Transportation & Parking, Toronto
In the downtown area, especially in the theatre district, are some young men who will pull you around on a "rickshaw" contraption. Please make sure you have settled on a price or know how they charge. There have been stories in the paper of people being charged $10 a block and ended up with a horrendous charge when they have reached their destination. I'm not sure what is the actual "normal" fare... but just make sure you know what you are agreeing to pay.
If your hotel is downtown, there is NO reason to take a cab. These cab drivers will charge you $45 CAD to take you from the airport to your hotel, which is ridiculous since it's usually no more than a 20 min drive. Instead, just take the Centerville Bus which will just be $15.50 one way, and $26 CAD for a roundtrip to ticket, which means more money to spend on having fun!
Unique Suggestions: Maybe find some other people to split the cabfare with if you are uncomfortable taking the bus, but the Centerville bus is one of the cleanest buses you will ever ride on! Not like most buses in the US which are dirty or full of weird people!
This is not really a trap BUT when you arrive at Pearson Airport it seems like there is no public transportation.
Fun Alternatives: If you are not tired there is a bus that takes you to the subway line.
For more info www.ttc.ca
Parking is a nightmare. If you are unfortunate enough to bring a car, it will be nearly impossible to not fall into a parking trap. I wasted a huge amount of money on tickets and the few times I brought the car with me I spent a huge amount of time trying to decipher the many signs on each post. Toronto is a costly, crowded city and definitely not worth it. Stay away. I will not be back.
Unique Suggestions: Leave your car in one of those paid lots. I was foolish enough to purchase a permit. I wouldn't trust it. Some streets have 3 or 4 signs on them. You'll need to be a local to figure it out. I think it is deliberate and somewhat unethical.
Fun Alternatives: I would suggest Halifax or Montreal. Not as crowded or expensive. Halifax is especially beautiful. You'll spend less time on the freeway and have more money to have a real vacation.
There are carriages that are pulled by students and they try to get you in for a ride. Negotiate the price first and agree it is not per person but by distance only.
I got caught with two mates on this one - we ended up paying £20 each for a 10 minute jaunt! Also, the back to the future ride in the CN Tower is a waste of money.
If you want to pay £3 for a coke - go to the restaurant in the Cn Tower!!
Be sure to take money for parking especially in the downtown area. Parking at some spots can get to be ridiculous and inconvenient. While in Chinatown, be sure to to pay any flat rates for parking because you won't stay all day.
American dollars are taken everywhere and everyone knows the relative exchange rate. Know it yourself if you are using $s, drivers will claim ignorance and ask for Canadian fare amount in US $s just to rob you.
Toronto Tourist C...
covers Subway, buses, trains in this area
5 tokens for CDN $11.25 , could pay 2.75 cash for each entry - VOW, gr8 deal. The FUN starts when you arrive at the airport for the the 1st time and dont know their system
I was at the airport 1st time, arriving from Washington DC and wanted to use public transportation, hooray for us, my wife would not have to receive me in the rainy weather, she was 1 hr away
I used the ATM to get Canadian Currency, ALL in 20.00 denominations
and wanted to buy one token from Currency Exchange as suggested by Passenger Assistance, cost of 1 token jumped to 4.25 , here is how ,
Me - 1 token for BUs please, handed CDN 20.00
clerk - Sir , I cannot change 20.00
Me - why not ?
Clerk - Too much trouble !
me - Really ?
Clerk - really, if you are from US, let me have US 5.00 and I can change it for you
Me - reluctantly, OK
clerk - hands me 1 token and CDN 0.75 in change and receipt
Me - ah well (not realizing the cost)
on arrival, I find out two things, I could pay cash in bus, and 1 token should cost 2.75
problem - TTC does not have a booth for passenger assistance inside the terminal
problem - the terms of sale were not explained to me by slick, tricky clerk
problem - 1st timer did not know where else to go , so I was duped, inspite of trying to be careful !
If you need Canadian change or 1 token for TTC, the Currency Exchange will cost you and there is nothing a 1st timer can do to prevent it because the terminal does not have an honest clerk in Currency Exchange or a TTC passenger assistance or a vending machine for tokens
BOY, am I pissed off and it feels good to get it off my chest !
Unique Suggestions: Get change in CDN quarters and dollar bills before boarding the bus
Bypass Currency Exchange (I have one more episode, not in this page)
Fun Alternatives: Alternatively, dont change 5.00 offer US 2.75 to bus driver, not sure if they will take it, but many Toronto businesses will gladly accept US currency in lieu of Canadian
The TTC HAS to have a presence INSIDE the terminal or at a minimum or a vending machine which would accept US currency