Toronto is a vibrant and lovable city. Whether you live here or are planning to pay it a visit — there's plenty to see. But the last thing you want to do is miss out on opportunities because of prices or wind up spending more than you need to. In order to fully soak in all the city has to offer, make use of some of these budget-friendly secrets.
If you want to see all Toronto's most noteworthy attractions, you will definitely need to get your hands on the Toronto CityPass. The pass gets you admission to the CN Tower, The Royal Ontario Museum, Casa Loma, the Toronto Zoo and the Ontario Science Centre for 43% less than you'd pay buying tickets to each of them individually. Tickets for children aged 4-12 are $35.88 USD each and tickets for adults over the age of 13 are $60.74 USD each. You have nine days after you use the pass for the first time to catch all the other attractions on the list. All you have to do is buy a voucher online and then trade it in at the first location you visit for a booklet that includes detailed information of the attractions as well as coupons and a map. You can also choose to have the booklet mailed to you or simply make your purchase at any of the attractions. Once you have the booklet in hand, you can enjoy the satisfaction of skipping the ticket lines and heading straight to the entry booths. You can see a whole lot of Toronto with this one little pass!
Library Museum Passes
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Want to visit some of Toronto's best museums and galleries free of charge? You can with the SunLife Financial Museum + Arts Pass which is available at Toronto Libraries. The passes can get you access to the AGO, the ROM, the Bata Shoe Museum, Casa Loma, the Gardiner Ceramics Museum, the Museum of Inuit Art, the Ontario Science Centre, the Textile Museum of Canada, the Toronto Zoo and a variety of City of Toronto Historic Museums such as the Mackenzie House and the Todmorden Mills Heritage Site. To get the pass, simply stop by your local library and present your registered Toronto Library card.
Keep in mind that each library only gets a certain amount of each pass per week so in order to ensure you get the one you want, find out when the delivery happens and line up for it at the appropriate time. You can take out a pass once a week and the pass lasts for three months. Most of the passes grant access to the attraction for two adults and four children — but check your pass to be sure. Not every library has every pass so check out the Toronto Library website to be sure the one you want is available.
TTC Day Pass
If you're visiting the city or live here and simply want to see a lot in one day, a TTC Day Pass is a great idea. The pass is just $10.50 and lets you get on and off TTC buses, streetcars and trains as many times as you need for a day. On Saturday, Sundays and holidays the pass is good for two adults, two adults and up to four children or 1 adult and up to five children. On weekdays the pass just applies to one adult. But if you plan on using the subway four times in one day it will absolutely be worth it! There are a few routes that require additional fares but for the most part you can get all over the city for just $10.50. Simply pick up your pass at any time at a subway station or participating TTC fare sellers and scratch it off to the appropriate date. You're good to go!
The Indie Coffee Passport
If you're a lover of coffee, you won't want to miss out on the opportunity to try some new independent cafes with the help of the Indie Coffee Passport. A mere $25.00 gets you a free drink at each of 32 participating coffee shops. Second Cup and Starbucks are all well and good but there's nothing quite like the unique vibe of an independently owned cafe. And because the passport is good for seven months, there's no rush on making it to all of the options. You have all the way until March 2013 to take full advantage!
If you're only planning a short trip you may not have time to make the most of it, but if you live in Toronto or are visiting for a few weeks, it's definitely worth your while. Each cafe provides six signature drinks for you to choose from such as teas, coffees, lattes, cappuccinos, americanos and more. Stop by one of the participating stores to get your passport and get sampling!
Toronto Discovery Walks
Discovery Walks are a great way to see different areas of the city completely free of charge. It's as simple as printing the map of your choosing off the website and then following the directions that lead you by some great Toronto sites. Signs are plentiful along the way so when in doubt there's always something to follow. The routes are all different lengths and provide you with different views so you can customize your journey to your needs. If you're a lover of nature and enjoy strolling through parks and ravines, check out the 11km trail called Central Ravines, Belt Line & Gardens. Or if you want to learn more about the city's streets and buildings, try the 7km Uptown path. Many of the forest and ravine paths have placards along the way so you can learn more about how the trails came to be and what creatures reside there. And of course, the routes that take you along major streets are great ways to experience the different neighborhoods, cultures and sights that the city has to offer. You're sure to see Toronto in a whole new way and get some exercise while you're at it!
Happy budget-friendly sightseeing!