General Information

Entry into Canada

When you enter Canada, a Canadian Border Services Agency officer will ask to see your passport (and a valid visa, if one is necessary). You may be asked for proof that you are attending a meeting or convention and it may be useful to have a copy of the meeting agenda and/or registration on hand. This may also be useful when returning to the U.S. should a similar question be asked. As of March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid visa. All participants require a valid passport and may require other documentation such as a visa and/or biometrics to enter Canada. For detailed information about entry visas you can visit the Citizenship and Immigration website. We encourage you to confirm if you need an eTA or visa. Travel documents and identification must be presented at the border upon entry into Canada.

Weather

Temperatures can be cool in Toronto in October, but not unpleasant. The average low temperature is usually between 4ºC/39ºF and 9ºC/48ºF with a high of 14ºC/57ºF. Visitors can expect rain about 10 out of 31 days in October. For up-to-date weather information in Toronto, see Environment Canada at:
http://weatheroffice.gc.ca/city/pages/on-143_metric_e.html

Drinking Water

Ordinary tap water is safe to drink in Canada.

Voltage

Electric current in Canada is 110 volts, 60 cycle AC. An adaptor must be used with appliances from Europe or elsewhere that operate on a different voltage.

Local time

Eastern Standard Time Ontario: GMT – 5

Currency

Canada’s currency is the Canadian dollar. For denominations under five dollars coins are used. Popular nicknames for these coins include the “loonie” ($1), and “toonie” ($2). U.S. dollars are accepted in most Toronto establishments, although you’ll receive change in Canadian funds and exchange rates will differ from merchant to merchant. You’ll find cash machines/ATMs in most banks, hotels and shopping centres. Travellers’ cheques and credit cards are accepted at most (but not all) major retailers. Currency exchange is available at banks and kiosks throughout the city and at the airport. (An online daily exchange converter is available here.) Most major credit cards are accepted throughout Toronto.

Tipping

If you are happy with the service you receive, a 15-20% tip on the pre-tax bill is a standard expression of appreciation when dining out in the city. Note that some restaurants automatically add this gratuity when serving large groups, so be sure to check your bill. In bars and clubs, a $1 tip is expected per drink. In hotels, a tip from $2 to $5 per day or per service is appreciated for the housekeeper and the bellman. Tips are also expected for services such as haircuts, shoe shines and taxi rides. 15-20% is standard in these situations as well.

Taxes

The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is a 13% tax that is applied to most purchases of taxable supplies of goods and services in the Province of Ontario.

Smoking

Smoking is not allowed in a workplace, restaurant, on school property, within nine meters of a hospital entrance, and other prohibited places. Ashtrays or other smoking paraphernalia are not permitted in these places.

Taxis

There are a number of different taxi companies in Toronto—each has a distinct look. Fares are standard, metered and non-negotiable. The driver should start the meter at the beginning of your ride and stop it when you reach your destination. Refuse to ride in a taxi without an operational meter. If your service was acceptable, a 10-15% tip is customary

Driving Around Town

Toronto’s streets follow a basic grid pattern and are easy to navigate. Speed limit signs are posted on each Street. The city’s “rush hour” is more than an hour long—count on heavy traffic from 7:00-9:00 a.m. and again from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Parking on most downtown streets is limited to specific times of day, and often requires you to purchase and display a ticket from one of the parking machines located along the street. Be sure to check and obey the signs posted along the street to make sure your vehicle doesn’t get ticketed or, worse, towed away.

Public Transit (www.ttc.ca)

Toronto has one of North America’s finest transportation systems, the TTC. With easy-to-navigate subways, buses and streetcars, getting around the city is easy. When using the TTC a single fare will take you anywhere in the city on a one way trip. You can freely transfer between subway, streetcar and bus, but make sure you obtain a transfer when and where you pay your fare. On buses and streetcars, exact change is required.

Underground City

The Underground City PATH is downtown Toronto’s underground walkway linking 27 kms (16 miles) of subterranean shopping, services and entertainment. Follow the brightly coloured PATH signs and you’ll reach your downtown destination easily in weatherproof comfort.

Further Visitor Information

An INFOTOGO Desk (infotogo@toronto.ca) is located within the Ontario Travel Information Centre at 20 Dundas Street West (between Yonge and Bay Streets, in the Atrium on Bay), just a few feet away from the Toronto Eaton Centre and Yonge-Dundas Square. If you’re calling from outside of the Greater Toronto Area, contact Tourism Toronto at 1-800-499-2514.

Useful Links

Toronto Tourism http://www.seetorontonow.com/ Toronto Travel Guide http://www.seetorontonow.com