On a recent vacation in Toronto we frequently encountered variations on this sign.
And it is certainly true in Toronto. We never saw a free public parking space. Most lots and street parking starts at either $1 or $1.50 per half-hour and, of course, you pay in advance. The trick is to try to figure out how long you’re going to spend in a museum or restaurant because there are stiff penalties for exceeding your pre-paid parking fee. You can always go the safe route, of course, and opt for the maximum fee (which works out to around 4 or 5 hours at the 1/2 hour rate.) If you choose that tactic, though, you’d better hope that the museum is worth that much time or that the restaurant and it’s environs will hold your attention sufficiently long.
The rates change throughout the day, cheaper if you get in the lot before 8 a.m., highest throughout business hours and cheaper, again, in the evening. The photo below shows the evening flat rate (underneath the $7.08 price is the day price of $2 per half-hour).
Actually, we only played the parking game one day because Toronto has a pretty good public transport system. A $10 day-pass will get you on and off the Subway, Trollies and/or Buses any number of times in a day. The three inter-link pretty well and are generally quick and clean. Of course, while you’re off riding the public transport your car is sitting in some hotel parking lot at the day rate. Parking is NEVER free!