Information & Facts
The climate in Toronto is moderated by its proximity to the
Great Lakes (in particular Lake Ontario). Summer tends to be hot
and very humid, while winter is severe with heavy snowfall. The
average maximum temperature in January is 28°F (-2 °C), while the
average maximum temperature in July is 80°F (27°C). Rainfall tends
to occur throughout the year, but summer, though the sunniest
season, is also usually the wettest. Autumn is perhaps the best
time to travel to Toronto, as temperatures are less extreme than
summer or winter, with mild days and cool nights.
Toronto is home to Canada's most exciting restaurant scene, with
over 5,000 eateries and a multitude of different cuisines
reflecting the vibrant ethnic make-up of this city, Canada's
largest. Great news for diners is that there is a high proportion
of good quality, great value restaurants - especially those
offering ethnic food. There are fewer top-end restaurants, but
enduring favourites like Truffles and North 44 are on a par with
the best on the continent.
Certain cuisines cluster in distinct areas: College Street,
better known as Little Italy, is home to the city's best Italian
trattoria. For Greek food head to the Danforth
area, while authentic Chinese joints are abundant in Chinatown. For
a diverse selection of ethnic cuisine, check out King Street West,
home to excellent Indian, Japanese and sushi restaurants, not to
mention vibrant bars and nightclubs.
In general, Toronto offers good value dining. Tip 15-20% for
good service. City law requires all restaurants, bars and pubs to
be smoke-free, so don't even think about lighting up.
Public transport in Toronto is fast, safe and reliable
consisting of an integrated system of subways, buses and streetcars
that reach every part of the city, as well as a light rapid transit
(LRT) line extending to the Harbourfront. The subway is easy to
use, with only two major lines, and the buses and streetcar
stations are next to every major stop, taking over where the subway
leaves off. Fares are standard and a single fare will take you
anywhere on a single trip; tokens can be used to avoid the hassle
of having to pay with exact change. To freely change from one form
of transport to another, get a transfer slip when and where paying
for the fare. The subway operates from 6am to 1.30am, the buses and
streetcars from about 5am to 12.30am (both start at 9am on
Sundays), and the Blue Night Network services main street routes
after 1.30am. The Request Stop Program allows women travelling
alone late at night to get off the bus anywhere in between stops.
Taxis are always available and ferries travel to the Toronto
Islands. Driving a hire car is not recommended due to traffic
congestion and expensive parking.
Boasting a multitude of attractions and activities, kids on
holiday in Toronto will be kept busy for days on end. With great
outdoor and indoor opportunities, Toronto is a family holiday
paradise with wonderful activities and sights lurking round every
Featuring the largest selection of roller coasters in North
America, a great day out for the kids is Paramount Canada's
Wonderland, a bit out of town but worth the trip. Ontario Place has
the largest outdoor soft play area in Canada, while the CN Tower is
a slightly different, yet equally thrilling attraction. When the
sun is shining, head out for the day to High Park and explore all
that this enormous park has to offer, including the Toronto Zoo, or
take a trip out to Centre Island which features the fantastic
Centreville Amusement Park. The Ontario Science Centre is also a
great place for the kid to enjoy as well.
The official languages are English and French
(predominantly in Quebec).
The currency used is the Canadian Dollar (CAD), which is divided
into 100 cents. One-dollar coins are also known as loonies (due to
the picture of a loon, a type of bird, on the coin), and two-dollar
coins as toonies. Banks and bureaux de change will change money and
travellers cheques, as will some hotels, but the rate will not be
as good. Major credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are
plentiful. US Dollars are largely accepted, though due to fraud,
larger notes might not be and change is usually given in Canadian
Toronto has a very trendy nightlife offering bars, lounges,
clubs and live music venues. The city's multicultural and
cosmopolitan vibe extends into its nightlife, with a variety of
entertainment options in various areas of the city. Toronto
nightlife is buzzing on weekends, but the city is big and energetic
enough that you'll find a party any night of the week if you know
where to look.
Provincial law requires venues to serve food as well as alcohol,
so many pubs and bars in Toronto are as much restaurants as they
are party spots. Little Italy has a number of trattorias that
double as bars, while Greektown has its own ethnic flair and party
atmosphere. Bars and pubs close around 2am. Dance clubs stay open
till dawn, but with late-night buses picking up after-hours
commuters when the subway shuts down. Clubs come and go fairly
quickly in Toronto, so check out local nightlife guides like the
free weekly 'Now' for the hottest spots.
The legal drinking age in Ontario is 19, which is well below the
21 year old limit in the neighbouring USA, but is strictly enforced
at most venues. Dress codes tend to be relaxed, but many will
refuse entry for people wearing blue jeans or trainers.
Welcome to Canada's shopping capital! Toronto's shopping
experience is like no other, combining the best of international
brands with incredible local talent.
The most famous arcade is the Eaton Centre, which has everything
under one roof including brand name stores, restaurants and various
entertainment options. It's fun, but hardly an experience worth
traveling all the way to Toronto to have. Vaughan Mills is another
outlet option, but you are far better off seeking out some of the
local stores that are unique to the city. If you like haute couture
look out for Canadian labels such as Lida Baday, Ross Mayer,
Crystal Siemens and Linda Lundstrom.
St Lawrence Market has an amazing array of local arts and
crafts, plus excellent food to keep up your energy levels.
Kensington Market is the place to go for vintage clothing and other
eccentric paraphernalia; and the Heritage Antique Market has an
amazing selection of vintage items if you can catch it while you're
Queen St West is an essential stroll for the serious shopper.
You'll find the best that young and trendy Toronto has to offer.
Past Bathurst St you'll come across small, independent art
galleries where discerning buyers can pick up a souvenir that just
may grow in value! Yorkville, along Bloor Street, is the most
exclusive shopping district, home to the boutiques and jewellers
originating in Milan, Paris and London.
Hunting for souvenirs? Toronto does suggest some obvious choices
like maple syrup, and gifts emblazoned with Mounties or maple
leafs, while an alternate choice would be native American art,
dream catchers or moccasins.
Shops in Toronto tend to open at about 10am, and close at 6pm
Monday to Wednesday, 8 or 9pm Thursday and Friday, and 6pm on
Saturday. Nearly all stores will accept all major credit cards.
Toronto has got a great mix of world-class attractions,
seductive natural scenery, charming neighbourhoods and the world's
highest tower from which to see it all. Its historic districts,
such as the Distillery area, have been impeccably preserved while
remaining vibrant centres of city life. Toronto so full of things
to see and do that you'll never get to everything, but there is
guaranteed to be something for everyone to enjoy.
Toronto has a range of fantastic museums, including the Royal
Ontario Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, the
Canadian Air and Space Museum, the Ontario Science Centre, and the
Hockey Hall of Fame. There are also numerous art galleries like the
OCAD Professional Gallery, the Art Gallery of Toronto, and the
Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art.
There are also many distinct neighbourhoods to enjoy, like
Toronto's huge Chinatown, which is home to the city's 350,000
Chinese-Canadian residents; Little Italy; the lively Art and Design
District; Leslieville with its antique and vintage shops; and the
funky West Queen West with boutiques, art galleries and
restaurants. The Toronto Islands and harbour front areas are
perfect places to relax without having to travel far from the
No visit to Toronto is complete without a trip up the CN Tower,
which dominates the city's skyline and provides spectacular
panoramic views of the city.
You can save money on many of Toronto's attractions by buying a
Toronto CityPass, which has discounted tickets to places like the
Ontario Science Centre, the CN Tower, and the Toronto Zoo. The
CityPass is available online or at various museums and attractions
in the city. You can also get more out of various site around
Toronto by looking for signs that have a green ear logo and phone
number underneath, which are part of the Murmur Toronto programme.
Dialling the number will let you listen to a recording with
interesting facts about whatever site you're currently looking
Canada covers six time zones, from GMT 8 in the west to GMT
-3.5 in the east.