Toronto lies on the northern shoreline of Lake Ontario, close to the US border. Buffalo is located on the shores of Lake Erie, close to the border and is connected to Lake Ontario via the Niagara River. This might have you wondering - is there a ferry from Buffalo to Toronto?
While you can't catch a ferry from Buffalo to Toronto, you can make the 100-mile journey by road along the stunning shores of Lake Ontario. The 1 hour and 50-minute journey takes in the popular towns and cities of Burlington, Mississauga, and Hamilton.
With so much to see and do in the most multicultural city in the world, a trip to Toronto is one that will live long in the memory. Keep on reading to discover the best ways to get there and some exciting attractions to experience when you arrive.
Is there a ferry from Buffalo to Toronto?
The short answer is no, there isn't a ferry from Buffalo to Toronto. There are ferry services operating from Toronto but they only travel as far as Toronto Island.
The best way to make your way between these two iconic cities is to drive yourself, as it is the cheapest, quickest, and most direct way to get there, and allows you the flexibility of stopping off at the many attractions along the way.
You can stop off at Niagara on the Lake, on the shores of Lake Ontario, and sample the many excellent wineries, and if you're visiting in summer, the Shaw Festival showcases some wonderful theatrical performances.
The drive also takes in Hamilton on the western tip of Lake Ontario, home to the Niagara Escarpment, a large forest-covered ridge with trails and waterfalls to explore.
Driving from Buffalo to Toronto
The most popular way to travel between Buffalo and Toronto is to drive yourself. The 100-mile journey can be completed in 1 hour and 50 minutes offering spectacular views across Lake Ontario for much of the route.
The route begins by heading north out of Buffalo along the I-190 N and then taking exit 9 to head over Peace Bridge. The US-Canada border is actually on the bridge itself, and heading through the Peace Bridge Port of Entry can cause delays.
Once over the bridge, head along Queen Elizabeth Way, skirting the shores of Lake Ontario towards St. Catherines.
How long does it take to reach Toronto from Buffalo?
Driving between Buffalo and Toronto is the quickest way to make the journey, taking 1 hour and 50 minutes to complete the trip. The drive is straightforward and scenic, although traffic congestion when heading through Burlington and Mississauga can add as much as one hour to the journey time.
If you decide to make the journey by bus, Flixbus and Greyhound both operate regular services along the route. Departing from Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center, the bus takes you all the way to Toronto Union Station Bus Terminal.
The most direct bus route takes 2 hours and 45 minutes, but there are alternative routes available. These will take longer but can take in spectacular views of Niagara Falls along the way.
It is also possible to make the journey by train, with Amtrak running a service between Buffalo Exchange Street Station and Toronto Union Station.
This more relaxed traveling option takes around 4 hours and 10 minutes and will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the best of Toronto's many attractions.
How much does it cost to travel from Buffalo to Toronto?
|Drive||1 hour 50 minutes||$4 Bridge Toll|
|Bus||2 hours 45 minutes||$23-$68|
|Train||4 hours 10 minutes||$77|
*Prices are calculated at the time of writing, the cost of driving does not include gas price
Things you need to know about traveling from Buffalo to Toronto
The journey from Buffalo to Toronto is a relatively short one, but there are a few things to bear in mind to ensure your trip goes as smoothly as possible:
- Remember you'll cross an international border, so have your passport on hand to save time entering Canada.
- There is a toll when crossing Peace Bridge, so have your card or Canadian Dollars on hand to make the crossing quicker for yourselves and other drivers.
- Prepare for delays at the border control especially during peak travel hours.
- You can take the Niagara Parkway exit off Queen Elizabeth Way to see the iconic natural wonder that is Niagara Falls
- Always be aware of the speed limits and bear in mind that once you've crossed the border, Canadian signs will be in kilometers per hour rather than miles per hour.
- If making the drive in winter, snow and ice can cause disruptions. Keep up to date with road conditions before setting off.
- Congestion is common arriving in Burlington, Mississauga, and Toronto. If leaving at peak times it could add an hour onto the journey.
- Book parking before arriving in Toronto. It's limited and expensive so consider booking hotels with on-site parking.
Best time to visit Toronto
Toronto is a fantastic city to visit at any time of year. The winter months between December and February can see the city experiencing snowstorms, and the icy conditions can lead to difficult and potentially dangerous driving conditions.
In particularly heavy snow flurries road closures are possible so always check the weather forecast before setting off to ensure the route is open. Fitting winter tires is advisable at this time of year and journey times will be increased due to slower speeds.
Winter is also the cheapest time of year to visit Toronto, in particular January and February, where if you're prepared to brave the weather you can grab the best hotel deals and explore the city without the crowds.
The city comes alive at Christmas and it is a magical time to visit. There is ice skating at Nathan Phillips Square, where you can glide around the rink to the sound of your favorite holiday tunes. A visit to Canada's Wonderland Winterfest will allow you to enjoy a mulled wine whilst enjoying the amazing light displays, a perfect introduction to the Christmas season.
A visit to Toronto in spring when the winter snow and ice have melted is a great time to see the city. The colorful spring flowers are in bloom, making the city even more spectacular.
Similarly, visiting during fall when the leaves are falling and the summer crowds have long gone makes it easier to get around, although local authorities do use this period for carrying out necessary roadworks.
The most popular time to visit is in the summer, with July and August seeing the highest number of visitors. The weather averages between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit making it the ideal time to enjoy the outdoor activities on offer.
A trip in summer will allow you to join in the celebrations on Canada Day, on the 1st of July, with fireworks, concerts, and a whole host of cultural events to enjoy.
The NXNE music festival also takes place in the middle of June, spread across 5 days, promoting both emerging local artists and those from around the world, coming together to perform in the best 20 music venues in the City. June is also when the Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival takes place.
August sees Toronto hosting the Carabana Festival, North America's largest Caribbean festival, where you join in the fun and dance along to the vibrant parades, enjoy the live music, and taste the delicious Caribbean cuisine.
Things to see once you reach Toronto
Toronto is an amazing destination, and a lively and cosmopolitan city, with an impressive cultural scene, and many famous museums to enjoy. Here are a few of our favorite attractions that should be top of your bucket list.
- CN Tower - A true icon of Toronto. Take the elevator up the 553-meter-high tower to the observation deck for views of the Toronto skyline and Lake Ontario.
- Royal Ontario Museum - Explore art and nature from around the globe. Also, check out the Art Gallery of Ontario.
- Casa Loma - Visit this castle-like mansion. Discover the gardens, and secret passages, and admire the regal architecture.
- Toronto Islands - Hop on a ferry to the islands. In the summer you can lounge on the beaches, enjoy a picnic, and hire a bike, all while looking at views of Toronto's skyline.
- Distillery Historic District - Lose yourself strolling through the cobblestone streets. Pop into art galleries, dine, and shop in the former whiskey distillery.
- Kensington Market - Dive into the vibrant neighborhood lined with street art. Rummage in vintage shops and dine on multicultural cuisine.
A visit to the largest city in Canada will not disappoint, with its beautiful scenery, impressive skyline, and rich history and culture making it a fantastic destination for a road trip.