When you and your family decide to travel to a new city or a new country, it can be overwhelming. It is the parent’s responsibility to make sure that their children are as comfortable and as safe as possible, especially in transport. With that being said, it’s a challenge for parents too! Often times they have an idea where they are going, but they are not quite sure. This new city is as new to the parent as it is to the child.
Now, we don’t discourage traveling, especially international travel. Travel with children enriches them into a new culture, a new language and a new way of doing things. Even if you bring a baby or a toddler, they may not have memories from the trip, but they will learn skills, new sounds and new tastes. It’s a memory for the books.
If you are fortunate enough to travel internationally with your family, many families rely on transportation. My family has traveled a bit over the years and quite frankly, we have been dropped off at airports and train stations and we are nowhere near the city center or where we want to be. Preplanning is integral and even with that, last minute delays or changes do happen. Even with intense planning and frantically searching the online travel forums, a city airport can sometimes be hours away from the city center or the destination that you and your family are trying to go to.
Toronto can be one of those cities. It’s main airport, Pearson, named after a former Prime Minister, is assumed to be in Toronto but actually lies in a bustling city, Mississauga that is next to Toronto. When travelers hear that Pearson airport is a meager 26 kilometers away from Front Street (Where the CN Tower is!) in Toronto, people are put at ease. However, Toronto and The Greater Toronto Area has some of the busiest traffic in North America. A simple 26 kilometer ride can be an hour and half drive or more depending on the traffic. There is a lot of highway and city driving that can be unnerving for some visitors.
If you rent a car, you have to make sure that your hotel, Air B n B or hostel has parking. Finding parking in some parts of Toronto is like a needle in a haystack. It’s also much more fun to ride the TTC and walk around this great city so your car will only be used for going to and from the airport and a possible jaunt outside of the city. If you want to visit the suburbs or connect to a train to go to Montreal, Ottawa or Niagara Falls, you are going to want to go to Union Station on Front Street in Downtown Toronto. Taking transportation would be best. With all of this in mind, it can be cumbersome for a family to navigate this great city in a car. But Toronto has an answer. Just look UP.
If Toronto is a crown for visitors, the UP is a traveler’s jewel. The UP connects travelers from Pearson to Union Station, with key stops in between. The ride itself was just under a half an hour. We decided to take our family from the suburbs of Toronto to Union Station only using the Go train (the train connecting the suburbs to the big city) to Union.
To Go Train connected us to Toronto and we were in Union Station in a half an hour. Now to get to Pearson Airport. With children in Tow, we did not even need to go outside. We walked through Union Station, passed the Via Rail and towards the Skyway. The Skyway is an iconic walk from Union Station to The CN Tower, The Rogers Center (known as the Skydome to some of the locals) and Ripley’s Aquarium. There are also an array of restaurants and bars that are hot spots in the city. After walking a bit of the skyway, we noticed on our right hand side the Ups entrance and went in.
The UP Station knows how to take care of its clients. Short for Union Pearson Express, the trains come regularly and no one waits very long. There is ample room for luggage, a great place to get snacks called The Drake General Store and friendly staff to greet you and help you with your journey. Everyone seemed relaxed, which is a unique sight for those who are about to take a flight. People had bulky luggage so we were curious how easily these would fit on the train. We will save you the stories of our family traveling in some parts of Europe with our luggage on the train. The last thing you want to do is make other people uncomfortable with your bulky luggage. On The UP, this is not an issue.
The UP Train arrived with ease, much to the excitement of our children. We were impressed that our travel time to Pearson was 25 minutes and this included stops. UP is boasting a $9 one way ticket which was nice.
UP is always thinking of their customers. We could check the status of our flight and when we entered the train there was ample placement for bulky luggage. The big windows allowed our children the opportunity to see the city in a different way and those big comfy seats would make other trains very envious. I settled into the aisle seat and was thankful for the Free Wi-Fi. So were many of the business people who could continue answering emails and working while they waited to arrive to Pearson Airport.
The first train goes to Pearson at 5:38 in the morning and the last train leaves at 1:08am with trains coming every fifteen minutes. No one has to wait. It’s stressful enough to go through customs and fly, arrive and find your way to your destination. In Toronto, you don’t have to worry with UP. It is your mini vacation before your vacation starts.
There was complimentary reading material and in minutes we were off. It was perfect timing. Just enough time for everyone to safely get their luggage in place, find a seat and relax.
Our first station was Bloor Street which is a great stop for those coming from Pearson. It is connected to a lot of subway lines and other forms of transportation. This is a very family friendly neighborhood. This is a great place to stay or visit in Toronto. Get a piece of nature in the city and explore the many hiking trails this stop has to offer. It makes for a great picnic spot. There is also a small zoo for the children to enjoy. This is a fun and scenic area in Toronto. It is also compatible with those who have accessibility requirements.
In moments, we were off again to our next stop, Weston. Weston is one of the oldest business communities in Toronto. We love this areas as it has cultural diversity and is fun for the children to see. This area goes on the Humber River and has many bike paths and walking trails for you and your family to enjoy. If you are here on business, you may find yourself working in this area. If you have brought your family on your business trip, they will not be bored in this area at all and have easy access to different parts of the city.
After we departed from the Weston station, we were already approaching Pearson. What happened next surprised us. We ascended to meet Pearson’s Link Train. The Link Train links the airports terminals together. We got off of the UP and right across from us was the Link Train. Everyone quickly boarded the link train to their terminal destinations. I could not help to think how easy this is for people visiting Toronto. When these families and business people and couples arrive in Toronto to see the city center, they don’t really have to worry about renting a car, traffic and parking. They don’t even have to worry about timing, missing their flight due to traffic. Most of all, parents do not have to worry about their children being overtired. They could either read, watch a movie or sleep on the UP train and get that perfect twenty five minute rest that they need to arrive to their hotel or get on their next flight. Toronto is not only a great city with so many sites and experiences for anyone to enjoy, but it encourages family travel with easy to use transportation like the UP. Spend your whole vacation in Toronto or visit Niagara Falls, Ottawa and Montreal from Toronto. Either way, it will be a trip to remember.
You can buy your tickets at UP, or if you are a local or have purchased a PRESTO card, it is compatible to pay with your card. This makes travel even easier!
Pearson is the heart beat of Toronto. It is the largest airport in Canada and the second biggest in North America. It hosts over 75 airlines and holds 36 million travels annually. Toronto flies to 180 destinations around the world. That gives a lot of opportunity for families to visit this great city! Toronto is special because it has the facility to include United States pre-clearance which allows the traveler to clear US customs and immigration while still in Toronto. That makes life so much easier!
The Link Train links to Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, the two terminals you most likely will be using.
The UP train has a mantra that makes them a cut above the rest. They will get you to your destination “Swiftly, Elegantly and efficiently.” We have to attest on our visit to the Up train that this is true. We were brought to and from Pearson quickly with no wait exceeding fifteen minutes. We came into a comfortable train that thought of all of the little perks that a customer would want. Ample leg room, a comfortable big seat that you can just sink into and free Wi-Fi so those who are working can continue connecting with their workplace and those who are here on pleasure can enjoy connecting to their email, social media or checking the internet.
The UP is efficient. It runs through areas in the city that are important to tourists and people on business alike. The trains run every fifteen minutes so you never have to wait long. The ride is only twenty five minutes so you are not having a long commute. Lastly, if you are like some families who just have challenges and miss their train, you don’t have to worry, as another one is only fifteen minutes away.
From The Drake Convenience store to grab your necessities before or after a flight to the swiftness from Mississauga to Toronto, families are encouraged to enjoy the city and not budget their precious time for a long commute. With the UP train you don’ have to worry about rush hour times, car accidents or any other road delays. All that matters is you and your family relaxing and regrouping before you reach your destination. The UP train saves you so much time in fact, you get to add in other things to do with your family. With the time you save with The UP train, it could mean sleeping in the day you have to leave, spending a little extra time in your new favorite restaurant or taking the kids to enjoy that fascinating dinosaur exhibition at the ROM. It gives you more time to enjoy each other, do what you want to do and most of all, and make more memories with your family.
Whether you are a local who wants a more comfortable way to Pearson to one of the millions of people visiting Toronto every year, the UP train is the only way to travel into the city and to Pearson with ease.
Swiftly. Elegantly. Efficiently.