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Flying time to Toronto is 1½ hours from New York and Chicago and 5 hours from Los Angeles. Nonstop to Toronto from London is about 7 hours.
Most airlines serving Toronto have numerous daily trips. Allow extra time for passing through customs and immigration, which are required for all passengers, including Canadians. The 2½-hour advance boarding time recommended for international flights applies to Canada. The Toronto airport has check-in kiosks for Air Canada flights, which cut back on time spent in line.
Brace yourself for the possibility of weather delays in winter.
All travelers must have a passport to enter or reenter the United States. U.S. Customs and Immigration maintains offices at Pearson International Airport in Toronto; U.S.-bound passengers should arrive early to clear customs before their flight.
Security measures at Canadian airports are similar to those in the United States.
Canadian Transportation Agency (888/222–2592. www.cta-otc.gc.ca.)
Transportation Security Administration (www.tsa.gov.)
Most flights into Toronto land at Terminals 1 and 3 of Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ), 32 km (20 miles) northwest of downtown. There are two main terminals, so check in advance which one your flight leaves from to save hassles. The automated LINK cable-line shuttle system moves passengers almost noiselessly between Terminals 1 and 3 and the GTAA Reduced Rate Parking Lot.
Wi-Fi Internet access is free in both terminals. There are several chain hotels at the airport.
Porter Airlines—which flies to Boston, Chicago, Halifax, Montréal, Newark, Ottawa, Québec City, and Washington, D.C.—is the only airline operating from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ), often called Toronto Island Airport. There are few amenities at this smaller airport, but it is very convenient to downtown.
Lester B. Pearson International Airport (Toronto, ON. 416/776–9892. www.torontopearson.com.)
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (Toronto, ON. 416/203–6942. www.torontoport.com/airport.aspx.)
Although Pearson International Airport isn’t far from downtown, the drive can take well over an hour during weekday rush hours from 6:30 to 9:30 am and 3:30 to 6:30 pm. Taxis to a hotel or attraction near the lake cost C$53 and have fixed rates to different parts of the city. (Check fixed-rate maps at www.torontopearson.com.) You must pay the full fare from the airport, but it's often possible to negotiate a lower fare going to the airport from downtown with regular city cabs. It's illegal for city cabs to pick up passengers at the airport, unless they’re called—a time-consuming process sometimes worth the wait for the lower fare. Likewise, airport taxis can’t pick up passengers going to the airport; only regular taxis can be hailed or called to go to the airport.
A 24-hour Airport Express coach service runs daily to several major downtown hotels and the Toronto Coach Terminal (Bay and Dundas streets). It costs C$26.95 one-way, C$40 round-trip. Pickups are from the arrivals levels of the terminals at Pearson. Look for the curbside bus shelter, where tickets are sold.
GO Transit interregional buses transport passengers to the Yorkdale and York Mills subway stations from the arrivals levels. Service can be irregular (once per hour) and luggage space limited, but at C$5.35 it's one of the least expensive ways to get to the city's northern sections (or onto the subway line).
Two Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) buses also run from any of the airport terminals to the subway system. Bus 192 (Airport Rocket bus) connects to the Kipling subway station; Bus 58 Malton links to the Lawrence West station. Luggage space is limited and no assistance is given, but the price is only C$3 in exact change.
If you rent a car at the airport, ask for a street map of the city. Highway 427 runs south some 6 km (4 miles) to the lakeshore. Here you pick up the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) east to the Gardiner Expressway, which runs east into the heart of downtown. If you take the QEW west, you'll find yourself swinging around Lake Ontario, toward Hamilton, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls.
From Toronto Island Airport a free ferry operates to the terminal at the base of Bathurst Street; the trip takes less than 10 minutes. At the time of writing, a pedestrian tunnel was under construction. It’s expected to be operational by early 2014. Porter Airlines also runs a free shuttle from Union Station to the ferry terminal/tunnel entrance.
GO Transit (416/869–3200 or 888/438–6646. www.gotransit.com.)
Airport Express (905/564–3232 or 800/387–6787. www.torontoairportexpress.com.)
Toronto Transit Commission or TTC (416/393–4636. www.ttc.ca.)
Toronto is served by Air Canada, American, Delta, United, and US Airways as well as more than a dozen European and Asian carriers with easy connections to many U.S. cities. Toronto is also served within Canada by WestJet, Porter, and Air Transat, a charter airline.
Air Canada (888/247–2262 or 514/393–3333. www.aircanada.com.)
Air Transat (877/872–6728 or 514/906–5196. www.airtransat.ca.)
American Airlines (800/433–7300. www.aa.com.)
Delta Airlines (800/221–1212 for U.S. reservations; 800/241–4141 for international reservations. www.delta.com.)
Porter Airlines (888/619–8622 or 416/619–8622. www.flyporter.com.)
United Airlines (800/864–8331. www.united.com.)
US Airways (800/428–4322 for U.S. and Canada reservations; 800/622–1015 for international reservations. www.usairways.com.)
WestJet (888/937–8538. www.westjet.com.)