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Toronto, the capital of Ontario and the country's largest city, is home to a dynamic mix of tourist attractions, from museums and galleries to the world famous CN Tower and, just off shore, Toronto Islands. The city also offers a vibrant Entertainment District, featuring the latest musicals and other performing arts, and the historic Distillery District. The city center is still relatively easy to navigate, with many of the top attractions within walking distance of each other and a subway system to cover longer distances.
Known as the most multiculturally diverse city on the planet, over 140 languages are spoken in this city. It's estimated that over half of Toronto's residents were born outside Canada, and despite its complex makeup, Torontonians generally get along. When the weather is fine, Toronto is a blast: a vibrant, big-time city abuzz with activity. Some of the world's finest restaurants are found here, alongside happening bars and clubs and eclectic festivals.
Yes, winter in Toronto can be a real drag. Things get messy on the congested highways and archaic public transit system. But come with patience, an open mind and during the delightfully temperate and colorful spring or fall, and you're bound to have a great time.
The TTC provides subway, streetcar, and bus service within the City of Toronto. Most downtown routes have very frequent service and some run 24 hours.
You pay a single fare for each one-way trip. The same fare covers subways, streetcars, and buses within the City of Toronto -- there are no fare "zones" to worry about. You can transfer between routes for free as needed to reach your destination, but you'll need to pay a new fare for the return trip, or if you make a stopover (e.g. to shop, eat, or explore an area).
For adults, the most common fare options are:
Tokens and passes are sold at subway stations; while there, ask the fare collector for a free TTC Ride Guide map. You can also buy tokens and passes at convenience stores displaying a "TTC Fare Media Seller" or "TTC Ticket Agent" sign.
If you are paying cash or a using a single-ride token, you can get a paper "transfer" which acts as both proof of fare paid (required on the 501 Queen and 510 Spadina streetcar lines, which have roving fare inspectors) and allows you to change between routes at street level without paying again, so long as you're making a continuous one-way trip. Since it's free, it's a good idea to always get one. A transfer is dispensed by a red machine inside subway stations, or by the driver on a bus or most streetcars.
Toronto subways run very frequently, as often as every two minutes in rush hour and about every five minutes at other times. Service runs approximately 6 am to 1:30 am, with a 9 am start on Sundays. All subway trains stop at all stations along the line (there are no "express" trains or diverging routes).
Downtown Toronto lies within the U-shaped part of Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina, shown in yellow); the Yorkville area is along Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) between Bloor-Yonge and St. George stations.
Streetcars - Much of the above-ground public transit through downtown Toronto is provided by a large fleet of streetcars (known in some parts of the world as trams or trolleys). In 2007, National Geographic named the 501 Queen streetcar one of the world's 10 best streetcar rides, and many of the routes are a great way to see the city.
Some of the route highlights -- from west to east for each route -- include:
Buses - TTC buses operate the same way as most buses in other North American cities. Outside the downtown core, it's important to plan your trip carefully, as some buses run infrequently and not all routes run at all times.