How do I get to Toronto from Rochester, NY?
November 5, 2007 12:35 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to get from Rochester, NY to Toronto?

I will be up in Rochester for several days for business, and I have never been to Canada before. I have a passport, and I should have some time in the evening to explore.

I know a ferry used to run between the two cities, but I understand that it is not anymore. How do I get to Toronto? It seems so close...
posted by scooterdman to Travel & Transportation around Rochester, NY (12 answers total)
Air Canada does two daily flights. A bit expensive though at the last minute.
posted by grouse at 12:51 PM on November 5, 2007

Pretty much have to drive. If you take the Thruway it's about three hours.

(and the fast ferry wasn't much faster than driving, from what I have heard.)
posted by Lucinda at 12:55 PM on November 5, 2007

You're thinking of spending just an evening in Toronto, from Rochester? That seems undoable.

You could drive; many rental companies allow you to cross the border. But it's 168 miles. Figure an hour and a bit to the border, somewhere between less than a minute and 4 hours to cross the border, an hour to the outskirts of Mississauga, and then somewhere between half an hour and three hours to get to center Toronto.

You could fly. Get to the airport an hour or two early, expect to spend an hour in customs/immigration lines, and then expect it to take at least 45 minutes to get from Pearson to anywhere interesting. Repeat on the way back.

If you just want to see Canada, you can get to Niagara Falls etc more easily. For very small values of "Canada."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:58 PM on November 5, 2007

There was a ferry, but no one cared, and it was horribly mismanaged, and they sold it. Rochester still owes $2.5 million apparently, it was mostly their idea (since, you know, if you're in Toronto already, why would you want to go to Rochester?)

You could take the bus. There are a couple of different bus lines (I think they're probably all Greyhound affiliates, though) that go west to Buffalo, and then you have to transfer there and head up through Niagara Falls to Toronto. Obviously driving is faster, though.

Maybe you could find someone with a speedboat.
posted by blacklite at 1:07 PM on November 5, 2007

Driving is cheapest and easiest - count on 'bout three hours from city to city.

Amtrak is another option, but I've only ever taken it from Rochester to Niagara Falls, so I don't have any idea what the transit time would be like.

@blacklite: I've met *plenty* of people who come down from TO not just to visit Rochester, but the whole Finger Lakes region as well. Don't be hatin' on the ROC. :-)
posted by angry.polymath at 1:36 PM on November 5, 2007

I've done day trips to Toronto before, it's a bit of a trudge, but it's do-able. I was pretty tired on the drive back, of course.

The late, unlamented ferry took about the same time as driving and cost a lot more. It would at least let you rest, but that would be about it.

TO is a great city to visit, but it's probably more than a day trip can handle unless you have very specific ideas of where you want to go. I'd also recommend Niagara Falls as an alternative. Definitely day trip material and about half the drive time, too.
posted by tommasz at 2:02 PM on November 5, 2007

The Rochester Wiki has a nice page of stuff to do in Rochester, and this previous post lists lots of good Rochester stuff - if you decide to skip Toronto - or need Rochester stuff to do.

This page describes how to GET TO Rochester (including from Toronto) - so you could probably reverse-engineer some of the info - or it might at least prove useful in some fashion.
posted by chr1sb0y at 2:04 PM on November 5, 2007

There's no point in flying—it takes as long as driving. There's only one train a day from Rochester to Toronto, and it leaves in the late evening (6ish) and arrives in Toronto about four hours later. The return trip leaves Toronto at 8:30 in the morning.

You can take the bus from Rochester to Toronto without having to transfer in Buffalo.
posted by oaf at 2:05 PM on November 5, 2007

Strongly suggest driving, if only because customs/Immigration is a lot easier that way, and you don't have the hassle of waiting around in an airport. Also, Toronto's airport isn't exactly close to the city, so you lose time there, too.
posted by Lieber Frau at 2:26 PM on November 5, 2007

I would just drive. Fastest would be the Thruway. My friend takes the Ontario Beach Parkway, but I think it is slow (no toll--but no crappy trucks either), 55 mph instead of thruway 85 speeding. Flying would suck. It would not be a simple evening trip though, either way. I know we just went there this past weekend. Left West Side Crotchfester at 2pm, arrived Toronto 5:30. Comedian 7pm to 9pm, back in ROC by like 1am. Dead tired for the next day.
posted by rocket_johnny at 2:27 PM on November 5, 2007

Nth everyone who has suggested driving, although recent experience getting through customs was...not enjoyable (not nasty, just took an eternity). There really isn't a hugely convenient way of getting there from here.

Definitely not an "evening" trip, though--you'll need to allot a day or two.
posted by thomas j wise at 2:38 PM on November 5, 2007

@blacklite: I've met *plenty* of people who come down from TO not just to visit Rochester, but the whole Finger Lakes region as well. Don't be hatin' on the ROC. :-)

One of them may have been me, repeatedly, to visit friends. I am just mean. :)
posted by blacklite at 3:54 PM on November 5, 2007

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