As spring is in full swing (or we skipped spring and already have summer!), there are many activities for you and your family to check out! It’s a great time to explore different places within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) or go on day or weekend trips outside the GTA. However, it can be difficult to get out of the city without a car. Luckily, Toronto has many organizations that can provide access to cars for those who don’t own vehicles.
Before You Start
- For a review on road safety, check out The Official Ministry of Transportation’s Guidebook for rules, regulations, and how to be a safe and responsible driver.
- If you have a child that requires a car seat, Ontario’s guide provides information on which seats to use and other FAQs you may have.
- Wheelchair Accessibility is a service in Ontario that provides vehicle and driver bookings for those who need wheelchair assistance during transport.
- Explore alternative options. A car might not be the only way! The GO Train now has weekend service between Toronto and Niagara Falls. ParkBus is a possibility for city dwellers who would like to get out of the city to explore nature!
- There are also endless things to explore within the city! Toronto has a vast system of ravines you can explore. While exploring, you might forget you are in a really big city! Stay tuned for an Intersections blog post on bike sharing.
For short-term activities, such as grocery shopping, visiting a friend or a relative on the outskirts of the city, or going on a day trip with the family, carsharing might be for you. These services provide access to cars in Toronto for those short trips. Settlement.org provides important information about car sharing and provides a list of car share services. Here are a couple of the options within the GTA:
- Enterprise Carshare allows you to book the car in advance with pickup and drop off at the same location. Family memberships are available. Enterprise Carshare has rates for University of Toronto. Eligibility requirements for the U of T rate include being over 21, registering with a U of T email account and having a major credit card in one’s name.
- Communauto has locations across the city. No prebooking is necessary for one-way trips! Check out their website to review eligibility requirements and to join. Family memberships are available. You can pick up Communauto cars at one location and drop off at a different one or use Communauto for round trips. Communauto is part of the City of Toronto’s Free-Floating Car-Share Parking Permit Program.
Activities such as weekend trips to provincial parks or conservation areas may require a car rental. Check out Niagara, Prince Edward County, the Muskokas or other places within a few hours’ drive from the GTA. Car rental companies often offer unlimited kilometres so are cheaper when you decide to drive farther distances for longer than a day. A few things to note:
- Settlement.org provides important information for newcomers about renting a car.
- Major car rental companies in Toronto include: Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz and National.
- Peer-to-peer car sharing is an option worth exploring. Turo, based in San Francisco, offers a service that is similar to Airbnb, but for vehicles. Read reviews of Turo: on Maple Money and Savvy New Canadians. Renters must be 23 years old or older.
Weekends and holidays, especially in the summer, are the busiest times of the year for car rental and carsharing so make sure to check in advance for car availability.