There is no debate that Toronto is one of the most expensive cities to live in. That’s not surprising considering it is one of the largest cities in Canada, and a major technological hub in North America. The many tourist attractions, historical landmarks, museums, and art galleries also makes it a major tourist attraction, further driving up prices. With an average home price well over $1M and rent steadily climbing, this translates to a higher cost of living, and more money spent on travel, entertainment and accommodations. Thankfully, there are many ways you can visit Toronto without breaking the bank.
Don’t rent a car
If you are staying downtown, renting a car is definitely not recommended. Parking is horrendous to find anywhere you go, and costs around $4 every half hour during the weekday. Instead Catch a 30 minute train from Pearson airport to downtown Toronto via the UP Express, which will run you about $13 (an Uber will run you about $75).
Toronto has many methods of public transportation including the train (subway), buses, and streetcars. Hoping on and off is free within a limited time and will cost you less than $4. D day pass will run you under $15.
Bikeshares are also adequately placed throughout the city and rapidly expanding. You can pick up a bike from one location and drop it off at another with a 24 hour pass for $7. They also offer 72 hour passes which will save you significant amounts of money.
Choose carefully when and where to eat
Eating at 5 star restaurants will no doubt cost you a fortune. But if you stick to local restaurants and bars, and choose off peak hours, you can avoid the tourist traps, the crowds, and save some serious bucks.
Consider this, eating out on Wednesday’s can save you 50 percent off wines. If you eat a late lunch or early dinner between 2-6pm, you will surely find thousands of happy hour deals in Toronto.
Dealiem is a great site to help you discover great local places to eat and drink, with a map feature that will even search for live music and free museums near you.
Save time for free attractions
The Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Bata Shoe Museum, are the many places that offer free admissions during certain days and times.
Many city parks and cultural centers also offer visitors a chance to discover the beauty of Toronto. Trillium Park, for instance, has the most spectacular view of Toronto skyline and water.
Where to Stay
High end and name brand hotels can run you $400-$600 a night, an Airbnb could easily cost less than $150, and even less if you leave the downtown area. Choose hotels outside the city core if you enjoy the conveniences of a hotel but still want to save a buck.