Driving in & around Toronto

Mar 5th, 2002, 04:50 AM
  #1  
aimi
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Driving in & around Toronto

If I were to drive to Toronto from midwest US, how would the driving be in the city. Do most hotels have parking avail? Would be there late Jul.
 
Mar 5th, 2002, 09:05 AM
  #2  
Ariel
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The driving here is not bad, but parking is not great. You should be able to get parking at your hotel, then best plan is to take the subway/streetcar around T.O. The police love to ticket and/or tow and parking downtown gets expensive. If you are staying in a downtown hotel, you will have good excess to local attractions and the TTC is good for downtown mobility.

Avoid driving into T.O. between 7am - 9:30am and out of T.O. 4:30 - 6:30 (rush hour).
 
Mar 5th, 2002, 09:29 AM
  #3  
Brian Kilgore
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Further to Arial's comments ...

If you can drive in Chicago or even Cincinnati, you'll be fine in Toronto.

Almost all major hotels have underground or surface lot parking.

The downtown core freezes up around 5 p.m. for an hour or so, and in the summer there's always construction that causes traffic jams, but, all in all, it's not bad.

For a lot of tourists, there's no need for the car for, say, three out of five days in town. leave it in the hotel parking garage. For the other two days, go to Niagara Falls or the Toronto Zoo or the Ontario Science Center or the McMichael Art Gallery or other attractions that are away from downtown.

Most parking lots charge a day maximum and an evening maximum, plus a 1/2 fee.

So, for instance, you can park at $2.00 per half hour or $8.00 a day, until 6 pm. If you leave before an hour and a half is up, it costs you $6, but if you stay more than anhour and a half, it's still $8 all the way to 6 p.m.

After 6, the evening rate comes into force.

Rates charged vary hour by hour; it's a great example of supply and demand economics. Higher before a ball game, lower after the game starts, etc. But whatever the rate is when you arrive is the rate you'll pay.

For two people, $8 to park after you drive to another part of town is about the same as two subway tickets there and two more back to your hotel. The trick is knowing if the parking lot will be $8 for the day, or $14.

Meters have been replaced with ticket dispensers. Put in money, get a pice of paper, put it in your windoww. Depending on the neighborhood, these allow up to two hours parking. Prices vary from $1 an hour to $2 an hour.

Tow away is common; look for signs saying when you are allowed to park. In rush hours, you'll get a ticket and find your car gone. Rush hour times vary by street (it's weird) so check the signs carefully each time you park.

Parking in the real downtown core, underneath the skyscrapers, is two or three times the price of parking just a couple of blocks away, so be careful.

And if there's no day maximum or evening maximum posted, be very careful. There's one garage that's over $50 per day if you arrive before 9 and leave around 5:35.

If I need to be in the real core, I take the subway downtown to avoid $16 - $20 parking charges for an hour and a half. If I need to be close to the core but not in the heart, I'll drive if I can leave before rush hour, and I'll park at ticket machines for up to two hours.

Ticket machines work into the evenings, with "free" time starting at different hours, depending on the neighborhood. Sometimes it is free after 9, in other places you pay until 3 a.m.

BAK
 
Mar 5th, 2002, 11:35 AM
  #4  
aimi
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Thank you so much. Think I've about changed my mind and will fly instead. From there we were going to NYC, but I'm sure it will be even worse. I'm assuming the hotel's if your staying there do not have free parking. Will only be there about 3 nites, but sounds like it could cost and arm and leg.
 
Mar 5th, 2002, 03:04 PM
  #5  
Brian Kilgore
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Overnight parking as part of a hotel bill may be about $20, which is maybe $13 in US dollars. Well worth it for the convenience of a car.

But New York parking is awful; hard to find and expensive, and the drive from Toronto to New York City is either medium long and boring, or extra long and intresting (get off the Thruway) so you might be ahead by flying.

Toronto is a city of car owners (as contrasted to New York) and we survive fine, except at rush hour. Don't be frightned; just make your decision based on whether you care about the difference between the costs of driving and the costs of flying, and the convenience of both.

Driving would getyou easily to both the Thousand Islands and Niagara Falls. Both are worth visiting.

BAK
 
Mar 6th, 2002, 05:16 AM
  #6  
aimi
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Thanks BAK. Think we;ve decided to fly in. Next questions. Why does Toronto have two airport codes? YTO and YYZ. Are they the same airport? Also, would it be possible to get like a Greyline tour to Niagara Falls or would it be better to rent a car? Thanks for your help.
 
Mar 6th, 2002, 07:07 AM
  #7  
Brian Kilgore
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Toronto has two airports. YYZ is the main arirport, to the northwest of the city, and this is where almost all commercial planes land.

The other is an airport on Toronto island, used for private planes and some turboprop planes that go to small cities fairly close to Toronto. this will not be your airport.

There are several tour companies that will take you to Niagara Falls, but I'd still recommend you rent a car so you can go at your own pace, and see the attractions that interest you, for as long as you want.

Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake are two different places, half an hour or so apart, and both are worth a visit. There are vineyards and wineries to visit, art galleries to visit, stores to vist, plus more conventional tourist attractions, so having a car is nice.

It's about an hour, hour and a half drive from Toronto to either NF or NotL, and the same coming back. Allow a whole day.

I think the Maid of the Mist boat trip to the bottom of the falls is the best tourist attraction in Canada, and I've been just about everywhere. It's a bargain, it's fun, it's safe, and it's spectacular.

BAK



 
Mar 6th, 2002, 03:09 PM
  #8  
aimi
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BAK
Thank you for your wealth of information.
 
Mar 7th, 2002, 06:56 PM
  #9  
Bonnie
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When I see late July I'm thinking that someone coming to see our city should know that there is a major event happening. The Pope will be coming for a Youth Conference. You should also know about Jet Blue out of Buffalo. They fly very inexpensively from many cities using New York as their hub. You could see Niagara Falls on your way in from Buffalo or on your way out and fly to N.Y. after visiting Toronto. (Rent a car at the Buffalo airport. Some car rental places allow you to cross the border). Would this make sense?
 
Mar 8th, 2002, 12:56 PM
  #10  
aimi
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Bonnie:
Thank you for info on the Pope. My gdaugh will be flying in from SEA for a meeting planner conf and I from IND. We've decided against the NYC thing. Think the rental car is the answer to see the Falls, (I've been twice, but she who is afraid of heights, never has)
and maybe the lake Brian spoke of.
Then we will both fly back to IND for visit with family. Thanks again everyone.
 
Mar 9th, 2002, 05:32 AM
  #11  
justafan
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When will the Pope be in Toronto?
 

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