Often referred to as the Six or Canada’s Downtown, Toronto is a vibrant, exciting city with unique events and activities happening around every corner, year-round. From big-city spectacle to rustic Canadiana, Ontario’s Capital is the place to discover all the best that Canada has too offer. Being Canada’s most populous city, with almost 3 million residents, Toronto has an abundance of diverse culture, food, and experiences to enjoy. With residents from around the world and scores of languages, foods, customs and celebrations – they’re what make the city great. Toronto is a city where you can experience the best in art, culture, food, entertainment and sports. After an exciting championship win from the Toronto Raptors, the city is alive and ready to show what else it has to offer. The city can be explored by car, bus, streetcar, bike and by foot.
The city is the anchor of the Golden Horseshoe region, which wraps around Lake Ontario from Toronto to Niagara Falls and totals over 8.5 million residents, approximately a quarter of Canada’s entire population. Toronto is the fourth largest city and fifth largest urban agglomeration in North America.
Why is it called The Six?
Famously known as the Six (also written as “The 6” or “The 6ix”) by Drake and other Toronto rappers, Toronto gained it’s nickname in reference to the shared digits of the city’s most common telephone area codes 416 and 647 and also due to the six municipalities that amalgamated into what is now the city of Toronto in 1998.
If you are arriving by air, you will be flying into one of Toronto’s two airports.
Toronto Pearson International Airport is the major airport serving the Toronto Area, it is located 25 minutes from downtown Toronto.
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, located on Toronto Island, minutes from the downtown core with links to the city by a short ferry ride or pedestrian tunnel.
Union Pearson Express is a dedicated air-rail link that speeds travellers from Toronto Pearson International Airport to Union Station in the heart of downtown Toronto. It’s fast, reliable, and the trip only takes 25 minutes, with trains leaving every 15 minutes between 5:30 am and 1:00 am. Tickets can be purchased online, at the ticket vending machines or the customer service counter on the arrival level in Terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson including and onboard the train during your journey. The Up Express station is located in Terminal 1 next to the Terminal Link Train.
The TTC, Toronto’s public transit system, offers travel options from Pearson Airport to several downtown Toronto areas. All day accessible airport bus service is available from the following subway stations: Kipling Station, Lawrence Station and Eglinton West.
Regular banking hours in Canada are 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday, with extended hours including weekends at some locations. Visitors who wish to cash cheques or require other banking services are advised to check times of operation with the institutions. Main branches of Canadian chartered banks, particularly in major centres, are equipped to exchange foreign currency as well. Most banks have automatic teller machines, which can be accessed 24 hours a day, using bank or credit cards on major international banking networks such as Interac.
The monetary system in Canada is based on dollars and cents. For denominations under five dollars we use coins – some we’ve even given cute names: the loonie ($1), and toonie ($2). Foreign currencies may be readily exchanged at banks, your hotel front desk, or at currency exchange bureaus located throughout the city. Bank debit or credit cards are the most convenient means of getting cash at the many 24-hour automated banking machines (ATMs. Many Canadian businesses will accept major credit cards such as Visa, Master Card, and American Express. For current rate of exchange information, please visit: http://www.bank-banque-canada.ca
Food & Beverage
Toronto is a true eater’s city and has a dynamic and diverse culinary scene. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or sumptuous, multi-course tasting menu, the city’s kitchens are renowned for their global influence and extraordinary cooking talent.
Alcoholic beverages in bottles are sold in special 'Liquor' stores, such as the LCBO. However, alcoholic beverages including beer and wine may be purchased in "Licensed Premises" establishments, such as restaurants, hotel lounges, pubs, and nightclubs. Minors are not admitted into bars. In Ontario, minors are defined as anyone under 19 years of age.
The electrical current is the same in Canada as in the United States: 110 volts AC at 60 Hz. Adapters are required for appliances from other countries.
There are two official Canadian languages – English and French. In addition to these, the top five languages spoken in Toronto are Chinese, Italian, Tamil, Portuguese and Spanish.
Visitors are not covered by Canadian health insurance plans. Check with your personal medical plan before leaving your home country to ensure you have adequate travel insurance. Delegates are urged to take out insurance to cover loss incurred in the case of cancellation, medical expenses and damage to, or loss of personal effects whenever traveling outside of their own country.
By law, smoking is not permitted in public buildings, on public transit, in shopping malls, and in most restaurants, pubs, nightclubs and casinos. City bylaw prohibits smoking within nine metres (30 feet) of an entrance or exit of any building that is used by the public.
Special Needs Travelers
Accessibility is a prime objective of business establishments, sporting events, entertainment venues and public transportation in the Toronto region. Consult The Canadian Travel Agencies guide for those with special requirements for more information. For details about the accessibility of specific attractions (e.g. Art Gallery of Ontario), please check each organization’s website for information.
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. The HST consists of a 5% federal portion and an 8% retail sales tax portion.
Toronto now has 3 area codes: 416,437, and 647. These area codes overlap. That is, they are all associated with the same geographic area. As a result, Toronto has 10-digit local dialing. You must always dial the area code as part of the number you are trying to reach.
Eastern Standard Time (EST)
If you’re happy with the service you receive, a 15 to 20% tip on the pre-tax bill is a standard expression of appreciation. Note that some restaurants automatically add this gratuity when serving large groups, so be sure to check your bill.
Toronto’s climate is modified by its location on the shores of Lake Ontario. The water in the lake ensures Toronto is warmer in winter and cooler in summer than it would otherwise be. They city experiences cold, damp winters, sunny springs, warm summers with some very hot days, and crisp autumns. During the 2021 International HBV Meeting, you can expect an average temperature of 18oC (64oF). For current weather conditions please visit https://weather.gc.ca/
Meeting participants who wish to arrange child-care during the meeting should inquire about services offered at their hotel accommodations.