed pubs and parks filled with locals who enjoy the warm weather along the lake shore late into the night.

While the red maples of October lend the city a festive air, though locals don’t particularly look forward to the winter. The peak of winter in February sees the city covered in inhospitable snow, and locals taking the underground pathways, or hiding in cozy pubs and coffee shops.

That is, if they’re not enjoying a game of hockey.

 

 

 

 

Plan Your Trip: Getting in and Around

Getting in

 

  • By plane: There are several airports that cater to international and regional travelers in the Toronto region.

The two terminals of the Toronto Pearson International Airport service most major international flight carriers. From the airport, the downtown is reachable with a 30 to 50 minute drive. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and the Pacific Western Airport Express provide express bus services to downtown locations from the airport. GO Transit provides buses from the airport to destinations outside of the Toronto downtown.

For regional flights, ‘Island Airport’ or the Billy Bishop Toronto City Center Airport provides services to several cities of eastern Canada and the northeast US. Another airport for regional travel is the Hamilton International Airport, which is located 80 km from the Toronto Downtown and is particularly convenient for visits to the Niagara Falls.

A combination of services by the Hamilton Street Railway and the GO commuter bus can take passengers to the core downtown of Toronto.

The Buffalo-Niagara International Airport provides low-cost flight services between Toronto and the United States. It is possible to take a 3-hour Megabus ride from the airport to downtown. Travelers can also hire a car at the airport if they want to drive.

  • By bus: There are plenty of intercity buses run by Greyhound, New York Trailways, Coach Canada, Shuttle, Ontario Northland, Megabus and Greyhound Quicklink. Of these, Greyhound provides links between New York City and Toronto with Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo on the way.

 
The service also provides bus links to Chicago with the cities of Detroit, Windsor and London on the way. Coach Canada provides links to Montreal, New York City, Kingston and Buffalo.

  • By train: Toronto’s impressive Union Station is one of the main hubs of VIA Rail, which provides intercity train travel in Canada. The principal VIA Rail lines include Corridor (to Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa and other stations in between) and Maple Leaf (run jointly with Amtrak to New York City with Buffalo and Albany on the way).The Canadian rail route operates a few weekly trains to Vancouver. Ontario Northland is a subsidized service to Cochrane, Ontario.
    GO Transit also operates several commuter train services from Union Station to locations around the Greater Toronto Area.

 

Getting Around

Distances in Toronto are large, and a combination of efficient and clean subway rail, streetcar, buses and intercity trains can take you around the downtown area and even the Greater Toronto Area without a car.

There are a few caveats against driving – the expensive downtown parking garages and the rush hours between 7 am and 10 am, and in the evening between 4 pm and 7 pm, when the highways backup on a regular basis.

  • By Subway and LRT: The subway is the fastest and most efficient way to get around the city as well as to get to more far-flung neighborhoods. With monthly, weekly and day passes, passengers can avail of many discounts on the three subway and one RT lines. Streetcar: Toronto’s streetcar system is one of the few remaining ones in North America. They can offer tourists a unique transit experience, though waiting times can be high. 
     
    Streetcars are available through the Financial District, Chinatown, Downtown, Little Italy, Kensington Market, the Queen West shopping district and the Theater District for the convenience of tourists. Note that you should only board streetcars when the traffic has stopped next to them.

 

  • By GO Transit: GO Transit’s system of buses and regional trains provide transport between the city and the surrounding areas. Trains are comfortable and large. Discounted fares are available from GO transit stations.

 

  • By Taxi: There are plenty of taxis you can flag down, but they can be expensive. Taxis are a good mode of travel in places not near subway lines.

 

  • By Bike: Toronto is not a particularly bike-friendly city, with many bike-paths being removed. However that doesn’t deter cyclists from hitting the road along with automobiles.

 

  • By Ferry: You can visit the Toronto islands with a pleasant fifteen-minute ferry ride from the piers of Queen’s Quay and Bay Street in the downtown core. This ride offers some of the most picturesque views of the skyline of the city.

 

Orientate Yourself

A good start to your Toronto holiday can be to get on the streetcar and tour the galleries, boutiques and restaurants of West Queen West. And for a bird’s eye view over the city, the 553 m high iconic CN Tower’s glass elevator to the top and revolving restaurant can be a great place to catch spectacular sunsets.

 

 

 

 

Things to See & Do

There are too many things to do in Toronto for a single visit. The Art Gallery of Ontario is Canada’s largest art gallery which is a must-visit for art aficionados. For history buffs, the Royal Ontario Museum is a great place to delve into historic exhibits.

Walking in Toronto’s eclectic neighborhoods starting at Downtown, signing up for Discovery Walks, and exploring the green, park-filled areas of North York, Garrison Creek, Belt line and Humber River can be very pleasant. Walking and biking trails abound in the Harbourfront and Lakefront districts of Downtown.

Art and culture vultures can head to the pedestrian-only Distillery District for its festivals, art galleries and restaurants. Beach lovers can head to the three main sections of beach that lie along Lake Ontario in the Beaches neighborhood.

Chinatown, Little India, Korea town and Little Italy provide a look at the way Toronto’s many ethnic populations live and offer plenty of excellent eateries and coffee shops. The Toronto Islands offer leafy green alternatives to urban sprawl, where visitors can bike, walk, enjoy a picnic or simply relax.

 

Canada Wonderland

Canada Wonderland is one of the must-visit places that offer a wide range of fun activities for the whole family. It is the country’s first and largest theme park that is in North Toronto.

It is home more than 200 attractions among them roller coasters, a collection or rides and a water parks. Canada’s Wonderland seats on 330-acre and is owned by Cedar Fair.

This park is the second most visited within the Cedar Fair Chain and receives millions of visitors every year, with the number standing at 3.58 million in 2013.

The best time to visit this park is between September and May when it is opens its doors daily. In November, this family park only opens on weekends.

 

Things to Do

Canada’s Wonderland comprises of various themed areas even though the original ones are the International Street, Action Zone, Medieval faire, International Festival, White Water Canyon, Splash Works as well as the Children’s areas namely Planet snoopy, and KidZville. 

As such, you may be overwhelmed and lost for choice when you visit this park. Here are exciting things to do that you can include in your itinerary:

 

  • Enjoy an exhilarating ride – There is a diverse collection of roller coasters and rides in this park that include Leviathan, the world’s fastest and tallest coaster, Wonder Mountain’s Guardian that offers a 4D immersive experience that will thrill people of all ages. Other favorite rides include Flight Deck, Behemoth and Backlot Stunt. You can be sure to find a ride that is just right for you or every member of your family regardless of age.

 

  • Spend time at KidZville with the kids – If you are in the company of kids then KidZville and Planet Snoopy is the place to be. These areas promise to thrill little riders as they get to dive, whirl, fly and whoop through the attractions all day. Other attractions that are also new include Snoopy’s Revolution, Peanuts 500 and Lucy’s Tugboat among others. They can also have a memorable meet and greet experience featuring Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy. The environment around KidZville is truly appealing to the kids as the buildings are brightly colored while the restaurants are a true representation of KidZville.

 

  • Engage in Water fun at the Splash Works Water Park – This is perhaps the splash headquarters for anyone that loves water fun during summer. This 20 acre water park holds over 7 million liters of heated water fun that is divided in different areas that accommodate different ages. Some of the main attractions in this park include a quarter mile Lazy River, Barracuda Blaster, Body Blast, Riptide racer, Super Soaker, Pump House, Black Hole, The Plunge and The White Water Bay that is Canada’s largest wave pools among others. At the Splash Works Water Park, there is something for everyone.

 

  • Step back with Dinosaurs Alive – This animatronic dinosaur park will take you back to between 65 million and 245 million years ago when dinosaurs lived as it features over 40 life sized dinosaurs within a 7 acre park that has a Jurassic theme. It is a perfect face to face experience as the dinosaurs are breathing and moving. There are those that you can control and even take up the role of a paleontologist at the dig site. This park is not only designed to thrill guests of all ages but also offer a unique educational and interactive experience.

 

  • Relish Live Entertainment – Canada’s Wonderland fun does not stop at the rides and water fun alone. You can also enjoy live entertainment at the Playhouse theatre like Charlie Brown’s Pirate Adventure. There are usually five performances daily. This swashbuckling show will particularly usher children on a high seas adventure. You can also meet the Peanuts characters in Planet Snoopy.

 

  • Dine at the park – After all the fun on the roller coasters and the water park. You can settle down for a light snack or fulfilling meal to boost your energy levels for the next adventure. There are numerous food options at Canada’s Wonderland from snack carts, sit down restaurants as well as special dietary needs.

 

Canada Wonderland Picture
Discover Canada Wonderland

 

In conclusion, Canada’s Wonderland lives up to its promise of being a unique theme park that caters for people of all ages. You only need to ensure that you plan your visit at the right time of the year to avoid being disappointed.

 

Shopping & Dining

Tourists to Toronto will enjoy wine from Niagara wineries, and plenty of local and international fare in new and old bistros, burger joints and fusion restaurants. Yorkville, the University District and Chinatown are among some of the most interesting districts to enjoy food in.

There are also several farmer’s markets in the area, and the two most popular of these are the St Lawrence Market and Riverdale Farm.

Shopping can be done in almost every district, but the best places to shop are at Yonge Street, Bloor Street, Yorkville, Kensington Market, Chinatown, Pacific Mall, Scarborough and the underground PATH system.
 

Nightlife & Entertainment

Like most big cities, Toronto has plenty of touring musicals and hit shows at the Four Seasons Center for Performing Arts and the Roy Thomson Hall. Independent troops also perform at the Factory Theatre, the Canadian Stage, Soulpepper and the Shaw Festival
 


 

 
Post by Angella Grey, the marketing manager at The Vacation Rentals Experts – an online and offline digital marketing strategy that creates marketing solutions for vacation rentals, holiday homes and brands.

 

Joint us on twitter, follow our LinkedIn company page to learn more and get great tips on market strategy and solutions for your holiday properties.

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