About Toronto

Further information regarding visiting Toronto can be found at http://www.seetorontonow.com/

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.

Accessible Toronto

People with disabilities have the same tourism desires as others however, travelling in environments that don’t always consider the unique challenges of those with disabilities can be aggravating and disheartening. Toronto is proud to be an accessible destination, accommodating travellers of varying special needs! Start planning your trip to accessible Toronto with helpful maps, guides and tours from Travel with a Challenge, Accessible Toronto, Beyond Ability and Abilities. Travel with a Challenge lists accessible accommodations, and to savour Toronto’s global cuisine, visit http://www.restotoronto.ca/ and http://www.dine.to/ which highlight accessible restaurants around the city. Looking for Accessible Transportation in Toronto? Dignity Transportation is Ontario’s largest transportation provider for those with special needs. Not all disabilities are obvious, so be sure to advise those accommodating you of your special needs.

Take charge of your travel needs by consulting The Canadian Travel Agencies guide for those with special requirements and for Accessibility standards in Ontario please visit http://www.cwdo.org/ASC_Welcome_page.htm

Currency, Money, Tipping and Taxes

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).

U.S. dollars are accepted in most 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 in most banks, hotels and shopping centres.

Travelers cheques and credit cards are accepted at most (but not all) major retailers.

Currency exchange is available at banks and kiosks throughout the city and at the airport.


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.


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.

Getting to Toronto

By Air

Toronto is served by two airports. Toronto Pearson International Airport, managed by the Greater Toronto Airport Authority is Canada’s principal airport with travel connections to every continent and ranks among the top 30 world airports in terms of passenger traffic and aircraft movements. There are over 76 scheduled and charter airlines currently serving Toronto Pearson International Airport. Air carriers provide non-stop service to 26 Canadian and 42 United States (transborder) destinations and same-plane service to 56 other International cities.

Air Canada, Canada’s flagship carrier and a founding member of the Star Alliance, relies on Pearson International Airport as its major Canadian hub with a wide variety of domestic, US and international connections. Visit http://www.torontoescapes.com/ for special offers and last minute deals to Toronto.

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (formerly Toronto City Centre Airport) is one of the most convenient urban airports in the world. It is located on Toronto Island, minutes from the downtown core with links to the city by a short ferry ride and shuttle, and is served by both Porter Airlines and Air Canada. Porter provides a unique and personal flying experience with air connections to regional Canadian and U.S. destinations, including Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax, New York City (Newark) and Chicago. Air Canada offers air access every business day, between Montreal and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (in addition to its connections between Montreal and Toronto Pearson International airport).

Visit http://www.aircanada.com/ to search flights and for additional information on Air Canada.

Flight Times from Major Cities to Toronto:

  • Atlanta, GA: 2hrs, 20 min
  • Boston, MA: 1 hr, 30 min
  • Buffalo, NY: 55 min
  • Calgary, AB: 4 hrs
  • Chicago, IL: 1 hr, 30 min
  • Cleveland, OH: 1 hr, 10 min
  • Dallas, TX: 3 hrs, 25 min
  • Detroit, MI: 40 min
  • Halifax, NS: 2 hrs
  • Los Angeles, CA: 5 hrs, 20 min
  • Miami, FL: 3 hrs
  • Minneapolis, MN: 2 hrs, 10 min
  • Montreal, QC: 1 hr, 10 min
  • New York, NY: 1 hr, 30 min
  • Ottawa, ON: 1 hr
  • Philadelphia, PA: 1 hr, 30 min
  • Pittsburgh, PA: 1 hr
  • San Francisco, CA: 5 hrs, 20 min
  • Vancouver, BC: 5 hrs, 10 min
  • Washington, DC: 1 hr, 30 min
  • Winnipeg, MB: 2 hrs, 30 min
  • Frankfurt, Germany: 7 hrs, 25 min
  • Hong Kong, China: 16 hrs, 30 min
  • London, England: 7 hrs
  • Osaka, Japan: 13 hrs, 10 min
  • Paris, France: 7 hrs, 25 min

By Rail

VIA Rail and AMTRAK bring visitors into the heart of the city each day. Toronto's Union Station is centrally located downtown and connects to the subway by underground tunnel.

Niagara GO Train is a summer weekend excursion train from Union Station to Niagara Falls with stops in Port Credit, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls. The ride takes approximately 2 hours from Union station to the Niagara Falls station.

By Road

Several highways, including Highways 2, 401, 407 and the Queen Elizabeth Way, link surrounding cities to Toronto. Nearest Canada-U.S. border crossings are at Niagara Falls, Fort Erie and Windsor.

Within Canada

From: Kilometers/Miles

  • Kingston: 266/165
  • Montreal: 545/338
  • Niagara Falls: 288/179
  • North Bay: 346/215
  • Ottawa: 453/281
  • Quebec City: 790/491
  • Windsor: 378/234

From the U.S.

From: Kilometres/Miles

  • Atlantic City, NJ: 912/567
  • Boston, MA: 906/566
  • Buffalo, NY: 154/96
  • Chicago, IL: 854/534
  • Cincinnati, OH: 802/501
  • Cleveland, OH: 476/297
  • Detroit, MI: 378/236
  • New York, NY: 851/529
  • Philadelphia, PA: 813/508
  • Pittsburgh, PA: 518/324
  • Rochester, NY: 274/171
  • Syracuse, NY: 390/244
  • Washington, DC: 832/517

Borders & Customs

Canada has one of the most advanced customs organizations in the world, and our borders and the processes we have in place to manage them are critical to our ability to provide Canadians and visitors to Canada with the security and opportunity they expect. Visitors entering Canada must clear Canada Customs border security upon entry.

Entry into Canada

American visitors travelling by air require a valid passport to re-enter the United States.

Exception: U.S. citizens entering Canada by car or rail who plan to return to the U.S. prior to June 1, 2009 do not need to show a passport, but a government-issued ID with photo, such as a driver’s license, and proof of citizenship is required. As of June 1 2009, all individuals will be required to hold a valid passport to enter/re-enter the United States.

For more information on travel security and border procedures, visit the U.S. Department of State.

International Visitors: For specific information on travel documents required to visit Canada from countries other than the U.S., please refer to www.cbsa.gc.ca and www.cic.gc.ca.

UPDATE: As of July 13, 2009 the Canadian government requires visitors from Mexico to have a visa to travel to Canada. Visa information and application forms in Spanish can be found at: http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/mexico-mexique/ or by calling toll free to 01-800-CANADA-0 (01-800-226-2320).

Meeting and Convention Attendees: When you enter Canada, a CBSA officer may ask to see your passport (and a valid visa, if one is necessary). If you are a citizen of the United States, you do not need a passport to enter Canada. However, you should carry proof of your citizenship, such as a birth certificate, certificate of citizenship or naturalization, as well as photo identification. If you are a permanent resident of Canada or the U.S, you should bring your Permanent Resident Card with you.

You may be asked for proof that you are attending a meeting or convention and it may be useful to have a copy of the meeting agenda and/or registration on hand. This may also be useful when returning to the U.S. should a similar question be asked.

There is no requirement within the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act or Regulations making it mandatory for persons seeking entry for work or business purposes to provide a letter on company letterhead stating the purpose for their visit, duration of stay and a Canadian contact name, address and phone number. This can certainly facilitate the process, as this includes a lot of the information that a Border Services Officer would need to make an appropriate assessment on the application for work in Canada as to whether or not all requirements are met for entry, including whether or not a work permit is required.

Bringing children into Canada

Children 15 years of age and under are now required to show proof of citizenship (a certified copy of their birth certificate is acceptable). They are not required to show photo ID. If you are travelling with children, you should carry identification for each child. Divorced parents who share custody of their children should carry copies of the legal custody documents. Adults who are not parents or guardians should have written permission from the parents or guardians to supervise the children. When travelling with a group of vehicles, parents or guardians should travel in the same vehicle as the children when arriving at the border. Customs officers are looking for missing children and may ask questions about the children who are travelling with you.

Returning to the United States

Every 30 days, returning U.S. citizens are allowed to bring back $800 (retail value) in merchandise duty-free, provided they have been out of the U.S. for 48 hours. This amount can include:

  • one carton of cigarettes
  • 100 cigars (not Cuban)
  • two kilograms of smoking tobacco
  • one litre of liquor, provided the buyer is 21 years of age

If the length of the stay is less than 48 hours, $200 in merchandise may be taken back to the U.S. duty-free (including up to five ounces of alcohol and 50 cigarettes). The following items are not permitted into the U.S.:

  • Cuban or Iranian products
  • fruits and vegetables
  • uncooked grains

Goods bought in Canada but manufactured in the U.S. are duty-free and not included in the basic exemption. Original handmade crafts and works of art are also exempt; however, a receipt of purchase may be required.

For further information on U.S. customs regulations, please visit http://www.cbp.gov/

Continuing Professional Development
Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
500 University Avenue, Suite 650 Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1V7
Tel: 416.978.2719 / Toll free: 1.888.512.8173

Email: info-PSR15010@cpdtoronto.ca