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2009 ACA Meeting, July 25 - 30, 2009, Sheraton City Centre Hotel, Toronto, Ontario, Canada :

Transportation and Travel

Adobe Acrobat PDF of ACA2009 Toronto Travel Grant Application

Draft Pre-Meeting Travel Tips (circa July 2008)

9th Oct 2008 News flash: Porter Airlines is going to start flights from Chicago (Midway) to Toronto downtown (Island) airport. This would be a good option for anyone coming from Chicagoland or surrounding areas

Note: U.S. citizens or non-nationals working in the US and going to Canada: refer to the Crossing the USA Border into Canada


  • You should plan to have a valid passport to enter Canada. US and European nationals generally do not need a visa (but check if you're in doubt - see below).

  • Everyone is required to have a valid passport to return to the US by air (even US citizens). It is likely that this will apply to land crossings as well by July, 2009.

  • Note: Be wary to check for yourself if you need a visa or not. For instance, for Polish nationals, it is only the most recent Polish passports (not older versions) that give the right for omitting the visas.

    Note: It can take time to process passport applications so get an early start!

  • Non-US nationals working in the US are strongly advised to understand fully the travel restrictions associated with their US Visa (especially re-entry).

Countries whose nationals require visas for entry into Canada can be found here, and information for obtaining a visa is linked into the same website.

For people applying for visas while in the USA, following is the website of the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC: Please contact them if you have any questions. If already in the USA, also check the list of Visitor Visa Exemptions.

Information on US Visas can be found at: and


Canada uses the Canadian Dollar. As of May, 2008, the Can$ is essentially at parity with the US$. US currency can be exchanged for Canadian freely at banks and hotels. Many tourist services and shops will accept US cash directly. Bank cards will probably work in most ATM machines, and credit cards are accepted widely.

Sheraton Centre Location

The Sheraton Centre is in a great location at the corner of York and Queen St, W, right in the downtown core and walking distance to almost all attractions (many without going outside). Literally at the centre of downtown Toronto, the Sheraton is connected to the underground PATH system, the Eaton Centre, and is in easy walking distance to the trendy Queen Street West district, the main downtown Theatres, and the Rogers Centre. ACA room rates will be much lower than standard downtown hotel accommodation. (The ACA takes a major financial penalty for not filling its block of rooms - another reason to plan to stay at the Sheraton).


Toronto's main airport is Pearson International (code YYZ), served by pretty much any airline that exists, about 40km from downtown (30min to 1h drive depending on traffic). You can probably get there from anywhere in the US with 1 or fewer changes. Pearson has 2 terminals (1 and 3 - don't ask!) depending which airline you are on. See below for getting into town. (Note: on your return, you will clear US Immigration at Pearson before boarding your flight, so leave extra time. US immigration clearance can get busy, especially first thing in the morning and late afternoon.)

Toronto has a second airport downtown - Island airport (code YTZ). It is served by Porter Airline (, which mostly flies to eastern Canada but has now started service to Newark. Rumours are that they may start routes to other US cities (Chicago?). Getting to the Sheraton is easy - you can take the Porter shuttle to Union Station/Royal York Hotel (they keep moving the stop around) and walk to the Sheraton from there 5-10 mins up York Street (or take a taxi if you have lots of luggage).

Alternative airports are Hamilton (~1h), Kitchener/Waterloo (~1h), London (2h) and Buffalo, NY (2h). Flying within the US (ie to Buffalo) can be cheaper, especially for a group traveling together. For an individual it may not be worth it as there are very limited public transport options to Toronto. However, there are shuttles advertised on the Web. An alternative (especially with a group) is to rent a car in Buffalo. The drive to Toronto takes you past Niagara Falls and through the Niagara wine district, which is quite picturesque (if you get off the main highway). Driving is not particularly difficult (though traffic can get very heavy), but parking may be costly. Some options for parking besides the Sheraton will be posted on the conference Web site.

Other major centres include Montreal, about 6h drive, and Ottawa and Detroit, both about 5h. Any groups from as far away as the Pennsylvania to Chicago radius (or even Boston, Baltimore and New York) could drive to Toronto in a day.

Other travel options are train (VIA Rail) from Chicago/Detroit or New York (via Montreal), or bus (Greyhound). Both these stations are walking distance to the Sheraton.

Getting downtown from Pearson Airport (all fares subject to change):

  1. Taxi (usually flat rate ) $46.00 plus tip
  2. Limo (flat rate) $50.00 plus tip
  3. Downtown Hotel Shuttle stops at the Sheraton (every 20 to 30 mins)- $18.50 one way or $29.95 round trip, or may be less if you pre-purchase online - .
  4. TTC (if you don't have too much luggage): By far the cheapest way.

Cash fare (subject to change) is $2.75 (or tokens/tickets can be bought 5 for $11.25, but not on the bus). You can also get a weekly pass for $32.25 but it is good Mon-Sun so might not be that useful. The weekly is transferable to another person but no "pass-backs" (ie not 2 people on the same trip). There is also a Day pass ($9.00).

The Route 192 "Airport Rocket" bus stops at Terminals 1 and 3 and goes to Kipling subway stop (every 10-15mins). Transfer to the subway (no additional fare) and go to St. George station. Then transfer to the University South subway line to Osgoode station. The Sheraton is 1 block East on Queen St.

Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering

The ACA2009 website is hosted by the Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering.

Contact the ACA 2009 organisers

The American Crystallographic Association (ACA) is an affiliate member of the IUCr and adheres to the IUCr Scientific Freedom Policy and is a member of the American Institute of Physics