My dear fellow Travel Blogger – Welcome to Toronto! or as we Torontonians nicked named it, “Hogtown”, due to the fact that in the early 1900’s it used to have numerous pork processing plants.
The official name of this industrial and bustling city originated from the Mohawk phrase “Tkaronto” which means “where there are trees standing in the water”. Geographically speaking, Tkaronto, was located in The Narrows, near Lake Simcoe, roughly 130 kilometers north of where it currently sits. Toronto is well known throughout Canada as the largest multicultural metropolis. The city’s (including the GTA) 5.5 million residents come from about 70 different nationalities, so as you can well imagine, this city is defined by its ethnicity. But enough of history and facts, let’s move on to why I’m writing this post. I want to provide you with some basic but important information about Toronto, now that you’ll be in town for the TBEX conference. I don’t want to overwhelm you so I will give you the 5 most important things to know while you’re in Toronto this coming weekend.
1. Use the Transportation System
The subway system is linked with buses, and streetcars that will take you anywhere you want to go, so there’s really no need to rent a car while you’re in town. The last thing you want to do is rent a car to drive around downtown Toronto. What I suggest is that if you’re here for a week buy a weekly subway pass which will give you unlimited access to subway, streetcars, and buses. The subway hours of operations are Monday to Saturday from 6AM to 1:30AM, and Sunday from 9AM to 1:30AM. For more information visit the Toronto Transit Commission website. There you will be able to find route schedules, information on fares and passes, and a lot more. If you’re taking the subway to the TBEX conference the subway station closest to the Toronto Convention Center is St. Andrew station, located on the University line, and if you get disoriented coming out of the station just look up, the CN Tower is always south.
2. Currency and Taxes
Canada’s currency is based on the decimal system, with 100 cents to the dollar. You can exchange your currency for Canadian dollars at authorized currency exchange counters in Toronto. As of today, $1 CAD equals ¢0.97 USD. What about taxes? If the price tag on a certain item or service is $16.49 that will not be the total on your bill. The province of Ontario charges a tax called the “HST” or Harmonized Sales Tax. This tax is a consumption tax that is added to all goods and services rendered in the province. The HST percent is 13%.
If English is not your forté but you’re fluent in French then you’re in luck. French is one of Canada’s official language and both English and French are spoken in Toronto. So, feel free to use your French while you’re here.
Toronto experiences the four seasons, and right now we are in the middle of Spring and the average temperature is 16 degrees celcius (60 degrees Fahrenheit), however, the weather and temperature here is bipolar. It can get very hot and humid, but the very next day it can be rather cold. So, bring your umbrella, raincoat, but also be prepared to flash out your summer wear, you just never know. Another important thing is that we don’t measure the weather using the imperial system, we use the metric system, so the temperature here is measured in Celsius, not Fahrenheit, so prepared to convert if you must.
5. Entertainment and Attractions
Toronto has the best nightlife in the country and is famous for its Entertainment District. The Entertainment District is in the heart of Downtown Toronto and it’s decorated by theaters and performing arts centers. It not only has an array of cultural attractions, but the best nightclubs in all of Toronto. But wait, one more thing, if you’re in visiting Toronto, you must see Niagara Falls. I know it’s not actually located in Toronto but it’s only a 90 minute drive and a must-see attraction. Watching hundreds of thousands of gallons of water slide off a cliff in front of you is pretty awesome.
If you need detailed information regarding your upcoming visit to Toronto don’t hesitate and get in touch with me by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org