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What To See And Do During A Long Layover In Toronto

What To See And Do During A Long Layover In Toronto

Published Date: 13 July 2022

Welcome to Canada’s most-populous city! If you have a long layover of up to seven hours in Toronto, UP Express can help you get downtown from Toronto Pearson International Airport to check out some of the things to do and must-see sites this multicultural city has to offer.

Remember: If you leave the airport, you’ll have to go through airport security and/or customs and immigration again to get to your next flight. With COVID safety protocols in place, keep an eye on the time while you explore and be prepared for line-ups at airport security when you return to Pearson International Airport.

UP Express Long Layover Return Ticket

Discovering downtown Toronto’s top attractions when time is precious has never been easier! With the UP Express Long Layover Return Ticket there’s no need to worry about losing time to traffic delays when you can get downtown Toronto from the airport in 25 minutes to explore the heart of the city for up to seven hours. Plus, your UP Express Long Layover Ticket gives you admission discounts to popular attractions within a 10-minute walk from Union Station including the Hockey Hall Of Fame and CN Tower. Return tickets are $12.35 for one person or $25.70 for a family of two adults with up to three children, age 19 and younger. Purchase your tickets online in advance at, through the UP Express mobile app or at the UP Express Service Counter in Terminal 1 at Pearson.

See Toronto’s Major Tourist Attractions

With seven hours to spare, you’ll have plenty of time to explore one of downtown Toronto’s major tourist attractions. Within walking distance from UP Express Union Station, you’ll find Toronto’s landmark, the CN Tower! One of the world’s tallest freestanding structures, take in the breathtaking views of the city skyline and Lake Ontario from the main observation deck featuring a glass floor. If you’re really daring, step outside your comfort zone and experience EdgeWalk for a walk along the outside of the CN Tower secured by only a harness!
At ground level, you’ll be able to head under the sea with Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. Located at the base of the CN Tower, this state-of-the-art aquarium features a special look at Canadian waters and marine life from around the world. Be sure not to miss the Dangerous Lagoon where a moving sidewalk takes visitors through an awesome underwater gallery as you come face-to-face with the aquarium’s most jaw-dropping species.
Calling all hockey fans! Get as up close and personal to the Stanley Cup as you can be off the ice at the Hockey Hall of Fame. The world’s largest hockey collection awaits you just steps from UP Express Union Station where you can follow all aspects of Canada’s favourite game from its origin to present day and experience the game through interactive exhibits. PRESTO card holders and GO Transit riders can save 20% off regular admission rates when you show your card.
If baseball is more your thing, be sure to check out the Toronto Blue Jays schedule to see if the Jays are in town for a home game at the Rogers Centre, located at the base of the CN Tower.

Explore Toronto’s Art And Culture Scene

You could spend days exploring the city’s museums, but when time is of the essence during a long layover in Toronto, there are a few that are hard to beat. It would take hours to see the Royal Ontario Museum’s full collection of art, world culture, and natural history displays. But even a brief stop at Canada’s largest museum (affectionately known as the ROM) is worthwhile, especially for kids who will delight in checking out the museum’s “bat cave” and dinosaur exhibit. Have a PRESTO card? You can save 20% off general admission and special exhibition rates by showing your card at the box office.
For art lovers, the Art Gallery Of Ontario (AGO) was established in 1900 and is home to a permanent collection of 98,000 works spanning the first century to the present day. Meanwhile, the footwear-obsessed will delight in checking out the world’s largest footwear collection at the Bata Shoe Museum which boasts over 13,000 shoes and other footwear-related items dating back 4,500 years.

Local Toronto Food Dishes To Try

Indulge in Canada’s signature dish of poutine – French fries with cheese curds smothered in hot gravy – and cap it off with a dessert of sweet fried dough known as a BeaverTail. So synonymous with Canadian cuisine, even the late Anthony Bourdain stopped to sample poutine and another local favourite, a peameal bacon sandwich from the famous St. Lawrence Market, on his Toronto layover. While any Canadian might say those dishes are a must-try on your first visit to Toronto, there’s plenty of other cuisines to tempt your taste buds on a layover. A true foodie destination, Toronto’s multicultural culinary scene runs the gamut of international tastes. Take a break from travelling and soak up some local flavour at one of the city’s best patios and restaurants or sit back and sip a pint of beer from one of Toronto’s many local craft breweries. Your taste buds won’t be disappointed!

Toronto’s Best Shopping Neighbourhoods

Fill your shopping bags in one of Toronto’s unique downtown neighbourhoods on your layover. Just outside of Chinatown lies Kensington Market, the vibrant and bohemian heart of Toronto. Best explored on foot, this multicultural neighbourhood full of independent stores, bars, and restaurants is the place to do some vintage shopping. Meanwhile, get your high-end shopping fill in the upscale Yorkville neighbourhood where you’ll find designer brands from Coach and Tiffany & Co. to Kate Spade and Hermes along with restaurants catering to all tastes and budgets. Plus, no shopping trip to Toronto is complete without a visit along trendy Queen Street West with major chains nestled among boutique clothing shops, shoe stores, records stores, cocktail bars, restaurants, and everything in between. If time is of the essence, hit the Toronto Eaton Centre located at Yonge-Dundas Square, a one-stop shopper’s paradise of major retailers.

Stay At The Airport

If your Toronto layover is less than four hours for international connections, we recommend exploring all that Pearson Airport has to offer. Do a little retail therapy along the terminal concourses or indulge in one of the airport’s spas. Open 24 hours a day, relax in the Plaza Premium lounge in Terminal 1, available to all passengers regardless of airline or ticket class for a fee. Grab a bite to eat at one of the dining options in the airport, many of which are outposts of top Toronto hot spots. Enjoy craft beer bites at Mill Street Brewery Pub (T1), Asian fusion at LEE Kitchen By Susur Lee (T1), French fare at Cluny Grille (T3), Jewish soul food at Caplansky’s Deli (T3), and more while watching planes take-off.
Plus, you can stretch your legs as you take in one of the airports many works of art including the giant steel echo-chamber installation Tilted Spheres (T1), three-piece bronze sculpture Skin Of Light (T3), and the colourful ice fishing hut photography display (T3).

Get From The Airport To Downtown Toronto In 25 Minutes

With a reliable train service running every 15-minutes during peak hours on weekdays, and every 30-minutes at all other times, UP Express can get you from Pearson Airport to downtown Toronto’s UP Express Union Station in just 25 minutes. With many downtown attractions in walking distance from UP Express Union Station, visitors can also connect to the local Toronto public transit subway and streetcar system directly from Union Station.
At Pearson Airport, follow the Train to City signs to get to the UP Express station – it is conveniently located in Terminal 1, directly adjacent to the Blue Link train service connecting Terminals 1 and 3.
However you decide to spend your Toronto layover, remember to leave enough time to go through airport security and/or customs and immigration again before boarding your next flight. Keep in mind that COVID safety protocols and testing requirements vary by destination and may require extra time for you to complete ahead of departure.