Canada's metropolitan centre
With a multicultural population and a wide range of cultural attractions, Toronto is a cosmopolitan city with something for everybody. Especially for visitors who've never been to Canada before, it's a great introduction to the country's diverse culture and growing art and music scenes.
Best time for a Toronto visit
Compared to UK weather, Toronto gets quite cold in the winter. If you're more of a warm weather person, visit between May and October for a chance to enjoy the city's many leafy parks, large lakeside beaches and summertime events. Expect parties and fireworks galore on Victoria Day (May 24th), Canada's celebration of Queen Victoria, as well as on the national holiday Canada Day (July 1st).
July in Toronto is packed with events, such as the Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival (first and second week of July) and the Beaches International Jazz Festival (second and third week of July), which features gourmet food trucks as well as some incredible live music. Finally, Caribana, at the end of the month, is not to be missed. It's the biggest Caribbean-style carnival in North America. And if you do visit in the fall, there's still fun to be had: the world-famous Toronto International Film Festival takes place every year from the second to third week of September.
What to know before you travel
British citizens don't normally need a visa to visit Canada. But if you plan on bringing $10,000 or more in Canadian dollars into the country, you will need to declare it. Luckily, you probably won't need to carry along that much cash, as the cost of living in Toronto is cheaper than London, and often cheaper than the UK in general. Lunch typically begins at around CAD $15, with a beer in a pub starting at about $6. The local time in Toronto is Eastern Daylight Time, five hours behind London.
Getting around and finding accommodation
For about $28, the Union Pearson Express will take you directly from Pearson, Toronto's international airport, to Union Station, the city's transit hub. The Express takes about 25 minutes. A taxi to the city centre will take about the same amount of time, and usually costs around $60. For about $3, you can purchase a single ticket on the TTC, Toronto's public transit, and take bus 192 to Kipling Station. This takes about 20 minutes, and from Kipling you can travel on to Union or any other station via the underground.
The TTC operates the underground, trams, and buses. A day travel card on the TTC is about $12, while a weekly ticket is about $40. Taxis begin at around $10 for 3 km, plus $1.75 per km. As for accommodation, Toronto hostels tend to cost about $35 a night, while a night in a 3-star hotel will cost an average of $70 per person.