The hometown of Drake, the location of the world-famous CN Tower and just a short drive away from Niagra Falls, Toronto is a notorious destination. It’s one of Canada’s leading tourist destinations with over 43 million visitors flocking to the city every year.
The city is a dynamic metropolis overwhelmed with soaring skyscrapers but blessed with an abundance of green spaces, including 400-acre High Park.
It’s has a mixture of tourist attractions, from museums and galleries to the offshore, Toronto Islands.
If you’re planning on visiting Canada’s biggest city, here are a few things you should know.
It’s big, really big
There’s often a misconception as to how big Toronto is. Many outsiders don’t realise just how vast the city if until they get there.
It’s seen explosive growth over the last 50 years and the metro area’s population has more than doubled, from 2.8 million in 1976 to nearly 6 million today.
It’s jammed with shiny new glass towers but with this comes congestion and avalanches of traffic. Therefore, you have to be patient and understand that getting around in Toronto isn’t always speedy.
So, be prepared, think about how vast the city is when you’re booking your accommodation and considering transport.
The best time to visit
Toronto isn’t quite one of those places that you can visit all year round unless you love bleak and extremely cold winters.
The ideal times in Toronto are May and September. Come May the ice storms have eased off and the spring weather brightens up the city bringing the waterfront alive.
Autumn in Toronto is arguably the best time to visit as the baking heat of the summer has subsided and cold Canadian winter his yet to hit. The days are still warm and sunny and the city is dressed in beautiful colours.
The airport is a long way from the city
Pearson International Airport is actually a long way from the city centre and many make the mistake of hopping in a cab. At the wrong time of day a taxi ride can take over an hour and the bill can be a bit of a shock once you arrive at your destination.
Therefore, it’s advised you take the train which runs straight from the airport to Union Station downtown and will get you there in just 25 minutes and at a fraction of the price.
Alternatively, opt for car hire from Toronto airport meaning you can travel at your leisure to wherever you need to go.
It’s more expensive than you think
Toronto is pretty expensive and more costly than people first assume. A 5% federal tax and a 13% harmonized sale tax is added to almost all goods and service purchases, making most purchases way more expensive than destinations in America. However, taxes are included in the price tag, so you always know what you’re going to pay.
So, if you’re Toronto trip is coming up, start saving those extra pennies.
The drinking age is 19
In Ontario, you must be at least 19 years old in order to purchase alcohol or be served alcohol in a licensed pub, bar or restaurant.
Beer is sold at The Beer Store locations but it can also be found at the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) retail outlets, at craft beer outlets. However, it is only sold at some grocery stores such as Loblaws, No Frills, Metro and Sobeys.
Wine is a similar story, you can buy it at the LCBO or at individual wine outlets such as The Wine Shop or The Wine Rack. Liquor, on the other hand, such as rum, whiskey and rye are only obtainable at the LCBO.