I usually bid for 3 and 4 day pairings with early reports (if possible) so as to avoid having to come to the city too much.
Right now with our reduced flying I only have to come to the city 3 times this month.
You will need a crash pad in YTZ. Most of us who do this stay probably 3-6 nights a month in Toronto, less as you get more senior and have more choice of commutable pairings, obviously.
One pilot drives in from Trenton and another from 3h the other direction, but when they were on reserve they all had arrangements in Toronto (need to meet a 2h reserve callout.)
You'll be on reserve to start off, and how long you will be there depends on hiring. There are some classes coming up, so hopefully that means things will pick up again, as it has been quite slow recently.
From the people I've talked too, it seems like Hamilton in the west, Oshawa in the east, and Barrie in the north is where people are living and commuting from for a 2 hour reserve callout. Any further and people usually get a crashpad downtown or some people just go downtown and chill, go to a mall, stay at a friend's house, etc.
When you have a schedule, you can do anywhere. People commute on the commuting policy, drive in from St. Catherine's/London/Trenton, etc. Havung a schedule makes it much easier.
Hope this helps. Cheers!
It depends on the kind of reserve you are given. Reserve A is 4-4 and B is 9-9. Reserve A has lots of 2 hour callouts, and early mornings. If you commute, being done early also means you will be in traffic leaving. Having traffic both ways is no fun at all. Reserve B has lots of notice most of the time, a few hours ahead of time. I recommend you try for Reserve B as it gives a much better lifestyle, although when junior you will probably not hold it.
Driving in from Hamilton means you could park in the west for $150 a month, the east for $75 a month, or do a pay as you arrive at multiple places close to the airport. You could also take the train to union station and then take the porter shuttle. Good luck!