“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”Anonymous
Toronto is one of the 10 Most Multicultural Cities in the World. It’s believed that over half of Toronto’s residents were born outside Canada.
I recently got a chance to visit Toronto Canada. It was a 2 days visit and the main motive behind this trip was to visit Niagara Falls.
Lester B. Pearson International Airport, branded as Toronto Pearson International Airport and simply known as Pearson Airport or Pearson, is the primary international airport serving Toronto and other regions in the province of Ontario, Canada.
The Union-Pearson (UP) Express(https://www.upexpress.com/) goes from Pearson International Airport (YYZ) to downtown’s Union Station in about 25 minutes. Trains come every 15 minutes and run between 5:30am and 1:00am daily. Price is CAD 12.35 for an adult one-way ticket.
Toronto is big and busy city, but getting around is relatively easy. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) runs a series of subway trains, streetcars and buses throughout the city, with a few lines operating 24 hours. Payment is accepted via cash, tickets or tokens, monthly passes and pre-loaded “Presto” cards. Seems 1-day unlimited bus card is also available.
Normal taxi’s , Uber, and Lyft are quite common in Toronto.
Toronto is extremely safe and is a great city to explore on foot, which will allow you to take your time and get to know the different neighbourhoods.
If you are looking for a Public transport to reach Niagara Falls, there are 2 main options available.
a) Bus (Like Mega Bus — https://ca.megabus.com)
The direct bus would take around 2 hours and the charge would be around 16-21 CAD (One side)
b) Train (Via Rail and Go). The Direct train service will take around 2 hours charge would be around 23 CAD (One Side). Please also note that many companies are providing full package day tours from Toronto.
I had opted for the train service. My booking was as follows:
Union Station (Toronto) departure 9AM and Niagara Falls Arrival 11AM (GO Transport).
The train journey starts from UNION station. Please note that it’s a big station and there are clear markings which will help you to reach the GO/VIA Rail terminals.
For passengers travelling via this train, they also offer a Free Bus shuttle to the Niagara Falls from the railway station. Please note that only the onward shuttle journey is free which means, you will have to arrange your own travel options back from Niagara Falls to the Railway station in the evening.
Either you will have to arrange a taxi like ‘Uber’ or use a WEGO Shuttle service. The minimum card which they have is a ‘WEGO 24 Hours’ pass, which means you will have to spend around 9 CAD.
For Multiple shuttle trips, WEGO 24 Hours is a good option but for a single trip back to railway station, this doesn’t make sense.
Considering the number of people that are visiting Niagara, I think Government should also provide some cheaper options as the current options are very limited.
Niagara Falls departure 17:45 PM and Union Station (Toronto) Arrival 19:45 PM (VIA Rail Canada). This train comes from US and have a 30 minutes wait time in Niagara Falls station for completing the Immigration process (for passengers who are coming from US). There is also a Pantry car available in this train, where you can get some snacks aswell.
Even though there are many options after reaching Niagara, the ones that should never be missed are:
1) Behind the falls:
You can go underground to have the ‘Behind the Falls’ experience. The entry point is the extreme end of the Welcome Centre. Once you’ve purchased your tickets (they control the entry, I had booked for a 12:30 Entry after taking the ticket at 11am) you can go down the elevators. There are 2 tunnels and a platform area – where you can see the falls from a different angle and see the ice formations in winter. It’s really a unique view.
If its too crowded, you can very well avoid the 2nd tunnel (Grand Falls Portal) as it is just a replica of the 1st tunnel (Cataract Portal) but in a further distance.
NOTE: Please note that you will be provided a thin Mist Poncho (Recyclable)
2) Hornblower Niagara cruise:
This is a 20-minute ride that takes you close to the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and the mighty Canadian Horseshoe Falls (which is the best of the Niagara Falls!) It was a full ‘Mist Experience’ (you will get wet under the Horseshoe Falls!). But it’s really a life time experience.
American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls are in the US region. The Bridal Veil Falls is the smallest of the three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls.
There is also an on-board Audio commentary which you can listen to know more details/history of all the 3 falls.
Tourists from USA also visit these 3 falls in a ferry service operated by a different company.
For people with Walking disabilities, you can also try using the Funicular service to reach near the boat. (I believe the Funicular + ferry combo tickets are also available)
NOTE: Please note that you will be provided a thin Mist Poncho (Recyclable)
More details here: https://www.niagaracruises.com/voyage-to-the-falls-boat-tour/
Since it’s a 1-day trip, you will have to certainly look for some lunch options. There are couple of food courts near to the falls, but I felt most of them are overpriced.
So, I thought to walk further away from the main falls area and managed to see ‘Terrace Food Court’. The following options were available in that food court (Great Canadian Burger, Pizza Hut Express, Subway and KFC). It was far less overcrowded when compared to other places and the food options were also economical.
If you want to stay overnight near the falls, there are many options available. Many of the larger chains like the Marriott’s have presence here.
If you have time, you can also explore some of the other options below:
1) Zip Liner
2) White water walk
3) Whirlpool Aerocar
4) Floral showhouse
5) Butterfly conservatory
6) Falls Incline railway
From the First floor of the main building (Welcome Centre) near the falls, you can reach the ‘Incline railway’.
There are ticket counters available near that place.
7) Niagara’s Fury
8) Niagara – on the lake
9) Skylon tower
10) Rainbow Bridge:
The Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge, commonly known as the Rainbow Bridge, is an arch bridge across the Niagara River gorge, and is a world-famous tourist site.
It connects the cities of Niagara Falls, New York, United States (to the east), and Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada (west). I believe you would need a valid travel document (like passport) to move between the countries using this bridge.
I also got a chance to do a sneak preview of Toronto down town.
Some major attraction within Down town are:
CN Tower (Night Views are also spectacular)
Rogers Centre (home of the famous Toronto Blue Jays baseball team)
Companies lie Tour Guys (https://www.tourguys.ca/) will help you with walking tours if that is something you are interested in.
If you really want to visualise the real beauty of the sky scrapers, I would certainly request you to walk till the Jack Layton ferry terminal and take a ferry to ‘Centre Island’, ‘Hanlan’s Point’ or the ‘Ward’s island’.
Due to some reason, the ‘Hanlan’s Point’ ferries were not available on the day I visited, and I just took the next available ferry to ‘Centre Island’. The ticket price was around 6 Euros (return trip)
Another suggestion will be to take the late evening ferries during summer (sometime after 7PM), as the views during that time will be amazing.
In these regions, the important point to note is that all the items displayed are without taxes and at the time of purchase, the tax amount will be included in the bill.