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Toronto Travel Tips

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Toronto is a terrific tourist destination. May is the right time to start thinking about plans. I want to share three tips I used or learned about during my visit in September 2015. These tips can help enhance a visit to Toronto while also saving money and time.

First, a "heads up": September is when the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) occurs. That's when I visited and TIFF made the city very festive -- and very crowded. Anyone thinking about a September visit needs to start making plans right now. Accommodations become scarce very quickly and more expensive. TIFF runs September 8th to the 18th this year.

Now for the travel tips:

1. CN Tower:This is the tallest tower in the western hemisphere and is considered by many the top Toronto tourist attraction. It's open 364 days a year, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. except for the seasonal hours.

Here's "tip #1": I got in at 8 a.m. last September and had the luxury of viewing the fabulous vistas practically all to myself. Why? Because the CN Tower has "seasonal" hours when it opens earlier than the rest of the year. I called the box office at the very end of April and learned that this year's seasonal hours have not yet been posted. So keep an eye on the website since having that earlier admission meant that I didn't have to stand in line for nearly 1 hour -- which was the wait time I had encountered the prior day.

There are different ticket costs for the separate observation levels. Tickets purchased online cost less than in person at the box office. Admission hours and costs can be found either on the website: www.cntower.ca; or by calling the box office: (416) 86-TOWER.

2. City Sightseeing Toronto: This was my first visit to Toronto and I wanted to get a good overview of the neighborhoods. I chose this "hop on/hop off" bus tour as it goes to over 20 stops throughout the city and the ticket was good for 3 days. The guides were personable and well informed.

Here's "tip #2": This company operates only from early May to the end of October. There is also an attractive cost-savings: this is the only bus tour company that includes a cruise of Toronto's harbor and the islands as part of the ticket price.

Tickets may be purchased online:www.citysightseeingtoronto.com (there is an online processing fee); by phone: (416)-410-0536; at one of their two information centers; or from a uniformed City Sightseeing Toronto staff member at one of their stops.

3. Billy Bishop Toronto Island Airport: This is the only time saving tip I didn't use but will try to for any future visit. I saw this airport from the top of the CN Tower.
This airport is commonly known as the Toronto Island Airport because of its central location. People landing here can use a pedestrian tunnel just opened in 2015 to walk over to the city. The tunnel's entrance and exit is at the foot of the Erieann Quay where a ferry operates over to this airport. There is also a shuttle bus service from downtown Toronto over to the airport.

Here's "tip #3": Several airlines fly to this airport. I haven't compared flight costs but landing at this airport would have been a time and cost savings over my much longer and more expensive trip in from Pearson International Airport.

These tips can help make a Toronto trip more pleasurable with time and cost savings as an extra bonus.