Located on the northwest shore of Lake Ontario, Toronto is a 90 minute drive from Niagara Falls, a five hour train ride from Montreal, an hour's flight from New York or Chicago, and an eight hour flight from western Europe.

Further down this page, you'll find information about train and bus services, which can be an affordable and easy way of getting around southern Ontario and Quebec.

By Air: Airports Serving the Toronto Area

In planning a flight to Toronto, you can choose from several airports:

  • Lester B. Pearson International Airport ( YYZ ) is 25 km (16 mi) northwest of downtown Toronto.  It's by far the largest airport serving the Toronto area.  See details below, and the article Toronto: Getting Downtown from Pearson Airport.
  • Toronto City Centre Airport ( YTZ ) is 3 km southwest of the financial district, on the Toronto Islands, and is used by Porter Airline's short-haul flights.  See details below, and the article Toronto: Getting Downtown from the Island Airport .
  • J.C. Munro Hamilton International Airport ( YHM ) is 85 km (55 mi) southwest of downtown Toronto.  The city of Hamilton isn't a major travel destination in itself, but if you're renting a car this airport is conveniently halfway between Toronto and Niagara Falls.  See the Hamilton: Arriving & Departing page for details.
  • Buffalo Niagara International Airport ( BUF ) is 175 km (108 mi) from Toronto, just across the United States border and close to Niagara Falls.  It can easier to find cheap flights from the U.S. to Buffalo, if you don't mind the two hour drive or bus ride into Toronto.  See Buffalo: Arriving & Departing for more info.

Pearson Airport

Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International Airport is Canada’s busiest passenger airport, located in neighbouring Mississauga.  The airport is a major hub for Air Canada, and offers flights on over 75 other airlines.

Getting Downtown from Pearson Airport 

There are a number of ways to get downtown.  See the article Toronto: Getting Downtown from Pearson Airport.

Terminals and Connections

You can use the airport's Live Flight Information search to get terminal and delay information for your flight.

The airport has two terminals, numbered 1 and 3.  (Terminal 2 was demolished a few years ago.)  To get between the terminals, take the LINK shuttle train.  It's between the terminal building and the parking garage, connected by skybridges; you won't have to go outside.  The trip takes about two minutes and you'll wait no longer than five minutes for a train.  LINK is free, wheelchair accessible, and runs 24 hours a day.

If connecting through Toronto, make sure you allow the minimum connection time for your airline (for Air Canada, it's found on their web site.)  When making international connections in terminal 1, follow the connections signs carefully: they may point you to a faster way to clear customs without leaving the "secure" area.

Flying to the United States 

Due to heightened security measures, it's prudent to arrive three hours before your US-bound flight.

There's a limit of one carry-on bag, plus one personal item: a purse, laptop, or camera bag.  (Some additional items, such as medical devices, diaper bags, and pets, are exempt from these limits.)  See the CATSA web site for details.

Expect more intensive security screening for US-bound flights, including full bag searches and the use of full-body scanners.  These measures are leading to longer lines than were typically seen before 2010.

When flying to the United States, you will clear U.S. Customs and Immigration in Toronto.  This is called "pre-clearance" and means your flight will arrive in the U.S. as a "domestic" flight.  But it does lengthen the check-in process in Toronto, so make sure you leave plenty of time.  You'll also need to have the street address of your hotel (or wherever you're staying) handy to fill out the customs form.

You'll need a passport or NEXUS card to enter the United States by air; for full details, see United States: Crossing the Border.  Also, make sure you have the full street address for where you're staying in the United States, as this information is required on customs forms.

ATMs in the Airport

The ATMs (cash machines) throughout the airport are connected to the Interac, Mastercard, Maestro, Cirrus, Visa, and American Express network.  If your card only has the Plus logo, it may not work in the airport's ATMs.  You may be able to use it at the currency exchanges found throughout the terminals.

There's also an ATM that takes all major cards in the Sheraton Gateway Hotel connected to Terminal 3.  Cross the skybridge (which also connects to the LINK shuttle train), enter the hotel lobby, take the escalator down, and turn right.

 

City Centre (Island) Airport

This airport on the Toronto Islands is home to Porter Airlines, with flights to Montreal, Ottawa, Halifax (with a stop in Ottawa), Thunder Bay, New York (Newark), and Chicago (Midway).  Some helicopter tour companies also operate from here.

There are a number of ways to get to your hotel from the Island airport.  See the article Toronto: Getting Downtown from the Island Airport.

 

By Train: Union Station

Those arriving in Toronto by train will arrive at Union Station, located at the intersection of Front St. W. and Bay St. in the heart of downtown.  Union Station is linked to both Yonge and University subway lines, as well as buses and taxis. Numerous major hotels and tourist attractions such as the CN Tower and Rogers Centre are within walking distance.

Train service between Toronto and Canadian destinations is provided by VIA Rail.  (For all the options to Niagara Falls, see the article Niagara Falls -- A Day Trip from Toronto.)   Amtrak provides service from Toronto to New York City. Ontario Northland trains serve North Bay and Cochrane with rail service to James Bay.

 

By Bus

Intercity Buses at the Toronto Coach Terminal

Intercity bus service arrives and departs at the Toronto Coach Terminal, located at the intersection of Dundas St. W. and Bay St.  (The closest subway station is Dundas, with an underground PATH connection through The Atrium on Bay.)  Major bus companies include Greyhound Canada and Coach Canada, along with their low-cost carriers Megabus and NeOn.

For all the ways to get to Niagara Falls, see the article Niagara Falls -- A Day Trip from Toronto.

Regional Commuter Buses

Some towns and cities within an hour or so of Toronto are served by regional public transit buses operated by GO Transit, many of which serve the GO bus terminal next to Union Station.  See the article Toronto: Public Transportation for more info.