Look we get it…
Moving to another city can be very stressful. You don’t know what to expect and whether you have made the right decision or not.
Well if you want to move to Toronto then you have already made a great decision! It’s awesome and you will absolutely love living here.
To make you feel more at ease and even more comfortable with your decision to move to Toronto I’d like reveal the some important things that you need to know about the city here.
I believe it is essential that you know everything you can about a city before you move so let’s get on with it shall we?
1. Toronto Weather can be Extreme!
You will certainly need some warm clothes for the winter. The temperatures can really plummet in January and February so you need to be prepared. If you are not used to cold temperatures then it will take some getting used to. It is a small price to pay for living in such a great city.
The summers can be really hot with July and August being the hottest months. We have some awesome beaches in Toronto and plenty of places where you can chill and enjoy the sun. The rest of the year is usually pretty mild. Just bring the right gear with you and stop complaining!
But, that won’t happen because weather is the #1 topic we talk about here!
2. Toronto is Multi Cultural and English is the main Language
Around half of the population of Toronto was not born in Canada. We have people here of all races and cultures. If that bothers you then you are going to have a problem. We think that it is really cool that people from all of these different cultures can live well together. Wherever you are from originally you will fit in well here.
You may have heard that you need to speak French to live in Toronto. This is not true at all. English is the main language and everyone speaks it. There is no reason for you to take French classes before you come here. Ontario is not Quebec!
In fact, if you speak Chinese, you have a better chance of fitting it!
3. Accommodation is Different in Toronto
With most other major cities most people tend to live outside of the center or “downtown” areas. The opposite is true with Toronto. A lot of people live downtown. This is good because the area doesn’t die after 9pm like it does in other cities. You don’t have to live downtown of course. There are plenty of nice “burb” areas as well.
Accommodation in Toronto is expensive. There is no other way to put it. Whether you want to live downtown or outside you will need to pay a hefty price to do that. Rents are crazy and you can easily end up paying over C$1500 a month for a one bedroom apartment in the center of the city. It is a bit cheaper outside the city but not that much.
If you are moving to Toronto from somewhere like New York, London or Los Angeles then you will probably think that renting and buying property is cheap here. Compared to those cities it is.
Buying a property is a good idea if you see yourself living in Toronto for a long time. The property market is very competitive and prices are rising all of the time. In downtown areas you will pay around C$7,000 per square meter and outside around C$5,300 per square meter.
When you need to get financing, then check out our mortgage broker directory for Toronto and get help from a professional who can lead you through the process of financing your home. It’s usually the biggest purchase of your life, so get help, especially when moving to a new city or country.
4. Crime Rates are Low in Toronto
A lot of people don’t realize this but Toronto is actually the fourth largest city in North America. But unlike our friends from the USA our crime rates are very low. While crime rates in cities like New York, London and Los Angeles continue to rise we are doing our best to reduce the rates here.
This does not mean that crimes do not occur. All cities have crime unfortunately, but you should be safer here than in a lot of other places. There are places in Toronto that we definitely don’t recommend you visit at night. In the main downtown area you should be fine. You need to use common sense just like you would anywhere else.
5. So what about Restaurants and Nightlife?
Being a large multicultural city Toronto has restaurants serving authentic food from many different countries around the world. Whatever you fancy eating it is very likely that you will find a good restaurant in Toronto that will appeal to your palette. Some restaurants are cheap and others are ridiculously expensive. No different to anywhere else really.
If you are coming from a country that is not used to tipping then you better get used to it! The tipping rates in Toronto keep nudging their way up and now the minimum expected is around 15%. If you go 20% then you are really showing your appreciation.
Bars and clubs are open until 2am and you need to be 19 years or older to drink alcohol. A pint of domestic beer is going to cost about C$6.50 but it is usually a good brew. Wine will set you back C$11 a glass and fancy cocktails around C$13-14.
6. Driving and Transportation
OK let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. There is congestion on the roads (particularly downtown) and the cost of parking is obscene.
We were ranked the #1 city in the developed countries for the longest commute time to work. That’s not a great selling point for moving here, but, I feel like I should disclose it.
If you park illegally the parking police will be on you like a ton of bricks and buying a car is not particularly cheap here.
The good news is that if you are moving to Toronto from the USA, UK, Ireland, Australia, Japan, Germany or France (and some other countries) then it is fairly painless to get an Ontario driving license. You can get full details here.
Getting around the city is much easier by public transport. The transport system is excellent and you can choose between the subway, the rail network, streetcars, buses and ferries. The cost of a public transportation pass for a week is around C$44 and a month of subway, train, streetcar or bus travel is just C$147.
Although most Torontonians lament our TTC, somehow it seems to get good international reviews. Are we just self-critical or what? I just don’t get it.
7. Jobs, Taxes and stuff
Unemployment rates are low in Toronto and they keep going down. There are normally plenty of job opportunities so you should be able to find something to suit you. A lot of people move to Toronto with a job already in the bag, and if you can do this then it is the best way to go.
The highest combined (federal and provincial) rate of income tax in Canada is about 50% and at the lower level it is 15%. You can get the complete lowdown on taxes here. When you buy stuff in Toronto you will have to pay a 13% sales tax which is not included in the sticker price.
You will Love Toronto
Clean and vibrant with a lot of stuff going on, Toronto is a fine city. There are great international connections from the airport so it will be easy for you to get to a lot of popular destinations. Crime rates are low and opportunities abound. Come and join us!
Feel free to ask me any questions below or send me an email through my contact form.