What are the best street car rides in Toronto?
In the City of Streetcars, the ‘504’ is King!
Ah, the TTC. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying the importance of Toronto’s buses, subways, and streetcars for the million-plus riders moving across the city every day. We here at Guided Toronto have a particular fondness for the city’s streetcars, the former “Red Rockets,” and love featuring them in our Toronto city tours.
Running west-east through town from hip Roncesvalles to energetic Greektown on The Danforth, the 504 King line covers a lot of ground, including many of Toronto’s highlights. A fleet of classic (our preferred ride) and modern streetcar models connect riders to outstanding skyline views, the bustling downtown, and charming neighbourhoods that are well worth exploring.
For visitors looking to have a truly local experience during their stay, a few stretches of the city’s busiest streetcar line stand out as our favourites. So, get your TTC tokens out (before they’re obsolete) and experience Toronto by light rail.
Westbound down Broadview
A journey south along Broadview Avenue showcases the energy, scenery, and multiculturalism that make Toronto special. Starting from Broadview Station, a 10-minute trip on the 504 will take riders from the cultural hub of Greektown on The Danforth to the unique vibes of East Chinatown on Gerrard Street East. Along the way, you’ll be treated to some of the best and most expansive views of the Toronto skyline from Riverdale Park. If you want to slow down and snap a few pics, get off at Withrow Avenue, grab a coffee at Rooster Coffee House, and hang with locals on the grassy slopes overlooking the lush Don River Valley.
King Street Pilot Project
Cutting across the city has gotten easier thanks to the city’s King Street transit pilot that prioritizes the flow of streetcars through downtown from Jarvis Street to Bathurst Street. Start your transit tour at St.Lawrence Hall and enjoy its beautiful Renaissance architecture dating back to 1850 as the bells of nearby St. James Church echo throughout the neighbourhood. From here, the 504 will take you west through the heart of the bustling Financial District and onto trendy King West and the Toronto Entertainment District, where the cultural options are endless. Catch a show at the newly renovated Royal Alexandra Theatre, the oldest continually operating theatre in North America, or if film’s your entertainment of choice, the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the epicentre of the Toronto International Film Festival and runs events year-round.
End of the Line
For a more casual pace, we recommend riding the 504 to its western end through Roncesvalles Village, the historic centre of Toronto’s Polish community. The strollable, tree-lined streets are home to dozens of cool shops, cafés, and restaurants (many with hidden back patios) centred along Roncesvalles Avenue. If it’s nature you’re craving, take a side trip to nearby High Park (Toronto’s largest public park) and enjoy its gardens, hiking trails, and a zoo that features bison, deer, llamas, and other charismatic creatures. The nearby Bandit Brewery on Dundas Street West is a converted auto shop with one of the West End’s great patios, while The Local offers some of the best live music the city has to offer – both are great places to unwind and reflect on your transit tour of Toronto.