We have a long layover, 4 pm to 10 pm in December at the Toronto Airport. I am looking for idea what to do with that time? Thanks.
If it ia 4 pm to 10 pm that's actually 6 hours and depending on where you are headed you may need to go through US pre-clearance.
If your flight is on time you can expect to leave the airport by 5 and need to be back by 8 (to go through security and board your flight).
Factoring in travel time you would have 2 useable hours in Toronto. It is a little tight. Keep in mind it is 25 minutes each way on UPexpress.
You wouldn't be able to see the sights but you could grab a quick bite to eat near Union Station.
As the other person said, after clearance and security, you'll only get 2-3 hours. Since you're at Union, you could go to Ripleys, Skydome, CN Tower, Chinatown, ACC, Hockey Hall of Fame, Eaton Center, Dundas Square, Queen West...you can really only do one or two of these before having to head back to Pearson. If you have Nexus or Global Entry you could get more done.
The OP is pressed for time if they come to Toronto on the layover. No sense going to Queen West, Ripleys or the CN Tower. Even the Hockey Hall of Fame is a waste of money. You wouldn't see anything because you would be rushing through.
Dinner is an hour or so and they can be back in Mississauga with time to spare.
Too much might be at risk with time limitations and obligations for returning ahead of schedule. No need to hurriedly pass through part of the city and pretend that you can make it back in time. Stay at the airport and rest or take a nap. Read about Toronto without leaving the airport. Many International newspapers are available. Freshen up and give yourself a chance to recover from a flight by resting alone. Talk with traveling companions and write letters. Do you keep a diary? Gather your thoughts about the next phase of your journey. Relax! E-mail people and report about your safe arrival there. Much to do and see at the airport under these circumstances in my opinion. Certain unforeseen obstacles or delays of many types might be lurking on the horizon. You must prepare for them. I hope that my suggestions will help you.
My suggestion would be to get on the UP Express but not all the way to Union Station... get off at Bloor, walk south and explore the Roncesvalles strip and get something to eat there. Better in my view to spend a couple of hours wandering one of Toronto's real neighbourhoods than plunked in the thick of Union Station and the financial district.
tweed by the time the OP gets to Ronsie neighborhood it will be dark and not much to "see". Plus the OP is from Alabama. Will they have winter clothing with them? Better to take UP express down to Union Station. At least you can have a "taste" of downtown Toronto. Plenty of places to duck in and warm up should you not have a winter coat with you. Find a nice bar or two have appetizers or a nice restaurant for dinner. And get back to YYZ Pearson by 8 pm.
If you do decide to go downtown using the UP Express train (which is the fastest way to get downtown), I suggest you take a look at a map of Pearson Airport, so you know where the UP Express is.
Also...I am assuming your layover is at Pearson and not Toronto Island Airport (Billy Bishop)
You wouldn't have time to explore (ie visit a neighbourhood) do a museum, aquarium etc. However you probably could go up the tower, OR stroll part of the downtown/ Eaton Centre and maybe grab a quick bite to eat nearby. The UPX train from terminal 1 is quite frequent and reliable, but you would still need to be very mindful of your time.
UPX train has a "layover fare" that is half of the regular $12 one way fare. You have to be back at the airport within 7 hours, which in your case fits perfectly. So my suggestion is get out to downtown, wonder around, have something to eat at one of the many restaurants in the are and get back to the airport by 8 PM.
@Hilvar, how is "strolling part of the downtown" different or more practical than "visiting a neighbourhood"?
@YYZtoYYTgrrl, what makes Union Station's surroundings more appropriate to a winter evening than Roncy? Around Union you have the financial district, which will be clearing out for the evening and can be a nasty wind tunnel; the Front Street strip, which has some touristy restaurants but not a lot of character; and Harbourfront, which can be very nice but not when it's cold and dark. The only thing I could really suggest around Union is St. Lawrence Market *IF* this is on a Friday, since that's the only day it stays open until 7.
Roncy is a quieter retail strip with lots of restaurants, cafes and shops that will be open. Not as touristy but a genuine taste of the city with lots of places to warm up. Any option involving leaving the airport will require weather-appropriate clothing. If the OP is flying somewhere from Alabama via Toronto, I would guess that their ultimate destination is also somewhere not tropical, or the direction would be wrong.