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Driving to Toronto

Driving to Toronto

Convenient and Flexible Option to Get to Toronto

With excellent road network, driving to Toronto is fairly comfortable and easy.

The major highways are very well-planned and well-maintained. There are plenty of road signs which are easy to recognize and follow.

You can enjoy many scenic views en route.

Overall, it’s a great fun and adventure to some extent. However, I don’t recommend long distance driving to Toronto especially in severe weather conditions in winter.

Rest Area on Queen Queen Elizabeth Way

Here you will find lots of handy information on major highways, driving distance from major Canadian and US cities, tips for driving across the border, tips for driving on Trans Canada Highway and much more.

Major Highways Leading to Toronto

There are several major highways that lead to Toronto. They can be grouped as east-west and north-south highways. If you are driving to Toronto, you are likely to take one or more of the following highways depending on from where you are coming from.

  • Highway 401 – The major east-west highway north of the city
  • Queen Elizabeth Way/Gardiner Expressway – The major east-west highway south of the city
  • Highway 407 – Another major east-west highway on the north, however, you have to pay toll for this highway
  • Highway 404 / Don Valley Parkway – The major north-south highway just east of downtown Toronto
  • Highway 427 – North-south highway on the west of the city
  • Highway 400 – North-south highway on the west side of the city

Driving Rules and Regulations in Canada

You need to know a little bit of driving rules and regulations in Canada. While driving to Toronto, follow these rules vigilantly and you’ll be fine.

  • Canadians drive on right hand side of the road.
  • Follow the posted speed limit (generally +5 are OK in most of the cases). Except where posted, the speed limit within the city is 50km/hr and on highways the speed limit is 80-100 km/hr.
  • Seat belts are mandatory for all the passengers in the vehicle.
  • Use proper child seats as per the requirements.
  • Do not drink and drive. It’s not safe and also illegal. Canada has very stringent drunk driving rules.
  • If you hear sirens or see flashing lights of emergency vehicles (police, fire, ambulance), pull over to the right side/lane of the road safely and quickly and allow the emergency vehicle to pass.
  • Give right of way to the pedestrians crossing the street.

Driving to Toronto From Canadian Cities

Toronto is short distance drive from many cities and towns of Ontario. Driving to Toronto from nearby destinations is very easy and convenient.

However, many people consider driving to Toronto from as far as Vancouver and Calgary for adventure and thrill. But it’s really demanding and lengthy.

Following table shows distance to Toronto from several major cities and towns along with approximate travel time and possible driving route.

 FromRoute/HighwayDistance Km/MileTravel Time
Barrie, ONHW 400 S, HW 401 E95/591 hr 15 mins
Kitchener, ONHW 401 E, HW 427 S, Gardnier Expressway E107/661 hr 20 mins
Niagara Falls, ONQEW E, HW 403 E, Gardnier Expressway E131/811 hr 30 mins
London, ONHW 401 E, HW 403 E, Gardnier Expressway E192/1192 hr 20 mins
Kingston, ONHW 401 W, Don Valley Parkway S261/1623 hrs
Sarnia, ONHW 402 E, HW 401 E, HW 403 E, Gardnier Expressway E290/1803 hrs 20 mins
Windsor, ONHW 401 E, HW 403 E, Gardnier Expressway E364/2264 hrs 20 mins
Sudbury, ONHW 69 S, HW 400 S, HW 401 E387/2414 hrs 55 mins
Ottawa, ONHW 416 S, HW 401 W, Don Valley Parkway S450/2805 hrs 10 mins
Montreal, QCAutoroute 20 W, HW 401 W, Don Valley Parkway S545/3396 hrs 10 mins
Quebec city, QCAutoroute 20 W, HW 401 W, Don Valley Parkway S799/4969 hrs
Winnipeg, MBTrans Canada Highway: Winnipeg-Thunder Bay-Sudbury-Toronto2000/12452 – 3 days
Regina, SKTrans Canada Highway: Regina-Winnipeg-Thunder Bay-Sudbury-Toronto2575/16003 – 4 days
Saskatoon, SKTrans Canada Highway: Saskatoon-Regina-Winnipeg-Thunder Bay-Sudbury-Toronto2850/17603 – 4 days
Calgary, ABTrans Canada Highway: Calgary-Regina-Winnipeg-Thunder Bay-Sudbury-Toronto3326/20673 – 5 days
Edmonton, ABTrans Canada Highway: Edmonton-Saskatoon-Regina-Winnipeg-Thunder Bay-Sudbury-Toronto3360/20873 – 5 days
Vancouver, BCTrans Canada Highway: Vancouver-Kamloos-Calgary-Regina-Winnipeg-Thunder Bay-Sudbury-Toronto4400/27505 – 7 days

The distance and time are given for shortest routes possible. The travel time includes breaks for fuel, meals, coffee and overnight stay. However, it may vary greatly on several factors including weather, travel period, traffic clogging and other unexpected situations.

Tips For Driving on Trans Canada Highway

The Trans Canada Highway is very famous route connecting east and west part of Canada. Driving on Trans Canada Highway is a big challenge in itself by its sheer length. Check out the following guidelines and tips to make your trip relaxing and stress-free.

  • Plan your trip well in advance, decide where you will stay each night.
  • Leave early in the morning and stop early in the evening. Avoid driving during night.
  • Plan to drive 8-9 hours per day. At the average speed of 90km, you can cover around 700-800km in a day.
  • It is best to have at least 2 drivers, so that each one gets enough rest.
  • Follow the ‘Half tank’ rule. When the fuel tank is half empty, stop for fuel at nearby gas station.
  • Invest in some good GPS and/or map book. This will stop you from wandering far-off.
  • Beware of moose, especially in northern Ontario. A crash with these large mammals at high speed is fatal. The best way is to watch carefully for moose and stop if you notice a moose on the road.

Driving to Toronto From US

Due to its proximity to US border, Toronto is within driving distance from many US cities. Many travelers drive to Toronto from several US destinations.

Here I have compiled some useful information on driving to Toronto from major US cities, including important tips for smooth and hassle-free border crossing.

 FromRoute/HighwayDistance Km/MileTravel Time
Buffalo, NYI-190 N, QEW E, HW 403 E,Gardiner Expressway E165/1032 hrs
Detroit, MIHW 401 E, HW 403 E, Gardnier Expressway E380/2365 – 6 hrs
Cleveland, OHI-90 E, QEW E, HW 403 E, Gardiner Expressway E475/2956 – 7 hrs
Philadelphia, PAI-476 N, I-80 W, I-90 W, QEW E, HW 403 East, Gardiner Expressway E775/4819 – 11 hrs
Cincinnati, OHI-75 N, HW 401 E, HW 403 E, Gardnier Expressway E785/4889 – 11 hrs
New York, NYI-81 N, I-90 W, QEW E, HW 403 E, Gardiner Expressway E790/4909 – 11 hrs
Washington, DCUS-220 N, US-219 N, I-190 N, QEW E, HW 403 E, Gardiner Expressway E810/5059 – 11 hrs
Chicago, ILI-94 E, HW 401 E, HW 403 E, Gardnier Expressway E825/5109 – 11 hrs
Boston, MAI-90 W, QEW E, HW 403 E, Gardiner Expressway E883/55010 – 12 hrs
Charlotte, NCI-77 N, I-79 N, I-190 N, QEW E, HW 403 E, Gardiner Expressway E1225/76214 – 16 hrs

The distance and time are given for shortest routes possible. The travel time includes short breaks for fuel and coffee and time for border crossing. However, it may vary greatly on several factors including weather, travel period, traffic congestion and other unforeseen circumstances.

Top 7 Tips For Driving Across the Border into Canada

If you want your border crossing to be an easy and quick affair, the best way is to know ahead of time what to expect at the Canadian border and be prepared for it. With ever-tightening rules and regulations, it is essential to plan well ahead. Here is set of simple tips and guidelines.

  • All travelers entering to Canada need a passport or equivalent travel document such as NEXUS card, US Passport card or Enhanced Driver’s License.
  • If you are travelling with children who are not yours, then bring the written permission from the parents or guardians along with their name and contact numbers. If you are travelling with your children and without your spouse, it is good idea to take your spouse’s written permission.
  • Make sure you have your driver’s license and car registration if you plan to take your own vehicle. If you take a rental car, be sure to have a copy of the rental agreement and other adequate documents for the rented vehicle.
  • Automobile insurance is mandatory in Toronto, Ontario. Before entering Canada, check with your insurance provider to find out what your current coverage includes. It’s good idea to obtain a Canadian Non-Resident Interprovincial Motor Vehicle Insurance Liability Card from your insurance company, which is free.
  • Know what you can and can’t bring into Canada. Don’t bring any guns or weapons and non-prescribed drugs. Use of radar detector is illegal. If you have radar detectors installed in your car, disconnect it before entering Canada.
  • Once you decide your route, check the border wait time for your chosen border crossing in advance. This may save your travel time. Also, to save wait-time at border, avoid travelling during peak periods.
  • Give short, straight and no-nonsense answers to the questions asked by the Border Service Officer. Don’t blabber. Don’t hesitate. Keep it real and simple.

For more details, please visit the Canada Border Service Agency website.

Driving Directions to Toronto

Check out the directions for driving to Toronto using following Google tool.