As the number one tourist destination in Canada, Toronto attracts a whopping 27.5 million vacationers every single year. If you’re planning to add to that number, here are some helpful tips and tricks to make sure your visit is as fun as it can be. Just be warned: you may enjoy yourself so much that you end up browsing homes for sale in Toronto so you never have to leave!
Pick the Right Time
It’s a cliché to harp on about Canada’s brutal winters, but it’s a cliché rooted in reality. While you might be tempted to try visiting Toronto when it’s snowy in order to get the “real Canadian experience,” you’re more likely to end up stuck in your hotel room, grounded at the airport, or just plain freezing your buns off. Instead, do yourself a favor and schedule your vacation in the summer.
That way you can actually get outside and enjoy yourself without turning into a living ice sculpture.
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Beware the Sales Tax
Once upon a time, Canada had a policy of offering foreign visitors a 6% refund off of the country’s standard 13% sales tax. Alas, times have changed. Keep that in mind if you’re inclined towards impulse-buying, especially when it comes to overpriced souvenirs. Good thing the Canadian exchange rate is so charitable!
Eat & Shop Locally
That 13% sales tax might be a pain for travelers on a budget, but you’re going to pay that amount regardless of where you shop, so why settle for a familiar chain store when you can discover something new at one of Toronto’s many unique small businesses? The same goes for the city’s seemingly countless local restaurants.
If you really want to taste an authentic piece of Toronto life, eating and shopping like one of the natives is the best way to do it.
Use Public Transportation
Toronto is a big place, but it’s also designed to be easily navigable. The city occupies a largely flat area, so you don’t have to worry about trudging up steep hills, and it uses a simple grid layout, making it simple to find your way anywhere. If you really need a ride, though, your best bet is public transportation, which in Toronto is exceptionally reliable and affordable.
The Metro and buses both run late, and the city even has a network of sleek streetcars to get you to your destination in style.
Think Outside the Box
Everyone knows about the big attractions: the CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum, Niagara Falls, etc. While those spots are all certainly worth checking out, don’t be afraid to stray off the beaten path. The city hides all kinds of smaller (but no less exhilarating) hidden gems, such as the bohemian Kensington Market or the quirky Backyard Axe Throwing League.