Toronto is the most populous city in Canada and the capitol of Ontario. It currently boasts a population of 2.6 million people and due to its proximity to the shore of Lake Ontario (therefore to the United States) it is considered to be the most popular tourist destination in the country. It is known for its clean streets, friendly people and enticing cultural attractions.
The Best Times to Visit Toronto
Due to the geography of Toronto and its inland location, winters are notoriously frigid and windy. It is not uncommon for temperatures to drop well below freezing. Thus, it is best to avoid the colder months out of the year. Many travelers consider two windows as the best time to arrive. The first is between March and May and the second is between September and November. The climate is moderate during these times while one will still be able to avoid the mid-summer peak tourist season. However, those who enjoy a winter wonderland may very well be better off arriving in December; there are a number of holiday festivals to be seen.
The average flight time between New York City and Toronto is 1 hour and 30 minutes. The main airport which serves the Toronto metropolitan area is the Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). However, we should keep in mind that this terminal is still between 30 and 50 minutes from downtown Toronto. Beginning in the spring of 2015, a rail service known as the Union Pearson Express will become available. This provides direct public transportation between all of the terminals and Union Station (the largest passenger train station in Toronto). Express buses and taxis are other options until the railway line becomes fully operational. Some of the main carriers between New York and Toronto include Air Canada, Porter Airlines, WestJet and Delta.
Like many other cities of its size, the majority of hotels and motels are located only a short distance away from the downtown core. Prices will generally range from $150 dollars for a standard hotel to between $30 and $40 dollars for a hostel. To be clear, these prices are all listed in Canadian dollars. Bed and breakfasts are quite common and there are hundreds to be found here. While high-class hotels are indeed available, one option which is rather unique to the city is known as a “homestay”. Such properties cater to travelers who are planning on staying for a month or more. Prices range between $700 and $900 dollars, but it should be noted that home-cooked meals and laundry services are included with this cost.
Top Things to do in Toronto
Toronto is world famous for its many open-air parks and public spaces alongside excellent sanitation. One suggestion that is highly relevant is to enjoy the many Discovery Walks which regularly take place. These guided tours will inform the visitor about the unique origins of the city as well as some of its most important landmarks. There are more than 15 different paths to choose from and each is designated by a brown, circular sign. An alternative is to simply take a day and peruse such journeys at one’s leisure. These paths are also located conveniently close to many restaurants, bars and hotels.
Although not known to many, Toronto offers a few pristine beaches which are not to be missed during any stay. They are found within two main district. Not surprisingly, the neighborhood simply known as The Beaches is the most popular spot. Another stretch of sand is found within the Parkdale district. For those who are looking to experience a bit more seclusion, nearby Toronto Islands are the better option. As the water here is fresh, many prefer to bathe in the lake as opposed to oceanfront cities. There are few (if any) waves and the water is generally quite clean considering its proximity to a major urban center. As an expressway separates the beaches from the city, those with cars will have the most flexibility in terms of the choices to be enjoyed.
Kensington Market is a final region of the city that is certainly worth a visit. While at one time it was known as the Jewish quarter of Toronto, Kensington Market is now quite cosmopolitan and even downright bohemian. It has been compared to the East Village of New York City often and numerous open-air stalls and boutique shops abound. Due to the intricacy of this area, it is a good idea to spend a full day browsing its confines. Much of this area is designated to be completely free of all cars during the summer months. This will help to make the shopping experience even more pleasant.