21 X good to know before you go to Toronto

31 July 2017

act like a local with these 21 facts about toronto

Every destination has its own personality and there are always things that are good to know before you take off. Nowadays I keep up a list of all the things I’ve noticed when I’m visiting a new city, so  can share them here with you as tips. So take these tips to heart and make sure you can instantly behave like a local! Many more travel tips can be found in the extensive Toronto Travel Guide, with los of tips like the best restaurants and other hotspots. Enjoy planning your trip!

Toronto Travel Guide

a first-timer in toronto? 21 great trips for your trip

De T is silent: Don’t want to make a fool out of yourself in front of a local? Pronounce ‘Toronto’ like ‘Torono’. So without the T!

Canadese Dollar: When in Canada you pay with the Canadian Dollar (CAD). Make sure to download the XE currency app so you can easily convert all the prices. I can’t live without it on a trip! At the very moment I’m writing this blog 1 Canadian Dollar equals € 0,66.

Lots of different neighbourhoods: Toronto is an immensely large city and is divided by several smaller districts. Among the locals it’s considered very normal to appoint a part of a district by the name of a certain street, like “the Ossington Strip” for the trendy part of town in the area of Ossington Avenue. If you ask me the following districts are the most fun: Kensington Market, West Queen West, Parkdale and Trinity Bellwoods.

Esta Visum: Like when you’re travelling to the USA, you need an Esta Visum to get into Canada. Make sure to request this in time and bring a copy of your confirmation with you.

Koffietentjes: Do you love coffee as much as I do? Well good news, because in Toronto you can find so many great coffee hotspots where you can have an actual great cup of coffee. Across the entire city you’ll find establishments of Jimmy’s. Once started with one establishment, but has grown to being a concept in the city.


This is how you get there: From Amsterdam it’s approximately an 8,5 hour flight to Toronto. Prices starting from a mere €402,- by Jet Airways, who fly directly from Amsterdam to Toronto every day. If you’re travelling in the low season it’s of course the most affordable.

Enjoy cuisines from all over the world: Toronto is a multicultural city and you can honestly find every dish possible there. One of the best areas for street food is Kensington Market!

Best time to travel to Toronto: During the winter it can get pretty cold in Toronto. Of course you can dress to that temperature, but when you’re in a city it’s of course nice when you can sit on a terrace every now and then, or to relax in the park. The best time to travel to Toronto is from March to October, but the most pleasant months are May, June and September.

LCBO: This is something that’s something completely different for us, but the sale of alcohol outside of the catering industry is regulated by the government and can only be bought at LCBO stores. This means you can’t buy alcohol in a regular supermarket. You have to be at least 19 years to drink alcohol and make sure to not forget your passport as identification.

Holidays in Canada: Besides all the national holidays that we also celebrate, there are a couple of other holidays in Canada. Victoria day (the monday before May 25th), Canada day July 1st, Labor day (first Monday of September, Thanksgiving (second Monday in October) and Memorial Day (November 11th). The Canadians have day off on those days so it can be extra busy in Toronto (which makes the hotels more expensive for example)!

Über: In Toronto you have Übers that are sometimes even more cheap than ‘regular’ taxis. Of course you’ll have to need WiFi to order an Über so keep that into account.

Nothing as variable as the weather: If you’re travelling to Toronto, keep in mind that the weather can totally vary per day. The summers are really hot and the winters are extremely cold.

More hotspots in Toronto

Sales tax: Don’t immediately think you’ve found the best buy in Toronto, because you’ll have to add almost 18% of tax to almost every purchase you make.

Brunch in a big thing: In the weekend the locals go out for brunch. There’s no doubt about that!

Time zone in Toronto: The time zone in Toronto is GMT-5 during the winter and GMT-4 from the second Sunday in March up until the first Sunday in November.

Happy hours: Especially in cties like New York it can certainly make a difference if you’re having a drink in a nice place when it’s ‘coincidentally’ also happy hour. And the same thing applies to Toronto! If you want to go and have a drink but don’t want the pay the main prize for the (already pretty expensive) alcohol, do some research for a nice bar where they offer happy hour.

Tipping: It’s very normal in Toronto to tip 20% if you’re out for dinner and 18% for all other bills in the catering industry. That makes the tipping customs almost even higher than in the USA. No tipping is seen as extremely rude.

More from Toronto

Last call is om 2AM: Do you want to head off to a bar in Toronto after dinner? Then don’t go too late, because the bars are obligated to close at 2AM. Tip: don’t forget to bring your passport as identification if you’re going out for a drink (they often don’t allow drivers license as an I.D.).

Sockets in Toronto: Make sure to bring a global socket if you’re going to Toronto. Because your Dutch sockets won’t bring you far. The main voltage in Canada is 110 volt and you’ll need an American socket. Tip: Bring one global socket with you and a socket box so you can charge multiple items at once.

De Up Express: the Union Pearson Express (UP Express in short) is the direct connection from the Toronto Pearson airport to the Union Station in the middle of the centre. You’re there in 25 minutes, the train leaves every 15 minutes and a ticket is 9 Canadian Dollars for a one way ticket.

Restaurants: There are over 7.000 restaurants in Toronto and of course I’ve lined up my personal favourites for you that I’ve visited during my last trip for you. Read more about the 17 best restaurants in Toronto here!

Nicest hotels: Toronto has several nice neighbourhoods where you can stay, but if you’re more into the trendy areas the district around Queen Street West and Ossington Ave is recommended.
Drake Hotel: without a doubt the most trendy hotel in Toronto. With a mere 19 rooms and an amazing rooftop bar where you can have a drink after a day in the city.

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Thompson Hotel: are you in Toronto in the middle of the summer? Then the Thompson Hotel is the perfect stay, because they have a rooftop pool!

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Shangri-La: if the budget isn’t an issue then staying in the Shangri-La can’t go wrong. Even if it’s only because they have a Momofuku restaurant here!

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El Rey Toronto

El Rey

Happy travels!

TIP: discover more hotspot addresses and travel tips in my books DE AMSTERDAM CITY GUIDE & WANDERLUST!

PSSSST…. did you know we have a lot more city guides?

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Anne de Buck

Travel Essentials

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