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Ontario Travel FAQ's
Here's a list of commonly asked questions about visiting Ontario. Please select a topic from the list below to find the answers to your questions.
- What's the best time to visit Ontario?
- What travel documents are required to enter Ontario?
- Do I need health insurance while in Ontario?
- How do I get from the airport to my hotel in Ottawa or Toronto?
- Is my driver's license valid in Ontario?
- Are there train passes available for travel throughout Ontario?
- Should I rent a car or is it easy to get around with public transit?
- Is smoking allowed in hotels, restaurants and public places?
- Is Ontario a gay-friendly destination?
- What are the business hours of retail stores, restaurants and shopping centres?
- Can my pet travel with me to Ontario?
Ontario is open for discovery 12 months a year. We are a four season destination with plenty to do in each of our distinct seasons. There are lots of vacation ideas and seasonal getaway events and suggestions on our website.
If you are a non-resident visitor, to enter Ontario/Canada, you will need a valid passport and a valid visa (if necessary). For an overview of customs information for visitors to Canada, visit the Canadian Border Services Agency website. Another excellent resource is the Government of Canada's main internet site for international residents.
Ontario has excellent hospitals and medical services. It is strongly advised that you obtain health insurance before leaving home, since your regular health insurance may not cover expenses outside your country of residence.
In both cities, there are taxis, limousines, express buses, shuttles and public transit services to take you from the airport to your hotel or to the centre of the city. Fares vary by service and airport. Some major hotel chains also operate guest shuttles to/from airports. In Ottawa, OC Transpo operates a frequent bus service from downtown Ottawa to Ottawa International Airport From Toronto's Pearson International Airport there is express bus service to the Bloor-Yonge subway line operated by the Toronto Transit Commission.
Visitors to Ontario must be at least 16 years old, and have a valid driver's licence from their own country, if you want to drive. Visitors staying longer than three months need an International Driver's Permit from your own country. When driving a borrowed or rented car you should also ensure that automobile insurance coverage is sufficient. Please note that car rental companies may have their own higher age requirements for leasing automobiles. Check with each firm directly. The Ministry of Transport provides on-line information for travelling to and around Ontario.
VIA Rail offers corridor passes for 10 days of travel (7 one-way trips) in southern Ontario including Ottawa, Toronto and Niagara Falls. Prices vary for adults, students, seniors and children. The ISIC (International Student Identity Card) entitles students 18 years of age or older to special fares in all VIA classes. VIA also provides seniors aged 60 with a number of special fares and other entitlements.
Ottawa and Toronto provide visitors with extensive and economical public transit networks to take you to and from airports, attractions, hotels, retail centres, restaurants, parks, waterfronts and sports and entertainment venues. Ontario is a big place and to discover our many signature travel regions, small towns, and scenic highways and heritage routes, it's a good idea to rent a car if bus, air and train services are limited or not your preferred mode of transportation. Travel agents can provide many fly/drive or hotel/drive options for discovering Ontario.
Ontario has legislation banning smoking in all enclosed public places. Indoor facilities included in the ban are pubs, bars, night clubs, restaurants, shopping malls, sporting venues, stores, office buildings, taxis and limousines and casinos. More information about Ontario's Smoke-Free Strategy is available from the Ministry of Health.
Canada is recognized as one of the most progressive and inviting nations. In Canada, and Ontario, same-sex couples can legally marry. It is against the law in Ontario to discriminate or harass anyone because of their sexual orientation or same-sex partnership status. Pride Week in Toronto is one of the largest events of its kind in the world. Throughout Ontario there are many gay friendly tourism operators, businesses, celebrations and accommodations.
Generally, many stores are open from 10am until 6pm in most parts of Ontario. Many city and suburban, as well as outlet malls and shopping centres, are open from 10am-9pm on many weeknights and sometimes on Saturdays. Retail stores are permitted, by law, to operate on Sundays.
Many services and retail stores close on Holidays.
Restaurants are typically open later hours during the year and often during special events and festivals.
Be sure to confirm all shopping and dining hours of operation by calling ahead. Both Ottawa Tourism and Toronto Tourism post or provide links, on their websites, to hours of operation of most of their member restaurants and retailers.
A domestic dog or cat traveling with its owner must meet rabies certification requirements set by the Government of Canada. Visit the Canada International website and follow the links for travelling to Canada.