How to get to YYZ from Downtown Toronto with UP Express

Going back to Toronto is always an exciting experience for my family, especially my daughter! She always wants to try her favorite comfort food (Tim Horton’s French Vanilla Cappuccino is her all time favorite!) and see the sights and her friends, whenever possible.

This past visit we did something completely new for us: we took the train from downtown to the airport!

The UP Express, or Union Pearson Express, started service in June 2015 and was something we knew would be of benefit to the tourists and residents of Toronto. Traffic can be a nightmare to/from the airport and public transport is cheap, but involves changing from bus to subway and can take a while. We found UP Express a great, quick and comfortable option – and with complimentary wi-fi!

We walked from our hotel to Union Station, in Toronto downtown. It was a chilly morning but it was fun to walk by and say “goodbye for now” to the city we called home for 5 years. I was a bit nervous we would be walking around and get lost trying to find the UP Express platform, but it was very easy and there were signs pointing where to go:

In front of Union Station. You can see the UP Express sign already!
In front of Union Station. You can see the UP Express sign already!
At the entrance of Union Station you can see the sign with the first and last UP Express trains.
At the entrance of Union Station you can see the sign with the first and last UP Express trains.
There are signs everywhere showing which path to follow to get to the UP Express platform. Even with the construction going on, it was not confusing.
There are signs everywhere showing which path to follow to get to the UP Express platform. Even with the construction going on, it was not confusing.

If you are ever in doubt, just follow directions to the Skywalk and you can’t miss it!

The entrance to the Skywalk. You are steps away from the UP Express Platform!
The entrance to the Skywalk. You are steps away from the UP Express Platform!

After crossing through the Skywalk entrance, you will see the UP Express entrance and platform:

The entrance to the UP Express platform at Union Station is to the left on this ramp.
The entrance to the UP Express platform at Union Station is to the left on this ramp.

We were lucky the train was about to leave in 4 minutes when we arrived and there were no lines at all. Trains depart to/from the airport every 15 minutes.

The UP Express Platform at Union Station. The train was waiting for us! :)
The UP Express Platform at Union Station. The train was waiting for us! :)

We chose the family ticket for CAD 55.00, which for us, 2 adults and 1 child, would be cheaper than buying individually. The fares vary if you are stopping at a different station (the route starts at Union Station with stops at Bloor, Weston and the Airport). Here is the list of fares for the ride:

The different types of fares for the train ride.
The different types of fares for the train ride.

Inside the train it was very normal, with luggage racks and comfy seats for such a short journey (only 25 minutes to/from the airport!), plus complimentary wi-fi!!! Yes, complimentary wi-fi!!!

Our family ticket.
Our family ticket.
Luggage rack.
Luggage rack.
Comfy seats.
Comfy seats.
Map with stops and a screen with time and weather info.
Map with stops and a screen with time and weather info.

You almost wish the journey was longer! The trains are brand new, comfortable and with the wi-fi you may not want for anything else 🙂

Arriving at the airport, you basically exit at the platform to the free train that links Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 (which is the Terminal we were headed to). Upon arrival, we could see it well signaled where to buy tickets for UP Express and where to go to get trains to the city:

Arriving at YYZ by UP Express.
Arriving at YYZ by UP Express. You see the platform to the train to Terminal 3 in the background.
Looking closer at the ticket machine.
Looking closer at the ticket machine.

To get the free transfer train to Terminal 3 was very quick and the process took less than 10 minutes.

Although there are many people complaining about the cost and how it only gets you to a main station downtown, and then from there you have to figure out how to get where you need, after 5 years living in Toronto and stressing out over how long it would take me to get to the airport and vice-versa, I highly recommend this option and will be using it myself in future visits.

And for the record, the CAD 55.00 cost for our family ticket was paid out of our own money. I am a strong believer in using the fastest way to get to/from the airport, and after 5 years living in Toronto, the last thing I would want would be to get stuck in a traffic jam – plus, traveling with kids, regardless of age, the fastest your commute time is, the better 🙂

Happy travels!

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