Toronto is a pretty typical large city, although many have commented on how safe the city is compared to large cities in the U.S.

The Economist intelligence unit "Safe Index 2015" named Toronto the safest city in North America, eighth safest in the world.

However like any large city, Toronto does have crime problems, but if you stay near the tourist areas, you won't have any troubles.  If you want to go exploring, ask the hotel staff what areas to avoid. When walking avoid carrying a visible map or tourist guide. It can attract unwanted attention.

 There are panhandlers in the downtown area. if approached be polite. If you don't wish to contribute say "not today". Some more serious folks will try to stop you when you are walking. Never stop. Once you stop you will have trouble getting away as they continue to engage you and later ask for money. Sometimes they have amazing tales of woe. Canada and Toronto has a good social safety net for truly needy people. They can get all the free food, accommodation and medicine they need. Many panhandle for extra cash for tobacco, alcohol or street drugs. 

The downtown area is generally bright and quite safe at night.

For health concerns, travellers usually won't be far from a pharmacy.  Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall are two of the major chains; the closest 24-hour pharmacy to downtown hotels is the Shoppers Drug Mart at 700 Bay Street (at Gerrard).  Downtown Toronto also has many major hospitals.  During the day, there are many "walk-in" clinics that are recommended over hospitals for less serious ailments whenever possible.  Travellers from outside Canada are not covered by government health plans and should have travel medical insurance for their trip.

Police - Fire - Ambulance

When you have an emergency dial 911

Your call will be answered by a trained emergency call taker. You can call 911 from any pay telephone, or cellular phone, toll free. The non-emergency number for Toronto Police Services is 416-808-2222.


Remain calm, speak clearly, and identify which emergency service you require. (Police, Fire, or Ambulance)

You will be asked for the following information: 

  • what is happening (fire, crime in progress or medical emergency) 
  • what is the location (street address, closest intersection, business name) 
  • what is your name, address, and telephone number 
  • you may be asked for additional information…DO NOT HANG-UP unless told to do so

911 call takers have the ability to link up with translations services. 140 languages are available, if the caller does not speak English, just stay on the line.

DO NOT call 911 when the situation is not dangerous and immediate action is not required.

Do not call 9-1-1 for: 

  • road conditions 
  • directions 
  • tourist information 
  • bus, streetcar, or subway information 
  • the weather 
  • just to talk

For non-emergency phone numbers, look at the inside cover of any local telephone book.

Referenced from Toronto Police Service 911 webpage