One of the best parts about living in NE Ohio is the fact that were so close to a lot of the major cities. I am about 45 minutes away from Detroit, 2 hours away from Columbus, OH, 4 hours away from Chicago and 4.5 hours away from Toronto.
Driving to Canada and passing the border was literally like going through a toll (if you’re a US citizen). Right before we hit Detroit we go through a bridge and it literally takes us 1 hour just to be in Canada from our home, but with another 3.5 hours to go to Toronto.
Before we visited Canada I tried to look up some tips for our stay there and here were some that I didn’t find while searching online and that I wish I had known:
- If you’re planning on bringing cash be aware that majority of the restaurants will only do a 1:1 ratio. This means with US dollars you could lose up to a few bucks if your tab ends up being high. It is much better to use your credit card. Though most banks charge 3% for international fee, if you do the math it is about a $3 charge per $100. When we went the dollar was worth about $0.27 more so with our tab of $30 meals (remember USD would be less) we lost about $8.00 if we paid cash vs. $0.90 for using our credit card.
- The service is slow…really laid back. Almost every restaurant we went to it would take awhile for us to receive our drinks so of course for food it would take even longer. The servers weren’t very attentive to us which wasn’t very impressive to us as Americans whose customer service is a server’s main priority. Yes you still tip but we don’t tip as well in Canada as we do in the US just because of the quality of the service. I was able to brunch with a fellow Instagrammer and we also asked her about the service in Canada and she said it’s because no one really complains about it so it is what it is.
- The tax rate is 13%. Remember that. This is why I recommend using your credit card. You would be losing SOOO much money if you use cash with it being a 1:1 ratio and a $13 tax rate. There were so many stores I wanted to buy clothes from but I figured I could go back to the US and buy the same thing for a 6-8% sales tax, depending where you live in the states.
- Depending on where you want to go, train/bus pass isn’t necessary. We went all weekend without a pass. Majority of our touristing was on feet. Literally everywhere was walking distance unless you’re planning on going to the front harbor. You could say we walked a good 3-4 miles a day (with resting midday at the hotel). We stayed near old Toronto and it literally felt like New York. It was super busy, tall buildings, a mini square, and a lot of food and pedestrians. People in Toronto would always compare themselves to NYC and I can definitely see the similarity. The evening was when we would use Uber but even then I wouldn’t use the train for safety reasons.
- Toronto doesn’t sleep. Clubs open till 2:30AM or so but a lot of restaurants will still be open even after midnight. We didn’t know this until our Toronto friends told us. So if you’re wanting a late night grub, don’t be afraid to call the places or search for the late night munchies. Oh and ask Toronto locals for the best places to eat, they will usually refer you to hidden gems rather than popular places (those aren’t always the best trust me).
It was so much fun visiting Toronto and I hope someday we will come back again for another trip! During the trip I was able to meet some of the cutest Toronto Instagram girls and thanks to those that were able to show me around! I’m so happy they were able to come and say hi to me! Super friendly of them and hopefully we can meet again someday 🙂