How to Spend Your Layover at Toronto Airport
To begin with, what is a layover? It is the free time between flights, the time you’ll have to spend at one airport before catching your onward flight to your final destination. Hence, do you have an upcoming layover at Toronto Airport? Don’t get in a sweat about it! As long as you exploit the YYZ services and amenities, you can rest assured that you’ll love every minute of your spare time there.
On the other hand, long layovers can be challenging if spent at the airport. In that case, the city of Toronto is only a 30-40-minute drive from Pearson Airport, while the UP Express Train needs only 25 minutes to reach Union Station in downtown Toronto. In other words, long layovers are the ideal opportunity to get a good glimpse of the multicultural capital of Ontario!
Things to Do in Toronto Airport
During short layovers, when leaving the airport is out of the question, you can make the most of your time by exploring the airport’s amenities and facilities. Depending on your arrival and departure terminal, you can use the YYZ-provided services and enjoy your downtime at the airport. Please keep in mind that terminals are connected via the automated and free Terminal LINK Train around the clock.
Hence, the top things to do in Toronto Airport are:
Shop Till you Drop at Pearson Airport
Whether you want to buy gifts for your loved ones, pamper yourself, or even keep it to window shopping, you’ll find various options scattered around the two Toronto airport terminals. International chains and local shops, along with duty-free areas, guarantee an unforgettable shopping experience.
The Drinking & Dining Options of YYZ Airport
A wide variety of drinking and dining alternatives is available to YYZ passengers. Verily, you can enjoy a rejuvenating coffee, a refreshing beverage, or even a drink, or opt for one of the eating options. From fast-food chains to casual restaurants and facilities with more “fine-dining” vibes, you can settle on the type of food or even the cuisine of your choice and enjoy a delicious meal.
Surf the Net
Toronto Pearson Airport offers free Wi-Fi. Hence, you can join the airport’s network and finish any pending tasks, check your socials, connect with your friends and family, or even watch your favorite series and movies. What’s more, you’ll find free i-pads in the lounge areas of the terminals, close to the departure gates.
Treat Yourself at Pearson Airport
In other words, head to one of the airport’s spa facilities, where you can opt for a mani-pedi, a beauty treatment, or a massage session, and start your onward air travel feeling refreshed as ever. It’s up to you!
Explore the Airport’s Cultural Attractions
Toronto International Airport aims at overcoming its strict transportation character and embracing further roles. Thus, it can be seen as a giant shopping mall or even a cultural hub. Therefore, works of art and art displays are to be found all around the terminals. Just to mention a few, in terminal 1, you can spot “As One” (in the International Baggage Hall), the “Flight Song” (the giant paper planes on Level 3), an art collection, “Tilted Spheres” (International Departures), “Wall Drawing #1100” (International Arrivals), “Skyward” (Domestic Departures) and “Inukshuks” (part of Transport Canada Collection) and “Jetstream” located landside. On the other hand, T3 houses the “Ice Fishing Huts” (on the Connector Tunnel) and 3 breathtaking sculptures at the Departures level.
Enjoy a Religious Experience
Both Toronto airport terminals house chapels, where support sessions and even services take place. Libraries are also to be found at the chapels with spiritual materials. Chapels lie landside, on Level 1 of both terminals.
Are you a Music Lover?
Then you have to find out if a live music event is organized at Toronto Airport. Thus, you should check the YYZ Live Music Program for any scheduled performance in the two Toronto airport terminals.
Do you Travel with your Furry Friend?
You’ll find plenty of pet relief areas around Pearson Airport. Verily, pet relief zones are to be found at:
- T1’s Level 2 near doors to the public area
- near T1’s Gate F83
- near T1’s international gates on the Arrivals Transfer Level
- T1’s Level 3, close to Door at Aisle 15
- T1’s Ground Public area close to Post S
- T1’s Primary Inspection Lines Canada Custom Hall
- T3’s Gate B26
- T3’s Gate A9
- T3’s International Arrivals above Gate C36
- Pier a (Lobby on Level 1)
- T3’s Ground Public area (outside Door A)
Do you Travel with Children?
Mamava nursing pods lie around the airport’s premises (near Gates D22, E80/E81, and F59 of T1 and close to Gates C30/C31, B22, and A12/A13 of T3), along with nursing rooms. Moreover, a playground is situated on the Departures Lounge of T1 (near Gate D24) and coloring books are offered at Information kiosks. Additionally, a list of interactive games has been set up for the YYZ little passengers.
Exercise During your Layover at Toronto Airport
A gym center is to be found in T1, yet on its landside. Verily, Goodlife Fitness is a fully equipped fitness area located on T1’s Arrivals level (Level 1). It offers luggage storage and towels as well, and you can even buy sportswear if you aren’t prepared for a training session.
Relax and Sleep at the Airport
Fortunately, Toronto Pearson Airport is equipped with numerous chairs with no armrests. Thus, you can relax during your layover at Toronto Airport. On the other hand, you can head to one of the premium airport lounges. Some of them are only member-accessible. Still, there are options available to all passengers upon payment. Moreover, Sheraton Gateway Hotel is connected to T3. However, it is located landside, meaning that you’ll have to pass through security and re-check in for your next flight. Sheraton offers day-use rooms, yet upon availability. If you want to take a shower during your spare time at the airport, you’ll have to use a lounge or spa facility or opt for the Sheraton Hotel and the Goodlife Fitness located before security.
Accessible Services and Amenities at YYZ Airport
Toronto International Airport takes accessibility seriously. Thus, many special services have been put in place, and measures have been adopted to make the life of YYZ passengers with special needs easier. From toilets and changing rooms to check-in kiosks and wheelchairs and from apps and tools to in-terminal shuttle services and even therapy dogs, Toronto Airport aims to make all its visitors feel at ease.
Our Tip: Smoking is allowed only at the 10 designated outdoor smoking areas, lying in all the terminals’ levels.
Best Things to Do in Toronto
If you have a lot of hours to spare at Toronto Airport, you should consider heading to Toronto and taking a glimpse of the beautiful and multicultural Canadian city. Toronto is only a 40-minute taxi ride from the airport, while the ride with the fast UP Express Train to Union Station in the heart of the city lasts only 25 minutes. Hence, you can easily enjoy a pleasant and full layover, getting to know the best parts of the city. Nevertheless, please keep in mind that you should be back at Pearson Airport three hours before your onward international flight and two hours if your destination is domestic. So, what are the best things to do in Toronto?
Our Tip: Families with two adults and up to 3 children under 19 years of age can pay a 25.70$/19 USD/17.60€ round-trip fare for their ride with the UP Express.
Visit the CN Tower
Toronto’s trademark is undoubtedly the CN Tower. One of the tallest buildings in the world offers stunning views of the city from its observation deck, while for those who feel fearless (and definitely don’t suffer from acrophobia), the Edge Walk (walking around the Tower on its exterior side) can be one of the ultimate experiences in Toronto.
Our Tip: Only a 2-minute walk from the CN Tower lies the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, housing over 20.000 aquatic species.
Are you a Hockey Fan?
If so, you should visit the Hockey Hall of Fame. Located in the heart of the city, it houses the biggest hockey-related collection and is a must-visit Toronto attraction for visitors who love the sport.
Shopping Therapy in Toronto
Shopping is always a good idea, especially during layovers, when you may want to buy gifts for your loved ones or simply explore the city’s options. Hence, if you want to spend your free time in Toronto shopping, you’ll just have to choose the right district depending on your preferences and intentions! Thus, Kensington Market has boho vibes, whereas Yorkville houses luxurious chains and fancy boutiques. On the other hand, Queen Street West has it almost all: from well-known retail shops to independent stores and from restaurants and cafes to street art and interesting art galleries.
Wander around the St Lawrence Market
If you want your shopping options to be…eatable, you should head to St Lawrence Market. One of the top food markets in the world is a city’s sight itself, attracting many visitors who get fascinated by the oldest Toronto market. Perhaps you’ll be one of them!
Opt for a Visit to Casa Loma
The Gothic-style mansion resembles a castle. Hence, it is difficult to imagine that it was actually a private house. Nowadays, it is one of the most popular Toronto attractions as well as an often-used film location. At Casa Loma, European vibes are in the air, from the building’s architectural design and the interior’s decoration to the furniture. You can visit the mansion’s rooms and its stables connected to the main house via an underground tunnel. A vintage car collection is also to be found at the Casa Loma’s premises.
Settle on One of Toronto’s Museums
…or if time is on your side, on more than one. Various museums are to be found in Toronto. Nevertheless, the following three stand out:
- Royal Ontario Museum (ROM): combining art and history, the exhibits of ROM cover a vast chronological period. It hosts 6.000.000 exhibits, from works of art to natural-history-related displays. If you are traveling with children, they will certainly fall for the dinosaur exhibition.
- Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO): the design of the gallery is a work of art itself, which is totally worthy of a visit. Besides that, it houses more than 98.000 exhibits and is widely appreciated by the audience.
- Bata Shoe Museum: an “alternative” option for your Toronto layover. This museum is dedicated to footwear. In fact, it displays more than 13.000 shoes, while some of them are even 4500 years old.
Go for a Boat Tour
You’ll find several available boat tours around Toronto and its islands. If you want to get a good look at the city in the most relaxed and hassle-free way, you should book a cruise and learn all about Toronto and its nearby areas’ history while enjoying the beautiful vistas.
What About a Helicopter Tour?
If a boat cruise sounds appealing, a helicopter tour will be the most memorable experience of your journey. You can explore Toronto from above, observing all the skyscrapers, the CN Tower, and Ripley’s Aquarium, while weather permitting, you can even spot the mist of Niagara Falls.
Our Tip 1: If you arrive in downtown Toronto via train, you should also visit Nathan Philips Square with its well-known 3D Toronto sign, as it lies within just a 10-15-minute walking distance from Union Station.
Our Tip 2: No matter how you are going to plan your layover to Toronto, don’t miss out on the chance to grab a bite of the local cuisine. Still, if poutine or sushi pizza doesn’t sound tempting to you, you can find a top-quality restaurant in the cosmopolitan city of Toronto, no matter the cuisine you may crave for.