posted by Rebecca Keenan | 1 Comments
Toronto, which is the largest city in Canada, was the second last stop of my Canadian adventure last year. By the time I got there, I’d walked around Vancouver, Montréal, Québec City and Ottawa. So it was with no small amount of relief that I discovered Toronto’s impressive and easy to use public transport system.
Operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), this system covers the entire city really well and includes subway lines, buses and streetcars.
There are four main subway/RT lines but you’ll probably only have to deal with two of these, namely the Yonge-University-Spadina and Bloor-Danforth lines. Running along a north-south path, the yellow Yonge-University-Spadina line has stations at or near some of the city’s top attractions including the Royal Ontario Museum, Dundas Square and Casa Loma. The green Bloor-Danforth line runs across the city in an east-west direction and takes you out towards High Park and more. Services on both lines run every few minutes from 6am-1.30am on Monday-Saturday and from 9am-1.30am on Sundays.
TTC bus services criss-cross the city and run regularly on around 140 routes. These buses operate from 6am-1am on Monday-Saturday and from 9am-1am on Sundays. Some night buses also operate across the network. A couple of notable services are the 58A Malton bus which connects Pearson International Airport with the downtown area and the 25 Don Mills which stops right outside the Ontario Science Centre. You can pick up the 25 Don Mills at the Pape Station on the Bloor-Danforth subway line.
Operating on 11 different routes, Toronto’s ubiquitous red streetcars are part of the biggest streetcar network in North America. Services run across this network from 6am-1am on Monday-Saturday and from 9am-1am on Sundays. To enjoy one of coolest trips you can take on these streetcars, head to Queen Street (East or West) and catch a streetcar heading east along the 501 Queen line, getting off at the Woodbine Avenue stop in The Beach neighbourhood. Not only is this a great area to visit, but the trip itself will take you past some really cool sights as you traverse the city.
An adult fare for one trip costs $3. Keep in mind that you can transfer between bus, subway or streetcar on one fare if your trip is in a one-way direction but to do so, you have to get a transfer token when you pay your fare. Subway stations have collector booths where you can buy your fare and get your token. You’ll need exact change to buy a fare on the buses or streetcars. If you think you're going to be using public transport a lot on any given day, pick up a TTC Day Pass costing $10 which gives you unlimited one-day travel on all the subway, bus and streetcar services.
Now that you know the different options, the question becomes: Will I need to use public transport at all?
Well, it definitely is possible to walk around the downtown area and it would be a shame to miss out on a walking exploration of the city’s diverse neighbourhoods from Chinatown to the Church-Wellesley Village. However, if you want to go a little further afield, you will need to use public transport but don't worry because it really is an easy system to follow, even for someone like me whose sense of direction isn't the best.
So, hop on a bus, subway or streetcar to discover all that Canada’s biggest city has to offer.
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