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About Toronto

Attractions

One of Canada’s best kept secrets, Toronto is on par with New York City, San Francisco and Chicago when it comes to cultural attractions and urban sophistication.

The landmark CN Tower is the tallest freestanding structure in the world. The elevator to the top for a breathtaking view of the city, Lake Ontario and more. Stroll next door and experience Ripley’s Aquarium as you explore the wonders of the sea or a catch a Blue Jays Baseball game at Rogers Centre or just walk around the massive engineering marvel. Check out the Royal Ontario Museum, the largest in Canada with its fascinating archaeology and natural history exhibits, and the Art Gallery of Ontario, with a fine collection of European and Canadian works. You won’t want to miss the electric shops and restaurants on Queen Street West or the elegant boutiques and fine restaurants in Yorkville.

And there’s more: harbourfront is a complex of unique shops and restaurants right on beautiful Lake Ontario. From harbour front you can hop on a ferry to the Toronto Islands for a picnic and outdoor recreation such as beach volleyball.

Explore the area and take a day trip to another wonder of the world and experience Niagara Falls or take a break right next door and experience Ontario’s wine country. Toronto and the surrounding areas are a great family destination and most attractions are child-friendly. The city itself is clean, safe and easy to explore either on foot or by public transportation.

This year, Canada celebrates the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Join in the festivities of our country’s big milestone in Toronto, Ontario.

For more information, please visit the official Tourism Toronto website.

Toronto Fast Facts

  • Home to more than 100 languages spoken on the streets daily, Toronto truly is multicultural
  • With a population of 5.5 million, Toronto is Canada’s largest city
  • Toronto is the 4th-largest city in North America, after Mexico City, New York and Los Angeles
  • One-quarter of Canada’s population is located within 160 km (100 miles) of the city
  • More than 60% of the population of the United States is within a 90-minute flight of the city

Local Information

Languages Spoken

The are two official languages in Canada – English and French.

Currency

Toronto’s currency is the Canadian dollar. Commonly used small coins are the 5-cent (“nickel”), 10 cent (“dime”), 25 cent (“quarter”). The two main coins are the $1 gold-coloured coin, commonly called a “Loonie” (the loon is the bird engraved on one side), and the $2 silver and gold tone coin is called the “toonie”. Paper bills come in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations. $1000 denominations are available but can only be exchanged at a bank.

Banking

Banks throughout Toronto are open Monday to Friday from approximately 10:00am – 05:00pm. Some banks are open on Saturdays and Sundays. You will find an Automated Teller (ATM) in most convenience stores, hotel lobbies and other public places.

Credit Cards (including American Express, Visa and MasterCard) are welcome at most establishments throughout Toronto.

Taxes

On most purchases, a total of 13% HST (harmonized sales tax) is charged on taxable items apply. There is no HST on most grocery items but restaurant meals are taxed. Please note that while shopping the prices do not include taxes and you must pay the tax over and above the price indicated on the sticker.

Tipping

Restaurant tipping is left to the customer’s discretion, but the customary amount is 15% – 20%. Many restaurants automatically add a tip or gratuity to the bill for groups larger than 6 or 8 people. It is also customary to tip bellhops, luggage handlers and taxi drivers, at your discretion.

Emergency and Safety

Toronto remains one of the safest cities in the world, and the safest largest city in North America. It has the largest municipal Emergency Medical Service in Canada, with 850 paramedics based in 41 stations across Toronto. When planning your trip it is important to be aware of the safety services available to you. Please make sure you are also aware of your embassy’s phone number and location in the event you lose your travel documents.

In an emergency of health, safety or crime – Dial 911

Electricity

Canada operates on 110V, 60 cycle electric power, which is the same as in the United States. Non-North American visitors should bring a plug adapter if they wish to use their own small appliances from home (razors, hair dryers, laptops etc.). If you are visiting from countries, such as Australia, that use a higher voltage, you may encounter problems charging your rechargeable batteries. Canadian electrical goods come with either a two-prong plug, which is the same as the US or a three-prong plug; most sockets accommodate both.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted in the Congress facilities. The city of Toronto has public health regulations that prevent smoking in public buildings, on public transit and in all restaurants and lounges.

Liquor Laws

In Toronto, the legal drinking age is 19; bars and restaurants are open until 03:00am in some parts of the city. In Toronto there are stiff penalties for drinking and driving so we suggest you use public transit.