Visitor's Guide To Toronto

 

General Information for Conference Attendees

The capital of the Province of Ontario, Toronto is the economic powerhouse of Canada with the stock exchange (TSX) and many corporate head offices in the downtown core. This is only one aspect of the city, though. It is home to approximately 2.5 million people; 5.5 million in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Toronto affords visitors the some of the best that Canada has to offer in culture and entertainment. The true character of the city, however, can be found in the small town feel of its various neighbourhoods, making Toronto a very safe and “livable” city for its visitors and residents.

Public Transit
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) offers streetcars, busses and subway trains for safe and comfortable travel around the city at a cost of $3.00 per adult ride. Please note that streetcars and busses do not offer change, so exact fares, tickets, tokens or passes are needed.

Weather
Toronto usually experiences four very distinct seasons. The average summer weather conditions for June are:

  • June high: 24ºC / 75ºF
  • June low: 11ºC / 52ºF
  • Visitors can expect rain about 6 days out of 30 in June.

Time Zone
Toronto is in the Eastern Daylight Savings Time Zone (GMT -4 hrs). 

Languages
English is the language used in Toronto, however, on any street corner a multitude of languages can be heard as Toronto has a very diverse multicultural population. It is home to over 100 different cultures.

Banking
Banking hours differ by bank and branch, but are generally the same as common working hours (9am to 5pm). Some banks are open later or on weekends or Thursday evenings. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are located in banks and in various other locations throughout the city. They are usually available during and outside of regular banking hours, although sometimes with an additional service fee. Most businesses accept debit cards as a form of payment. Most major credit cards are accepted in Toronto.

Currency
Currency can be exchanged at banks or at currency exchange stations (one is located at the north end of the Eaton Centre shopping mall).

Tipping
For good service at a restaurant, a tip of 15% of the pre-tax bill is customary. Some restaurants add a service charge to the bill, especially for large groups, in which case further tipping is not expected. Tipping is also customary in bars, salons/spas, and taxis.

Smoking
In Ontario, smoking is prohibited in all enclosed public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars.

Electricity
Outlets and voltage (110 volts) are the same as in the United States. For those from other countries, adapters are required for electrical appliances. The frequency of electrical current in Canada is 60 Hz.

Measurements
Canada adheres to the metric system. Units such as the liter, kilometer, and kilogram are used for measurement. Celsius is used to measure temperature.

Telephone
The area codes for Toronto are 416 or 647. The area code for the surrounding GTA is 905. There is 10-digit dialing, that is, the area code and then the 7-digit phone number.

Mobile Phone
Please be aware that international roaming charges on a mobile phone can be extremely expensive, and it would be best for attendees to contact their individual carriers for policies and information.

Airport Transportation
The average cost of a taxi from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to the downtown area is approximately $50 one way. Airport Express Shuttle service is available with pick up and drop off to a number of convenient downtown locations for $32.95 for a round trip. (check out www.torontoairportexpress.com for details)

Hop-on, Hop-off City Tours
Experience Toronto aboard one of the London-style open-top Double Decker buses. This tour has been designed to allow you complete flexibility to explore Toronto on your own terms. Your ticket is valid for three touring days, which allows you to explore the many attractions our great city has to offer - such as CN Tower or Casa Loma. The Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour runs a continuous circle daily from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm, with most stops located at or near major Hotels in the downtown area. Join them and let their experienced guides introduce you to the unique history and excitement that is Toronto!
Your ticket allows you access to both attraction loops.

Downtown Loop
Beginning at Nicholby's - located on the corner of Front and York Streets - this loop features stops at local attractions such as the Hockey Hall of Fame, CN Tower, Rogers Centre, Air Canada Centre, Olympic Spirit, Toronto's Harbourfront, St. Lawrence Market, and the Entertainment District.
Uptown Loop
Beginning at the corner of Yonge and Dundas Streets, this loop features stops at local attractions such as Casa Loma, the Royal Ontario Museum, Bata Shoe Museum, Eaton Centre, Maple Leaf Gardens, and includes stops along Yonge Street and trendy Yorkville.

 

Attractions

Listed below are descriptions of some of the most popular Toronto attractions. Please visit www.toronto.ca for a more complete listing.

The CN Tower
301 Front Street West
Toronto, ON, M5V 2T6
416-868-6937

The world's tallest freestanding structure on land, the CN Tower, is located in the beautiful multi-cultural city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is considered one of the signature icons and one of the most visited landmarks in North America. Standing at 554.3 meters [1 815 feet and 5 inches], the CN Tower has much more to offer than just a beautiful view of the city of Toronto and Lake Ontario.
The elevator ride in itself is an attraction that will leave you with memories forever. The friendly staff at the restaurant or the adventures on the Sky Pod will ensure that your family, friends and yourself have wonderful lasting memories and experience one of the greatest thrills the city of Toronto has to offer. Adult Admission to Lookout + Glass Floor = $21.99 + taxes

Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON, M5H 2N2

The City Hall we see today was the result of a world-wide architectural competition in the sixties. The entry submitted by Viljo Revell of Helsinki, Finland was selected and the building opened on September 13, 1965. Unfortunately, Revell died before the opening, so the city dedicated a Commemorative Column to his memory.
The main floor of the building houses the Hall of Memory, a scale model of the city showing major attractions and upcoming changes to the area, as well as artist David Partridge's Metropolis, a mural made entirely of nails. Aside from the offices of Toronto’s Mayor and city councilors, citizens can look on as councilors from local wards develop policies and by-laws in the city council’s chambers.
In addition to providing services to local residents, Toronto City Hall is a popular tourist attraction. Located just outside of City Hall is Nathan Phillips Square -- a popular entertainment venue offering free concerts, ice skating, and an annual New Year's Eve celebration.

Museums

Toronto is home to a number of exceptional museums. Descriptions of the two most popular; the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario; are featured below. Some of the others include The Bata Shoe Museum, The Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Arts, Ontario Science Centre or Historic Fort York.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
100 Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON, M5S 2C6
416-586-8000

Recently renovated and expanded by the dramatic new architecture of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, designed by Daniel Libeskind, The Royal Ontario Museum is among the world’s leading museums of natural history and of world cultures. Explore an exceptional array of themed galleries throughout the Museum. With over six million objects in the ROM’s collections, there’s something new to discover around every corner.

It is the ROM’s mission to engage the public in exploration of cultural change and to serve as an advocate for science in the study of nature. Open 10:00 am – 5:30 pm daily, Adult Admission is $22.00.

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
317 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON, M5T 1G4
416-977-0414

Founded in 1900 by a group of private citizens as the Art Museum of Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the largest art museums in North America, with a newly expanded physical facility of 583,000 square feet. The grand re-opening of the AGO’s new facility took place in November of 2008 with an innovative architectural design by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry.
More than 40% of the collection vividly documents the development of Canada’s art heritage since pre-Confederation, including one of the largest and finest Inuit art collections in the world.

Masterpieces of European art, including works by renowned artists such as Anthony van Dyck, Thomas Gainsborough, Auguste Rodin, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and René Magritte are also on display.
Open Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 10 am – 5:30 pm Adult Admission is $18.00.

Toronto CityPass

An excellent and cost saving way to visit some of the most popular attractions in Toronto is to purchase a Toronto CityPass booklet.

The pocket-sized booklet provides you with attraction information, transportation direction, best times to visit and a map with one admission to each of the following attractions:

  1. CN Tower: one Attractions Experience ticket: Look Out, Glass Floor level, and choice of The Height of Excellence film or a motion theatre ride
  2. Casa Loma: general admission, audio guide & Pellatt Film
  3. Ontario Science Centre : general admission
  4. Royal Ontario Museum: general admission
  5. Toronto Zoo: general admission

For more information check out www.citypass.com/city/toronto.html

Sports

The Rogers Centre
1 Blue Jays Way
Toronto, ON, M5V 1J1

Rogers Centre, formerly known as SkyDome and famous the world over for its fully retractable roof, has just celebrated its 20th anniversary as a dynamic and versatile entertainment centre in the heart of Toronto. Located at 1 Blue Jays Way, the Rogers Centre is the home of the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club™, World Series Champions in 1992 and 1993.

The Blue Jays will be playing home games during dates of the conference:

  • June 22, 23, 24 – 7:07 pm start- Jays vs. St. Louis
Theatres

Toronto is a cultural hub for musical and theatrical performances. Here is a list of some of the theatres and their web sites:

Shopping

Eaton Centre


Toronto Eaton Centre is a place like no other. Its spectacular glass galleria soars above a fascinating selection of more than 230 retailers, restaurants and services.  Located in the heart of the city, it is one of the most interesting and exciting shopping experiences you will find anywhere.  Toronto Eaton Centre is located at the south-west corner of Yonge Street and Dundas Street and conveniently located on the subway line between Dundas Station and Queen Station.  Open Mon-Fri 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM, Sat 9:30 AM -7:00 PM, Sun 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Bloor/Yorkville


International retailers on Bloor Street and Yorkville Avenue offer high-fashion designs, eclectic boutiques, art galleries, fine crystal and china shops, as well as world-class dining. As the most exclusive district in Toronto, this is the place to go for “stargazing”. The luxury hotels in the area house visiting movie stars who are in town making feature films. Toronto is considered Hollywood North; the hit musical “Chicago” was filmed entirely in Toronto.