Hiring a car in Toronto Pearson International Airport
Toronto Pearson is Canada’s largest airport, its facilities are very comprehensive, and as such you will find many options when it comes to hiring a car.
The car rental desks are located on Level 1 of the parking garages next to both terminals. All the major car hire companies operate out of Toronto Pearson. You’ll find Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, National/Alamo and Thrifty.
You’ll also find a good range of car types available through these car hire companies, from compact hatchbacks, to premium sedans, SUVs and 4x4s. In general, most cars on offer will have an automatic transmission.
Leaving Toronto Pearson International Airport
The airport is 30km from the centre of town, but the drive in should only take 30 minutes in light traffic.
Head south on the ON-409 W, then take the ON-427 S and then merge onto the Gardiner Expy E (you’ll also merge onto Lake Shore Blvd W, and then rejoin the Gardiner Expy E). Take the Bay St/York St exit towards Yonge St and you will be in the centre of town.
If your car hire company requires you to return the vehicle with a full tank of petrol, you can find fuel stations both within the airport complex, as well as on exits off all the freeways.
Driving in Toronto
Canada drives on the right, but the roads in this country are extremely well maintained, well lit and wide. Town planning across the country is pretty easy to follow, and generally foreigners driving in Canada do not find it a stressful experience. However, it is important to note that during the winter, driving in this country can be very treacherous due to heavy snowfall, freezing rain and black ice. If you do decide to hire a car during this season, please ensure your hire car is equipped with winter tyres, and that you are confident to drive during this season. Avoid driving in the rush hour periods of the city, these are typically 8-9:00am and 4-7:00pm.
Parking is in general considered to be quite difficult in downtown Toronto, and it is worth researching the local car parking lots in the area. It is recommended that if you are going to rent a car, that you ensure that your hotel, or booked accommodation offers free parking, so that you do not have to rely on street parking, which you may find difficult to secure.
It is advised that you get an International Driving Permit (IDP) as this helps to legitimise your license when abroad, please make sure you carry your IDP and license with you when you are driving in Canada.
What can you see and do in Toronto?
Though Toronto doesn’t have the architectural punch of Montreal, or the dramatic scenery of Vancouver, it is one of Canada’s best-loved cities, and that is down to its wonderful atmosphere, great nightlife, wonderful cuisine, and its friendly residents.
Get to grips with the geography of the city by climbing to its highest point, the CN Tower, where from its observation deck you can overlook the entire city, and Lake Ontario. When you come back down to earth, make for the Royal Ontario Museum where you can tour the extensive and excellent exhibitions in this state-of-the-art natural history museum.
In the heart of town you can also see the Casa Loma, built by an eccentric millionaire in the early 1900s, this unusual Gothic mansion now runs tours, has a restaurant and a gift shop as well as hosting events. A step back in time to when the city was young.
Then spend your evening in the Entertainment District, similar to London’s West End or New York’s Broadway, where visitors can indulge their love of musicals, drama, or concerts.
If you want to go a little further afield, heading to the Toronto Islands is a great way to see the city as a whole, and take advantage of all the outdoor sports Canada is known for, such as rowing and sailing.
Please note all information is current as of November 2015.
Reviews for Toronto Pearson International Airport
4 stars | Amanda Foley
Biggest airport in Canada - I often do layovers here. Decent selection of restaurants, good signage, free wifi (if I remember correctly).
4 stars | D'Maris Coffman
Clean, efficient high tech airport. Reminded me a bit of Frankfurt which is where I had just been. No complaints.
3 stars | Johnny Jet
YYZ is a solid airport. Not the most beautiful but it works and has free WiFi and okay food options. Tim Hortons has the cheapest water but I just refill a water bottle from a fountain. If traveling internationally be prepared for a LONG walk to immigration.