Each province in Canada has its own laws and regulations for driving. Drivers in Ontario are subject to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation provides information on the rules of the road and road safety. More information about driving in Ontario and obtaining an Ontario driver’s license is available on the Service Ontario website.
An Ontario driver's license can be used as a form of identification in many places.
If you do not have an Ontario driver’s license but would like a piece of government-issued ID to carry instead of your passport, you can apply for an Ontario ID Card.
Exchange an International License
Ontario has license exchange agreements with certain provinces, states, and countries. If you have a valid driver’s license from one of these regions, you can exchange your current license for an Ontario driver’s license.
If you have 1–2 years of driving experience outside of Ontario, you may get credit for this and be able to start at step two of Ontario's Graduated Licensing program. For information about what documents are required to get credit for driving experience outside of Ontario, please visit drivetest.ca. It is important that you bring these documents with you, as they may be difficult to get once you are in Canada.
If you are at least 16 years old, you can apply for an Ontario driver’s license. As a new driver, you will follow the guidelines under the Graduated Licensing program. This program involves written tests, driving experience, and road tests. To learn more about getting an Ontario driver’s license, visit the Government of Ontario website. For new drivers, it will take 20 months or more to complete all the requirements.
Transportation Around Kingston
Walking, biking, and taking the bus are the easiest and least expensive modes of transportation in Kingston. Queen’s Main and West Campuses, Kingston's downtown area, Queen's student residences, and upper-year student homes are all close together.
Dress for the weather when you set out on a long walk. The best thing to do is to wear layers so you can adjust your clothing according to changes in temperature. It is also important to wear proper boots or shoes for walking.
Walking is the best way to learn where things are in the city! Take a map with you, or use a virtual map on your phone, to help find the places you need to go. Do not hesitate to ask for directions; most people are happy to help you.
As with walking, you should dress for the season. Here are some rules to remember when riding your bike:
- Ride your bike on the right-hand side of the road, using the bike lane when available. Do not ride your bike on the sidewalk
- Bicycles are considered vehicles under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act and local bylaws. Cyclists must obey the same traffic rules as drivers. Stop for red lights and stop signs, and use directional hand signals
- Wearing a helmet is strongly recommended for all cyclists and is required by law for children under 18 years of age
Bikes have been stolen on Queen’s Campuses – to prevent theft, make sure to lock your bike securely. There are bike racks outside of most buildings on campus. Campus Security offers advice about cycling and securing your bicycle.
Where You Can Find Bikes for Sale
There are many websites that offer less expensive bike options for you to explore. Please review our Scams to Avoid page before initiating contact with individuals online. The list below is not an endorsement but resources where some students have found suitable options.
- Kingston Yellow Bike Action
- AMS Bikes and Boards
- Free and For Sale Facebook groups
- Kingston Whig Standard
- Kingston This Week
- BBS Cycle
- Police Bicycle Auctions
- Posters around campus
- Buy and Sell pages on Facebook
A portion of your ancillary fees is dedicated to Kingston Transit. This lets you travel at no additional cost on all Kingston Transit buses within the city. When you board a bus, just show your student ID card to the driver.
To get information on when and where the bus stops, current bus fares, and passes for adults and children, visit Routes and Schedules. Kingston Transit’s Trip Planner can help you figure out bus schedules and routes.
The price of a taxi ride is determined by a meter and not by the driver. Therefore, the fare displayed on the electronic meter beside the driver cannot be negotiated and is the price you must pay. Taking a taxi is one of the more expensive modes of transport within Kingston, but the price is fairly reasonable and much lower than in a large city like London (UK) or New York (USA). It’s also a safe alternative to walking late at night or after buses stop running. Ask for an estimate of the price when you first call the taxi office for a ride to get a rough idea of cost.
There are two main taxi companies in Kingston:
Both Amey’s and Modern Taxi accept credit and debit cards, so you can take a taxi even if you don’t have any cash on you. It is customary to tip the driver 12–15% of the final fare.
Uber users can also access the Uber service and app in Kingston.
Travel Outside Kingston
Via Rail is Canada’s intercity passenger railway, operating in eight provinces. Student discounts are available and can reduce the cost of tickets significantly. Via Rail can be taken from Kingston to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and beyond.
Via Rail stations are usually a taxi or bus ride from the airport. If you’re not sure how to get to a Via Rail station from the airport, visit the airport website or ask at the Ground Transportation Desk.
Taxis and buses are available at the Via Rail Station and will take you where you need to go in Kingston.
There is a direct Megabus service from Kingston to Toronto Pearson International Airport, which makes getting to and from the airport very easy. Megabus can pick you up and drop you off at both the central bus station and just outside Goodes Hall on Main Campus.
This economical and friendly service for Queen’s students provides bus transportation to and from Toronto and Ottawa every weekend, and to Montreal once a month. Locations, times, and schedules are available on the Tricolour Express website
Most car rental companies have rules for renting a car. These rules will vary depending on the company, but you can find some general guidelines here.
Some things to consider before you rent a car:
- You need a valid driver’s license
- If you do not have insurance, you will need to purchase it from the car agency
- Be sure to check that all lights are working and make a note of any existing dents/scratches in your rental car
- Some companies will have age restrictions – most companies require that renters are 21 or older
- You will need to obey all Ontario road laws in and posted speed limits
- Be conscious of winter driving conditions – driving in the winter can be dangerous, especially if you have never driven in snow and ice before
Car Rental Companies in Kingston:
For information about driving laws in Ontario, visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.