Whether you’re traveling to Toronto for the first time (Welcome to our awesome city!), or you’re a long-time resident (Yo!), we all find ourselves needing to access the internet while out an about. Data plans can be expensive/limited, so here’s a list of free WiFi spots I’ve used in Toronto when I couldn’t use my “handy” data (while in fear of being charged ridiculous amounts of $$$ for using more than the 2GB monthly family plan allotment).
The list is currently short, but I am going to attempt to try out various places (particularly downtown) to see how good the offered services actually are. Despite the generosity, there is nothing worse than attempting to access the webs on a network in need of a tune up.
Just remember, free WiFi hot-spots are rarely secured, so you’ll have to ensure your laptop/tablet/mobile device has it’s own security measures in place if you want access!
54 The Esplanade, Toronto, ON M5E 1A6
WiFi is pretty good, and you can play Pokémon Go while waiting for your pasta.
The Bay – Yonge & Queen
I’m not sure if this service is available at all HBCs (guess I’ll check next time I’m at Yorkdale Mall.) The connection is fairly strong, and will admit that I was surprised to find out that the HBC offered access at all. After finding out that Sheraton Centre Hotel is a complete bust for public access (unless you’re staying at the hotel,) it was just a whim to pull out my phone and scan The Bay, while walking through the path towards Eaton Centre. I accessed the “TheBayWifi” network while in the Foodwares market in the basement (the food is pretty good, and seating is awesome,) so not sure how this WiFi connection acts in the rest of this huge building.
10 Dundas – Yonge & Dundas
See those restaurants just across the street from Yonge/Dundas Square? The building that includes a Cineplex theatre? If you find a seat in the third floor food court, you’ll get free WiFi. I’m not sure if this WiFi works on the other floors, but I do know the connection can be hard to find sometimes, even in the food court. If you go into the far corner, close to the windows, you should be able to log in with relative ease though.
337 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1W7
Really great WiFi, and a really awesome Lemon Yogurt Smoothie, mmmmmm. Both kept me going during a super fast, 1 hour twitter party, around 8PM. There are, in fact, 13 Chatime locations in the GTA, and it’s possible that the majority of them have Free WiFi as part of their package, I just don’t know yet. Will update when I know more! 🙂
Toronto Pearson International Airport
Thanks to American Express, you have access to free WiFi in both terminals, woot.
Franchises / Grouped Locations
Toronto Public Libraries (TPL)
All locations have free WiFi access, and so far the ones I’ve tried have been pretty sound. (I’m typing this one up while at the Runnymede branch, heh;) depending on which location you choose will determine how easy it is to find a seat/table to use their wireless network. For instance, the Reference Library at Bloor/Yonge has a ton of seating on many floors, but that’s not the same case for smaller branches. You might find your local branch packed, especially during summer months when a lot of children activities take place.
TCONNECT Wi-Fi service is not yet available at all TTC Subway stations, but here’s a list of the ones that do:
Line 1 – Yellow Line
Line 2 – Green Line
All/most locations boast free WiFi. While the connection is reasonably fair while connected, I’ve found my laptop to be frequently disconnected on roughly 5 minute intervals. Whether this just happens that the location I’ve tried, or is a common issue, I can’t confirm one way or the other yet.
Its been a while since I’ve used Starbucks WiFi (while they were still partnered with Bell, instead of AllStream,) so I can’t comment too much. I do remember the connections being slow, but constant… I guess I’ll have to go grab a Frappuccino to test it again soon! #HardWork
Should be available at most locations; check out their restaurant locator to see if the one near you is a participating restaurant. This service is interesting – there’s an annoying setup system to get through in order to have a lengthy connection (otherwise, I believe you’re limited to half an hour.) The problem is, you need to continually sign up for this service every time you want to use it, instead of just requesting login details for a future visits. Its hit or miss on whether the connection is useful to do anything other than wait for your webpages to load.
I’m assuming its all Firkins, but have just tried the The Swan Firken Restaurant at Runnymede & Bloor. It has a fantastic connection, and you’re required to input a password, so it has even the smallest sense of security for its users. Also? Irish Nachos are awesome.
Delta Hotel (Downtown)
75 Lower Simcoe St, Toronto, ON M5J 3A6
Not far from the Air Canada Centre, the Delta Hotel has a great wifi connection for guests of the building itself (i.e. you don’t have to stay there to connect!) Jay and I enjoy walking along the PATH at the back of this hotel to get to and from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and there are some nice plushy seats when you enter the Delta along that PATH if you need a break. I haven’t tried recently, but I do know there are some PokéStops in the area, so you might be able to use their wifi to play Pokémon Go to pass some time.