Catch a glimpse of the tasteful blend of creative arts amongst the ever-evolving Toronto. Known for stretches of urban landscapes populated by a diverse group of multicultural residents, the colorful lifestyle of modern living here is just a fraction of the buzz this charming city generates when night falls.
Explore the varying landscapes in this city on your next layover here, though you may find 9 hours to be too short to catch the best parts of Toronto! Nonetheless, here’s what you can enjoy on a 9-hour layover in Canada’s vibrant city of Toronto:
The nitty-gritty information
At Toronto Pearson International Airport:
You wouldn’t want to be lugging your heavy baggage around while exploring Toronto, so make sure you leave your bags with Samsonite in Terminal 1 of Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). For an affordable price, you can tour the city with peace of mind knowing that your luggage is safely kept away. If you find yourself missing essentials such as socks or extra carry-ons, you can check out their wide selection of high-quality goods meant to enrich your travel experience and necessities that are designed with a sleek image in mind while still maintaining functionality.
Samsonite Storage Facillity
Address: Terminal 1, Before-Security Level 3 Check In, Toronto Pearson International Airport, 6301 Silver Dart Dr, Mississauga, ON
Price: coat 2 CAD (1.50 USD), carry-on 5 CAD (3.70 USD), suitcase up to 24 inches (61 cm) 6 CAD (4.50 USD), suitcase up to 30 inches (76 cm) 8 CAD (6 USD), over-sized item 10 CAD (7.40 USD), bike, golf clubs, and skis 8 CAD (6 USD)
Opening Hours: Open 7 days a week, 5 am - 1 am
Contact: (416) 776-1313
To get around the city, take the Union-Pearson Express, an airport rail link that brings you downtown within 25 minutes. Although slightly pricier than other modes of transportation, you can be assured of the reliable service it has to offer, as well as the punctuality of the trains, which arrive once every 15 minutes. To get every bang for your buck, book the long-layover ticket for about 27.50 USD for a round-trip; it guarantees you a swift and comfortable trip to and from the heart of the city.
Price: from 27.50 USD
Opening Hours: Last train / first train hours vary. Check website for more information
Website: UP Express
Set off on your adventure!
There are so many awesome things to see and do in Toronto so don’t waste any time! Get cracking on your adventure as soon as you get off the train; there’s not a second to lose. Just don’t forget that you still need to make it back to the airport for your next flight.
1. Explore the eccentric Kensington Market
Hit the streets of Kensington Market for a trippy sensory experience bound to wake you up from your jet-lagged daze. Decked out in vibrant street graffiti amongst rows of humble restaurants that serve up a punch of a meal, the home-grown and international art stores that pepper the streets reflect the individuality of the artists while still maintaining the harmony of intercultural beliefs.
It is no wonder that this market was named a National Historic Site of Canada in November 2006. With its bustling diversity, take your time to navigate through the narrow alleys of vintage stores, drop by Bungalow for retro band tees soft to the touch from the amount of washes they have gone through, or pick up a piece of galaxy-themed artwork featuring your spirit animal at Orbital Arts, known for their quirky art collections inspired by the spirituality of life.
Alternatively, let your adventurous spirit run wild and get yourself that tattoo you always wanted. At Golden Iron Tattoo Studio, professional tattoo artists offer their skilled services inspired by both traditional and modern tattoo designs. Their studio is regularly inspected by Toronto Public Health, so take that leap of faith that you normally wouldn’t back in your hometown!
Address: West of downtown Toronto
Opening Hours: Varies from store to store. Check website for more information
Contact: [email protected]
Website: Kensington Market
2. Have a quick bite at Seven Lives
Grab a quick lunch at Seven Lives, a Mexican restaurant that serves up a wicked serving of Baja-style tacos topped off with a garnish of sizzling hot habanero sauce.
Cool off your burning tongue with their newest creation, the Dole Whip Float! Made with Dole pineapple juice and Dole soft serve, the child-friendly menu item will definitely appeal to everyone. Be sure to bring some extra cash along, as they are a cash-only eatery.
Address: 69 Kensington Ave, Toronto, Ontario
Price: from 5 USD
Opening Hours: 12 noon - 7 pm, open every day
Contact: +1 416-393-4636
Website: Seven Lives
3. Visit the Art Gallery of Ontario
After your filling lunch, head over to the Art Gallery of Ontario, located mere steps away from the market center. Featuring an impressive collection of over 90,000 works of art, the Frank Gehry-designed gallery houses some of the most outstanding works from all around the world.
Step into a surreal world with the array of ever-changing exhibitions. Housing original artworks from famed European sculpturist Murray Frum to contemporary pop art collections, there is bound to be a piece of work here that you can find a connection with. As of now, the most anticipated exhibit that many people want to see is the ‘Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Vincent van Gogh and more’ collection that was released on the 22nd of October, 2016. Over 90 stunning paintings and 20 works on paper, which rarely leave their home museum, are on display here, such as Vincent Van Gogh’s 'Starry Night over the Rhone at Aries’, which many are familiar with.
If you’re worried about missing the timed exhibitions, don’t worry, there are many other permanent collections for your viewing pleasure. Drop by the ‘Modern and Contemporary’ collection to indulge in the unique cubist masterpieces that Pablo Picasso left behind. If traditional paintings aren’t your forte, there’s also an 'AGO Photography Collection’ that provides viewers with a glimpse of over 50,000 photographs collected from 1840 till now.
The building itself is a work of art, the gently cascading spiral staircase and carefully placed glass windows allow the soft afternoon glow to seep through, casting shadows of different silhouettes across the room. You may find that even half a day would be too short a time to fully appreciate the amount of beauty hidden everywhere in the gallery.
Art Gallery of Ontario
Address: 317 Dundas Street West Toronto Ontario Canada M5T 1G4
Price: from 12 USD
Opening Hours: 10.30 am - 5 pm on eekdays, 10.30 am - 5.30 pm on weekends
Contact: General Information: 416 979 6648
Website: Art Gallery of Ontario
4. Head back to the airport
Head back up the way you came from Kensington Market, and take a short cab ride back to the Union Station where you can board your train back to the airport. Factor in any slight jams you could face on the road; it’s always better to be early than to be late!
5. Collect your luggage and check-in for your next flight
Collect your luggage from Samsonite, and check-in for your flight before going off for a second round of exploration!
6. 10-minute manicure session (T1)
If you haven’t been able to properly pamper yourself due to your hectic schedule, now’s your time to do so! Stop by the :10-Minute Manicure booth in Terminal 1, where you can get a quick manicure done for your next big event, be it a business meeting, beach outing, or a wedding celebration.
With tons of happy customer reviews, choose from the wide selection of colors and other services available, such as hand massages and eyebrow threading.
:10-Minute Manicure Booth
Address: Terminal 1, After-Security (USA), Level 2 Gates, Near Gate F57, Toronto Pearson International Airport
Opening Hours: Open 7 days a week from 7 am - 7 pm
Website: :10-Minute Manicure Booth
7. Relax at a spa (T3)
Are your legs aching from all that walking you did this afternoon? Fret not, Vaccaro Angel Beauty International Spa has just the solution for you!
With your packed schedule in mind, Vaccaro Spa offers massage packages by the half hour. Choose their Signature Massage that will leave you feeling refreshed, or opt for a different experience by going for the Qi Massage, meant to balance out your energy and de-stress your weary muscles.
We all know how harmful flying can be to our skin. Other than causing dryness and flaking skin, you may find your complexion worse than usual due to uncomfortable sleeping conditions when you’re cramped up in the middle seat. Treat yourself by opting for a facial treatment, meant to rejuvenate and hydrate your face back to a radiant, fresh glow.
Vaccaro Angel Beauty International Spa
Address: Terminal 3, Toronto International Airport, Mississauga, Ontario, L5P 1C4
Price: from 48 USD
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 10 am to 9 pm, Saturday 9 am to 8 pm, Sunday 12 noon to 8 pm
Contact: 416 707 1086
8. Last-minute shopping
Indulge in some last-minute shopping after your invigorating massage session or pampering manicure treatment! Nothing beats the feeling of getting your cash back from tax refunds, but at the tax and duty free sections, feel free to shop till you drop without the hassle of long queues at the tax refund counters. As long as you’re flying to a destination outside of Canada, why not splurge and treat yourself? There are plenty of other stores in all terminals too, great for a little pre-flight retail therapy.
Duty Free Shopping in Toronto Pearson Airport
Address: Several locations around the airport, including: - Tax & Duty Free by Nuance, Terminal 1, US Departures Area near Gate F61 & International Departures near Gate E76 - Tax & Duty Free by Nuance, Terminal 3, US Departures Area near Gate A10 & International Departures near Gates C30 and C36
Opening Hours: Varies by outlet
And you're off to your next destination!
Behind its cultured museums and buzzing streets, Toronto is a vibrant city full of personality. Be sure to make it your next vacation spot because there are so many unexplored sights here waiting for you! Have a happy onward flight!