Craig Box's journeys, stories and notes...

Things to know about Toronto

So, I'm in Canada now. Truth be told, I've been here for three weeks, but have been a little behind on the blogging! Here's what you will need to know when you come and visit me.

Toronto Pearson International Airport

Terminal 1 is great, very new, but miles away from anything. It's 60 mins to downtown by the public transport system.

The public transport system

The more things change, the more they stay the sameThe public transport system is good, but confusing. To generalise, the fare between any two points around central Toronto (the TTC system) is $2.75 - but you can start out on a bus, switch to a train at a subway station, get out at another and then get onto a streetcar (also known as "tram"). You do this by way of 'transfers', paper tickets you pick up either when you pay on the streetcar/bus or at a machine when you've entered the turnstile at a train station.

You can't use a transfer at the station you picked it up at - i.e. to go from Station A to Station B and change to a bus, pick up your transfer at Station A.

After a 2 and a half hour wait...GO commuter trains take you from Toronto to the surrounding cities. Avoid them. They're double-decker, air-conditioned and have their own TV station, but I'm pretty sure I can cycle, and possibly walk, faster, than the Lakeshore East service. That, and a fire last week left our train waiting a kilometre outside Danforth Station for two and a half hours, before being told we'd be turned around. We weren't - they eventually moved forward to the station (why didn't they take us there to start with?) and kicked everyone out, with little fanfare or explanation of what to do next. Thankfully a lady sitting near me had her husband come pick her up, and she offered me and another guy on the train a ride home.


Ontario has an 8% sales tax, which is not included in prices. (There's also a federal 6% GST here, but whether or not that is included varies). So, your $4 Baskin-Robbins milkshake, as well as bringing all the boys to the yard, will cost you $4.24. Please have exact change ready.


Money wise, everything costs about the same as it does in NZ dollars, so if you were to start earning locally as soon as you arrived, you'd feel like nothing changed. Much better than the USA, the money is multi-coloured, and $1 and $2 are coins - but the 5c coin is still larger than the 10c.

Fern arrived later on the same day that I did and we stayed at a hotel by the airport for a couple of days before her friend Kim picked us up and took us out to Pickering, the next town east on the lakeshore.

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2 Responses to “Things to know about Toronto”

  1. Chris Orbz says:

    There definitely aren't any Torontonians who refer to streetcars as 'trams...' unless you meant that ausländers might know them under that name.

  2. Craig says:

    Sorry - implication was tram was what we call them back home.

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