The cosmopolitan city of Toronto is one of the most visited cities in Canada and for good reason. The province of Ontario is nearly 416,000 square miles, most of which is sparsely populated but boasts breathtaking natural scenery. Toronto is the province’s capital and is renowned for its welcoming locals (known as Torontonians), green open spaces, world-class sports teams, cleanliness, and a culture that welcomes and embraces diversity and progression. What can prevent some from experiencing all of this, however, is that Toronto (like most Canadian cities) is one of the most expensive cities to visit. Luckily, with a little bit of careful planning, it’s perfectly possible to make a trip to Toronto work on a budget.
Here are six top tips for travelers wanting to visit Toronto without breaking the bank.
- Book flights as early as possible
The first step in finding cheap flights to Toronto is booking early, as this can often result in great deals. You can also save money by traveling in the off-peak season. In September, for example, the weather is still pleasant, and the crowds have mostly disappeared.
2. Travel on TTC
The TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) is the public transport system, including a subway system, streetcar lines and bus routes all across the city. You may need to use more than one type of transport for a journey, but if you get a TTC pass or a PRESTO card, you can hop between them with ease.
3. Choose budget accommodation
Hotels in Toronto are costly, so you should look for alternative options if you can. For example, there are several high-quality hostels in Toronto that offer shared rooms and bathrooms. Some even include a buffet breakfast in the morning which can be a real money saver. You’ll also be able to meet like-minded travelers and possibly take part in organized trips to key tourist attractions. There are also home-sharing services like Airbnb which enable you to rent a room in someone else’s home. This can be a low-cost way to get some comfort and hospitality with local people.
5. Keep food simple
To avoid spending money in expensive restaurants every day, you could aim to buy from street vendors. One of Canada’s most popular dishes is Poutine, which is a portion of fries with gravy and cheese cream. However, your cheapest option is to buy food from local stores. If you’re staying in a hostel, you should have access to kitchen facilities, which means you can make your own food.
6. Look for free activities
Because Canada is such a beautiful country, it’s not hard to keep yourself busy for next to no money. The natural landscape surrounding Toronto is home to breathtaking lakes, lush green forests, hiking, and cycling trails and huge national parks ready to be explored. In the winter, there are plenty of free museums and galleries to visit, such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Tour Guys offer free walking tours through the city during the summer.