6 hour layover at YYZ - into the City or stay at airport?
We are flying YVR-YYZ-CDG on Saturday, and sadly we have a layover in YYZ of 5:45. We arrive YYZ at 2 pm (not sure which terminal for AC domestic arrival) and depart AC at 8:40 pm. We're a family of 4, including two teens, and we're wondering whether we'll have enough time to go into Toronto to have a quick look-see at U of T (oldest child may be applying there in the fall), go in to see the CN Tower; of whether given the time frame our early departure from YVR (7 am local time) and late night flight to Paris, we would be better to get a day room at an airport hotel (the Sheraton?) or just hang around the airport in lounges. We are travelling J class to YYZ and so far 2 are in J class for the Paris flight, so not sure about entitlement to lounges (DH does have the Cdn Amex Plat). No idea what terminal we fly in or out of at YYZ, and although we'll have one bag checked, we'll all have carry on's, which I presume we can store at the airport if we decide to go into the city.
Any advice on the options? If we do decide to go into Toronto, what would be the most economical and efficient option, given it's Saturday afternoon/evening? Also, any dinner suggestions welcome (will we get dinner on our CDG flight (880). Any suggestions or comments appreciated.
Your time is somewhat restricted 5:45 is not a lot of time. You really only have about 2:30 or 3:00 to play with. The rest of your time is taken by general airport navigation, the need to arrive at your gate before the scheduled departure time, clearing security if you've left the clean zone, and a buffer for safety.
YYZ is about 30 minutes of driving from downtown Toronto. It can be worse with traffic but you are traveling on a weekend so I will assume that will not pose a problem (not a guarantee).
Your itinerary (YVR-YYZ-CDG) suggests your bags will likely be checked through unless you are switchling between airlines that are not interlined and you will be checked-in with a boarding pass in YVR. Given some of your passengers are flying J you are probably flying Air Canada out of Terminal 1 (WestJet has no J class).
To my knowledge, there is no place to store carry on luggage at YYZ due to security concerns though I must confess it is not something I have ever had to do so.
If you do choose to go downtown to see the CN Tower you will need to rent a car or hire a cab. Both are somewhat costly. You could, in theory, drive downtown and see the CN Tower for about two hours then come back to the airport.
A more realistic and more relaxing recommendation is to enjoy the Maple Leaf Lounge / the applicable loung of the carrier on which you are flying. You should be able to purchase passes for those not entitled to enter.
If you click the link for the pdf East of the Airport will give you the set price into that area. You definitely have time for that and probably a quick meal in the Yorkville area. Flagging a cab on the way back to the airport will be very easy. CN Tower on a summer Saturday I really don't think would be feasible. You will definitely get a full meal in J on AC880.
Thanks for all the great info (and to moderator for moving this post). If there were a rail or similar link into downtown we would probably do it, but I think it's better not to worry about possible traffic snarls, lugging our carry-on around with us, and stay at the airport.
We are flying Air Canada on both flights, so hopefully that makes it easier. Domestic AC arrival at YYZ (in J class for all) and international AC departure from YYZ (2 of 4 in J class, still hoping to upgrade the other two). Since two of us are booked in J class on the departing Paris flight, I'm guessing we will want to use the MLL in the international departure area/terminal? We have guest passes we could use for those in economy, and we also have PriorityPass Membership - are any of their member lounges be better than AC's MLL for international departures?
I live in Toronto and the traffic there is terrible. YYZ is not a bad airport. Since you're flying Air Canada I would buy a pass to their lounge. There are other lounges that aren't bad either. Plus, you get food and drink, at a price similar to a dinner and a drink in the restaurants. There are other things you may want to see nearer the airport that would be less of a risk traffic wise as well.
I travel a lot through YYZ and I think it is not a bad airport for a long layover.