[Larry Hancock, Treasurer for Torcon3, explains how to get to Torcon in Five Easy Steps --ed.]
You have two choices as to how to approach Toronto when driving from Boston. You will probably choose to enter Canada east of Lake Ontario and proceed towards the city on Highway 401. The simplest most direct route from Highway 401 to the Royal York convention area is as follows:
As you approach Toronto, you will find that the highway widens and splits into two sets of lanes: collector lanes and express lanes. You can choose either set of lanes, it won't make a difference. You will be looking for the exit for the Don Valley Parkway and Highway 404. Whereas most exits can only be accessed from the collector lanes, because it is a major route, the DVP/ 404 exit is available from both the collector and express lanes. You will want to take the Don Valley Parkway southbound (north of the 401, the DVP changes its name to Highway 404, hence the dual naming of the exit).
Take the DVP southbound as far as you can go. At t he bottom of the DVP you have the choice of exiting to Richmond Street (on the right) or exiting to Lake Shore Boulevard (on the left, a short distance further along) or continuing on the main road (as it curves right and goes up a ramp) to the Gardiner Expressway. You want the Gardiner Expressway.
If you are going directly to the Fairmont Royal York, or parking there, you will want the second exit (on the right). This exit is for Yonge, Bay and York streets. As you proceed down the ramp, traffic for Yonge Street goes to the right and must go northbound on Yonge Street, whereas traffic for Bay and York Streets goes to the left and merges onto Lakeshore Boulevard which runs right underneath the Gardiner Expressway.
My suggestion is that you take Yonge Street which means bearing to the right as you exit. You can only go North. Proceed to the first stop lights (Front Street), turn left. The first lights you will encounter will be Bay Street. Continue on Front Street. On the right hand side, just past Bay Street, you will come upon the drive way for the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. You can pull in there to unload.
Alternatively, if you exit the Gardiner Expressway at Yonge/Bay/York streets you could exit right, and then keep to the left as you go down the ramp. You then merge onto Lake Shore Boulevard.
Go through the first lights (Yonge Street) and then turn right at the next lights - Bay Street. Go north to the first lights - Front Street, turn left and you are at the Fairmont Royal York on the right side. This is more direct than exiting at Yonge Street, but Bay Street is under construction north of Front Street and so you could be backed up and delayed making the left turn onto Front Street.
(If you were to continue along Lakeshore Boulevard and turn right onto York Street, then proceed north to Front Street, as soon as you pass Front Street, the west end of the Fairmont Royal York would be on your right, just past the intersection. You could drop off bags and passengers there too, but would have to immediately drive away and park elsewhere. There generally are no hotel staff at that end of the hotel.)
If you are approaching from the east, and from the Gardiner Expressway and wanted to head to the convention centre directly, then stay on the Expressway for one more exit. Instead of exiting at Yonge/Bay/York Streets, exit at Spadina Avenue/Lakeshore Boulevard - on the right. As you exit, the ramp splits in two - stay to the left for Spadina Avenue (the right takes you onto Lakeshore Boulevard).
You can only take Spadina northbound from there.
(NOTE: If you want Spadina avenue and you are coming from the East DO NOT exit the Expressway at an exit prior to the Spadina exit. At earlier exits you can get onto Lake Shore Boulevard, and from Lake Shore you can access almost any other street EXCEPT Spadina. Yes, if you are local and familiar with Lake Shore Boulevard there are other ways to maneuver, but for out-of-towners, it's best to assume that coming from the east on the Gardiner you should stay on the Gardiner if you want to get onto Spadina Avenue)
Where were we... Spadina avenue northbound.... proceed a couple of lights north to Front Street, turn right and drive east on Front Street. You will pass a couple of stop lights and then on the right you will see the big Planet Hollywood sign. That is the west end of the convention centre. Continue a couple of hundred feet to reach the main front doors of the convention center and drop off passengers there.
If you were staying at the Rennaisance Hotel at Skydome, from Spadina Avenue northbound, you would turn right at the second stoplights (one stoplight before Front Street). Once you have turned right, you hit one stop sign almost immediately, and then the hotel is directly in front of you.
If you were staying at the Holiday Inn on King Street, you would stay on Spadina Avenue, continuing north past Front Street until you come to King Street. Turn right and watch for the hotel on the left (north) side of King Street.
Now, if you were to decide to approach Toronto by staying in the US all the way underneath Lake Ontario (for example, if you were going to see Niagara Falls first), you would enter Canada across bridges either at Buffalo/Fort Erie, Niagara Falls/Niagara Falls or Lewiston/ Queenston.
Regardless of where you cross, look for signs that tell you how to get to Queen Elizabeth Way, the expressway, known more commonly as the QEW.
Take the QEW all the way to Toronto. Eventually you will find that the QEW has become the Gardiner Expressway. Once you are on the fully elevated portion, the first exit on your right is Spadina Avenue. If you wanted to proceed to the convention centre, Skydome Hotel or Holiday Inn, you would exit at Spadina Avenue. You can only go north. Then follow directions above.
If you want to proceed to the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, go past the Spadina exit and take the exit for Yonge/Bay and York streets instead. As you exit, the ramp splits into two.
If you are going to Yonge Street, you go to the left, down a long straight ramp, merge onto Lake Shore Boulevard, and then keep to the left, following the instructions on the overhead signs as to which lanes take you to Yonge Street North. Then follow the instructions above as to how to get to the Fairmont Royal York hotel.
If you are going to Bay Street, you bear to the right on the exit ramp. As the ramp spirals, it again splits in two. You want to stay to the right. This will merge you onto Lake Shore Boulevard. You want to get over to the left lane so you can turn left onto Bay Street northbound, and then follow the instructions above as to how to get to the Fairmont Royal York hotel.
If you are going to York Street you bear to the right on the exit ramp. As the ramp spirals, it again splits in two. You want to stay to the left. This will merge you onto York Street. Proceed north and then follow the instructions above as to how to get to the Fairmont Royal York hotel.
(NOTE: Approaching Toronto from the west on the Gardiner Expressway, if you wish to get off at Yonge, Bay or York Streets, do not exit early at Spadina Avenue. When you exit at Spadina Avenue, you may only proceed north on Spadina. You may not merge into traffic on Lake Shore Boulevard and then proceed to the other streets.)
Now, to cover all bases, if anyone is approaching Toronto from the Detroit/Windsor border crossings, take Highway 401 eastbound to approach Toronto. As you approach the West end of Toronto, look for signs directing you to Highway 427. Take Highway 427 Southbound to the bottom where you then exit to the left to the QEW. From there, follow the directions above.
If anyone crosses the border at Port Huron/Sarnia, take Highway 402 until you merge with Highway 401 near London, Ontario. Then follow the directions above.
-Larry Hancock, Treasurer
Last updated: 19 August 2003
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