While You’re Here

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Languages Spoken

There are two official Canadian languages – English and French. In addition to these, the top five languages spoken in Toronto are Chinese, Italian, Tamil, Portuguese and Spanish.

Money Matters

Toronto offers visitors world-class products without world-class prices. A favourable exchange rate doesn’t hurt, either. So be sure to pack an extra bag for the loot you’ll want to bring back home.

  • Toronto’s currency is the Canadian dollar
  • For denominations under five dollars we use coins – some we’ve even given cute names: the loonie ($1), and toonie ($2).
  • Since 2013 our bills have been made of polymer and have a number of interesting design elements.
  • U.S. dollars are accepted in many Toronto establishments, although you’ll receive change in Canadian funds and exchange rates will differ from merchant to merchant
  • You’ll find cash machines/ATMs all over the city and in most banks, hotels and shopping centres
  • Credit cards are accepted at all major retailers
  • Currency exchange is available at kiosks in the city and at the airport

Tipping

If you’re happy with the service you receive, a 15-20% tip on the pre-tax bill is a standard expression of appreciation when dining out in the city. Note that some restaurants automatically add this gratuity when serving large groups, so be sure to check your bill.

Tips are also expected for services such as haircuts, shoe shines and taxi rides. 15-20% is standard in these situations as well.

Taxes

The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is a 13% tax that is applied to most purchases of taxable supplies of goods and services in the Province of Ontario. The HST consists of a 5% federal portion and an 8% retail sales tax portion.

Official Holidays

Banks, liquor stores and government offices observe these holidays, as do some stores and most business offices. Holidays that occur on weekends are normally observed the following Monday.

Official Holidays observed in Toronto:
Holiday 2016 2017
New Year’s Day Friday, January 1 Sunday, January 1
Good Friday Friday, March 25 Friday, April 14
Easter Sunday Sunday, March 27 Sunday, April 16
Easter Monday Monday, March 28 Monday, April 18
Victoria Day Monday, May 23 Monday, May 22
Canada Day Friday, July 1 Saturday, July 1
Civic Holiday (stores open) Monday, August 1 Monday, August 7
Labour Day Monday, September 5 Monday, September 4
Thanksgiving Day Monday, October 10 Monday, October 9
Remembrance Day (stores open) Friday, November 11 Saturday, November 11
Christmas Day Sunday, December 25 Monday, December 25

Religion & Places of Worship in Toronto

Toronto is home to a vast multicultural population and is welcoming to all. Here are some suggestions for places of worship in Toronto.

Public Transit

Explore Toronto on one of North America’s finest transportation systems – the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). With easy-to-navigate subways, buses and streetcars, getting around the city is a snap. When using the TTC a single fare will take you anywhere in the city on a one way trip. You can freely transfer between subways, streetcars and buses, but make sure you obtain a transfer when and where you pay your fare. On buses and streetcars, exact change is required.

GO Transit is Ontario’s inter-regional bus and train service. It links Toronto with outlying areas of the Greater Toronto and beyond. GO Trains and buses depart from Toronto’s Union Station at regular intervals throughout the day.

Driving Around Town

  • Toronto’s streets follow a basic grid pattern and are easy to navigate.
  • Speed limit signs are posted on each street.
  • The city’s weekday “rush hour” is more than an hour long – count on heavy traffic from 7:00am to 9:00am and again from 4:00pm to 6:00pm.

Plenty of Toronto’s major streets have bicycle lanes nearest the curb. Please respect cyclists in the city – they’re environmentally friendly!

Parking

Parking on most downtown streets is limited to specific times of day, and often requires you to purchase and display a ticket from one of the parking machines located along the street. Be sure to check and obey the signs posted along the street to make sure your vehicle doesn’t get ticketed or, worse, towed away.

There are also a variety of public parking lots throughout the city. City-owned lots are indicated by the ‘Green P’ logo – a large ‘P’ in a green circle. Plan in advance using Green P’s parking locator to find the nearest lot.

Hail a Taxi

There are a number of different taxi companies in Toronto, including Co-Op Cabs and Diamond Taxicab.

  • Fares are standard, metered and non-negotiable.
  • The driver should start the meter at the beginning of your ride and stop it when you reach your destination.
  • Refuse to ride in a taxi without an operational meter.
  • If your service was acceptable, a 10-15% tip is customary.

Accessibility

Take charge of your travel needs by consulting The Canadian Travel Agencies guide for those with special requirements. For accessibility standards in Ontario, please visit CWDO.org.

Accessibility is a prime objective of business establishments, sporting events, entertainment venues and public transportation in the Toronto region. For details about the accessibility of specific attractions (e.g. Art Gallery of Ontario), please check each organization’s website for information.

Accessibility Resources

AccessTO – a blog-based website for reviews of the physical environments in Toronto including restaurants, bars and concert venues.

Rick Hansen Foundation – Planat is an online tool that allows you to view and rate the accessibility of places worldwide, including many Toronto venues.

Toronto Transit Commission

Toronto Pearson Airport

Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Enercare Centre

City of Toronto – includes info about beaches and pools.

Government of Ontario – a range of information about legislation and accessibility plans.

The Underground City

PATH (PDF) is downtown Toronto’s underground walkway linking 27 kilometres (16 miles) of subterranean shopping, services and entertainment. Follow the brightly coloured PATH signs and you’ll reach your downtown destination easily in weatherproof comfort.

Explore Toronto by Bike

Experience the city on two wheels. Enjoy the freedom of cycling from one neighbourhood to the next and the convenience of exploring city attractions by bike. Visit our Cycle Toronto page for more info or find great rides in our Top Cycling Routes article.

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