toronto life hacks

25 hacks to make your life easier in Toronto

The longer you live in Toronto, the easier it becomes to have an actual life in Toronto. From expertly navigating the TTC to knowing where all the free fun can be found, there are tons of little tricks that'll save you time, money and so many headaches.

Here are 25 hacks to make life easier in Toronto.

1. It's pronounced "Churrono" not "Tor-on-to": the quicker you lose the proper pronunciation, the quicker people will think you're a local.

2. Having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card. A Toronto Public Library card not only gets you access to in-house resources, you can also use it to download e-books and digital albums. You can even use it to get free access to the Zoo!

3. There's an easy trick If you get disoriented coming out of a subway station. Generally downhill is south, uphill is north. Left of the CN tower is east, right is west. You'll never get lost again.

4. Download Transit for iPhones or Transit Now for Android to plan TTC routes. Never wait in the rain at a bus or streetcar stop for 13 minutes again.

5. Use The Path when it’s cold outside. You can travel between six subway stations, 20 parking garages, and more than 50 downtown office buildings without ever feeling the sting of winter on your face.

6. Can’t find a place to pee? Hit up a hotel. The Royal York, the Hyatt on King, The Drake Hotel and many other swanky spots have great bathrooms you can use for free, without hassle, at any time, day or night.

7. At the end of the month people put their old furniture out on the street because they're moving. You can furnish an entire apartment this way.

8. Buy a cheap bike and an expensive lock if you want a reliable form of transportation in the downtown core. Bike Share Toronto memberships are also a great investment. Either way, cycling is cheaper, faster and a heck of a lot more fun than driving in this city.

9. You can book a Toronto Greeter for free. Whether you're new in town or you've been here your whole life, you can use a Toronto greeter to fill you in on your neighbourhood and answer any questions you have.

10. Avoid strangers with clip boards who compliment your hair and ask if you “have a second to chat.” They want money, and it’ll take you a lot longer than one second to get away from them. See also: Fake monks.

11. Spadina Road and Spadina Avenue are NOT the same thing. Same goes for Kennedy Road and Kennedy Avenue and Danforth Road and Danforth Avenue.

12. Layer up. Because Toronto is located on a lake and weather conditions can change in a snap if you’re travelling between neighbourhoods. An umbrella in your backpack is never a bad idea.

13. When getting on a streetcar at a busy intersection, walk one block in the opposite direction that you're travelling and get on without the crowded changeover.

14. There are free shuttles to Vaughan Mills, Toronto Outlets, Ikea and the Brick Works. Don't try picking up a Malm dresser on rollerblades. This is better. Trust me.

15. If you're in a complete rush on the TTC, you can transfer at Spadina Station. It's typically considered a rookie mistake, but it is definitely faster if you jog the tunnel connecting the stations.

16. Avoid these tourist traps.

17. Linger around Yonge & Dundas Square and you can get free stuff almost everyday.

18. When looking for a specific address remember even numbers are on north and west sides and odd numbers are on south and east sides of the street.

19. Plan your late night drinking around events with extended last calls. TIFF, Nuit Blanche, NXNE, Canadian Music Week, Pride and Fashion Week all have extended 4 a.m. last call permits extended as part of their programming.

20. You don't have to pay for on street parking until 1 p.m. on Sundays. You can leave a car overnight on most main street between 9 p.m. Saturday until 1 p.m. on Sunday for free.

21. Use laneways to bypass crowds of tourists on busy days downtown. Many of the city’s alleys are covered in wicked street art, providing us with both endless shortcuts and nice Instagram snaps.

22. You can get free stuff on your birthday. Just go to these spots and made sure to bring ID.

23. Loblaws and No Frills are owned by the same company. You can buy a lot of the same things they have at Loblaws at No Frills for cheaper. This is especially true for canned and dry goods, produce and household essentials.

24. At yoga studios your first class is almost always free. Same goes for your first workout at the city's gyms.

25. Don't sit in the empty seat on a busy streetcar if others are people are standing. There's a reason that seat is empty, and while it may not be readily apparent, you'll wanna trust your fellow transit-goers here.

Lead photo by

Loc Nguyen


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