In this Toronto CityPASS review, I’ll explain how the pass works, what’s included, and how much you can save. Ultimately, I’ll help you decide if it’s a good fit for you.
If you’re visiting Canada’s largest city, you won’t be disappointed. Toronto (pronounced “Trono” or “Torono” by many of the locals) is a vibrant, multicultural city with impressive sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife, art, and shopping scenes.
If you’re on a budget, there are lots of interesting neighborhoods, markets, and parks you can explore for free. But like in any big city, the most sought-after sightseeing experiences (like the view from the CN Tower) come with a hefty price tag.
Luckily, you don’t have to pay the gate price for all the top tourist attractions. The Toronto CityPASS can save you up to 38% on your sightseeing adventures.
Interested in learning more? You’re in the right place.
Toronto CityPASS: How it Works
The Toronto CityPASS provides access to five of Toronto’s top attractions for one low price. The pass includes single-entry tickets to four attractions by default, and purchasers get to choose their fifth spot.
When compared to paying regular admission prices, the Toronto CityPASS will help you save money. You also save time because in most cases, you don’t have to line up to buy tickets—you already have them!
The best way to get the pass is to buy it online before you get to Toronto. After that, you can download tickets to keep on your smartphone or print paper copies. You can also pay to have a booklet shipped to you.
Whether you go the paper or digital route, all you have to do is present the appropriate ticket at your first attraction. The staff scans it and your Toronto CityPASS is officially activated. You then have nine consecutive days to visit the five attractions you select.
Top Attractions Included on the Toronto CityPASS
The Toronto CityPASS includes four attractions by default and a choice for the fifth attraction. Here is what’s included, along with regular adult admission prices:
- CN Tower: $38 CAD
- Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada: $39 CAD
- Casa Loma: $26.55 CAD
- Royal Ontario Museum: $20.35 CAD
- Toronto Zoo: $25.66 CAD OR the Ontario Science Centre: $19.47 CAD
Note that these prices are in Canadian dollars and are current as of Aug 6, 2019.
How Much Does the Toronto CityPASS Cost?
You know what the pass comes with, but to figure out if it’s a good deal, you need to see the price tag. Again, we’re talking Canadian dollars. At the time of writing (Aug, 2019), $1 CAD = $0.75 USD.
|Adult (ages 13+)||Child (ages 4-12)|
|$92 CAD||$63 CAD|
|*Prices current as of Aug 6, 2019|
Some quick math shows that if you visit all 5 attractions and choose the Toronto Zoo over the Ontario Science Centre, you can save $57.56 CAD (38%) on admission. While a 38% savings doesn’t compare to cards like the London Pass, I certainly wouldn’t pass it up!
Toronto CityPASS Attractions Guide
The iconic CN Tower is the 9th tallest free-standing structure in the world. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, it’s where you want to head for an unbeatable city view.
The Toronto CityPASS hooks you up with the Tower Experience. You get access to two observation levels that take you up to 1,136 feet. At 1,122 feet, brave a look down through the glass floor and head onto the outdoor SkyTerrace.
Using Your Pass: Your Toronto CityPASS is your ticket, so skip that line and head to the ticket holder entrance.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
Ripley’s is home to one of the longest underwater viewing tunnels in North America, along with 16,000 aquatic animals and 100 interactive displays. Get hands-on with sharks, stingrays, and horseshoe crabs when you visit the three touch exhibits (a kid favorite).
Using Your Pass: Once again, the Toronto CityPASS is your ticket, so head to the ticket holder entrance and save your time for the aquarium!
Casa Loma is a straight-up castle. It looks like a historic site you’d find somewhere in Western Europe but was actually built as a private residence in 1911.
Today, it serves as a major tourist draw and a frequent film and TV set. When you visit Casa Loma, you get to experience Edwardian era architecture and décor, hidden passages and tunnels, a vintage car exhibit, and 5 acres of exquisite gardens (May through October).
Using Your Pass: Bypass the box office and present your Toronto CityPASS at the front reception desk.
Royal Ontario Museum
Widely regarded as one of the best museums in Canada, the Royal Ontario Museum is renowned for its natural history and world cultures collections.
The dinosaur exhibits are a sight to behold, and the immersive bat cave is a must for kids and adults alike. Ancient Egyptian artifacts, Chinese temple art, and Roman sculptures are just a sample of the worldly treasures you’ll encounter at the ROM.
Using Your Pass: The Toronto CityPASS gets you in fast—head to the express entry point and show your digital or paper ticket.
The Toronto Zoo is the largest in Canada and is home to over 5,000 animals. A few highlights:
- A polar bear family in the 10-acre Tundra Trek
- An African rainforest exhibit housing a baby hippo, a baby gorilla, and Aldabra tortoises (among others)
- Endangered Amur tigers
- Discovery Zone featuring a Kid’s Zoo and a 2-acre water play area
- Wildlife Health Centre to catch a glimpse of behind-the-scenes care of the animals
- Animal keeper talks
Using Your Pass: If the group gate is open, you can skip the main line and head there with your Toronto CityPASS. Otherwise, you’re stuck with the main entrance.
Ontario Science Centre
The Ontario Science Centre is fun for all ages. The Space exhibit features meteorites from Mars, black holes, and cosmic rays. Immersive shows in the planetarium let you explore the galaxy from the comfort of your seat.
AstraZeneca Human Edge is an interactive exhibit that shows how amazing and capable the human body can be. The Living Earth takes you on a wild journey that includes keeping watch for poison dart frogs in the rainforest, touching a tornado, and crawling through a cave. KidSpark lets kids under 8 learn science through hands-on play.
Using Your Pass: No special skip-the-line privileges this time—head to the box office or membership desk to show your Toronto CityPASS.
Other Benefits of the Toronto CityPASS
Skip the Line – The biggest downside to sightseeing (besides the expense) is waiting around in long lineups. The Toronto CityPASS saves you time and money by letting you skip the ticket line at the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium, Casa Loma, Royal Ontario Museum, and the Toronto Zoo.
No Need to Rush – One of the nice things about the Toronto CityPASS is that it’s valid for nine days, meaning there’s no need to rush. You can spread out your five attractions and enjoy them at your leisure.
Mobile Tickets – I like that the Toronto CityPASS has a mobile ticket option. When purchasing online, you can opt to have the tickets emailed to you. You can then store and use them on your smartphone for ultimate convenience or print them off if you prefer a hard copy. You can even order a physical ticket booklet if you’d like.
Varied Selection – The Toronto CityPASS is small but mighty, packing a lot of variety into its six attractions. You’ve got a landmark skyscraper, a major museum, an aquarium, a castle, and your choice of a zoo or science centre. It’s a well-rounded sample of what Toronto has to offer.
Where the Toronto CityPASS Falls Short
The Toronto CityPASS offers access to 5 of Toronto’s major tourist attractions for 38% less than you’d pay at the gate. If that sounds like a good deal, it’s because it is.
However, there are some drawbacks worth mentioning.
If you’re used to all-inclusive passes like the New York Pass, you might be disappointed with the Toronto CityPASS for a few reasons.
For one thing, it’s far from comprehensive. I mean, no pass includes absolutely everything, but some of the best all-inclusive sightseeing passes come pretty close. The New York Pass includes over 100 attractions. Obviously, Toronto isn’t NYC, but it certainly has more than 6 attractions worth checking out.
The pass would benefit from something for sports fans – maybe a tour of the Rogers Centre? With only six attractions, there isn’t room for everything, but swapping out the Science Centre for something sports-related would diversify the selection.
A closely related point is that the 38% in savings you’ll get with the Toronto CityPASS pales compared to the 55% you can get with passes in some other cities. But hey, it’s better than nothing!
That said, at the time of writing, I am not aware of any all-inclusive sightseeing pass available for Toronto. It looks like this is as good as it gets.
Who Should Consider the Toronto CityPASS
- First-time Visitors – If you’re headed to Toronto for the first time, chances are these attractions are on your wish list. Why not do them for less?
- Anyone Looking for a Little of Everything – As I mentioned before, the Toronto CityPASS offers a varied selection, giving travelers a diverse experience.
- Travelers Who Will Visit All Five Attractions – If you’re interested in all of the included attractions, the Toronto CityPASS should be an easy decision. You’ll get to skip the ticket lines and save 38%!
Who Should Skip the Toronto CityPASS
- Sports Fans – Although the Toronto CityPass’ selection is fairly eclectic, there’s nothing on the menu for sports fans.
- Repeat Visitors – This may not apply across the board, but if you’ve been to Toronto a few times, you’ve likely already done all of the attractions on this pass—maybe more than once. The Royal Ontario Museum always has new exhibits worth seeing, but you probably don’t need to do the CN Tower and Casa Loma multiple times.
- Travelers Who Aren’t Interested in Paid Sightseeing – If you don’t really have a sightseeing agenda, you can skip the Toronto CityPASS and save your money. If your budget is really tight, the same thing goes. Focus on free or low-cost experiences instead.
Tips for Using the Toronto CityPASS
Visit All Five Attractions – This should be obvious, but if you want to get the best value from the Toronto CityPASS, you need to visit all five attractions. It’s still worth it if you’ll visit four, but visiting three may or may not save you anything, depending on your choices.
Choose the Zoo Over the Science Centre – The Toronto Zoo carries a higher regular admission price than the Ontario Science Centre, so if you want to save the full 38%, the zoo should be your pick. That said, if the Science Centre is more your jam, we’re only talking about $6, so you do you.
Buy Your Pass Ahead of Time – You can buy the Toronto CityPASS at any of the attractions but I recommend buying it online so you don’t get stuck waiting in a long line.
How to Buy the Toronto CityPASS
If you’re ready to pull the trigger on the Toronto CityPASS, you can buy it online now. You can have the pass shipped to your home or hotel (you pay shipping), or you can receive it electronically via email (my recommendation).
If you’d rather play it by ear, you can always pick up the pass at any of the attractions once you get to Toronto, just be aware you might have to wait in a lengthy line to get it.
Toronto CityPASS Review: Can It Save You Money?
In a word, yes.
If you’re interested in visiting at least four of the included attractions, the Toronto CityPASS is a smart buy that will save you money. Maximum savings comes when you use the pass for all five attractions.
Although you won’t save as much as you do with passes in other cities, you’ll still save a nice 38% over the regular gate prices. Since the Toronto CityPASS is the only game in town, I’ll take it.