Website about Montreal, Toronto and how to travel between those two cities.
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Montreal is the economic center of Quebec and the second largest French speaking city in the world (after Paris). The city is located on an island in the St.Lawrence river, 556km north-east of Toronto. Montreal was founded as Ville-Marie in 1642 by Jeanne-Mance and Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve. Although being referred to as the metropolis of the province of Quebec, it is not it's capital (which is Quebec-City).
The city is the home of the Montreal Canadiens (Hockey), the Alouettes (Football) and Impact (Soccer). During summer the Montreal hosts many outdoor happenings such as the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Francopholies and Just for Laughs.
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Toronto City Hall
Toronto is the economic center and the biggest city of Canada. It is located on the shores of Lake Ontario, 556km south-west of Montreal. Toronto was founded as York in 1793 by John Graves Simcoe. Despite some believes south of the border and overseas, it is not the capital city of Canada (which is Ottawa).
It is the hometown of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Raptors and the Argonouts. The town often doubles north-american cities in Hollywood movies. Rumors say that, to make the scenes more realistic when taking the role of New York, additional garbage is put on the otherwise rather clean streets.
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How to get from Montreal to Toronto
Until a high-speed train link is built, the fastest way to travel the 556km. Three major airlines (AirCanada, Porter and WestJet) fly on a regular basis between the two cities. The flight time is around 1 hour 15 minutes, but don't forget to add the time you need to get to the airport and do the check-in. An economy class fare for a one way ticket is between $80 and $300.
Airports in Montreal
Montreal's only airport with passenger service is Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. Locals still refer to it with the old name "Dorval Airport". To get to the Airport, there are currently three options: Take a taxi, the Express Bus 747 or public transit. Taxi: Depending on traffic, a taxi will take between 20 and 60 minutes from Downtown. There is a fixed rate of $40,00 for the Downtown area. Express Bus 747: This Bus Line runs 24 hours a day from the Montreal Bus Terminal (Berri-UQAM) via Metro Lionel-Groulx to the Airport. The fee for the 45-60 minute journey is $10,00. A detailed schedule can be found here.
By Public Transport: The cheapest way to get to the airport is with the city Bus for $3,00. Take Bus 211 from Lionel-Groulx Metro Station and change to Bus 204 or 209 at Dorval Train Station. Expect a travel time of at least 30 minutes to one hour.
Airports in Toronto
Toronto is served by two airports: Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (known as well as Toronto City Centre Airport or Toronto Island Airport) and Toronto Pearson International Airport. The first one is used mainly by Porter and can be accessed from the Downtown area at Bathurst Street. Much larger is Pearson, used by the other airlines. Located about 27km from downtown, it can be reached from Toronto with several Bus Lines (Toronto Transit, GO Transit). There is as well an Airport Shuttle (Union Pearson Express), Taxis and various Bus routes to other destinations in Ontario.
The most convenient way to travel. The crown company Via Rail offers several direct downtown to downtonwn trips between Toronto and Montreal each day. The travel time varies between 4h 38min and 5h 36min. The one way ticket price depends on the train and on how early you book. It starts at around $50 but can easily get higher than $140 for economy class.
The best connection is provided by train number 66, which rushes from Toronto to Montreal in 4 hours and 38 minutes. The resulting average speed of more than 120km/h makes this train the fastest train in north america at the time writing. (The Acela express between Boston and New-York has a higher top speed, but lower average speed).
The cheapest way. Several bus connections a day are offered by Greyhound/Voyageur and Coach Canada. The later is currently advertising to sell tickets on its Megabus starting at $1, but the usual fare for the one way ticket is $30-$100. Depending on the Bus, the downtown to downtown ride takes from 7 to 12 hours.
Photo: Stefan Bracher
The classical way to travel between those cities. Highway 20 in Quebec, which changes name to Highway 401 in Ontario takes you all the way. The route is currently a freeway, so no additional charges will apply. Depending on how you drive, you will need 6 hours or more.
If you are not in a rush, you might consider stopping between Kinston and Cornwall to visit the Thousand Islands.
Being one of the main routes in Eastern Canada, there are quite a lot of people offering seats for ride-sharing in their cars. Usually a participation on the gas cost is asked.
A popular website where such offers are posted is Craigslist's Rideshare Section. Keep in mind however, that these are all private offerings where there is no control about who is posting the offer. This website thus explicitly rejects any responsibility for any safety issues that might arise from following the link above.
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The following third party sites are listed for your convenience, all responsibility regarding their content is refused.
Websites mentioned in this article
- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal: Wikipedia Article about Montreal
- ville.montreal.qc.ca: City of Montreal
- www.admtl.com: Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto: Wikipedia Article about Toronto
- www.toronto.ca: City of Toronto
- www3.ttc.ca: Toronto Transit
- www.gotransit.com: GO Transit
- www.upexpress.com: Union Pearson Express
- www.torontopearson.com: Toronto Pearson International Airport
- www.portstoronto.com: Toronto Billy Bishop Airport
Other Transportation Options
- www.viarail.ca: Via Rail
- www.greyhound.ca: Greyhound/Voyageur
- www.coachcanada.com: Coach Canada
- www.megabus.com: Megabus
- Craigslist: Ride share offerings on Craigslist
Other interesting links
- www.visit1000islands.com: Thousand Islands.
- Johnny Jet: Johnny Jet's blog post about his trip from Toronto to Montreal in winter 2006.
- www.busbud.com: Search, compare and book bus tickets
- www.fotopanorama.ch: Panoramic pictures from Canada.
- www.new-york-chicago.com: Website about New York, Chicago and how to travel between those two cities.
- www.los-angeles-san-francisco.com: Website about how to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco.