All you need to know about driving in Toronto

Get Your Free Quote Now

"*" indicates required fields

MM slash DD slash YYYY

Jump to sectionarrow down

Learning to drive in a new city is crucial, especially in a metropolis like Toronto. Familiarity with the city’s layout reduces stress and saves time, as you can choose optimal routes. Moreover, driving skills in a city like Toronto boost confidence, making everyday tasks like grocery shopping or visiting friends more manageable. As some of the most trusted movers Toronto has at its disposal, with numerous relocations completed throughout Canada, we’d like to share with you our knowledge and experience with driving in Toronto, so you know what to expect after you arrive.

What do I need to know before driving in Toronto?

Traffic in Toronto can get pretty jammed up, especially during rush hours. On top of that, the roads can be confusing, with lots of highways, busy streets, and one-way roads. Knowing when rush hour happens is crucial. In Toronto, it’s busiest on weekday mornings from about 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM and in the evenings from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. During these times, traffic can be a real headache, but there are some strategies you can use.

Carpooling with others can help because you’ll have fewer cars on the road, and you might be able to use special carpool lanes. Taking public transit, like buses or the subway, can be a good option to avoid driving stress altogether.

If you must drive, try to plan your trips for times when traffic is lighter, usually between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM or after 7:00 PM. Technology can be a big help too. Apps like Waze and Google Maps can give you real-time updates on traffic and suggest better routes to get where you’re going faster.

Many cars driving in Toronto
Traffic in Toronto can get quite congested, so always have a backup plan when driving during the busiest hours.

Toronto driving laws and regulations

In Toronto, like the rest of Canada, there are certain driving rules that must be followed to ensure safety on the road. First and foremost, drivers must obey posted speed limits, which can vary depending on the type of road. All occupants of a vehicle must wear seat belts, and drivers must secure children in suitable car seats or booster seats.

There are also some specific rules that differ from other parts of Canada. For instance, there is a bylaw that prohibits drivers from making right turns on red lights at many intersections within the city. This is not the case in all of Canada, where such turns are generally allowed after coming to a complete stop and ensuring it’s safe to do so. Additionally, Toronto has strict regulations regarding parking. Those include designated times for street parking and permits for certain areas.

Enlist the help of local movers Toronto offers to navigate these things with ease if you plan on moving here.  Overall, while many driving rules in Toronto align with the rest of Canada, it’s essential to be aware of these local differences to avoid fines and ensure road safety.

How to drive in Downtown Toronto

Driving in downtown Toronto, particularly in the Financial District and Entertainment District,  often requires patience and planning. Avoid peak traffic hours, typically 7-9 AM and 4-6 PM, as congestion is common. Streets like King Street West and Queen Street West can become gridlocked, so use alternate routes when possible. Be vigilant for pedestrians and cyclists, especially near attractions like Yonge-Dundas Square and the CN Tower. Additionally, parking can be challenging, so opt for nearby parking garages or public transit instead. Navigational apps can help you find the quickest routes, but it’s often more convenient to use public transportation in these bustling areas. It reduces stress and parking difficulties.

Traffic light and signs
You can’t make right turns on red lights at many intersections within Toronto, which isn’t the case in many other cities in Canada.

Major roads and highways you should know 

The Gardiner Expressway offers a scenic route into downtown but can be congested during rush hours. The Don Valley Parkway (DVP) provides a north-south corridor through the eastern part of the city, connecting with 401 Highway. The 401, known as the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway, is one of the world’s busiest highways, running across Toronto’s northern edge, east to west. It intersects with various other routes like the 427 and 404, which are frequently used by our Canada cross country movers

Yonge Street, a historic road, is another significant route, extending from the lakefront to the northern suburbs. Meanwhile, the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) offers a direct route to Toronto from the west, while the 407 ETR is a tolled expressway providing an alternative to the 401 for those willing to pay.

Parking in Toronto

Parking in Toronto is subject to strict laws and regulations. Street parking typically requires payment at designated meters during specified hours. Ensure you follow posted signs for time limits and restrictions. Be cautious of rush hour restrictions, which limit parking on major roads during peak traffic times.

To avoid fines and towing, always check for valid parking permits or residential parking zones. It’s essential to park within marked lines to prevent obstruction. Parking in unauthorized areas, like fire hydrants or disabled spots, can result in heavy penalties.

To make parking easier, consider using parking apps and websites like Parkopedia or Green P which offer real-time information on available parking spots and rates. Utilize public transportation whenever possible to reduce the need for parking, especially in downtown areas where spaces are limited and expensive.

Toronto streets with buses and cars
Practice patience when driving in Toronto, it’s an essential tool just like Google Maps.

Follow all safety regulations and laws when driving in Toronto!

Just like anywhere else, driving in Toronto demands adherence to safety regulations and laws. Staying informed about these rules is vital for both residents and visitors to ensure a safe and smooth driving experience. Prioritizing safety on the road not only helps prevent accidents but also contributes to the overall well-being of the city’s inhabitants. So, whether you’re navigating the bustling downtown streets or moving to the city, remember that safe driving practices are paramount to enjoying all that Toronto has to offer. If you wish to make your moving easier, use the services of the best long distance movers Toronto provides for a smooth relocation experience, free from worrying about driving in a new city.

Contact Us


You can, by signing up for our monthly newsletter!

Get Your Free Estimate for Moving Today