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Traffic leaving Toronto on Labor Day

Columbus, Ohio
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Traffic leaving Toronto on Labor Day

Hello Helpers,

I plan to leave Toronto on labor day Monday 9/5/2011 in the late aftersoon, say 4pm and drive to Niagara Falls. I heard traffic gonna be bad. Is that true?

I mean, Google says takes only 1.5 hours from Toronto to Niagara Fall. What would be your estimate travel time during afternoon of 9/5? Thanks!

Also, is it one lane or 2 lanes for the one way traffic? I recall 10 years ago it was only 1 lane each way.

Niagara Falls, ON
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for Niagara Falls
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1. Re: Traffic leaving Toronto on Labor Day

The QEW highway from Toronto to Hamilton is 4 lanes each way and 3 lanes each way from there to Niagara Falls. At that time of day on a holiday weekend, it will take at least 3 hours, probably more. Traffic will be stop & go (actually more stop than go) from the time you get on the highway (Gardner Expressway in Toronto and then becomes QEW at city limits) to just beyond Hamilton, then heavy the rest of the way.

The QEW has been multilane for decades, so don't know what road you were on 10 years ago.

Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: Traffic leaving Toronto on Labor Day

There's a Blue Jays home game that afternoon against Boston, starting at 1:07 pm. Just getting onto the Gardiner near the end of that game will be a huge hassle, so go earlier or later if you can.

Toronto
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for Algonquin Provincial Park
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3. Re: Traffic leaving Toronto on Labor Day

Are you able to leave early in the morning? Traffic on holidays doesn't get bad until later in the morning, since people aren't commuting to work like usual in that 7:30-9:30 am rush hour.

The worst traffic on that route tends to be where the 403 and QEW come together in Oakville.

Columbus, Ohio
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4. Re: Traffic leaving Toronto on Labor Day

Thank you guys for the info.

So what would be the best window to leave Toronto heading to Niagara Falls on 9/5? Before 11am, after 5pm? I don't mind a little stop and go, but expanding the short trip of 1.5 hour to 3 hours is not acceptable either. I hope that trip would not explode over 2 hours.

I doubt if there is much to see at Niagara Fall. It is meant to be just a stop overnight so that my next day driving back to Ohio is not that tiring. So I would prefer to spend the day 9/5 at Toronto, and don't mind leaving late to Niagara Fall.

Thanks again

Richmond, Canada
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5. Re: Traffic leaving Toronto on Labor Day

I don't think it will be that bad at all out to the falls. Most people will be returning to Toronto and you will be leaving it.

Traffic will be bad going into Toronto at all the places people have mentioned above (QEW at Trafalgar, QEW/403 splits) and it may be a pain getting on the Gardiner depending on what time you leave.

I drive almost weekly to the Niagara region and I like going that drive much more than back to Toronto!

You may have some trouble crossing at the border with the long weekend, especially late in the day. Keep an eye on the border wait times or consider crossing into Buffalo on the Peace bridge.

www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/bwt-taf/menu-eng.html

Edited: 30 August 2011, 22:02
California
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6. Re: Traffic leaving Toronto on Labor Day

Before 11am. Leave early and enjoy the day walking around the falls. The more it comes to the evening, the more crazy it gets, mostly the side coming into the city but generally whole city becomes more congested and people nervous. Especially on Labor day!

Edited: 30 August 2011, 22:16
Toronto
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7. Re: Traffic leaving Toronto on Labor Day

I second before 11:00. The Jays game will make it difficult to leave Toronto, but it gets really bad around Oakville/Burlington. It's not only Torontonians that head to the summer cottage! You'll have all those people going back to the other cities/towns in Southern Ontario.

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Traffic leaving Toronto on Labor Day

Last day of the Ex, and airshow. Everything's busy, coming and going!! Go north to the 407 and cut right across to Hamilton. Now you're flyin'... It's a toll highway, and you'll pay to use it but worth every penny that day.

QEW through Oakville is a cursed piece of road.

Ontario, Canada
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9. Re: Traffic leaving Toronto on Labor Day

Do not forget it is also the U.S. Labor day so many will be heading back to the USA

I would go through Ft Erie rather than the Falls not much there but if it is just a place to stop might work out

JMO

Ontario
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10. Re: Traffic leaving Toronto on Labor Day

I would disagree with the suggestion to take the 407 assuming that you are leaving Downtown- it just takes you too far north to save any time. The car pool/HOV lanes are now open on the QEW thru Oakville and Burlington which really helps assuming that you will have at least one passenger. The earlier you leave, the lighter the traffic will be, but definitely head out before the baseball game finishes.