Do You Tip in Toronto? Understanding Gratuity Etiquette in the City

Written by Jim Belt in How Much To Tip

When visiting or residing in Toronto, tipping is an integral part of the service industry culture, especially in dining, travel, and personal care sectors. This guide explains Toronto's tipping customs and shows when and how much to tip.

In Toronto, tipping is customary and expected for service industry workers. It is standard to tip 15-20% at restaurants, 10-20% for taxi drivers, and a couple of Canadian dollars for hotel staff per night or service provided.

Tipping Customs

Tippping is customary


  • Tipping in Toronto is customary, with 15-20% being standard at restaurants.
  • Tipping extends to bars, hotels, and transportation services.
  • Electronic payments for tips have become widely accepted.

Tipping in Toronto Overview

In Toronto, tipping is a way to show your appreciation for good service, especially in the hospitality industry. It's customary to offer a gratuity as a gesture of thanks to service staff. Restaurants in this bustling Canadian city generally expect a tip of between 15 and 20 percent of your bill before taxes.

When dining out, you should consider the quality of the service. If your experience is satisfactory, a 15 percent tip is typical. For service that goes above and beyond, tipping closer to 20 percent is a generous show of gratitude. Remember, these percentages are a guide; always feel empowered to use your discretion based on your service experience.

Other service areas, such as bars or taxis, also have their own tipping norms. At bars, you might tip $1-2 per drink, while taxi drivers commonly receive a tip of around 10-15 percent of your fare. It's all part of the etiquette here in Toronto, reflecting a city that values service and hospitality.

Understanding Tipping Etiquette

When visiting or living in Toronto, understanding the local tipping etiquette is crucial for navigating social and service situations with grace.

General Etiquette

In Toronto, tipping your server at a restaurant is standard practice. Typically, 15% to 20% of the pre-tax bill is deemed appropriate for good service. This percentage can vary slightly based on your experience but staying within this range is considered respectful to the staff.

Mandatory Gratuities

In Toronto, mandatory gratuities are sometimes applied to groups typically of 6 or more. These are included in the bill, so you won't have to calculate this yourself. An etiquette expert would advise checking your bill to see if a service charge has been added to prevent accidental undertipping or overtipping.

Tipping at Restaurants

In Toronto, tipping at restaurants is a common practice to recognize the service you receive. Your tips directly support the servers and bartenders who make your dining experience enjoyable.

Service Type Suggested Tip Example
Servers 15-20% of the pre-tax bill $50 meal → $7.50 to $10 tip
Bartenders $1-2 per drink Not specified
Takeout Orders About 10% Not specified
Food Delivery Similar to takeout, may follow app's recommended amount Not specified

Servers and Bartenders

When dining in, you're expected to tip your server between 15-20% of the pre-tax bill. For instance, if your meal costs $50 before taxes, a tip of $7.50 to $10 is customary. Tipping at the higher end of the scale often reflects exceptional service or a more upscale dining environment. Bartenders also typically receive a $1-2 tip per drink if you're ordering at the bar.

Takeout Orders

While tipping for takeout orders isn't mandatory, it's becoming more appreciated, especially given the increasing demand for takeout services. A tip of around 10% is considerate to acknowledge the effort of staff preparing your order. If you're receiving food delivery, similar tipping rules apply, though certain delivery apps might include a recommended tip amount as part of the checkout process.

Taxes and Tipping

Remember, when calculating your tip, use the subtotal of your bill before taxes. Taxes are not a part of the service provided and thus should not influence the tip amount. Calculating your tip based on the pre-tax amount ensures that your gratuities accurately reflect the cost of your meal and service.

Hotel Tipping Guidelines

When staying at a hotel in Toronto, it's important to know whom to tip and how much. Tipping is an expression of gratitude for the service provided, and while it's discretionary, certain guidelines can help you navigate the process smoothly.

Service Provider Suggested Tip Additional Information
Valets CAD $2-5 Upon the car's return
Concierge CAD $5-20 Depending on the complexity of the request
Housekeeping CAD $2-5 per day Left in the room for daily cleaning services
Bellboys/Luggage Attendants CAD $1-2 per bag For assistance with luggage

Valets and Concierge

When you hand your car keys to a valet, a standard tip is CAD $2-5 upon the car's return. If you're utilizing the services of a concierge, especially if they go above and beyond by booking tours, securing tickets, or making restaurant reservations, tipping CAD $5-20 depending on the difficulty of your request is appreciated.

Housekeeping and Bellboys

For housekeeping staff, a tip of CAD $2-5 per day, left in your room, is a kind gesture for their daily cleaning services. The bellboys or luggage attendants who assist with your bags should typically be tipped CAD $1-2 per bag, recognizing their effort in handling your luggage.

Transportation Tipping Practices

When traveling in Toronto, understanding regional tipping customs for transportation can ensure that you're showing appreciation appropriately.

Service Type Suggested Tip Additional Information
Taxi/Ride-Sharing 15-20% of the fare More for luggage help or exceptional service
Airport/Hotel Shuttles $1-2 per bag or a flat $5 To thank drivers for luggage assistance and safe travel

Taxi and Ride-Sharing

Whenever you take a taxi or use a ride-sharing service like Uber in Toronto, it's common to tip your driver. For standard taxi rides and Uber trips, the usual tip is between 15% and 20% of the fare. If the taxi driver helps with your luggage or provides exceptional service, you might consider tipping a bit more.

Airport and Hotel Shuttles

Drivers of airport and hotel shuttles often assist with heavy luggage and navigate busy routes to ensure you reach your destination safely. For these services, a tip of $1-2 per bag is thoughtful, or a flat rate of $5 if you're not carrying much luggage. It's a simple way to thank them for their help and service.

Additional Service Tipping

When you're enjoying personal services like a day at the spa or an exciting guided tour, it's important to understand the customary tipping practices in Toronto to show your appreciation for the service providers.

Service Type Suggested Tip Additional Information
Spas and Salons 15-20% of the total service cost Increase for exceptional service
Tour Guides and Activities 10-20% of the activity cost For memorable experiences and excellent guidance

Spas and Salons

At spas and salons, gratuity tends to be a token of your satisfaction with the service. For a rejuvenating massage or a fresh haircut, it's typical to tip the service provider between 15% to 20% of the total service cost. If a hairdresser or a masseuse goes above and beyond, feel free to tip on the higher end.

Tour Guides and Activities

While on guided tours or special activities, a tip isn't just a reward; it's an acknowledgment of the tour guide's effort to make your experience memorable. For exceptional storytelling and a well-organized tour, offering a 10% to 20% tip of the cost of the activity is a generous way to say thank you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tipping

When you're in Toronto, understanding tipping etiquette is crucial whether you're dining out, taking a taxi, or on a business trip. Here’s what you need to know.

How Much to Tip

In Toronto, it's typical to tip 15-20% at a restaurant. If you're grabbing a drink at a bar, a $1-2 tip per drink is standard. For services like hairdressers or taxi rides, a similar percentage is customary. Remember, tipping is not law but a reflection of your satisfaction with the service.

Tipping on a Business Trip

When you're on a business trip, tipping reflects both your appreciation and your company's approach to professional relationships. For hotel staff like maids and bellboys, a tip of $2-5 per service is appropriate. If you're entertaining clients, stick to the 15-20% rule at restaurants to maintain a good relationship.

Addressing Tipping Faux Pas

If you find yourself in a situation where a tip was expected but you didn't provide one, simply apologize and rectify the situation as soon as possible. In a professional setting, misunderstandings about tipping can impact your business relationships, so it’s best to handle any faux pas with grace. If you're unsure, it's okay to discreetly ask a local or the service provider directly.

Published: 30-01-2024

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