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Welcome to Toronto!
Energetic, cosmopolitan, creative–those are just a few words to describe the buzzing metropolis that is Toronto. Home to 2.8 million people, this dynamic city offers a wealth of exciting cultural, culinary, and historical attractions. Here are some tips for navigating Hogtown in your free time.
General Toronto info
Get official tourism info from the City of Toronto and Tourism Toronto, including things to do, festivals and events, directions, and much more. If you have a smartphone, download the free, official See Toronto mobile app.
Many publications offer detailed information about the city, including news, restaurant listings, shopping guides, and more. Check out NOW Toronto, The Grid, blogto, Torontoist, and Toronto Life, for example.
Toronto is generally very safe and most safety precautions are common sense. Check out travel tips from Toronto Police Service.
Navigating the city
Many downtown attractions are within a short walking distance of the conference venue. Use Google Maps to find the best route to your destination.
Find subway, streetcar, and bus routes, as well as service hours and more, on the TTC website.
- Cash fare is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors.
- Save money buying tokens at subway stations (see prices).
- Save with a day pass if you are taking more than three trips in one day, ($11; covers one person on weekdays, two people on weekends).
Allow extra travel time during rush hour, and please note that subways don't start running on Sundays until around 9 AM.
Not all subway routes are running during the conference weekend. More details are available on the TTC website.
A word about TTC etiquette: Talking loudly on a cell phone, hogging extra seats, clipping fingernails on the train… Toronto has plenty of such examples of rude or inconsiderate transit rider behavior. Not that we think you’d do any of those things, but check out these easy etiquette tips (especially important during rush hour!) to ensure yourself a smooth ride. You can also check out a charming vintage version.
Toronto has several taxi companies:
- Beck* (416-751-5555)
- Diamond* (416-366-6868)
- Co-op* (416-504-2667)
- Hailo is a free downtown taxi-hailing app (available for iPhones and Android), which charges your credit card and automatically emails you an invoice.
- Uber works much the same way, but be sure to choose taxis, not the black-car service, which costs more.
*These have free iPhone apps, and Beck also has a free Android app.
Shopaholics, we hope you brought an extra suitcase—Toronto has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to covetable goods. While in Toronto for the 2014 EAC Conference, check out these shopping hot spots:
Toronto Eaton Centre
That would be the mega-sized shopping mall just west of the conference venue (just take Shuter Street to Yonge Street). The mall stretches from Queen Street to Dundas Street (it’s book-ended by subway stations) and has hundreds of stores offering fashion, shoes, beauty products, gadgets, and much, much more. Check out Urban Eatery, the massive food court on the lower level, for tasty multicultural eats, and browse the shop directory to see all the great shopping options.
Queen Street West
Take the Queen streetcar west—it’s a great ride if you want to see the city, but it’s also your shuttle to great shopping. You can get off a few stops past Bathurst and walk back. You’ll find loads of indie boutiques featuring all manner of gift-worthy goodies, plus artisanal bakeries, gourmet burger joints and hipster coffee shops. The closer you get to the Eaton Centre, the more chain stores you’ll see (like H&M, Zara, and the Gap). Check out the shop list before going so you don’t miss anything!
Yorkville and Bloor Street
Shop with the rich and famous! A hippie haven in the sixties, Yorkville is now a glossy hot spot featuring shops, restaurants, and high-end salons. It’s not all designer goods—I love the quirky gift shop Rolo (24 Bellair) and munching on panini sandwiches at Lettieri (Bellair and Cumberland), where the patio is perfect for people-watching, in a neighbourhood where people go to be seen. To get to Yorkville, take the subway to Bay Station, or walk west on Queen or Dundas to Bay Street and take the bus north to Bloor. For more information on the area and its shops, check out Yorkville and Bloor online.
Chinatown and Kensington Market
For seriously fun shopping, walk or take the Queen or Dundas streetcar west to Spadina and troll the shops of Chinatown. You’ll find everything from kitchenware to jewelry (plus, of course, pastries and all-day dim sum). Head a little farther west into Kensington Market, one of Toronto’s storied neighbourhoods. Home to a revolving door of immigrant groups over the decades, the market is now a humming, vibrant ’hood offering multicultural foods, vintage clothing, handcrafted gifts, furniture, and much more.
Organized Walking Tours
The conference committee is excited to host two guided walking tours of downtown Toronto.
“Old Toronto” walk with Muddy York Tours
Friday, June 6, leaving Li Ka Shing at 10 a.m., return at approx. noon
Get to know the history of Old Toronto on this fascinating walk, led by expert Richard Fiennes-Clinton of Muddy York Tours.
Learn about notable landmarks such as St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Massey Hall, and the Yonge Street theatre district. We’ll also wander through Toronto’s “Old Town District” and conclude our tour by visiting the world-renowned St. Lawrence Market, which was voted amongst the world’s best markets by National Geographic. Participants can either stay at this internationally famous market for lunch or return to Li Ka Shing with Richard.
The tour distance will be up to 1.5 km. Cost: $10 cash, payable to your tour guide. If you want to sign up, please RSVP to email@example.com. (If the group is large, we may add a second guide.)
“Magical Mystery Tour” of Coach House Books
Friday, June 6, leaving Li Ka Shing at 1:30 p.m., returning at 3:30 p.m.
Michael Ondaatje, Allen Ginsberg, Gwendolyn MacEwen… these are just a few of the literary luminaries whose stomping grounds have included Coach House Books over the past 40 years. Join your fellow editors for a free 45-minute tour of this storied publisher—you’ll see everything from the 1917 linotype machine to the “Magical Sleeper Chair.”
This tour is limited to 20 people, so sign up ASAP if you’re keen on going. To register, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Coach House Books.” (And if you change your mind, please let us know so we can give your spot to someone else.)
On the day of the tour, meet group leader Nancy Foran in the lobby of Li Ka Shing by 1:30 p.m. You’ll need two TTC tokens or $3 each way for the subway.