Travel information: getting to Toronto

Everything you need to know about flights, buses and trains

By Annette Bordeau

Trains from Vancouver take three days, but New York is a mere 12 hours away by rail. However, it's more common to fly into one of the city's two airports, international visitors arrive at the Pearson International.

Flying to Toronto

Toronto airport

Lester B Pearson International Airport
Terminal 1 416 247 7678; Terminal 3 416 776 5100; www.gtaa.com.
Pearson, around 25 kilometres (16 miles) north-west of downtown, is in the middle of a massive $4.4 billion reconstruction project designed to improve the airport's ability to cope with the rising number of passengers (projected to increase from 31 million in 2007 to 50 million by 2020). The latest addition to this sprawling complex opened in January 2007.

Terminal 1's Pier F replaces Terminal 2 (which is why Toronto has a terminal 1 and 3 but no longer a 2). The LINK shuttle connects the two terminals with a long-term parking lot. Terminal 1 is for Air Canada's domestic and international flights, and a number of foreign airlines.

Terminal 3 is home to charters, some European airlines and some American carriers. All passengers are currently charged an airport improvement fee; the fee – $15 for passengers departing from the airport, $8 for passengers making connecting flights – is included in your ticket price.

Getting to Pearson airport

The best way to get to Pearson by bus is the Pacific Western Airport Express (1-800 387 6787, www.torontoairportexpress.com). Buses and vans pick up and drop off passengers at many downtown hotels and the Greyhound bus terminal every 30 minutes from 4am to 2pm and 10pm to 1am, and every 20 minutes from 2pm to 10pm. The trip takes 20-40 minutes, depending on where you get on and the time of day, and costs $16.95 one way or $29.25 return. Seniors and students with valid ID get a ten per cent discount on one-way trips. Two children aged 11-and-under per adult ride for free.

City buses also serve the airport, but the routes are long and circuitous, and there's nowhere to put your luggage. However, it is possible to get to the airport for the baseline TTC fare of $2.75.

The designated 192 airport shuttle runs from Kipling subway station between 5.20am and 2am; alternatively, take the No.58 from Lawrence subway station (departing every 15 minutes). The 307 Eglinton night bus will also get you to the airport and back; it runs between 1.30am and 5am.

If you want a quicker way to connect with the subway, the GO bus service runs between Terminals 1 and 3, and the Yorkdale and York Mills subway stations ($4.05 one-way). Most taxi companies offer a flat rate to the airport of around $40. Confirm the price before you set off.

Toronto City Centre Airport
416 203 6942/www.torontoport.com.
Porter Airlines is the only commerical carrier operating from this downtown island airstrip, with services to Ottawa and Montreal, and some US cities in 2007. There is a free shuttle bus to and from Union Station to the foot of Bathurst Street, where passengers board a ferry for the two-minute crossing.

Major airlines

Getting to Toronto by bus

Greyhound Canada (416 594 1010, 1-800 661 8747, www.greyhound.ca) runs many routes to Toronto from other parts of Canada and the US. The main terminal is located centrally at 610 Bay Street, at Dundas Street, Downtown, and is open from 5am to 1am daily. Note that arrivals come in to the smaller terminal directly across Elizabeth Street from the main terminal.

Getting to Toronto by rail

VIA Rail trains (general enquiries 1-888 842 7245, www.viarail.ca) operate from Union Station (65 Front Street W, at University Avenue), which is on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line. The phone number for enquiries about VIA Rail trains from the station is 416 366 8411.

In addition to setting off on the three-day journey westwards to Vancouver, you can board VIA trains for Ottawa, Montreal and the Maritimes. You can also get to New York City and Chicago (12hrs to both). Tickets are available at most travel agents in Canada or the US. In the UK, contact Thomas Cook Signature (0870 443 4442, www.tcsignature.com).

Our listings

While every effort and care has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this guide, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors it may contain. Before you go out of your way, we strongly advise you to phone ahead and check the particulars.

More travel information

Getting around Toronto
Toronto fast facts A-Z
When to go to Toronto

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By ._. - May 4 2010

For flying, the TTC 192 Airport Rocket is definitely the way to go. I just visited Toronto for the first time and traveling between the airport and downtown via the bus/subway was surprisingly easy. However, if you're using this method to get TO the airport, make sure in advance that there aren't any disruptions with the TTC going on. When I was arriving there were problems with the Bloor-Danforth line and that added about an hour to my trip. Also be sure to get a transfer from the bus driver when you get on the bus so that you can get onto the subway for free. So glad I didn't drop $40 on a shuttle!

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