Getting Around Toronto, Canada

By: Gaizka Pujana

Toronto is currently a cultural, industrial, and financial centre making it attractive to both businesspeople and tourists. Toronto accommodation options are as plentiful as one would expect from a city of its size and history with the choice of hostels or bed and breakfasts ranging up to 5 star hotels. Equally, transport within the city makes it accessible and easy.

If you are driving into the city it is best to plan your arrival for midmorning-midday or later in the evening after the final rush hour. Like any city of its size and development the traffic can be quite oppressive and so visitors are warned against driving through the business district during the rush hours: 07:30 09:30 and 16:00 18:30. Unless otherwise stated the downtown speed limit is 50km/30m per hour whilst in the parks there's a 25km/15m per hour limit. It should also be noted that right turns on red are permissible unless specifically stipulated that they're not; overtaking should be from the right; and pedestrians always have the right of way on pedestrian crossings. There is very little on-street parking in Toronto city and illegally parked cars will receive tickets or be towed; there are however ample of parking lots and garages.

In terms of public transport, Toronto has had a subway system since 1954 and operates trains and buses also. Covering around 60 km, the subway system is a fast and pleasant means of transport. The north-south subway reaches from Union Station in the South all the way to the Sheppard Avenue on the one line and Finch on the other. The east-west line travels between Kennedy Road in the east to Kipling Avenue in the west. There are more trains in operation during the rush hours and it is estimated that the system can transport around 80,000 people per hour. The trains run roughly from 6a.m. to 1.30 a.m. but it is highly recommended you check the time of the last trains before you count on it.

The bus system in Toronto works in conjunction with the subway and links up to the subway stations. Switching between the two forms of transport is encouraged and the same tickets can usually be used for both.

Finally, the trolley buses and trains operate to complete the options of travel in and around the city. The provincial government provides Go Transit which links the city up with its outlying suburbs. All in all this service which combines the trains and buses provides access to 8,000 square kilometers.

There are various types of day tickets available for multi ride transport which is ideal for the exploring tourist. All details are available at ticket offices.

The local transport maps are clear and straightforward; however, should you run into trouble the locals are very friendly, and always willing to help a misdirected tourist.

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