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The best prepaid SIM card options for visitors to Toronto

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Getting a prepaid SIM card when visiting Toronto (or anywhere in Canada, for that matter,) is a must-do if you don’t want to rake up serious roaming or long-distance charges.

Whether you’re visiting for weeks or months, there are plenty of options from a variety of providers that’ll allow you to stay connected for the duration of your visit.

Now, heed fair warning: phone and data prices in Canada are notoriously high, and prepaid SIM cards in Toronto will most likely be pricier than they would be in other countries, but there are still some more affordable options that you can go for.

The Major Players

Canada is only home to a select few phone providers, which does contribute to the high prices for phone and data services, but it also makes the decision easier.

In general, RogersBell and Telus boast the most extensive and reliable service in Canada, but Virgin Mobile, Koodo and Freedom Mobile can also serve as decent options, depending on what you’re looking for.

Prices and purchasing

There are several ways you can buy a prepaid SIM card upon your arrival in Canada. 

While prepaid SIMs can be purchased at Pearson Airport upon arrival, they’re wickedly expensive and only offer connection to 3G network, so it’s not worth your money. Instead, head to a tech store like Best Buy or a storefront for your provider of choice to pick up your SIM card and plan.

Almost all providers have a store or kiosk in the Toronto Eaton Centre so that’s a good option where to make the purchase.

You’ll learn that you can find some reasonably affordable prepaid plans for talk and text, but the prices start to rack up when you add data to the equation.

If you’ll be spending time most of your time in a big city like Toronto, you can definitely get away with picking up a plan that only offers you talk and text, because there’s no end to the places where you can find free public WiFi when needed including most cafes around the city.

If you’ll be in a smaller town or rural area, though, you’ll likely want to pick up a plan that offers extra data.

Here are some of the best prepaid options for SIM cards in Canada right now.

Telus

Telus offers monthly plans starting at $15 a month (plus $15 upfront for the SIM card), but that only gets you 100 nationwide minutes and unlimited texts.

You could opt for a $55-per-month plan that grants you 10GB of data with unlimited talk an text, or $35 for 1GB.

Virgin Mobile

At Virgin Mobile, you can get a prepaid plan for $40 a month, which will get you unlimited minutes within Canada as well as 25GB of data.

Bell

Bell offers a comparable plan at $40 per month for 25GB, unlimited talk and text within Canada, the U.S. and internationally. Their most affordable option comes in at $20 a month for unlimited talk and text, no data.

Koodo

Perhaps the best deal on a dollar-per-GB basis, Koodo offers a slightly more affordable option, giving you 50GB for data (55, if you sign up for automatic top-ups), unlimited U.S. and Canada minutes and texts for $34 monthly.

Other phone providers, like Freedom, Chatr, and Lucky Mobile all offer plans with similar value, too, but their service is generally less extensive and reliable than the main players.

e-SIMs

Ordering an e-SIM is likely the easiest and, quite possibly, most cost effective way to get your phone running during your trip to Canada, and also offer more extensive coverage in additional countries if you plan to head elsewhere after your visit to Canada.

Three HK offers an e-SIM option, which you can purchase online from Simoptions, that’ll grant you 20GB of 4G data for 30 days, valid in Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Hong Kong, for $34.90 USD. It doesn’t include talk or text, but you can always use that data for WhatsApp or FaceTime.

Another good option for e-SIMs in Canada is from Tuque Canada, and you can purchase it through Airalo. Their best 30-day plan offers 10GB of 4G data for $35 USD, but it is only valid in Canada, so not the best choice if you’re visiting other countries afterwards.

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