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Getting Around Toronto in a Rental Car

driving tips in toronto

Ontario's largest city is the perfect destination to explore with a rental car. With so many sights and attractions, a car is the best way to make sure you don't miss anything. If you're driving in Toronto for the first time, there are a few things to be aware of, from toll roads to parking restrictions in the city. Here is a guide to help you navigate Toronto.

Where to drive your rental car in Toronto

  • City Centre: The city centre is the hub of activity and excitement in Toronto. It features many of the region's top attractions like the iconic CN Tower.
  • Waterfront: For great views of Lake Ontario, as well as the city skyline, there is no better place that Toronto's Queen's Quay. The area even boasts an amusement park for families.
  • Old Town: For a look at the history of Toronto, head to the city's Old Town. There are plenty of examples of Victorian architecture, as well as galleries illustrating the development of the area.
  • Westside: Just west of the city centre, Westside is where visitors will find the best multi-cultural eateries, coolest clubs and unique galleries.
  • Eastside: Cultures collide in Toronto's diverse Eastside neighbourhoods. From the unique buildings of Little India to the restaurants of Greektown, the area is sure to be a treat to the senses.

Driving tips in Toronto

  • If you are arriving into Toronto from the United States, the nearest international crossings are at Niagara Falls and Fort Erie. Follow Queen Elizabeth Way for the city centre.
  • The streets of Toronto are well designed and fairly easy to navigate. The Gardiner Expressway connects many of the major neighbourhoods along the waterfront.
  • Visitors should avoid driving during rush hour. Traffic will usually be quite heavy from 7am, and then again from 6pm.
  • It is about a 20 minute drive to Toronto Pearson International Airport. The airport is located north west of the city centre in Mississauga.
  • Speeds and distances in Toronto will be signed in kilometres.

Parking in Toronto

If you are planning to park in the city, you will generally need to pay and display a ticket in your vehicle. There are often time restrictions to parking in the city centre. There are a number of parking lots in the city, which visitors can find by following the green 'P' signs.

Toll roads in Toronto

There are toll roads in Toronto. Highway 407 running from Burlington to Pickering is a cashless toll road. Highway 412 in Whitby is also a toll road.

Driving Distances

  • Toronto to Niagara Falls: 1hr 20m
  • Toronto to Hamilton: 50min
  • Toronto to Ottawa: 4h 20min


You will need to make sure your car has a full tank of fuel before you return it to the depot. Here are a few convenient gas stations in the Toronto region:

  • Shell - 5869 Airport Rd, Mississauga
  • Esso - 553 Lake Shore Blvd W, Toronto
  • Esso - 176 Front St E, Toronto
There is no shortage of things to see and do in Toronto. If you're travelling in the city with a rental car, don't miss your chance to visit the collection at the Royal Ontario Museum, or the Art Gallery of Ontario. See the view of the city from CN Tower, and head out to the unique Casa Loma.

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