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8 hour layover in Toronto in Christmas Eve

Hello Rick friends,

I'm flying to Copenhagen for the week between Christmas and the New Year, and have a 9 hour layover on Christmas Eve. I'll arrive at 12:30pm and leave at 9pm. I know customs is a lengthy procedure in Toronto, but I'd love to visit the city if possible, especially since it will be my first time in Canada. For those in the know, is it worth leaving the airport for the city, especially on Christmas Eve. Any insight?

Thank you!

Posted by
178 posts

Stores everywhere will be closed at 6pm. You could take the express train downtown to the Eaton Centre and wander around there. The restaurants downtown will probably be open into the evening.

Here's the link to the express train.

But really,you don't want to cut it too close. They say to allow 3 hours at the airport for international travel. For sure,you should allow that much time. It's a busy time of year with long lines at the ticket counters and at security.

Posted by
6997 posts

I have not been to Toronto on Christmas Eve, but even if you factor in 5 hours for getting out and back to the airport (which I think is quite generous), that's still 4 hours on the ground. If it were me, I could not imagine hanging out at the airport for such a long layover (is it 8 hours or 9 hours?) even though Pearson is a fine airport. The train to the city takes 25 minutes. I say go for it. Check out the Toronto visitors guide and plan on what you'll do during that time. Be prepared for the cold.

Posted by
3849 posts

The airport express train will whip you into the centre in 25 minutes, assuming it is running. But as the previous posters indicate, the city closes down Dec. 24 afternoon. For instance, an Art Gallery of Ontario special exhibition is devoted to Impressionist landscapes, which might be worth the trip except it closes early that day, at 3:30 p.m. Even some of the pubs close early; a few core ethnic places, and movie theatres, are open for travellers and non-Christians.

Customs will take almost no time if your luggage is checked through to your destination and the automated immigration and security clearance is quick, although you may face a personal interview rather than tapping the computer screen because of your short stay. You can do it but the question is whether it is worthwhile. Not for me, but I wouldn't have booked this itinerary in the first place.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you for the advice! I think even with a limited amount of time, I'll make the journey in, especially with the short time of the express bus. Now I just need to figure out what to do :)

Normally I'd never book a flight with this typ of layover, but the prices was too low to pass up!