Ontario travel is easy considering how big it is. You just have to be careful to pick the right transport for getting about.
Don't imagine, for example, you can drive to Moosonee, Moose Factory, or any of the settlements up in the far north. It's aircraft only the northern regions with the exception of the Polar Express train for Moosonee only.
For longer distance travel in Ontario, there are a number of choices available:
Ontario Northlands Rail's Polar Bear Express is the only way, by land, to the far North and then only to Moosenee and Moose Factory. It leaves from Cochrane and you still need to get there. Driving, busing or flying to Cochrane are the only ways now -- driving may look doable but it's hours by car. Visit their website for details
GO Train: Shorter distances around Toronto can be reached by GO Train. The GO (stands for Government of Ontario who initiated and also provide the balance of funding for the service) provides mainly commuter services out to the edges of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) but its trains run throughout the day and they're quick and clean.
Trains run out to Hamilton in the south-west and Durham Region in the east.
Of course, the TTC, Toronto Transit Commission, can get you to all of Toronto's attractions quicker and simpler than driving will.
Porter Air, from Toronto's island airport, flies to Ottawa in Ontario, Montreal and Quebec, as well as New York and Chicago outside of the Province. They can be contacted at: Porter Air
Air Canada Jazz (was Air Ontario), flying from Toronto's Pearson airport, will take you to farther cities like Sault St. Marie and Thunder Bay, as well nearer ones like Ottawa and Sudbury. Air Canada now does all their reservations.
Speaking of shorter Ontario travel distances, such as to Ontario attractions like the museums in Ottawa or ScienceNorth in Sudbury, they can be reached by rail or flying, as described above, but also by driving. On a regular day you can expect to take 5 - 6 hours to reach either Ottawa or Sudbury from Toronto. Sault Ste. Marie, however, is about 10 hours.
Most of the international car rental companies have outlets at Toronto's International airport and all Ontario's major centres.
Maybe this would be a good time to describe Ontario's different classes of roads. At the base of the system are small, often unpaved rural roads (RR) also known as 'concessions'(Con on the signposts), 'sideroads' (SR on signs), or 'Lines'. These are for lazy days in summer when you want to get away from it all, including people. Canada is a huge country with a small population and even in Ontario, the most populated province, these rural roads will demonstrate that fact in spades. These roads are straight, laid out in a grid pattern and therefore don't necessarily 'go' anywhere.
Next up the scale are the King's Highways, major two or four lane roads, that were once the most important routes. These roads join major towns and therefore aren't necessarily straight or part of the grid pattern. They are, however, all paved and winterized in ways the rural roads may not be (though many are).
The most modern class of roads for Ontario travel are the 400 series highways, generally 6 or more lanes and connecting only the most frequented cities where the traffic warrants it. They are the first to be cleared of snow in winter as they are the economic arteries of the province. Generally, they're designated with a 400 number, with one notable exception -- the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), named in 1939 for George VI's queen not the present monarch. It runs from Niagara Falls and Fort Erie at the border up to Toronto.
One other exception to note is the 407, the newest of the series. It's a toll road, paid by charging users through an electronic tracking system or, if you don't have transponder, by photographing your car's licence plate and sending you the bill in the mail.
Another way of getting about in Ontario is by boat or houseboat. Houseboat rentals are a good way of seeing a land of lakes like Ontario, especially along the Trent-Severn Waterway.
Most resort areas have Bike and Boat Rentals for local travel as well as specialized 'toys' for winter travel such as snowmobiles or All-Terrain-Vehicles(ATV).
Toronto, as a vacation destination in its own right, also has bike and boat rentals. For more Ontario travel ideas, visit Ontario tourism.
Meanwhile, if there's any Ontario place you'd like to see on our site, please suggest it here:
And for a hotel in Ontario or anywhere else:
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