Lester B. Pearson International Airport (usually shortened to Toronto Pearson or similar), is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Located approximately 23 km northwest of the city’s downtown area, and overlapping into the city of MIssissaugua, Toronto Pearson International Airport is the largest and busiest airport in the city of Canada. Handling nearly 45 million passengers a year, and accounting for nearly 500,000 aircraft arrivals and departures, it ranks 32nd on the list of the world’s busiest airports by passenger traffic. It’s also 22nd on the list of busiest international airports, and 15th by number of flights. In North America, it ranks only behind New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in terms of international traffic.
Served by 75 airlines facilitating 1,250 departures to nearly 200 worldwide destinations, it’s no wonder that so many people depend on Toronto Pearson International Airport for their travel needs. The airport has two active terminals (numbered 1 and 3), one currently inactive/backup terminal (IFT or “infield terminal), and one VIP terminal that is reserved for private flights.
There are six major companies operating car rental services out of Toronto Pearson International Airport (and two branded sub companies): Avis, Budget, Dollar/Thrifty, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Hertz, and National/Alamo).
Here’s everything you need to know about renting a car at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
As is typical in Canada, the companies at Toronto Pearson International Airport are able to set their own minimum age for car hire services. The overall minimum age for renting a vehicle without a surcharge is 25 years old. Some companies will rent to younger drivers as well, but charge a daily fee in addition to the rental charges. Here’s the breakdown:
The car hire services at Toronto Pearson International Airport generally charge $12-$14 per day for additional drivers (up to two). This fee may, in some cases, be waived (for example, if the additional driver is your spouse).
International Drivers: Car hire services operating in Ontario may require an IDP, especially if the driver is not from Canada or the United States, contact the car rental company you plan to use at Toronto Pearson International Airport to determine their exact policy.
Toronto Pearson International Airport two public terminals, numbered 1 and 3. Each services has a counter in both terminals, located on the first level of each terminal’s parking garage.
The car hire companies available at Toronto Pearson International Airport include:
Main Number: 1-800-TRY-AVIS (1-800-879-2847)
Terminal 1 and 3: (905) 676-1100
Main Number: 1-800-268-8900
Terminals 1 and 3: (905) 676-1500
Main Number: (Dollar): 1-800-800-4000
Main Number: (Thrifty): 1-800-THRIFTY (1-800-847-4389)
Terminal 1: (905) 676-9127
Terminal 3: (647) 547-6022
Main Number: 1-800-RENT-ACAR
Terminals 1 and 3: 416-798-1465
Main Number: 1-800-263-0600
Terminals 1 and 3 – (416) 674-2020
Main Number: 1-800-CAR-RENT or 1-800-GO-ALAMO or 905-676-4000
Please be aware that you should schedule your pick up and drop off times when making your vehicle reservation; some companies will have after-hours drop off policies, while others will not. Hours of operation below. Hours will be subject to change based on holidays. Please contact companies individually for holiday schedules, especially if you are unfamiliar with Canadian holidays.
Enterprise and National are far and away the best reviewed of the car hire companies at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Enterprise is lauded for its short waits, and its exemplary customer service. National receives many of the same compliments, and its Emerald Aisle program is, as usual, considered a huge perk. Customers need only pre-enroll and choose a compatible vehicle (mid-size), and they can go directly to the vehicles and choose the one they want.
Hertz loses major points in online reviews for failing to hold reservations (sometimes having no vehicles matching the customer’s preferences at all). This location also seems to be very oriented toward insisting that customers purchase extra insurance (sometimes even applying it to their account after being told no).
Budget’s long waits, rude customer service, and inability (or unwillingness) to handle reservation issues on site (insisting that customers call “corporate” on their own time) seem to be the prevailing themes in their online reviews.
Toronto is one of Canada’s biggest cities, and the airport itself is very busy. You’ll find there’s likely to be construction in and around the airport, as well. Finally, be aware that traffic conditions can worsen during severe weather, which Toronto has its share of during the winter months.
GPS navigation is always a plus when driving in a new city. Apps like Waze can also be helpful in large cities, as they use crowd sourced information to document temporary traffic conditions.
Like most North American cities, Toronto does not have congestion charges, but they have been proposed in the past, and may change in the near future.
Please note, however, that there are charges on toll roads in Canada. The only toll road in Ontario is the 407 ETR (Express Toll Route). If you are driving a rental car you should AVOID this road. That’s because there are no toll booths to pay the toll yourself; the toll is determined by cameras with sensors, and the bill will be sent to the rental company. They in turn will charge an (often hefty–$50+) administration fee in addition to the toll.
If you’re traveling from Toronto Pearson International Airport by car, you should be familiar with the city’s policies regarding maximum speeds. Maximum speeds (unless otherwise):
There are three conveniently located gas stations near Toronto Pearson International Airport:
5869 Airport Rd·
Tel. +1 905-677-3893
5835 Airport Rd·
Tel. +1 905-678-3480
6625 Airport Rd·
Tel. +1 905-677-5815
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