In preparation for people coming to Accordion City to attend the RubyFringe conference (as well as those of you who are coming here this summer for other reasons), I’m writing Joey’s Unofficial RubyFringe Guide to Toronto, a series of articles with useful tips for visiting our fair city.
So far, I’ve published one article: Where Did All the Cigarettes Go?, in which I explained to visiting smokers that you can buy cigarettes in stores here; they’re just hidden in large, featureless cabinets behind the counter.
In this article, I’m going to cover the cheapest way to get to the conference hotel, the Metropolitan, from the airport.
There are Two Metropolitan Hotels!
This may be a source of confusion, so make sure you’re aware of this: there are two Metropolitan Hotels in town. Both are owned by the same hotel chain, and they’re a fifteen-minute walk from each other!
RubyFringe is taking place at the Metropolitan Hotel Toronto, located at 108 Chestnut Street, which is behind City Hall and on the edge of Chinatown. If the front of the hotel looks like the photo below, you’re in the right place:
The other hotel is the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel on 318 Wellington Street West and is a hop, skip and a jump away from Toronto’s domed stadium, The Rogers Centre. If the front of the hotel looks like the photo below, you’re in the wrong place!
(There’s nothing wrong with the Soho Met: it’s a nice place and swankier than the Metropolitan Toronto; it’s just that the conference isn’t taking place there.)
For this article and any other in this series, when I refer to the Metropolitan Hotel, I’m referring to the Metropolitan Toronto, the conference venue.
Lester B. Pearson International Airport (airport code YYZ, which is where Rush got the name for their song with Neil Peart’s legendary drum solo) is a bit of a hike from downtown Accordion City. It’s 27 kilometres (about 17 miles) from the airport to the Metropolitan Hotel, a span on par with the distances between Los Angeles International Airport and its downtown core, Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and the Chicago Loop and Newark’s Liberty Airport and midtown Manhattan.
The Most Expensive Way: Renting a Car and Driving (Round trip: $lots)
If you were to drive from the airport to the hotel, you’d get on Highway 427 and go south to the Gardiner Expressway and follow it east. Google Maps says to exit at Spadina, I say take the Bay/York Street exit and follow York Street to where it forks and take the University Avenue fork (Spadina has fewer lanes and is downtown Chinatown’s main drag, which makes it slower going). Either way, you go north to Dundas, at which point you turn east and go a short way to Chestnut Street, where the hotel is.
The Second Most Expensive Way: Taking a Cab or Airport Limo (Round trip: $90 – 100)
If you were take a cab or airport limo from the airport to the hotel today, it would cost around $40. However, cab fares are going up in July because of skyrocketing gas prices, so a cab ride will probably cost more by the time RubyFringe takes place. The trip should take about 35 – 40 minutes if traffic isn’t too bad. It’s probably the fastest, lowest-hassle way to get to the hotel from the airport.
The Cheapest Way: The TTC (Round trip: $5.50)
The cheapest way to get to the hotel is via public transit — the TTC. It will cost you a grand total of $2.75 and take about 45 minutes to an hour. It involves a bus trip, followed by a ride on the subway.
The first leg of the trip is to take the 192 Airport Rocket bus. It stops at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3.
(Don’t worry about it not stopping at Terminal 2: it’s being renovated and not being used for anything!)
I know that going to a strange town and not knowing what things look like can throw you off, so I’ve gathered some photos to help orient you. TTC bus stops are marked by signs that look like this:
Here’s what the airport bus stop looks like:
And here’s what a TTC bus looks like:
Make sure that you board only the 192 Airport Rocket bus; it’s an express bus that goes straight to the subway station. The others will eventually take you to a subway station, but they’re regular bus routes and take much longer.
In case you were wondering, the $2.75 fare you pay on the bus will cover the whole trip to the hotel.
Once you’re at Kipling station, take the train east to St. George station. At St. George station, you’ll go up one floor, which takes you to the north-south-running trains on the Yonge-University-Spadina line. Take the train south to St. Patrick station.
Exit St. Patrick station, and you’ll be a mere two blocks away from the hotel:
The Middle-of-the-Road Way: Airport Express Bus (Round trip: $29.95)
The Airport Express bus stops at both Terminals 1 and 3, involves less lugging stuff around than taking the subway and takes slightly longer than a cab would. It stops at a number of hotels in the downtown core, including the Metropolitan.
They advertise that their buses are WiFi equipped, which might come in handy if you really feel the need to check your email or IM everyone that you’ve arrived.