I’ve only been to Toronto once and while it lacks the charm of Montreal and Vancouver, it’s a nice city. There are many markets here, wonderful art museums, and delicious Asian food. Although Toronto has a higher cost of living than most other Canadian cities, there are many free and low-cost activities here. This is a great city with friendly locals, funky bars, and tons of activities. I wouldn’t spend weeks here but days? Definitely.
- Hostel Prices: Dorm rooms begin at $18 USD and private rooms start around $40 USD.
- Budget Hotel Prices: You can expect to spend an average of $70 USD a night for a single and around $90 USD for a double. If you book your stay in the fall and springtime, prices tend to be cheaper.
- Average Cost of Food: If you are going to cook your own food, expect to pay between $50 to 75 USD per week. Eating out will cost you an average of $15-18 USD for an entree and drink, though at nicer restaurants it will be at least $25 USD. Cheap, on the go meals food costs around $7 USD. The super cheap eats are the hot dogs which cost between $2.50 to $3.75 USD depending on your sausage preference.
- Transportation: Fares for public transportation is $3.00 USD (discounted to $2.50 USD if you buy 5 or 10 tokens at a time). A day pass is available for $10 USD and a weekly pass $36 USD. Taking the shuttle from the airport will cost you $19.75 USD.
Top Things to Do
- Visit the CN tower - This iconic 1,800 ft. tower is a fixture of the skyline. You can head up to the top to get panoramic views of the city, shopping, and 360 degree dining in its (expensive) restaurant.
- Hockey Hall of Fame – Canadians take two things seriously: hockey and hockey. Hockey is life. Dedicated to the history of their favorite sport, it is both a museum and a hall of fame. This museum is a great place to go to learn about the sport Canadians and the hall of fame wills show you were the best players.
- Spend the day at the beach- The beaches near Lake Ontario are a relaxing way to spend the day during the summer. You can stroll along the boardwalk, eat at one of the many restaurants, or rent a boat and head out on the lake.
- The Harborfront Center – This area is a great spot to visit during the warm summer months. There is often free admission to their festivals and music concerts.
- Kensington Market – This free market is best to visit on Sunday mornings. They often have free concerts too.
- Bike the Don Valley – These trails are perfect for any outdoors traveler. They aren’t far from the city. The trails range from easy to very hard.
- The Art Gallery of Ontario – Known as the AGO, it houses thousands of pieces of art worth. It’s one of the biggest museums in Canada. Admission is free on Wednesday night.
- St. Lawrence Market and Gallery – This market has endless rows of local treats to taste and buy, and go inside the building to take a look at the gallery. Admission to both is free.
- Toronto Island Park - Spend an inexpensive day at Toronto Island Park and enjoy the beach, play volleyball, and dip your feet in its wading pool. There is also the Gibraltar Lighthouse which has a museum that highlights the history and myths of the area.
- Royal Ontario Museum – This museum has thousands of artifacts, and specimens, are featured in over 20 exhibits; including Dinosaurs, Ancient China, Native Canadians, Canadian Furniture, Medieval Europe, Art Deco, Ancient Egypt, Textiles, Middle East, India, and Pacific Islanders. the world’s largest totem pole, which is over 100 years old, is also housed in a place of honor.
- Ontario Science Center – Lots of hands on science exhibits, including a rainforest, a tornado machine, sound proof tunnel, balance testing machines, and more. It also contains Ontario’s only Omnimax movie theater.
- Eat Chinese Food – Chinatown in town is gigantic and still retains a lot of authenticity missing in a lot of Chinatowns around the world. Definitely visit here and eat a few meals. They are delicious and they super cheap. This is also the best place to get Asian fruit not normally found in local supermarkets.
- Casa Loma – This is the former estate of Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, an entrepreneur and romantic. A real life ‘medieval’ castle, touring this place is awesome. There are four levels to check out with a self-guided multimedia tour.
- Canada’s Wonderland – Filled with rides, coasters, food, games, shops, theatres, a water park, and live shows, this summer attraction is super fun. It’s only $39 USD and there are plenty of things to do.
- Ontario Place – This is a very large entertainment complex, some of which is even built out over Lake Ontario. With an amphitheater for concerts, water park features, and the Atlantis venue, you’ll find plenty to do.
- The Word on the Street – Every September, usually around the 24th, Queen’s Park is host to Canada’s largest annual, outdoor book and magazine festival. You can browse through hundreds of books and magazines, literacy exhibitor booths, and more.
- Winterlicious – Every year during Toronto’s WinterCity festival, several restaurants offer special menus of high-end meals at a majorly reduced price. This event is awesome, because it allows many the opportunity to try gourmet foods that are usually highly priced. Plates range from $10 to $30 USD, and are typically multi-coursed.
- Free activities - With plenty of free museums and beaches to choose from and in every part of the city, you can see the sights without spending a lot of money.
- Get a City Pass - Tourists can purchase a city pass for $67 USD, that includes admission to the ROM, CN Tower, Casa Loma, Ontario Science Centre, and the zoo. If you plan to do all of these things, you’ll save a lot of money with this pass.
- Take a free tour - The Heritage Toronto Walks are FREE, and are offered from May-October each year. They’re a wonderful way to learn about the city, and you don’t have to make reservations.
Other Destinations in Canada
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