Toronto is the capital city of Canada and its bustling business hub. The city is popular for its incredible advancements in architecture and the multitude of higher education opportunities throughout the city. And with the help of its unique approach to health care and public incentives, Canada’s citizens are the 11th happiest people among 150 countries according to the world happiness score 2021.
The city is home to some of the world’s most recognizable monuments and is a prime location for people relocating. The sweeping vistas matched with that exceptional Canadian kindness make it a welcoming sight for first-timers. Many recognize it as one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, as well as an incredibly racially diverse one.
Its cultural and ethnic diversity stands as Canada’s role in being a haven for immigrants worldwide. Over 50% of the population of Canada is that of a visible minority, people who are visibly distinct from Caucasians. And despite English still being the primary language in the city, inhabitants of the city speak over 160 different languages. There are more than 200 unique ethnicities within the city alone.
Toronto also stands as the most populous city in the country and the fourth most populated city in North America. It also happens to be the anchor for the Golden Horseshoe, which houses over 9 billion people.
The capital also stands as a major hub for music and art, with the city being home to prominent musicians and massive museums. So if you’re looking to make a fresh start or want to explore a culturally diverse metropolis, then this guide can certainly help. Here we have gathered information about everything you need to know about the city to relocate there.
The best place to start would be interesting facts about the city itself. Some of these interesting facts include:
- Toronto has over 10 million trees throughout its urban jungle. According to recent surveys, more than 25% of Toronto’s land mass is forest.
- The city is also one of the few teams in every major sporting league. They have teams in the NHL, MLB, MLS, AHL, Rugby, and Lacrosse, among many others.
- Not only is it the largest zoo in Canada, but Toronto stands as one of the largest zoos in the world. The zoo spans 710 acres, with over 5000 animals from over 500 species.
- Many refer to Toronto as the most multicultural city in existence, with its citizens coming from over 200 unique origins
- The PATH is a massive underground tunnel, which connects to other smaller tunnels. It also happens to be the largest shopping complex underground in the world.
- The Toronto public library stands as the world’s largest neighborhood-based library system. It also stands as the premier destination for many Torontonians for information or to study.
- The Toronto Islands stand as North America’s largest car-free urban community. People who live there get around using bicycles, on foot, or through kayaks and canoes.
- The only castle in North America is in Toronto. The castle also happens to be a popular venue for multiple events and shows.
- The Pearson Airport in Toronto is also the busiest one in Canada, with over 500,000 in 2019 alone. During that year, they handled 50 million passengers.
- The Toronto international film festival is possibly the biggest and most important film festival globally. The film to receive the people’s choice award in the festival usually wins the best picture at the Oscars.
Toronto is a city that takes pride in offering its citizens an excellent standard of living. But before you can choose to live there, you will first have to consider some of the pros and cons that come with living in this bustling multicultural metropolis. While many rank it as one of the best cities in the world to live in, you should be the one who decides.
- Publically funded health care is easily the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think about Canada. Not only is it one of the largest economies in the world, but it is also one that provides its citizens with private healthcare. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan has a minimal premium and covers doctors and even surgeries for residents.
- Toronto ranks as one of the safest cities to live in, according to various metrics, in the world. While there is some crime throughout the massive city, it is very welcoming to all its newcomers.
- Another great way that Toronto benefits from its wider diversity is that it also has a very eclectic food scene. Various culinary delights from a wide range of cultures exist here, ready for you to try. Some locations that provide authentic cultural foods include Little India and Little Italy.
- If you happen to be moving with a family, their wide range of schools will sound very appealing. The city provides a high standard of education and even offers free education to residents or individuals with work permits.
- People coming to Toronto looking for a good career will be very satisfied to see the strong job market. The financial sector of the government alone employs over 200,000 people every year. Furthermore, all of the biggest tech firms and multinationals have offices here, where people can easily apply.
- The city also happens to be a haven for people interested in fine arts. Art aficionados will love the wide range of museums and galleries in the town, along with massive festivals that attract big international crowds. The Toronto international film festival happens to be one such event.
- Toronto also has various neighborhoods that you could move into, specifically because of the ethnic diversity. All neighborhoods have a distinct feel to them, with some being dedicated completely to minorities or having a unique sense of style. No area is boring and has a vivid personality.
- The capital city has a lot of attractions and venues for you to explore in your free time. There are plenty of places where families can enjoy themselves or for people to just sit down and relax. From libraries and museums to amusement parks and beaches, there is something for everyone.
- The rent in Toronto is a factor that can scare many people away. Some of the reasons contributing to this rise include more demand and condos in most neighborhoods. And since the city also offers more amenities than other smaller cities, it charges more for rent.
- While healthcare being free in the country is an incredible advantage, it is only available for residents of the country. Expats who have yet to become permanent residents have to depend on private healthcare. These personal health care services can also be much more expensive.
- The city can sometimes have very challenging weather, specifically during the winter season. In contrast, it is still on the warmer side compared to some of the other cities in the country. Summers can also get very hot and humid, with temperatures reaching highs of 95°F.
Other than housing, Toronto can be a little pricey for people looking to live there. The city offers a wide range of amenities, which is one of the reasons why the city can be expensive. However, depending on the size of your family and the job that you find, you could consider the city expensive. Here is a more thorough breakdown of the town and the expenses associated with it.
Housing is easily the biggest monthly expense that you will incur. Rent, on average, can be $2070 inside major city hubs. Rent for a bachelor-style apartment can cost $1404, whereas the rent for a two-bedroom apartment can be $2444. A single-bedroom apartment in the city center can charge $2,000 on average and $1700 outside of the city. Some of the more spacious apartments with three bedrooms can cost an average of $3500 inside the city center. When moving out of the city center, however, the price can drop down to $2693.
One of the reasons why rent is so expensive within the city is because of the existence of condos. Since condos offer more premium accommodation, they can lead to the entire neighborhood raising rent prices. Even neighborhoods that were predominantly apartments and houses increased in price when construction for condos began.
Prices for apartments inside and outside of city centers are also very high. On average, per sq. meter of an apartment will be $11,105 within the city center. Therefore, the average 26 sq. meter apartment will cost $288,730. Outside of the city, the price per sq. meter is $9,150, making the total price of the same house $237,900.
Of course, the high housing price should not turn you away or make you reconsider. Some cheaper neighborhoods or apartments charge less despite their bigger size. You can find all of your housing solutions in Toronto with the help of Relo.ai. They have the experience and expertise necessary to find the best value for the right home.
Food and Eatery
The cost of food is a little higher in the city than in other major cities in Canada like Ontario. The average monthly cost for food is about $260 for an adult (female) and $340 for a young adult (male). The price mostly accounts for groceries and the cost of most home-cooked foods.
Of course, not everyone has the time or patience to cook, and the expensive nature of the city also extends to eating out. The average cost of a meal outdoors is $10 for lunch and up to $25 for dinner. These two prices only account for inexpensive foods and most standard food chains.
Healthcare is very affordable throughout the city, mainly thanks to the government’s healthcare plan. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan allows individuals to pay a small fee to the government, which covers them for various procedures. This healthcare plan even includes surgeries for different procedures. The cost for the plan is minimal and is usually dedicated to most residents’ salaries.
The only problem with healthcare is that doctors feel undervalued, which has created a shortage of doctors in the country. Most families in the city cannot have a family doctor, and most doctors are making their way to the US.
Monthly utilities are also a little expensive in Toronto, with Things like Garbage, water, cooling, heating, and heating are all a little more expensive. All of the utilities mentioned before will cost you $160. Internet, on the other hand, 60 Mbps or more every month can cost as much as $71 on average.
As the capital city of Canada, Toronto offers individuals plenty of ways to travel around its many neighborhoods. Whether you are looking to get downtown or a little farther out of the city, plenty of options is available.
While Toronto is a massive city, its neighborhoods can be fairly easy to walk around them to explore. However, it is worth mentioning that you should avoid walking alone at night and walk in well-lit streets.
Granted, that is not the only way to be out exploring the city’s beautiful neighborhoods. If you would prefer, you can go out and explore on a bike through the bike share Toronto program, where you can explore different parts of the city on a bike. The program has over 3,000 bikes available throughout 300 locations, with a day pass only costing $7. It is easily the best way to go about the city and explore it.
If you’re looking to travel throughout Toronto at your pace, then you can easily drive around. The city’s grid-style layout is simple and intuitive, allowing anyone to drive around without having too much. However, despite the city having a very simple to understand grid layout, the city does have a lot of traffic. Rush hour can leave you in hour-long deadlocks, and that is without considering the price of parking.
Furthermore, cars are not a good choice when traveling to the city because of the difficult weather. If you do not have any experience driving on icy roads or during snowy weather, you could be a potential driving hazard. Therefore, if you want to go somewhere by car, your best option is to get a cab or a taxi.
There are plenty of rental services available throughout the city, especially right at the airport. If you have a valid US driver’s license, you will not have to get a new one. Furthermore, you should remember that gas is in liters and the speed written everywhere is in kilometers.
As mentioned earlier, cabs can be a very good solution when trying to get around the city in extreme weather. They know their way around and have the experience of driving in unpleasant weather. Local taxis from the city are easy to find, especially when standing in front of a major attraction or public places throughout the city.
On the other hand, you can also use Lyft and Uber to get around. Both services also come with the convenience of coming to you instead of waiting. And even though it is still not as convenient as driving a car, it can allow you to save money.
The subway system in Toronto can be a lifesaver in desperate times as you are trying to go somewhere. And even though it does not go as many places as above-ground transport, it has the added advantage of being very fast. The two lines that run throughout the city’s subway include the Yellow and Green ones. The yellow line runs from north of the town and goes till Union Station, from where it goes back. The green line runs west to east, cutting right through central Toronto. The transit system runs from 6 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. throughout the entire week. On Sundays, though, it will start at 8 a.m. and stop at 1:30 a.m.
You can buy one-time tickets, or you can buy a week-long or a day-long pass for the subway. A single ride costs $3.25. Day passes can cost about $12, and weekly passes can cost as much as $43.75.
Spring is possibly the most unpredictable season in Toronto, as it does not follow any specific pattern. Temperatures can swing wildly from one end to the other, with the most common occurrence there being that of thunderstorms. There can also be sudden snowstorms throughout the city, and people have very much become used to it.
The weather can also break past 80°F on some days and allow rain on others. While April can be very unpredictable, May can be a delight. Patios begin to open, and people start eating out in slightly chilly but mostly warm weather.
Winters in Toronto are much milder compared to other Canadian cities. However, the weather is still very cold, often dropping below zero. It is always snowy and can be very windy, making the town feel colder. Snow is a constant throughout the winter season, with snow averaging about 40 inches in a year.
Most snowfalls during December persist throughout March. Snowstorms can be sudden and usually leave traffic at a standstill. Usually, the only thing that remains unaffected by this weather is the subway system. Sidewalks also tend to get icy in these months, which is why you should be extra careful and wear footwear dedicated to winters.
Fall can also be fairly chill in Toronto, even if the temperatures are below zero. Between September and November, these wild card months see plenty of sunny days and then sudden snowstorms. There are also icy conditions throughout these days, with temperatures sometimes dropping close to zero.
Fall does have its bright moments, though, with the leaves changing color being a unique spectacle. People will usually go to surrounding parks to hike, giving a better view of the foliage. October also has a fun event in Nuit Blanche and the Royal Winter Fair in November.
Summers in Toronto is nice and humid, with temperatures rarely dropping below 70°F. While it can reach extremes of 90°F sometimes, that does not stop the locals from enjoying many incredible festivals and events. The Canadian National Exhibition also comes into ton during the summers, which features a plethora of rides, food, and fun games.
Of course, the real appeal of summer comes in visiting the many beaches around Toronto. Lake Ontario also brings more humidity into the city and cools it down to a significant degree. July and August also happen to be the two months with the most rain. You can expect at least eight days of rain in each of these months.
Toronto still stays the major economic hub of the country, which is why it holds a wide range of working opportunities for different careers. The labor force participation rate was 65.30% in November, which has remained unchanged since last month.
The unemployment rate managed to stay at a low of 7.7%, which dropped from 8.4% last month. More interestingly, there has been a rise of 13,700 full-time jobs in November alone, along with 19,200 part-time positions. In total, the city has seen 32,900 jobs in a single month.
The largest employer in the city is the education sector. Education has employed over 100,000 people across 1400 educational institutes and establishments. Every year, this sector gives out close to $7.2 billion in wages. Elementary and Secondary Schools in Toronto hold the highest percentage of job distribution at over 50%. Community colleges, on the other hand, make up 8.1% of the workforce, and universities make up 25%.
Of course, the largest employer in the city remains the Canadian Federal Government, with over 250,000 civil servants under their wing. The US has a population almost ten times larger, yet it has 3 million civil servants. Other major employers include hospitals and medical clinics, with over 600,000 new employees in 2021 alone. Fast-food employees have seen a rise of 402,000 in a single year, making them one of the biggest employers in the country.
Despite Covid increasing the unemployment rate to over 13%, there has been a steady decline in unemployment since then. Exactly one year later since the height of the pandemic in May 2020, the country was able to regain 101% of the total jobs it had gotten. And now, the unemployment rate has managed to stay at a fairly low of 7.7%.
Other than being the economic capital of the country, Toronto also happens to be the capital of incredible education opportunities. Toronto is home to many recognizable public and private universities. These include:
Northeast University Toronto
Northeast University is one of the only private universities in Toronto that manages to reach the high standards of its public counterparts. Originally a US-based university, it offers a multitude of Masters of Science programs in fields like cyber security, information assurance, and project management, among many others.
York University is one of the most prestigious teaching and research institutes. It offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate programs for various disciplines. York University also has two campuses in the city, which provide the same courses.
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto happens to be the oldest institute in the country, dating back to 1827. It also happens to be the gold standard for institutes in discovery and learning. The university’s many professional schools make it one of the most research-intensive universities globally.
Ryerson is another critically acclaimed Canadian university that offers many programs and courses. As of now, they offer 55 Ph.D. and 62 bachelor’s programs in a variety of specialties. They also have one of the top university incubators in North America.
OCAD also happens to be another very old Canadian institute that began in 1876. The university mainly focuses on art, design, and digital media education along with a variety of other courses. It also has courses dedicated to teaching students about different cultures and cultural diversity.
Hockey hall of fame
Toronto prides itself on being the ice hockey country, especially with its team being one of the oldest ones in the league. The Toronto Maple Leafs began playing in 1917 and solidified Toronto’s place as the city for ice hockey fans with the team’s incredible performance for over a century.
If you have an affinity for the NHL, visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame is necessary. You can find the Stanley Cup here, and it shows off the greatest players the sport has ever seen. Finally, you can even learn more about the sport itself and its evolution over the years.
Casa Loma is easily one of the most recognizable landmarks in Toronto, seeing how it is the only castle in North America. The castle is vividly beautiful and has stood since its construction completed in the early 20th century.
The castle is massive, featuring 98 rooms, gardens, passageways, a hunting lodge, and a library. It took 300 people almost three years to construct the massive castle back in the day, and it is still standing. Other more modern touches were also added to the court later, like a fully functioning elevator. You can visit the lovely castle on the hill on a guided tour.
The Distillery District is a relic of Toronto with its unique aesthetic and architecture. The pedestrian-only shopping area features a Victorian charm with its many restored buildings that create a lively marketplace. The buildings originally belonged to the Gooderman and Worts Distillery, which eventually closed down the distillery in the early 1990s.
The massive space offers more than 80 eateries, boutiques, and retail stores. The space also features multiple entertainment venues and art galleries for people looking for something fun to do. It is an incredible tourist hotspot that comes with its unique perks.
The CN Tower
Easily one of the most recognizable monuments in Canada, Toronto’s CN Tower was a staggering 1,815 ft tall. Despite finishing construction in 1976, Canadian National made the tallest tower in the world until Burj Dubai finished construction. It managed to hold the title of the world’s tallest building for almost 30 years.
You can visit the top deck that you can access through the glass elevator. Once at the deck, you can choose to look out at the beautiful city and the Toronto Islands. People with reservations to diners can skip the queues and directly make their way up towards the observatory.
Royal Ontario Museum
Easily one of the most breathtaking structures in the city, the Royal Ontario Museum is one of the best places to visit for first-timers. The incredible attention to detail throughout the museum in its exhibits is astounding. While most are permanent ones, a few come and go after some time.
The exhibits within the museum feature natural history and its effect on human cultures. Travel throughout the unique layout of the entire museum as you learn more about prehistoric tribes, cultures, and rituals. The museum also has artifacts from other countries and regions, including the Middle East.
Toronto Eaton Center
The Toronto Eaton Center is one of the best and biggest shopping malls in the city. You can visit over 235 local and international stores and restaurants within the city center. The food at the mall includes plenty of fast food options and different ethnic and traditional cuisine.
The Eaton Center also happens to be the most densely packed and visited the location in Toronto. And despite carrying the Eaton name, visitors will not be able to shop at the department store chain. The store closed its doors for the last time in 1999.
Visit Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
The Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is the newest attraction in Toronto. The aquarium features much incredible marine life and is easily one of the best things to do for families. The new attraction is near the CN Tower, and its best feature is easily the long tunnel underneath the aquarium.
Walk past the diverse and unique marine life that exists throughout the aquarium. It even includes sharks, along with various other smaller fishes. Another great attraction is the jellyfish display, which comes with unique types of lighting.
Take a trip to Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is just an hour away from Toronto and is easily one of the best things to do when you go there. There is plenty of full-day and half-day tours that will take you from Toronto to the beautiful waterfall and then back.
Most trips will also take you on the Niagara Cruise, close to the Horseshoe Falls. Most day tours will be stopping near many other popular attractions near the massive waterfall. Of course, the full day trip to Niagara falls is the best choice, as you even get to see the waterfall light up at night.
See the Beautiful Wildlife at the Toronto Zoo
Easily one of the best attractions in the city to visit, the Toronto Zoo is massive. With over 5,000 animals from 500 different species, they have plenty of diverse animals for you to see. Some of the incredible wildlife includes orangutans, penguins, giraffes, tigers, and lions.
The massive 700-acre compound falls into different sections, each representing major wildlife regions around the globe. These regions include the Great Barrier Reef, the Tundra trek, and the gorilla rainforest. They even have a discovery zone with a splash pad for kids.
Walk Down Kensington Market
Kensington Market feels like an escape from the regular hustle and bustle of the city center. As you walk down the streets, you can see the many vendors operating from small brick homes or on sidewalks. The market also features plenty of street performers who play relaxing music for people passing by.
The best thing about the marketplace is the diverse street art present throughout the area. Many of the vendors you find there also include tattoo shops, small restaurants, and cafes with a Tibetan, Mexican, or Jamaican theme.
Witness Incredible Exhibits at the Ontario science center
Let your mind wander as you visit the incredible Ontario Science Center. The compound boasts multiple remarkable exhibits that entertain both adults and children. After its completion in 1969, the museum has focused on visitor participation over everything else.
There are a total of 12 permanent exhibits as well as an IMAX OMNIMAX Dome theater. Visiting the center will help you learn about the many advancements in optics, telecommunication, technology, meteorology, space travel, and physics. All of the exhibits show off these different concepts in a very engaging manner.
Take Pictures at Graffiti Alley
If you get tired of the many beautiful skyscrapers and tall buildings of Toronto, you can visit the beautiful Graffiti alley instead. The alley features incredible street art from talented artists, as they show off their skills using various types of colors and designs. It is easily one of the best places to take pictures.
The alley was also a prominent part of the Rick Mercer Report, a TV comedy series where Rick Mercer would film his infamous rants in the backdrop of this graffiti.
Take a Nice Quiet Walk at High Park
If you’re looking to do something a little more tame than taking exciting trips around the city, you can visit High Park. The 165-acre property features multiple gardens and long tracks that you can trek and explore at a relaxing pace. Take in the beautiful trees on display and the flowers that line the tracks.
High Park also has a zoo that you can visit, which features a multitude of unique wildlife such as wallabies, llamas, and reindeer. You can even see the famous Bonnie and Clyde capybaras, who managed to escape their enclosure in 2016. Both animals quickly rose to fame on social media and even have separate social media profiles.
Toronto is a fairly dense and sprawling metropolis that is exciting to visit. It stands as a melting pot where various cultures and ethnicities meet, offering a unique multicultural experience. Its job market is currently on the rise, and it holds a lot of great opportunities for people of varying specialties. Considering all of this information, you can now better decide if you should be moving to Toronto or not.