How to get around Toronto

Centre Island Ferry

By Aefa Mulholland, your Toronto expert

I write for The Irish Times, Orbitz, .... Read more

Getting around Toronto - my advice

Toronto’s TTC (The Toronto Transit Commission) masterminds the city’s bus, streetcar and subway networks and it goes pretty much anywhere you’ll want to go during a stay in the city — though it doesn’t always do so very swiftly. If you’re in a hurry, the subway is the best bet. The city’s overground traffic can be horrendous.

Subway

The city has two main subway lines, the east-west Bloor-Danforth and the long-legged, north-south U-shape of the Yonge-University-Spadina line. The trains are speedy, safe and as frequent as every two minutes during rush hour. Unless it’s vital, avoid getting on at busy downtown stops between 5pm and 6pm — the trains are crammed and often too full to get on.

Streetcars

The streetcars are the most popular mode of transport for those visiting or new to the city. The Red Rocket, as locals call it, has been on the city’s streets since the 1920s and the current cars look like something out of the mid 50s. The bulk of the lines (King, Queen, Dundas and College) shuttle east to west, mostly along their eponymous lines, the Spadina and Bathurst cars do the north-south run, before sidling along the lakeshore, past the ferry stop, to Union Station. You can see most top sights just by sticking to the streetcar. Take care, streetcars stop in the inner lane of traffic. It’s a weird system and out-of-town drivers rarely realise they have to stop behind a streetcar when it’s at a stop. Wait till you’re completely sure autos have stopped before walking out to board the streetcar.

Buses

Unless you need to get out to the suburbs, buses are mostly used for connecting to subway stations.

Trains

There’s a series of Go Trains used mostly for commuting, but useful if you want to go to Hamilton or Niagara Falls.

Ferries

Four ferry routes with a fleet of small ferries plies the waters of Toronto Harbour between Queen’s Quay and the various Toronto Islands. The airport island ferry goes from further west along the Quay, at the foot of Bathurst Street.

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