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Tips on How to Save Money when You Visit Toronto

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Even if you're not on a strict budget, it's nice to find ways to save money, so that you may indulge in other ways - say a luxury hotel or expensive meal out, or spa visit.

Plus, often free or cheap activities can be just as enjoyable than more touristy outings and offer a more authentic experience of the city.

Consider Flying into an Airport other than Toronto Pearson International Airport

1. Toronto City Centre Airport is the hub for Porter Airlines, which has several Canadian destinations plus New York City and Chicago. The Toronto City Centre Airport is right downtown, making transportation from the airport less expensive than from Toronto Pearson International Airport - 20 mins outside of the city.

2. Hamilton International Airport is a 45 min to hour drive from Toronto and about the same to Niagara Falls, making it a convenient and cheaper base from which to visit both places.

3. Buffalo International Airport is very close to Niagara Falls and still within a 2-hr drive from Toronto. If flying from another U.S. city, airfare to Buffalo likely will be cheaper than to Toronto. Rent a car and pick up duty-free on the way.

Save Money on Toronto Accommodation

Many Toronto hotels offer clean, basic accommodation without a lot of fuss at a decent price.

Of course, the further outside of the downtown core you stay, the better your chances are at finding a good deal (consider that you may have to pay this back in transportation costs).

Summertime, though high travel season, offers savings if you stay at one of the University of Toronto's dorms: St. Michael's College and Massey College both have summer rentals, the latter with a good breakfast included.

Toronto also has an abundance of guesthouses and hostels.

Save Money on Eating in Toronto

Cheap eating in Toronto definitely does not mean you sacrifice good eating.

Consider eating a meal at one of Toronto's markets. St. Lawrence Market, for example offers lots of fresh, delicious food (back bacon on a bun anyone?) at a fraction of the price of restaurant dining.

You'll find cheap food in the heart of many of the ethnic neighbourhoods, like Chinatown (Vietnamese sub for under 2 bucks, Chinese Traditional Buns has way more than just buns - all of it cheap) and Little Korea (Kim Chi Beef with rice for $6 at Two Thumbs Up).

Hot dog stands are plentiful and have expanded their menu to include sausage and vegetarian dogs, plus plenty of hearty toppings.

Check out our Cheap Eats in Toronto guide for more options.

Include Free or almost Free Toronto Attractions on Your Itinerary

Image courtesy Friends of Riverdale Farm
Plenty of Toronto parks, museums, cultural centres and markets offer visitors the chance to discover Toronto and its people in a more authentic setting. From parks to museums, there's plenty to do in Toronto for free or almost free.

Take Public Transportation instead of Taxi Cabs

Photograph: Alan Marsh / Getty Images
Toronto has a good system of streetcars, buses and subways - the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) - that can get you around the city. Consider parking for free at one of the TTC Commuter Parking Lots (weekends only) and buying a single or family day pass - huge transportation savings.

Toronto's streetcar routes operate in the classic style on street tracks shared with car traffic and are not heritage streetcars run for tourism or nostalgic purposes. Streetcar 501 runs the length of Queen Street, along artsy Queen Street West, downtown, east Toronto and finally into the Beaches, giving passengers a cheap tour of one of Toronto's most famous streets.

Buy Toronto CityPass if You Plan on Visiting Toronto's Major Attractions

Toronto CityPass is a booklet that contains admission tickets to six of Toronto’s most popular attractions at almost half price. With CityPass tickets, you’ll avoid ticket lines at most attractions. Toronto CityPass is valid for nine days from the first day of use. The booklet also includes maps and other tourist info.

Buy Same-Day-Performance Tickets with T.O. TIX

Similar to the discount tickets available in New York City and London, England, T.O. TIX offers theatre, dance, opera, comedy, music and special event tickets at discounted prices on the day of performance, as well as full-price tickets in advance. Tickets can be purchased online, or in-person at the T.O. TIX ticket booth outside the Eaton Centre at the corner of Yonge and Dundas The T.O. TIX booth is open Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 6:30pm.
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