Ways of Getting Around Toronto

by Melissa on April 19, 2013 · 7 comments

Canadians are constantly asked what Canadian city is their favourite.  Montreal.  Vancouver.  Toronto.  These are usually the top three on anyone’s list.  Toronto, being the nation’s largest – and the fourth largest in North America – has really been working on improving their various transit systems in the last few decades.  There are plenty of ways that one can find themselves getting around Toronto – and surrounding areas.  Here are just a handful of ways that visitors to this great metropolitan city can get around.


Toronto Transit Commission (TTC)

getting around toronto

The TTC is Toronto’s network of subways, light rail trains, buses and streetcars that cover the entire Greater Toronto Area and provides transportation for over 2.76million passengers per day! With 4 subway lines and 69 stations, 149 bus routes and 11 streetcar lines, it’s no wonder their slogan is ‘The Better Way.’ With single cash fares for $3 per ride, day passes for $10.75, and week passes for $38.50 – the TTC is quite affordable is one of the easier ways of getting around Toronto. For a full list of services and maps of serviced areas, check out the TTC website.

Walking through The PATH

getting around toronto

If you find yourself with time to spare, or if the weather is not on par, no worries, hop down into the underground labyrinth known as The PATH. This underground world has everything – restaurants, banks, shops, even grocery stores. Not to mention, if you find yourself needing to go further – you will be able to navigate your way into various TTC subway stations along the route. Be warned, the 28-km PATH can get quite confusing, so be sure to stop every now and then and take a peek at the maps, just to make sure you’re headed in the right direction – it’s very easy to get lost. Click here for a PDF map.

Uber Smartphone App for Taxis

Uber is quite possibly one of the most innovative smartphone apps to help you with getting around Toronto (or the world for that matter).  In case you’ve been living under a rock, you download the app to your smartphone, create a profile and sync it with your major credit card.  Not only do you get phone number and name of the driver – but they also have a GPS in their taxi that allows you to know exactly where they are in relation to you and a fairly accurate estimate of how long it will take before they arrive to pick you up. Once in the taxi, all you have to do is enjoy the ride. Upon arriving at your destination, no need to fumble with cash or credit cards because they automatically charge your credit card on file with your desired tip amount.

Are you new to Uber?  Use my affiliate link to get a free ride!

Bike Share Toronto Bicycles

getting around toronto

Feel like riding a bicycle around the city, or through some of the hundreds of parks that bring green space back to the concrete jungle? Well renting one is simple, and is one of the more eco-friendly ways of getting around Toronto. Keep your eyes peeled for one of the 200 Bike Share Toronto bicycle stands throughout the city. It’s as simple as renting a bicycle at one stand and returning it to one at or close to your destination. Bike Share Toronto launched in Toronto in May 2011 and they now have over 2000 bicycles around the city and users can start riding for as little as $7 for a 24-hour period. For full details check out the Bike Share Toronto website.

Going Further? Transportation Options From Toronto

GO Transit

getting around toronto

Since I live just north west of Toronto, GO Transit is my preferred method of travel for getting into and out of the city. GO Transit covers a large inter-region area of Southern Ontario via bus routes and rail lines and serves more than 263,000 passengers per day – and of them, more than 96% pass through Toronto’s Union station. The buses are best described as coach buses, rather than normal transit buses, equipped with comfortable front-facing seats with reclining capabilities. The trains are equally comfortable and two floors with the top floor acting as the quiet zone. They efficiently transport passengers to their desired destinations in the Golden Horseshoe. Check out GO Transit’s website for more information.

Porter Airlines

getting around toronto

Arriving or leaving Toronto via plane? More than likely you will have to make the jaunt all the way out to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport which is a good 30minute drive from the city centre (without traffic) – not to mention the higher airport taxes. If you are interested in a short haul flight – flying within Eastern Canada or the northeastern States- you have another option: Porter Airlines. Porter’s motto is ‘flying refined’ – they have beautiful lounges that cater to their passengers every need, their planes have a comfortable 2-by-2 layout so nobody gets stuck with the dreaded middle seat, and they even include complimentary wine and beer. When you fly with Porter you skip the trip to Pearson, and fly out of the Billy Bishop Airport located conveniently in Toronto Harbour – a short 400ft ferry ride from the mainland – providing passengers with unrivalled urban accessibility.

Union Pearson (UP) Express

getting around toronto

This newcomer to the transit game in Toronto is the best and most reliable way to get from Toronto Pearson International Airport to the downtown core in under 30-minutes.  Their Union Station hub boasts some of the best coffee with a Balzac’s Coffee Roasters location, The Drake General Store where you can pick up some fun hipster souvenirs or travel gear, and if you feel like wetting your whistle, go to the CIBC UPSTAIRS Lounge where they feature food and drink from Mill St. Brewery.  The trains are very comfortable with spacious leather seats and ample legroom.  WIFI is also provided free of charge.  The UP Express makes two brief stops along the way: Bloor Station close to the Bloor West and Roncesvalles neighbourhoods, and Weston Station in the North-West end of the city.  One-way fares are $12 for adults and children under 12 are free.  Families (consisting of 2 adults and up to 3 children under 19) can get a one-way fare for $25!  Check out more information on the UP Express.

Via Rail

getting around toronto

Via Rail is Canada’s answer to Amtrak. Whether you’re looking to do a short commute across the province, or a scenic cross-country journey, Via Rail is able to take you there in comfort. They operate 497 trains per week over nineteen routes, and throughout the year serve more than 4.1 million riders across Canada. Passengers can enjoy a variety of amenities depending on the route and class they have chosen for their journey- but it’s important to note that complimentary WIFI is available to all passengers on all trains. Via Rail makes getting in or out of Toronto convenient with service from Union Station. Taking the train may be a bit more expensive, but it is an enjoyable mode of transportation that allows you to see all of what Canada has to offer – cities, country and everything in between.

Insider Tip: The Presto Card

getting around toronto

The Presto Card – a contactless smart card fare payment system – much like Hong Kong‘s Octopus Card – has been a game changer in Toronto.  Presto covers multiple transit systems across Southern Ontario. Some of the transit systems include: GO Transit, Oakville Transit, Burlington Transit, Brampton Transit, MiWay, Hamilton Street Railway, York Region Transit, Viva, Durham Region Transit and the TTC. You can pick up the free card at various locations in the city – most conveniently at Union Station- and load it up immediately with a minimum of $10 up to $1000. The card makes getting around Toronto quick and efficient, not to mention many transit systems, such as GO Transit provide users with a fare discount for using their Presto Card.

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What are your tips for getting around Toronto?


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne April 19, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Hey …. Way to go…. You provided very helpful information, some of which I haven’t been familiar with and I’ve been living in TOronto for 46 years


Melissa April 22, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Well hey- now maybe you can venture around the city on your own using some of these new tips!


Mary-Anne April 19, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Great post for those in Toronto too 😉
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Melissa April 22, 2013 at 7:19 pm

I’m glad you were able to find this post helpful 😉


Traveling Well For Less May 29, 2013 at 11:01 am

Great tips! Love the handy links too. Looking forward to trying Toronto’s public transportation.
Traveling Well For Less recently posted..Getting More CreativeMy Profile


Melissa June 4, 2013 at 12:45 am

I hope this was able to help you out a bit 🙂


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