A tourist’s perspective of Toronto through the City Sightseeing double-decker bus tour
Red double-decker city sightseeing buses. We’ve all seen them. Every city worth its salt seems to have them, and Toronto is no different.
Each bus tour starts from Yonge-Dundas square, Toronto’s equivalent of Piccadilly Circus or Times Square. The great thing with one of these tours is that you don’t have to always get on at this start point, and with 21 stops along the route, you can hop on or off as many times as you like at any of these various points.
My tour bus was one of London’s famous old routemasters. As great as this is, the drawback is that given that it was designed for driving on the left, and this is Canada where they drive on the right, it does mean walking round the back of the bus and into the road to get onto it!
In addition to the aforementioned Yonge-Dundas Square and Casa Loma, other sights along the way include the Royal Ontario Museum, the Bata Shoe Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Queen Street West, the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Union Station, Roy Thompson Hall, the CN Tower, the Rogers Centre, the waterfront, St Lawrence Market, the Distillery District and the City Hall.
Facts and figures are delivered on each sight, which, given your tour guide is likely to be a student, are delivered in a jovial way. A lot of the time this is fun, but on the odd occasion it verges on the embarrassing!
Along the way you also get to hear about some less obvious sights, such as the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) building with its rubber soundproofing, and the InterContinental Hotel, a luxury hotel where US presidents stay when in town.
This being Toronto though, there is a major drawback to driving around the city centre in a bus. Yes that’s right, the traffic! Prepare to sit in congestion for ages. At least this gives the guide plenty of chances to show off all the facts they’ve memorised, as well as giving you the opportunity to take in all the sights and get photos!
The City Sightseeing Toronto bus tour costs £34.96 for adults (plus tax), with discounts for seniors, students, children and family groups. Each ticket is valid for up to 72 hours, so you can use it for three continuous days if you wish, and includes a ‘free’ boat cruise of Toronto Harbour and the Toronto Islands. In the winter, the open top double-decker buses are replaced with enclosed single deck buses so you won’t freeze!