How to leave Waterloo/how to get to YYZ

Posted by Patrick Lam on Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Table Of Contents

Yes, my Waterloo travel page is about how to leave Waterloo.

I thought I should have this as a top-level page instead of a blog post. Mostly, only the numbers have gotten bigger, but also I’ve added flixbus (for now). Past entries:

Here are various options for carless transportation from Waterloo in 2023.

To Pearson Airport (YYZ)

  • The taxi is the fastest option. Waterloo Taxi will drive you to the airport for $110 and from the airport at $130, both including HST, but not including tip. If I’m trying to stand by for an earlier flight to Toronto (Montreal-Toronto or an Air Canada Comfort fare), then I would call them once I’ve boarded the flight to Toronto, and that’s enough lead time for them. You go to the pre-arranged taxi desk at YYZ and they summon your taxi from the pen.
  • The option I take most often on weekdays is GO to either Square One (bus) or Weston or Bramalea (train) and then MiWay or UP Express or GO 94 to YYZ. The all-GO or GO and Bramalea Transit options are probably the cheapest possible way of getting to/from Pearson at $13. (That is surely cheapest in an absolute sense, including wear and tear on your car.) The Presto Card will work unless you have a GRT connection. The GO bus has started running on weekends now too.

    I usually budget about 2 hours. The 25C (express to Square One) is fast if you are going when it is going. I just asked and Google Maps reported a 2h15 trip from the University of Waterloo to Pearson Terminal 1 at 10:30pm on a weekday; the fastest trip I can find is 1h41 from the Kitchener GO station to T1.

  • I haven’t taken Airways Transit for a while. Their prices used to be finely tuned to be competitive with other options but now they are not.
  • Flixbus runs between 0 and 3 daily trips from Toronto Union Station to Pearson to Kitchener to the University, priced at $13 and going up closer in with dynamic pricing. Good if they line up with your schedule. A bit tricky if you are flying into Pearson, since flights can be delayed.

Short-turn YYZ

Twice in 2019 I happened to be flying into YYZ on day N and flying back out on day N+1 or N+2. Renting a car can be a cheaper and faster option than public transit and taxis, especially if one has the quick-rental options at YYZ. Of course one still has to drive the car. I paid $36 and $60 all-in for the rental itself in October 2019, plus gas.

When I need to drive to the airport for some reason, one option is ParkForU. They’re slower than on-airport parking but much cheaper (though not as cheap as they used to be?) The deal is that you drive to their parking lot and then they drive you to the airport.

To Union Station

Options still aren’t as good as they could be but I did it a few times in 2019, including for evening meetings in Toronto downtown. Either the Kitchener line or the 30 and changing at Bramalea are viable.

To Montreal

Toronto to Montreal is pretty easy. Options are driving, taking the train, or flying. Getting to Kitchener-Waterloo makes things just a bit harder. If schedules permit, driving to Oshawa, parking there (up to 48 hours in theory, a bit more lax on weekends), and taking the train is fairly comfortable. Aldershot theoretically possible but slower and I’ve never tried it. VIA from Kitchener is fine if the schedules work. Getting to YYZ described above. Getting to YTZ is not that easy, because you have to get to Union and then shuttle over to YTZ.


  • mathNEWS writer init about the GO Bus being full: [](Standing on the GO Bus Review: Part 2 (see page 9)).