Windsor, located just across the U.S. border from Detroit, and Toronto, Canada's biggest city and most popular travel destination, are well-connected and it's easy to get from one to the other. They're separated by 230 miles and travelers can make the journey by train, bus, car, or plane. It will take you four hours to reach Toronto by train or car, although taking the bus only adds an additional 30 minutes of travel time. The bus is also the cheapest method, so it's an ideal option for saving money without sacrificing time enjoying Toronto. For those who are really in a hurry, flights from Windsor Airport to Toronto are just an hour long.
|Train||4 hours, 6 minutes||from $28||Comfortable traveling|
|Bus||4 hours, 30 minutes||from $22||Traveling on a budget|
|Flight||55 minutes||from $84||Arriving on a time crunch|
|Car||3 hours, 30 minutes||230 miles (370 kilometers)||Exploring Ontario|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Windsor to Toronto?
Bus tickets from Windsor to Toronto start at $22, making it the most affordable option for reaching Canada's most-visited city. Several bus companies cover the route, such as Greyhound and BoltBus, but you can compare prices and times for all of them though Busbud. The fastest buses make the journey in just four and a half hours—only slightly longer than the train or driving yourself—although some routes make more stops and take more time.
The exact location of the bus stop depends on which company you choose, but all of them are located in or near the city centers of Windsor and Toronto. Toronto is also very accessible thanks to its superb public transit system, so regardless of where you get off the bus, it should be easy to reach your final destination.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Windsor to Toronto?
Windsor International Airport (YQG) offers daily direct flights to Toronto and with a total flight time of just under an hour, it's the fastest way to travel between cities. The two airlines that cover this route, AirCanada and Porter Airlines, fly to Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYX) and Billy Bishop Airport (YTZ), respectively. Toronto International is Canada's largest and busiest airport, while Billy Bishop—more commonly referred to as Toronto Island Airport—is a much smaller regional airport.
Traveling by plane for such a short distance is often not worth the trouble, since all of the added time to get to and from the airport, check-in for your flight, and go through security ends up taking longer than just taking the train. However, Windsor Airport is a relatively small and centrally-located airport, so checking in is usually a breeze. And if you fly Porter Airlines to Toronto Island Airport, you'll be arriving at one of the only airports in the world that is so close to the city center that there is a pedestrian path connecting them. So while flying may be the most expensive method—one-way flights start at about $84—you can be assured it's still the fastest way.
How Long Does It Take to Drive?
When there's no traffic, you can drive the 230 miles to Toronto in as little as three and a half hours. However, Windsor is the terminus of a colossal urban area known as the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor, which stretches to Quebec City and encompasses half the population of the entire country, so some traffic is usually inevitable.
Having your own vehicle is ideal for exploring more of Ontario or continuing the road trip to Quebec, but if your plan is to only visit Toronto, then a car may be more of a hassle than it's worth. Parking in the city is difficult and never free, and public transit in Toronto is so well-maintained that you won't need a car once your there.
How Long Is the Train Ride?
The train isn't the fastest or cheapest option, nor is it the slowest or most expensive. The ride takes just over four hours and tickets start at about $28 for the lowest tier, so it's comparable to the bus in price and duration. However, train travel in Canada is one of the most comfortable ways to travel, and therefore it's also one of the most popular methods with visitors and locals alike. Because it's so widely used, seats quickly go up in price and even sell out. If you plan to use the train for traveling in Canada, you should reserve your tickets as early as possible.
Trains arrive at Union Station in downtown Toronto, which is connected to Line 1 of the subway as well as various streetcars.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Toronto?
Summer is the most popular time to visit Toronto, and the city comes alive with open-air markets and outdoor events. Because it's the high season, it's also the most expensive time to travel to the city. Trains and flights usually go up in price from June through August, as people around southern Ontario and Detroit use Windsor as a travel hub for reaching Toronto. Try visiting in the shoulder season of April, May, or September instead. You're still likely to get great weather but with a lot fewer crowds and more affordable options for getting there.
If you're driving into the city, you'll want to avoid arriving during weekday commute hours. Traffic both in Toronto and the surrounding suburbs can come to a standstill during morning or evening rush hour, so keep that in mind before you depart.
What's the Most Scenic Route to Toronto?
The route between Windsor and Toronto is mostly residential without the extraordinary views seen in other parts of Canada, but there is at least one worthwhile detour for those who have a car. Niagara Falls is in between the two cities and only adds about an hour to the drive, and the Canadian side offers the best views of this international wonder. You could make a quick trip to stop and gaze at these massive falls before continuing on to Toronto or make it a romantic getaway and spend the night.
Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport?
If you arrive at Toronto Island Airport, you can actually walk from the airport terminal to downtown Toronto via the underground pedestrian path connecting the two. It takes about 25 minutes to move through the tunnel along the moving walkways, but you can also use the free ferry from the airport to the mainland which shuttles passengers in just 90 seconds.
Toronto Pearson International Airport is a bit farther from the city but still well-connected via the Union Pearson Express, a direct train connecting the airport to Union Station in downtown Toronto. The journey takes 25 minutes and tickets are about $9 if you purchase them online in advance.
What Is There to Do in Toronto?
Toronto isn't the actual capital of Canada, but it's arguably the country's cultural capital. The city is one of the most diverse in North America and each neighborhood offers something unique to discover. The trendy West Queen West neighborhood is one of the hippest parts of the city, filled with art galleries, bars, cafes, and a permeating bohemian vibe. The St. Lawrence Market in downtown is an obligatory stop and was even selected as the best food market in the world by National Geographic. Escape the city and experience local nature by heading to the massive High Park or the nearby Toronto Islands, both of which have hiking trails, picnic areas, and places to swim.