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Toronto Car Hire

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Toronto Car Hire & Travel Information

Toronto. Its the provincial capital of Ontario. Toronto is the fourth largest city and fifth largest urban agglomeration in North America. 

Get in

By plane

Toronto´s main Airport is Pearson International Airport, 17 miles from city center.

Hamilton International Airport, (YHM), located about 80 km from downtown Toronto and Niagara Falls, is served by WestJet and CanJet. This airport is served by the ((Hamilton Street Railway)) from the the Hamilton GO Station (36 Hunter Street East) where you can catch a GO commuter bus to unnion Station in downtown Toronto ($9.50 one-way). Buses run every 30 minutes. A taxi from downtown Hamilton to the airport is about $25.

For frugal travellers coming from the United States, Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, (IATA: BUF), is another option. Flights to Buffalo tend to be significantly cheaper than to Pearson. Megabus, has varying prices and requires early booking. They run from the Buffalo Airport to Toronto. The trip takes 3 hours, including the border crossing. Rental cars are available at the airport if you prefer to do the drive yourself. Buffalo Airport Limo offers a flat rate of $175 to downtown Toronto from BUF.

By bus

Intercity bus

The bus terminal in Toronto is very poorly designed, forcing passengers to queue in a space that is little more than a shed with walls on two sides, as a result passengers queueing are forced to inhale the diesel exhaust fumes from the coaches as well as endure the cold winters and hot summers. In addition, there are often queues so long for the commuter coaches that they block other coaches from reaching their platforms. Platforms are also poorly marked, and it is not difficult to queue up for the wrong bus. Do not hesitate to ask anyone for help. Most people in the terminal have plenty of experience with it and understand how difficult it is to navigate. Arrive at the terminal at least 30 minutes before your coach is scheduled to depart. You can avoid the hassle of having to purchase tickets at the terminal; it is generally faster to buy tickets online if possible. If you must purchase tickets at the terminal, be wary of peak travel periods, as the line can take up to 20 minutes. But be aware that Greyhound tickets purchased at the terminal can be used at any time (although they may have blackout periods) while tickets purchased online force you to reserve on a certain bus.

By train

Union Station is undergoing a significant renovation and heritage restoration, scheduled to conclude in 2017. While work is in progress, some areas may be inacessible. Detours are in effect between the subway station and the concourses. Follow posted signs or ask a fellow traveller for directions.

By car

The main streets in Toronto are laid out in a grid pattern that makes it one of the easiest cities to get around in by car. Getting from point to point anywhere in the city can be achieved with only a few turns. Parking in the downtown core can be expensive and hard to find, but is plentiful and inexpensive or free throughout the rest of the city.

What to do

The Toronto Islands. A short inexpensive ferry ride from the foot of Bay St. and you leave the bustle of the city behind. Visually, the views of the skyline from the islands is stunning, and for cycling, walking, picnics or just relaxing, the Toronto Islands are hard to beat. There is even a small amusement park for kids, Centreville. On hot summer days, temperatures here will often be about 2-3C less than the mainland providing relief. By mid-summer the water is warm enough to swim at Hanlan's Point or for the more adventurous, a nude beach is located nearby.

Comedy. World renowned Second City comedy/improv theatre has a location in Toronto. See great improv and situation comedy performed live with audience participation over dinner and drinks in the heart of the club district of downtown Toronto.

Theatre. Toronto has a great theatre scene for every taste and budget. Check out the big theatres on Yonge Street for the big splashy shows, such as. Small theatres in the Annex and elsewhere offer smaller productions that range from original Canadian works, avant-garde, experimental theatre, small budget musicals to British murder mysteries. A variety of theatre festivals such as the New Ideas, Rhubarb and Fringe festivals are the seed for many commercial success such as The Drowsy Chaperone. Also try to check out the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, the new home of the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada. The Toronto Symphony plays in the recently acoustically renovated Roy Thomson Hall. TO Tix, located in Yonge-Dundas Square, is the best place to get both full-price advance and day-of discounts on shows across Toronto. They also offer theatre and dining packages, partnering Toronto’s theatre, dance and opera companies with local downtown restaurants and cultural attractions.

Film. Toronto has a very important film scene. Every September Toronto hosts the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), one of the most important film festivals in the world. It is also home to a wide variety of independent and cultural important cinemas. The TIFF Lightbox on King street hosts most premiers for the festival but also has year round programming including screenings of independent movies, historically important films, and director and artist talks. Other important venues include the Bloor Hot Docs cinema, which hosts Toronto's international documentary film festival, Hot Docs, every spring. Like the TIFF Lightbox, the Bloor cinema screens films year round that would not be found in most commercial cinemas. Additionally there are historic repertoire cinemas located around the city that screen second run and independent movies. These include The Revue and The Royal in West Toronto and The Fox in East Toronto.

Music. Like many large cities Toronto has a huge and culturally important music scene. There are thousands of venues around the city to see a show, from small intimate bars to large concert halls. Some more well known venues include Lee's Palace (indie rock), The Horseshoe Tavern (harder rock), The Danforth Music Hall (pop and indie), The Dakota Tavern (country and folk), and Massey Hall (established, older acts), among many, many others.

The Danforth, also known as Greek Town, is a collection of Greek restaurants and Mediterranean shops located on Bloor Street between Pape and Broadview. Every year in August, one of Toronto's largest festivals, the Taste of the Danforth, is held celebrating Greek culture, cuisine, and life. Easily accessible via Subway Line 2.

Koreatown, is composed of the retail businesses and restaurants along Bloor Street between Christie and Bathurst Streets in the Seaton Village section of The Annex.

Buy

Toronto Eaton Centre, A massive shopping mall on the West side of Yonge between Queen and Dundas Streets, The Eaton Centre is a Toronto landmark. Because of its downtown location and accessibility by subway, the mall tends to have a less-antiseptic feel than more remote suburban centres. This place is generally packed with people, an exciting mix of locals and visitors. The bottom level houses an impressive fountain, which is a nice place to take a rest and make a wish. If you're coming from a warm country during winter, a popular store with locals that work outdoors where you might find fairly-priced winter clothes is Mark's [77] inside the mall.

Yorkville. The high-end shopping district of Toronto. Once a haven for Toronto's hippie population, it is located just north of Bloor and Bay Streets and is now home to many designer boutiques. During the annual Toronto Film Festival the area is "ground-zero" for celebrity watching.
Located a short walk West of the Eaton Centre is the city's fashion district along Queen Street West, an area usually bustling with locals looking for the latest fashion in a variety of trendy stores. The stretch between University Ave and Spadina tends to be much more mainstream with an ever increasing number of chain stores, but it is still well worth the look. More offbeat choices can be found west of Spadina Ave stretching all the way into Parkdale (at least 2 km/ 1.4 miles). Take the University subway to Osgoode station and walk West.

Yorkdale Shopping Centre, A shopping centre located in the north of the city, accessible from Yorkdale subway station. This is a full-service, upscale mall with hundreds of stores, a mid-sized movie theatre, and a huge and recently upgraded food court containing everything from fast food to sit-down restaurants to sushi and espresso bars, as well as a glass-enclosed sunlit dining area with sofas and fireplaces and a walk-out, unenclosed balcony. Be advised that because of the quality of the shopping, it is always extremely busy, and is a popular hangout destination for the local youth scenes, ensuring that this is not ideal for a quiet, unhurried shopping excursion. Make use of the subway if possible on weekends, as locals pack the parking areas to capacity.

Toronto Hockey Repair and Goalie Heaven. A world-renowned ice hockey equipment vendor, attracting people from around the world to shop.
Soma Chocolatemaker. A true gem, Soma is unique to Toronto and a must-visit destination for any chocolate-loving tourist. With only two locations, one factory in the Distillery District at 32 Tank House Lane and one boutique at 443 King W. on the corner of Spadina, they are quite arguably the best chocolate shops in Canada. Soma is one of only a handful (count them on your fingers) of artisanal chocolatemakers in all of North America. While almost all other high quality chocolate confections come from chocolatiers, who buy chocolate couverture (enriched, pre-sweetened chocolate mix) in bulk to make their products, Soma instead purchase small shipments of raw cocoa beans directly from select growers around the world and process these into batches of fresh chocolate on-site. This requires expensive, privately owned equipment and specialised in-house expertise. As a result, their confections such as bars, truffles, gelato, hot chocolate "elixers", and other legitimately unique Soma devices, are extremely superior, as the chocolatemaking processes can be adjusted in tiny batches to suit the nature of the intended end-product. The only downside to this is that, because of the small quantity of chocolate produced in each batch and the extensive time it takes to properly process raw beans into ready-to-confect chocolate (bars and other products are all individually batch-numbered), combined with the 'rolling' monthly nature of their bean shipments from different growers, popular products are known to be unavailable from time to time (though their online menu is regularly updated to reflect this).
Microbrews, (such as Cool beer) can be hard to find outside the GTA. These can be purchased at the brewery, Beer Store, or LCBO.

Stay safe

Crime

Toronto is remarkably safe and the streets are vibrant with pedestrians and bicyclists, even in most neighbourhoods at night. If you use common sense, you should have no trouble at all.