Bus service to resume between Toronto and cottage country

Ontario Northland Bus Photo by BalkansCat/Shutterstock

Ontarians now have more options when travelling between Toronto and cottage country.

The Ministry of Transportation has announced that starting this week, Ontario Northland will resume regularly scheduled bus service. The ministry also noted two new stops will be added in Toronto.

“As the province safely reopens, our government is providing more transit options for Ontarians,” said Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney. “Ontario Northland resuming all regularly scheduled bus routes and adding two new stops in Toronto demonstrates that our government is on the right track as Ontario safely reopens.”

Ontario Northland temporarily reduced its bus service on March 25, 2020, soon after the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada. In a news release at the time, the transportation service stated that the reduction in bus service was to allow time for the company to thoroughly clean its equipment and better protect its drivers and passengers.

On February 7, 2021, Ontario Northland further reduced service, limiting the number of buses travelling between North Bay and Toronto, and Sudbury and Toronto citing a lack of demand, and support for the provincial stay-at-home order, which was in place at the time.

Tuesday’s announcement means full bus service will resume with extra stops added at Toronto’s Union Station Bus Terminal and the King City GO station. These two stops will add to the existing stops at four of Toronto’s major hospitals, the Highway 407 Terminal, and Yorkdale.

“We’re always looking for ways to enhance the customer experience for our passengers,” said Corina Moore, CEO of Ontario Northland, in a statement. “A King City GO Station stop and a Union Station Bus Terminal stop provide passengers with options to easily connect to rail, subway, and regional transit when accessing Toronto, a popular destination for many northerners travelling for tourism, education, work, and medical appointments.”

As of July 4, however, Ontario Northland will no longer stop at the Toronto Coach Terminal on Bay Street, which closes on July 7.

The resumed service will mean more frequent stops in Ontario’s cottage country, though. Ontario Northland’s bus service has stops in Barrie, Parry Sound, Bracebridge, Huntsville, and other cottage locales. The bus service also travels east to Ottawa, as far north as Hearst, and offers a route between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg.

“Improving transportation options for the people of Northern Ontario has always been a priority for our government,” said Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade Vic Fedeli. “Today’s updates will ensure underserved Northern communities are connected and people have access to jobs and critical services.”

Passengers who do choose to purchase an Ontario Northland bus ticket must abide by COVID-19 regulations, which include submitting to a pre-boarding health screen and wearing a face-covering at all times.