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The Top 5 Areas to Practice Driving in Toronto

Mikael Castaldo

January 11, 2023

Looking for a quiet, safe area to practice driving in Toronto before going for your G2 or G license exam? We’ve pulled together this guide to help you get started. 

If you’re a new driver in Toronto, you’ll want to find places to practice that are similar to the environment in which you’ll be driving. The balance can be hard to find, though – you don’t want to practice in the suburbs (since you’ll be driving in the city), nor would you want to practice right in financial district traffic (for obvious reasons). The answer, in our opinion, is to practice in one of Toronto’s older prewar residential neighborhoods, which are quiet enough to be friendly for new drivers, but busy enough to resemble true downtown driving.

What to look for in a driving practice area

City driving asks more of drivers than suburban driving – this much is a fact. Since Toronto is considerably more dense than the surrounding suburbs, city drivers must navigate greater traffic, narrower streets, and trickier parking than their counterparts in the 905. 

As a result, if you’re going to be driving in the city after you get your license, practicing in the suburbs won’t cut it. Even older suburbs like North York, Don Mills, and Scarborough are laid out considerably differently from downtown Toronto, and therefore shouldn’t be the focus of your driving practice efforts. While practicing to drive downtown might seem more difficult at first, it will go a long way towards preparing you for the city driving you’ll need to do post-licensing.

To identify where you should practice driving in Toronto, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the following attributes. A good area to practice driving in Toronto is:

  1. Not included in the list of restricted areas for driving instruction
  2. Close enough to a large (and free) parking lot to practice parking maneuvers
  3. Close enough to a highway to practice highway driving
  4. Residential, but not suburban
  5. Easy to access via public transit

Using the list above, we’ve identified the top 5 areas to practice driving in Toronto. Read on below:

The top 5 areas to practice driving in Toronto

1. Downtown core: Cabbagetown

picture-of-residential-street-in-cabbagetown

Highway access: Don Valley Parkway
Quiet parking lots: Ali’s No-Frills

If you live in the downtown core, finding a quiet area to practice driving might seem like a difficult task. Nobody wants their first time behind the wheel to be on Yonge Street or University during rush hour traffic. To avoid this situation, we recommend that Torontonians living in the downtown core (i.e. Spadina to Parliament, Davenport to the Harbourfront) head over to Cabbagetown to practice. 

While Cabbagetown is famous for being one of Toronto’s prettiest neighbourhoods (it’s the largest preserved Victorian neighbourhood in North America), Cabbagetown also checks all of our boxes for a great area to practice driving. Cabbagetown is a quiet residential neighbourhood, but only a 5 minute TTC ride from the downtown core. At the same time,  if you need to practice highway driving, Cabbagetown is only 2 minutes from the Don Valley Parkway. Throughout the neighbourhood, there are ample quiet residential streets where you can practice parallel parking and 3-point turns without being honked at by impatient drivers. Once you do feel ready to take on larger streets, Cabbagetown is bordered by Gerrard and Parliament, so you can practice driving in some traffic conditions without being overwhelmed. Once you’re done practicing in Cabbagetown, we recommend heading over to Jet Fuel for a celebratory coffee, or Pastor Taco for a quick bite to eat.

At Kruzee, we teach driving lessons in Cabbagetown from several pickup points in the downtown core. To book your driving lessons today, click here.

2. Centre-West: Liberty Village and Trinity Bellwoods

picture-of-queen-street-west-in-front-of-trinity-bellwoods-park

Highway access: Gardiner Expressway
Quiet parking lots: Liberty Village Metro, Liberty Village Starbucks, Little Italy Metro

If you live in the area between Spadina and Roncesvalles, Dupont and the Harbourfront, we recommend practicing driving in Liberty Village and Trinity Bellwoods. Once you head west of Bathurst, traffic calms considerably, and the streets become much more residential. 

Liberty Village and Trinity Bellwoods, when taken together, offer a perfect area to practice driving. They’re complimentary, despite being quite different neighbourhoods. With Liberty Village, you have quick access to the Gardiner Expressway, several parking lots to practice parking, and relatively quiet streets – despite the neighbourhood’s density. With Trinity Bellwoods, you have quiet residential streets and light traffic, so that you can ease yourself into city driving without the stress of excessive traffic. Additionally, there are enough parking lots in Trinity Bellwoods (such as the Metro and Tim Horton’s parking lot on College) where you can practice parking without having to head over to Liberty Village. When you’re ready to head onto busier streets, Queen, Dundas, Bathurst, and Dufferin offer the right level of busyness so that you’re not overwhelmed. After practicing driving, you can head over to Found, Antikka, or White Squirrel for some of the best coffee in the city, or have a quick snack at Pizzeria Badiali, Castle & Coal, or Forno Cultura.

At Kruzee, we teach driving lessons in Liberty Village and Trinity Bellwoods from several pickup points in the area. To book your driving lessons today, click here.

3. Midtown: Rosedale, Moore Park, and Summerhill

picture-of-residential-street-near-castle-frank-toronto

Highway access: Don Valley Parkway
Quiet parking lots: Loblaws Broadview Avenue

If you live in Yorkville or Midtown, we recommend practicing in Rosedale, Moore Park, and Summerhill. While famous for being the location of some of Canada’s toniest real estate, Rosedale is also unique in that it’s a large residential neighbourhood with wide, winding streets and deep, green valleys that’s only a 5 minute drive from some of the busiest intersections in the country. When you drive into Rosedale from Bloor / Yonge, it feels like stepping into another world entirely – though you’re still in the core of the city. Rosedale is probably the closest you’ll get to semi-suburban driving in downtown Toronto.

Whether you’re accessing Rosedale / Moore Park from the bridge near St. James Town or from the busyness of Yonge Street, once you’re in the Rosedale itself, you’ll have plenty of room to practice driving with barely any other cars on the road. Rosedale also has direct access to the Don Valley Parkway, via the Bayview Road on-ramp, so practicing highway driving will be a breeze. When it comes to practicing more technical driving maneuvers, Rosedale’s quiet residential streets are perfect for mastering 3-point turns and parallel parking. Then, once you’re ready to head onto busier streets, Rosedale Valley Drive and Mount Pleasant offer an easy (and aesthetically beautiful) introduction into driving in gentle traffic. Once you’re done practicing driving in Rosedale, we recommend heading over to Black Camel for some of the best sandwiches in the city.

At Kruzee, we teach driving lessons in Rosedale, Moore Park, and Summerhill from several pickup points in the area. To book your driving lessons today, click here.

4. East end: Riverdale and Leslieville

picture-of-residential-street-in-east-end-toronto

Highway access: Don Valley Parkway
Quiet parking lots: Loblaws Broadview Avenue

If you live in the east end of Toronto, you’re spoiled for choice in terms of quiet residential areas to practice driving.

That said, while traffic isn’t much of an issue east of the Don River, topography is – the Beaches, for example, has some of the steepest hills in Toronto. As a result, if you live between the Don River and Scarborough, we recommend practicing in Riverdale or Leslieville. Compared to the Beaches and Fallingbrook, Riverdale and Leslieville are relatively flat, and the streets easier to navigate. In Riverdale, you can expect quiet residential streets and empty parking lots where you can get used to the feeling of being behind the wheel for the first time. Once you’re ready to upgrade to driving on busier streets, Riverdale’s Broadview Avenue offers a softer introduction into city driving than the Beaches’ stretch of Queen street, for example. Furthermore, Riverdale and Leslieville have direct access to the Don Valley Parkway, making it easier to practice highway driving. After practicing driving in Riverdale or Leslieville, we recommend heading over to Rooster Coffee near Broadview Park for one of the best views of Toronto (especially in the summer months).

At Kruzee, we teach driving lessons in Riverdale and Leslieville from several pickup points in the area. To book your driving lessons today, click here.

5. West end: High Park North and the Kingsway

picture-of-residential-street-in-high-park-north

Highway access: Gardiner Expressway
Quiet parking lots: Loblaws Dundas West, Loblaws The Kingsway, Royal York Subway Station Parking

If you live in the west end of Toronto, we recommend practicing in High Park North and the Kingsway. Both offer quiet residential streets, easy highway access, and a variety of different driving environments so that you can familiarize yourself with city driving.

If you practice driving in High Park North, you’ll notice that despite being an older neighbourhood, the streets are wider than most in Toronto – which is great for new drivers. Furthermore, when you’re ready to practice highway driving, High Park North has easy access to Lakeshore Boulevard and the Gardiner Expressway. If you practice driving in the Kingsway, you’ll notice that the neighbourhood feels much more suburban, despite being within the City of Toronto. The streets in the Kingsway are wide, winding, and quiet, which is ideal if you’re a novice behind the wheel. That said, the Kingsway is still close to the bustle of Bloor Street West, so that you have easy access to busier streets when you’re ready to practice driving in traffic. In many ways, the Kingsway is a perfect compromise between city and suburban driving. If you’re practicing driving in High Park North or the Kingsway, we recommend stopping by the Cheese Boutique for a celebratory snack once you’ve mastered the art of parallel parking. 

At Kruzee, we teach driving lessons in High Park North and the Kingsway from several pickup points in the area. To book your driving lessons today, click here.

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