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I am an Indian studying in Toronto, returning to India via USA in a connecting flight. Do I need a transit visa?

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Yes, Indian citizens require a visa for the US, no matter how long or whether it's just a connecting flight.

Some countries can use the Visa Waiver Program, while others, including India, need to apply for a visa (source: US Department of State).

For information on applying for a visa, I recommend having a look at Immigroup's page on US visas.

More info on who needs or doesn't need visas for transit or visiting the US: WorldTravelGuide's page on the USA.

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    Since there is a $160 nonrefundable fee to apply for a US visa, and no guarantee it will actually be issued, it may be cheaper and easier to change the flight to one that connects in some other country. – Nate Eldredge Dec 15 '14 at 15:59

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