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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in toronto
Free Travel guide Ooaj.com A free travel guide for holidays. Hotels in toronto, Bed and Breakfast!
In the late 1990s the city of Toronto was amalgamated with several surrounding cities and boroughs - Scarborough, North York, Etobicoke, York, and East York - to form a new city of Toronto. This is also known as Metropolitan Toronto or "the 416" after its area code (although now there are some new minor area codes, the overwhelming number of phone numbers in the new City are "1-416...") and has a population of over 3.2 million people. Fully half of these were born in some country other than Canada - a fact obvious to any visitor immediately, as the city has many vibrant bustling neighborhoods with street signs in several languages. In fact, Toronto has a higher percentage of immigrants (52% of the population) than any other city in the world.
There are also several suburbs surrounding Toronto, such as Mississauga, Brampton, Richmond Hill, Markham, and Pickering. Collectively, these suburbs are called the Greater Toronto Area (or GTA). They are also known as "the 905" after their area code, although technically this code is also used in both Hamilton and the Niagara Region, stretching to the border in Niagara Falls. The entire area including Toronto is known as the "Golden Horseshoe" and has a population of over 8 million people.
Greyhound (http://www.greyhound.ca) provides transportation from most major Northeast cities, Ontario Northland (http://www.webusit.com) provides service from the northern parts of Ontario and Coach Canada (http://www.coachcanada.com) links Montreal and Toronto. GO Transit (http://www.gotransit.ca) provides buses from outlying Toronto areas. Greyhound, Coach Canada and Ontario Northland buses stop at Toronto Coach Terminal, which is a short walk to the St. Patrick subway station of the Toronto Transit Commission.
Pearson International Airport is situated about 45 minutes by car from the downtown core and is serviced by most major international carriers.
Getting downtown from the Airport
Several options exist to make your way downtown from the airport:
Toronto's City Centre Airport (TCCA) handles much less traffic. It offers short-haul flights to neighbouring Canadian and American cities. The airport is located on the Toronto Islands and is connected to the mainland by a very short free ferry ride.
Toronto is situated along a primary VIA Rail (http://www.viarail.ca/) corridor. Trains travel both east towards Montreal and westwards towards Western Ontario.
Express service exists between Toronto and Montreal. The only stop in between is Montreal Airport. It is a very nice service with beautifully painted carriages. Remember to ask for student fares if you have an ISIC card.
The Canadian service operated by VIA (not daily) goes past Western Ontario, across the praries, all the way to Vancouver.
Daily Maple Leaf service goes to New York and is operated by Amtrak. One schedule uses a train all the way through. Other schedules use a bus from Toronto to Buffalo.
Major highways leading into Toronto are the QEW, the 404, the 401, the 400, and the 427. Toronto is in the enviable position of being the largest city in Canada, so it's relatively easy to find a sign pointing you in the right direction. Be advised that traffic on incoming highways can be extremely heavy.
Toronto has a well maintained and effective public transportation system, the TTC (http://www.ttc.ca), and you can get pretty well anywhere you want in the main part of the city with the subway / streetcars / buses. Current fares are $2.50 (discounted to $2 if you buy 5 or more tickets or tokens at a time). A day-pass, which allows unlimited travel on the TTC, is available for $8. It allows unlimited* one-day travel after 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 a.m. the next morning. On Saturday and Sunday, and statutory holidays, up to 6 people can travel with the pass, from start of service until 5:30 a.m. the next morning:
A weekly pass was introduced in September, 2005, for $30 a week. It lasts from 6am Monday morning to 6am the following Monday. At this time the monthly and weekly passes were made transferable, allowing owners to transfer the pass to another person at the end of their trip.
There are three primary subway lines:
Other TTC services are provided by buses, streetcars, the Scarborough "Light Rapid Transit" line, and Wheel-Trans vans (for people with disabilities).
In the Missisauga region, the Missisauga Transit Commission has buses to take you around (The TTC does not generally travel in the Missisauga area). Prices are similar to prices for the TTC.
Taxis are plentiful and safe, but not cheap. As with most big cities, driving a car downtown can be annoying; parking is often hard to find and expensive, and traffic along certain streets can make vehicle travel slower than mass transit.
If you need to get out of the city, the GO Trains (http://www.gotransit.ca) (commuter trains) go out to the outlying areas.
In recent years the "core" central area has become quite bike friendly. The city government has installed many new bike only lanes that span major east-west or north-south corridors. It takes a reasonably pro-bike position and a bike-map is available on the City Web site (http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/map/index.htm). Doughnut shaped bike lock racks have been installed on many sidewalks, usually in front of shops, restaurants or major points of interest.
By far one of the nicest bike paths is the east-west route that hugs lake Ontario, spanning the city from Etobicoke to the eastern ends of the city. Take care, this path while busy is also enjoyed by pedestrians and rollerbladers who are not a speedy as the typical biker. Biking is fairly common on major routes without bike paths too, such as Yonge Street, King and Queen Streets and Dundas and College. Beware of parked cars - often accidents are not caused by moving cars, but rather by careless drivers or passengers who unexpectedly open their drivers side door. However, by and large Toronto is about as safe for bikers than most European cities, and certainly safer than most US cities with their much reduced density of bikers. Here, at least you are expected. Also be cautious of street car tracks as bike wheels can be easily caught and cause a spill. The city is general pretty safe and in the centre of the city mainly flat which makes it ideal to bike, while dodging busy public transit, traffic jams or taxi fares or the severe parking fees and scarce spaces, and most of all SEE the city. And it is fast: door to door, in all of downtown Toronto bike beats car every time.
A special treat for bikers of all levels is a tour out to the Leslie Spit lighthouse and bird sanctuaries (no cars!) east of the islands (bring a picnic); as well, the island ferries transport bikes at no extra charge (again, no cars on the islands) and this is just the best way to get around by far.
Biking in the winter months is only enjoyable with proper equipment for regular bikers though, it does get cold, it can be quite windy, and the Canadian attitude to clearing snow on the street can be, shall we say, relaxed.
Toronto has great tours available. These tours are very affordable ($25-$35) and offer pick up and drop-off from most hotels.
Sites to See
Toronto has a great theatre scene for every taste and budget. Check out the big theatres on King Street and Yonge Street for the big splashy (and pricey) shows, such as the former runs of: Chicago, The Lion King, Les Miz, Cats, etc. 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.
Toronto is served by a number of free weekly newspapers, which can be good sources of information on dining, cinema, theatre, music and other events and local news. Look out for the free-papers in boxes on street corners and in racks stores and restaurants.
See district pages for more information
See district pages for more information
Toronto has ample opportunities for shopping, and nearly any section of the city has unique places to shop and find deals:
-- See district pages for more information --
Toronto is generally considered to be one of North America's top food cities. It has the same variety as New York or San Francisco, many places are open much later, and the compact and safe downtown keeps them closer together. The immigrants make them authentic, and the Canadian dollar makes them cheaper. It is easy to eat out in Toronto and have a superb meal for cheap.
Surrounded by the extensive fertile farmlands of Southern Ontario, Toronto has an abundance of farmer's markets - one is happening, in season, almost every day. Several markets are year round, while others are seasonal, generally running from May to October.
Since 1901, the St. Lawrence Market has brought the freshest foods into the city for Torontonians and visitors alike. Located at Jarvis and Front, the St. Lawrence Market stretches over 2 buildings, the 'North Market' and the 'South Market' - and often over the section of Front street between them! The North Market is home to a Farmer's Market, open Saturdays during the summer. It features fresh vegetables in season, preserves, spices and herbs, and direct from the source foods, such as honey direct from the beekeeper or maple syrup from the people who tapped and boiled it. The South Market has over 50 specialty vendors, with a large seafood section, a dozen butchers, several bakeries, and three very extensive cheese shops. In the basement, there is also a specialty area for handcrafters, and an extensive foodcourt, with merchants often cooking food that they bought fresh that morning from upstairs. The South Market is open year round, Tues-Thurs 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Fridays 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturdays 5 a.m.-5 p.m.
The farm, located at 201 Winchester Street (three blocks east of Parliament Street), is a year-round, producing farm owned by the City of Toronto as part of its extensive park system. It is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. The Friends of Riverdale Farm (http://www.friendsofriverdalefarm.com/) operate an onsite store and restaurant, Shop at the Farm and Farm Kitchen, in Simpson House (daily, 10 am to 4 pm), and a weekly Farmer's Market (Tuesdays, May 10 - Oct. 25, 2005, from 3:30 - 7 pm). The farm is open daily for tours, education, and more. Riverdale farm is a working farm, with barns and outdoor paddocks, and animals of all types. In an attempt to provide education about farming, the staff is approachable, and will discuss chores as they go through the daily tasks of keeping a farm running. Tours are available, or you can wander the 7.5 acres freely.
Other farmer's markets in Toronto:
See the district pages for more details.
Interesting Food Districts
The majority of Nightlife in Toronto is centered around the appropriately named Clubland, and in the fashion district on Queen Street West. Nearly anywhere is packed to the brim with pubs, bars, but none so much as Adelaide and Queen Street in those districts.
Most hotels and hostels are situated directly outside of the downtown core. Prices for rooms generally range from $150+ for a standard hotel, $60-80 for a motel, and $20-40 for a bed in a hostel.
Kensington Castle, 2 (http://www.kencastle.com). Currently closed for relocation. One of the most highly rated and affordable hostels in Toronto, set in the heart of Kensington Market.
An interesting alternative to standard hotel-chain fare is the newly renovated, turn-of-the century GladstoneHotel (http://www.gladstonehotel.com/), on Queen Street. It has a number of truly unique, artist designed rooms. Rates from $150.
Bed & Breakfasts
Another popular alternative for over nighters are Bed and Breakfasts. There are hundreds in Toronto and many of them are in the downtown core. Prices range from $60 to several hundred dollars depending on the house and amenities offered. The Toronto Townhouse (http://www.toronto-townhouse.com/) , are Toronto Tourism award winners and still is one of the better ones. They have 2 homes - one in Cabbagetown and the other in the Bloor Annex area.
George Brown College is known for its business and culinary faculties which are located right behind its St. James Campus which is located downtown. Its other campus, Casa Loma Campus, is obviously located near Casa Loma.
For emergency, dial 911 (you can dial it at the pay phone without putting in any coin).
Local call at the pay phone costs 25 cents each. It is not metered, so you can talk as long as you want. However, due to the popularity of mobile phones, pay phone booths are disappearing at an alarming rate.
Toronto has two area codes: 416 and 647. These area codes overlap. That is, they are both associated with the same geographic area. The suburban areas outside of the city also have two overlapping area codes, 905 and 289. As a result, Toronto has 10-digit local dialing. You must always dial the area code as part of the number you are trying to reach.
Toronto is a city with many internet cafés, especially on Yonge Street around Bloor and Bloor Street between Spadina and Bathurst. It's not hard to find a place to call home and the costs are relatively low, from $3 for 30 minutes. However, currently internet cafés are opening and closing in T.O. at an astounding rate so on repeat visits to the city you may find that the one you used last time has disappeared. For a guide to some of them, see YYZTech's internet cafe reviews (http://www.yyztech.ca/all_internet_cafe_reviews.php/).
Toronto is the safest city of any large metropolis in North America, even more safe than other Canadian cities such as Vancouver and Montréal. This is a remarkable feat despite Toronto's huge downtown cores and suburban areas sprawling every year.
For instance, the homicide rate for Toronto is 1.3 per 100,000 people (1999; Statistics Canada), compared to Atlanta (34.5), Boston (5.5) New York City (9.1), Vancouver (2.8) and Washington, DC (45.5). For robbery rates, Toronto also ranks low, with 115.1 robberies per 100,000 people, compared to Dallas (583.7), Los Angeles (397.9), Montréal (193.9), New York City (490.6) and Washington, DC (670.6).
Toronto is a great starting point for exploring southern Ontario. The Niagara Region, including Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake, is less than an hour's drive from Toronto towards the United States border at the Falls. The Waterloo region to the west has colleges and culture, and Muskoka, to the north and The Kawarthas to the east of Toronto, is cottage country, with country inns, hundreds of lakes and rivers, camping, fishing/hunting, provincial parks, and a wealth of year-round outdoor activities.