Going to Toronto and also to Niagara Falls? You are in the right place to learn how to discover the region.

ITINERARY - CANADA: here is the full itinerary for a tour of Canada.

Toronto - « TORONTO » sign at Nathan Phillips Square

Ready for Toronto? The capital of Ontario but also the most populous city in Canada. Once there, don’t miss the very impressive Niagara Falls that are located pretty close to Toronto.

With that being said, let’s go to see the details of the schedule:

Schedule - Toronto, 3 days

Day 1: discovering the city

Tip: you can also click on the link down below from your smartphone, to open the itinerary to follow on google maps: « Downtown Toronto » walking tour

Once in Toronto, you can start your tour at Nathan Phillips Square. Over there you will be able to see the TORONTO sign, and around it you will also be able to observe the architecture of the old and new City Hall. When facing the letters, the old City Hall is located on your right and the new City Hall is located just behind the TORONTO sign.

Toronto - old city hall

To continue the tour, head to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. To do so, go behind the TORONTO sign and go forward to the new City Hall. From there, turn left and go to the end of the street. You will then arrive on « University Avenue ». Turn right and you should see the Legislative Assembly from afar. If you are interested, you can take a free guided tour of Ontario’s historic Legislative Building (you need to register in advance on the website).

Toronto - Legislative Assembly of Ontario Toronto - alley facing the Legislative Assembly

Once your tour of the Legislative Assembly is over, it will be time to discover a totally different place, the Yonge-Dundas Square, it’s kind of Toronto’s Times Square! Also, right next door you can find the Toronto Eaton Centre which is a very large shopping centre. You can have lunch in this area, either in one of the many restaurants, or in the food court of the Eaton Centre.

Tip: be careful because in town, all parking lots don’t apply the same rates. For example, in Downtown, half an hour costs $3.5 and full day (Monday to Friday) costs $20, while in Chinatown, half an hour costs $2 and full day (Monday to Friday) costs only $8! And Chinatown is only 10 minute walk from Downtown.

Once you’re done shopping, it will be time to drive towards Niagara Falls. It’s about one and a half hours drive from Toronto. Once there, drop your car off at the hotel and walk to the falls. You will see that at night, the falls are illuminated with a lot of colours that are changing from time to time, it’s a light show!

Toronto - Niagara Falls - Horseshoe Falls at night Toronto - Niagara Falls - American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls at night

Day 2: Niagara Falls!

Toronto - Niagara Falls - American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls

After enjoying the Niagara Falls lights show at night, you need to go back there the next morning. The view is truly breathtaking, I didn’t know that I would be so impressed! The Canadian side is really the best when it comes to watching the falls, you will get a panoramic view of all 3 falls: Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. In addition, you can take a boat cruise that will take you to the bottom of the falls. There are two companies for that cruise:

  • Hornblower: that leaves from the Canadian side and gives red colored ponchos
  • Maid of the Mist: that leaves from the American side and which gives blue colored ponchos

Tip: If you have some time left, I recommend going to the American side to complete your observation of the falls. That way you will be able to get a close-up view from the many observation points. To do so, you need to walk the entire boardwalk (walking away from the Horseshoe Falls) and to cross the Rainbow Bridge, the crossing costs $1. However, you will need your passport and an ESTA.

After lunch, you can go shopping at the Niagara Falls Outlet which is a giant mall that looks exactly like the outlets you can find in the US. Once you’re done shopping, get back to Toronto where you can go strolling in Chinatown to buy some cheap souvenirs such as t-shirts, magnets, key rings. You can also explore the many small shops that sell all kinds of Asian food. And for dinner, I recommend trying one of the many restaurants in Chinatown.

Day 3: harbourfront

Tip: you can also click on the link down below from your smartphone, to open the itinerary to follow on google maps: « Toronto waterfont » walking tour

Toronto - CN tower

For your last morning in Toronto, you can go strolling on the harbourfront to see the CN Tower. You can also climb up there to get a panoramic view of the city. Then continue walking until you reach the historic Distillery district. Over there you can stroll among the shops, restaurants and art galleries, while observing the old red brick buildings that once housed a large whiskey distillery. On the way back, you can make a stop at the St. Lawrence Market. After a little tour of the market, you can even have lunch there!

Tip: if you follow the route I took, after lunch, go to the airport to take a domestic flight that will take you to the next stop, Vancouver.



Canadian dollars

To get Canadian dollars, there are, to me, 2 excellent ways:

  • Global Alliance: if your bank is a member of this alliance, then you can withdraw cash at any of the cash withdrawal machines of the Scotiabank in Canada with your credit card. They don’t take commission and have one of the best rates.

Tip: for example, the members are:

  • Bank of America or Bank of the West in the USA
  • Barclays in the UK
  • Westpac in Australia and New-Zealand
  • BNP Paribas or Hello Bank in France
  • Currency exchange offices: you can also carry some cash and go to change it over there (or even change it before going). And if you need money at the airport, just change what you need there, you’ll change the rest in town.

Note: while in Canada, take a good look at the banknotes, you will notice that they are all made of plastic!



In Canada, like in the U.S., all stores display prices without tax. The tax is approximately 15% in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia (7% to 10% provincial tax and 5% federal tax). So you just need to know that the price will be higher at checkout. However there is an exception on all unprocessed food because the tax doesn’t apply.


If you are planning on going to the restaurant, be aware that the bill can quickly become very expensive because on top of the price of the meal is added the 15% tax and you also have to add 15% tip. Basically, when paying the bill, you have to add twice the amount of the tax!


In Toronto, I had stayed in 2 different hotels:

  • a first one: at Niagara Falls
  • a second one: close to the airport to be ready for my flight to Vancouver

The first hotel where I stayed was the Diplomat inn located in the city of Niagara Falls, quite close to the falls. It’s good value for money.

Description: dated but decent sized rooms. The bathroom is provided with a bathtub. [UPDATE 2020 : the hotel has been completely renovated, and now looks very comfortable]

Price: about €45 per night for 2 people, in September.

Location: convenient location, at about 15 minute walk from the falls.

Pros Cons
decent sized rooms dated rooms [UPDATE 2020 : the rooms have been renovated]
good value for money -
convenient location -

The second hotel where I stayed in the Toronto area was the Monte Carlo inn Toronto West Suites. It’s located in the city of Mississauga, close to the airport. It’s good value for money.

Description: comfortable and functional rooms. The bathroom is provided with a bathtub. Breakfast is included into the price of the room. It’s a kind of buffet, with corn flakes, oatmeal, toasts, milk, coffee, juices, fruits …

Price: about €65 per night for 2 people, in September.

Location: the hotel is located less than 10 minute drive from Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Pros Cons
comfortable and decent sized rooms -
good value for money -
breakfast included -
convenient location -



Renting a car to visit Canada is definitely the best solution. It gives you a lot of freedom, you can go anywhere you want to go at any time! You won’t need an international drivers licence for a trip up to 3 months, it can be up to 6 months in some provinces. Just remember to take out CDW (included into Gold Mastercards and Visa Premier cards) and LIS insurance when renting a car. And I highly recommend considering renting a car in one city and returning it in another, that way you won’t have to drive all the way back. Last thing to know, renting a car from the airport is not more expensive than renting it in the inner city!

Tip: to park in the city, it’s better to go to underground car parks rather than parking on the street because the price is often the same. The advantage of car parks is that they allow you to park for an indefinite period, you pay for the number of hours parked, while street parking is usually limited to a few hours.
Please note: during rush hour, street parking spaces are removed to allow the opening of an additional lane for cars. So if it is written $2 per hour from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. then $1 per hour from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., parking is often prohibited from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.!
Very often in Canada, the parking meter ticket should be kept with you and not displayed on the dashboard. Sometimes street parking is free for 3 hours, but there is nothing to do. You just have to park and remember to leave within 3 hours.


To be able to find your way when driving the car, there are several options available:

  • Google MAPS: it works even without any connection, it’s just that there won’t be traffic information. All you have to do is to save the maps before going or even once there, as long as you have an internet connection. To do so, on your smartphone, in the application, click on your profile picture at the top right of the screen, then click on « offline maps ». And then click on « select your own map » and zoom out the map until you see the area you want to save. You have to repeat the operation several times if the area to be saved is too large.
  • GPS rental from the rental car company: you can rent an optional GPS from the rental car company, but it’s pretty expensive and you won’t have traffic information either. In my opinion, this is not an option to consider. However, if you are renting a high-end car, there is frequently a GPS already available in the car, so without extra charge. But you won’t know it until you get on board, because no one will tell you, either at booking or when getting the keys. For example, when I arrived at Montreal airport, as I had requested to return the car to Toronto and that they only had 2 cars registered from Ontario that had to return to Toronto, I got a « free upgrade » for an Audi A4 which had a GPS on board!

Thanks for reading :)