Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: How best to combine Toronto, Detroit and Niagara Falls


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The Independent Travel

Q. I am planning a summer holiday this year with my husband and would love to go to Toronto, see the city and also visit Niagara Falls. We have friends in Detroit so I thought this would be a good opportunity to see them as well. I wondered how best to get ourselves to Detroit from Toronto. We're more than happy to hire a car but will crossing borders cause a huge problem that is best avoided? As we’re on holiday we’d prefer not to sit in airports when we could be seeing the scenery.

Alison Lawton

A. Toronto is an excellent choice for a summer holiday, offering a combination of a cosmopolitan and cultured city with some wild and wonderful landscapes beyond in the province of Ontario – including Niagara Falls (which are far more impressive from the Canadian than the US side). Toronto is also, by a mile, the best gateway to that region of North America, thanks to the excellent deals on Air Transat from a wide range of UK airports. Every time I want a ticket to Toronto, the airline comes up cheapest (through its UK subsidiary, Canadian Affair,, and the on-board service is excellent.

Getting to Detroit without a car is (a) wise and (b) easy. While you could arrange to take a car across the border, immediately the cost and complication starts mounting. And there are two straightforward public-transport options. The first, straight to Detroit, is the ever-reliable Greyhound bus. It takes about six hours, for a fare of $39. But a better plan is to take the train to Windsor – the last Canadian city, just across the straits from Detroit. It takes just over four hours, and if you book in advance through you can easily find $29 one-way fares. Tell your pals I said they should come and pick you up (assuming they are, like everyone else in “Motor City”, car owners).

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