Traversing Toronto over Christmas can be magical or maddening.
Which one depends on how prepared you are for the rush. Here are some holiday travel tips every visitor to Toronto should know.
Explore some lesser-known restaurants
As Canada’s capital of commerce, Toronto has more offices than any other city in Canada by a mile. Most of them have their holiday parties in December and have booked up prime tables at prime restaurants. So unless you’ve booked your seats in September, you’re probably not getting in. That’s okay because you’ll find more than enough amazing restaurants in Toronto that are not on the office tour, like Bardi’s Steak House right next door.
Get a Presto Card
You could try cabs, but they’re harder and harder to find now that Uber and Lyft have taken over. And speaking of Uber and Lyft, they tend to surge their prices in December and at the first sign of snow. Also, traffic in downtown Toronto is woeful. Important tip for holiday travel: save yourself the money and aggravation with a Presto card so you can ride the TTC as much as you want. Union Station is kitty-corner to us. Easy.
Toronto is best enjoyed on foot. It’s a relatively flat city with an easy-to-follow grid system and neighbourhoods that flow into one another. But, it’s still Canada, which means it’s still cold in December, so those comfortable boots should also be warm. It can also be rather wet given the moist air that tends to come off the lake at this time of year, so if those comfortable boots were waterproof, that would be good too.
Leave your politics at home
Don’t let the status as “third biggest city in North America” fool you. Our Canadian values of kindness and politeness are very much alive and well here in Toronto and we’re not interested in getting into the divisiveness of the day. Come here, enjoy yourself and try Canadian beer and Canadian bacon. Watch hockey in a bar. Say “eh” because it’s fun and “thank you” for no reason. Listen to Stompin’ Tom, Bryan Adams, The Barenaked Ladies and Justin Bieber.