Guide to Parking in Toronto

Toronto Life
Cars by Changr
Cars by Chang'r

Trying to find a parking spot in a big city is often a nightmare. There’s nothing more frustrating than hopelessly circling around the block for several minutes, and then when you eventually find a free parking spot and walk toward your front door, a spot right in front of your home opens up. However, you don’t have to be so mad because Toronto is a pretty easy place to park compared to other world cities.

According to a survey by IBM, Toronto is the third easiest place to park out of 20 cities around the world. The average time Torontonians spend searching for a parking spot is 13 minutes, which is seven minutes below the global average. Moreover, drivers in Toronto are relatively calm, and only 13 per cent of drivers have argued over a parking space. Nevertheless, the Torontonian system of parking permits, regulations, and by-laws is very complex and not easy to decipher. Here is a guide through the most important parking rules in Toronto.

The basic parking rule in the city of Toronto is that you can park on public roads where no other regulations are posted for three hours without a permit. There are many streets in Toronto that have metered parking spaces where you pay either through specific meters or parking machines in the vicinity. But don’t forget to check for signage before parking on any street on Toronto.

Permit Parking

A permit-holding resident is entitled to park his or her car on the street within a certain area during permit parking hours.

At first, to obtain a parking permit, you must check whether your street or area accepts new applications for front pad parking or driveway widening. According to Chapter 918 of the Toronto Municipal Code, “the General Manager shall not accept an application for a licence to park on any portion of a boulevard for residential properties located within Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 16 (excluding the portion east of Avenue Road, south of Brooke Avenue in the former city of North York), 23, 24, 25, 33, 34,35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44.“ Moreover, the city isn’t accepting applications for front yard parking for residential properties located in Wards 14, 18, 19, 20, 27, 28, 30,31. If you want to buy a home in one of these Wards, be sure that the property includes legal front pad parking that can be transferred to you.

Permit Parking by Anthony Easton
Permit Parking
by Anthony Easton

Once you’re sure that your Ward accepts new parking applications, you should fill out a permit parking application form. There are two types of permits available in most areas: six- and twelve-month term resident-only permits and temporary resident or visitor permits.

The terms of six- and twelve-month permits are from December to May and from June to November, and fees vary according to your preferences. A permit without access to on-site parking for a resident’s first vehicle costs $13.39/month plus HST, while a permit with access to on-site parking for a resident’s second and any subsequent vehicles costs $33.48/month plus HST, and a permit that allows a resident to have access to on-site parking costs $46.88/month plus HST.

If you acquire a temporary parking permit, you can park for one week on a street within the limits of a permit parking street or area. These permits can be purchased either online (up to a maximum of one week in advance of the date required) or at a Permit Parking office (up to a maximum of two weeks in advance of the date required). You can use temporary permits bought at a Permit Parking office for up to a maximum of eight consecutive weeks.

Accessible Parking Permits

The Accessible Parking Permit program, formerly known as the Disabled Person Parking Permit program, offers three types of disabled parking privileges. You can find applications at any Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office, or you can download it from the Ministry of Transportation’s website. The condition of a person applying for an Accessible Parking Permit has to be certified by an Accessible Parking Permit program recognized health practitioner. There are three types of privileged parking permits: a permanent permit, subject to change (up to five years) and a temporary permit (up to 12 months). If you own an Accesible Parking Permit, you must display it on the dashboard or sun visor so that it’s clearly visible.

A permit holder is freed from the unsigned maximum three-hour parking limit in effect on all city streets and is allowed to park without a designated on-street parking permit on signed areas. Furthermore, the maximum signed parking limits don’t apply for permit holders.

Front Yard Parking

Front Yard Parking by Danielle Scott
Front Yard Parking
by Danielle Scott

Probably the most important thing that you should keep in mind is that a front yard parking license isn’t automatically transfered to the new owner of the property. All new homes have to be built with driveways and parking spaces. The maximum allowed width of driveways for properties with frontage less than 19.7 feet is 8.5 feet. Properties with frontage between 19.8 and 75.5 feet are allowed 19.7-foot-wide driveways, and properties with frontage wider than 75.5 feet can have 19.5-foot-wide driveways.

The new by-law that regulates parking on residential front yards and boulevards also includes front yard landscaping rules. It determines that for properties with frontage between 19.7 and 49.2 feet, a minimum of 50 per cent of the front yard should be maintained as landscaped open space. A minimum of 60 per cent of the front yard should be kept up as landscaped open space if the property includes frontage of 49.2 feet and more. “Landscaped open space” is defined as an area that supports the growth of vegetation but also includes a walkway or patio but no driveway or parking space.

4 thoughts on “Guide to Parking in Toronto

July 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm
karen says:

Do you have to pay at the meters for disabled person`s parking permit holders. Thank you. Karen

March 27, 2013 at 7:03 am
CASS says:

I have a parking pad license and have renewed it continuously for the 6 years I’ve owned the house. What ticks me off is that I pay to park there – and it’s clear that there is a driveway. Most people on our street park in front of their houses. But often times I come home to find that someone has parked in front of it – blocking my drive way, so I’m unable to get in. Why should I have to park on the street and risk the chance of getting a ticket when I pay for this parking pad.

March 27, 2013 at 11:32 am
Jamie Sarner says:

Hi Cass,
Having faced similar difficulties in the past myself I can certainly share in your frustration. The thing to remember when you decide your course of action is that you have to live with your neighbours and that the oversight might be just that–an oversight–rather than an overt action.

If you witness someone blocking you or you recognize which house/unit the car belongs to then approach the owner. I recommend that you do it with the mindset that the offending party may not have realized what they have done. This will make the interacton less confrontational. Next, request that they move their vehicle immediately so that you can gain accesss to your licensed spot.

If there is disregard for your request, continual offenses, or you simply do not know the owner of the vehicle then contact parking enforcement. You can make a request for them to tow and/or tag the vehicle. Parking Enforcement’s contact number is 416-808-2222, and their customer service number is 416-808-6500.

General inquiries regarding off-street parking can be made to 416-392-7768.

I hope that this helps Cass. Good Luck!


March 30, 2017 at 2:51 pm
Dawne-Marie Ellis says:

I don’t live in Toronto, anymore, but I still have family there. When I visit family, I purchase temporary parking permits for parking during my stay. I noticed each one has a unique ID on it. I realize this is required in case you need to reprint the permit but I was wondering if the city also keeps an ongoing record of permits purchased for each permit holder?
If so, is it possible to get a summary list of all permits purchased (for any particular person) in a given year?

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