Before you move to Toronto, you should know about the city you're moving to. Toronto is a major cosmopolitan metropolis and is widely considered Canada's economic, social and cultural home. However, inside Canada, Toronto is seen as somewhat of an anomaly due to its proximity to the United States and international culture.
But, what is life in Toronto like? What a city looks like in a magazine or a few tourist sites or landmarks never paints a picture of living there. So, to help paint a better view, we've compiled a list of the 9 things you need to know about life in Toronto.
Toronto Has Two Languages
Canada is a bilingual country, with vast portions of the population speaking their particular brand of Canadian French. As a result, it's not uncommon for you to come across people who talk exclusively French in Canada. As a result, you'll find French menus in restaurants, French street signs, French organizations and even French-speaking establishments.
Torontonians generally don't speak as much French as the rest of Canada, but the city still caters to their French-speaking population. Most businesses and street signs will have some means to placate French speakers.
Language is hugely important in Canada. In fact, the Canadian government has a language requirement in either English or French for all new immigrants to Canada. This is called the Canadian language benchmark and it’s crucial that you pass it if you want to move to Toronto. If you want to know how to get the best out of your CLB, have a look at this article.
So while you may not have to speak French to get by on a day-to-day basis, you will come across the influence of French Canada once you move to Toronto. Brushing up on a little French or learning a few basic phrases can go a long way in Canada, and you'll never know when you'll need it.
The Weather In Toronto May Be Very Different From Your Country
Canada is famous for its icy climate. However, while Toronto sees its fair share of below-freezing temperatures, it also experiences beautiful clear summers, picturesque amber autumns and fresh green springs.
Toronto's warm season generally lasts for around 3.5 months, and most Torontonians treat from June 2 to September 18 as their primary summer months. During this time, the average daily temperature sits at a comfortable 20°C and sees highs of 25°C and lows of approximately 17°C.
The cold season lasts around the same time but falls from December 3 to March 16. During these months, the average temperature is around 0°C but can get down to a bone-chilling -8°C.
For many immigrants, the transition to the cold weather can be difficult. If you are from a country with a far different climate, make sure you prepare adequately for the cold by knowing what to wear, how to keep your home warm and how to handle the Toronto climate change effectively.
Toronto's Culture Is Unlike Anywhere Else
Toronto is Canada's largest city and is home to some 6.3 million people in the city alone. Canada is known for its reliance on foreign workers to maintain its economy, and Toronto is the exact manifestation of that attitude.
The population of the city of Toronto is made up of people from over 250 nationalities. As a result, Toronto is a center of diversity and the fusing of cultures. As a result, the culture of Toronto is inexorably linked to the vast amount of different cultures, races, religions and attitudes that make up its populace.
Toronto is hugely respective of the different religious groups that coexist within its city borders. It plays home to some of the oldest religious centres in North America, such as the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple, the Madina Masjid, The Holy Blossom Temple synagogue and the Cathedral of St. James.
Toronto is also world-renowned for its hugely respectful treatment of its LGBTQ+ citizens, with a massive pride festival hosted every year and the Church-Wellesley Village being world famous as Toronto's Gay village.
To truly get to know the culture at the heart of Toronto, you should take in as much as possible from all of the fantastic cultural spheres dotted all around Toronto, from Chinatown to Little Italy. Diversity is built into the city's history, and not indulging in what all of the different communities of Toronto have to offer is a missed opportunity.
Everyone's Working in Toronto
Toronto's the economic capital of Canada. It's home to Canada's largest businesses and most significant workforce and is one of the best cities in the world to start a business. As a result, Toronto boasts some of the lowest unemployment figures in the world. 7.7 million people are employed in and around Toronto, 82% of which are in full-time jobs. Only 5.3% of Torontonians are unemployed.
The primary industries in Toronto are financial services, real estate, wholesale and retail trade. Finding a job in Toronto is incredibly easy, and due to Canada's high minimum wage, most jobs are lucrative and can allow you to fund yourself completely.
While you don't necessarily need a job to move to Toronto, having one when you arrive will make life in Toronto far more accessible and more enjoyable. You can become a part of Toronto's world-renowned workforce and have the money to enjoy the fantastic lifestyle Toronto provides.
If you're looking to work in Toronto, you must ensure you have everything in check to come to Canada to do that work. Click the button below to talk to a Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant who can help ensure you have everything you need to start your journey in Toronto.
There Is No Shortage Of Things To Do In Toronto
The people of Toronto work hard and play hard. Despite the cold winters, Toronto is known worldwide for its culture of outdoor eating, with a considerable portion of the city's restaurants having patios, allowing diners to eat, drink and socialize while overlooking the iconic Toronto skyline. Due to its enormous mix of cultures, Toronto is home to some of the best international cuisines.
Neighbourhoods like The Annex, Dundas West and Little Italy boast some of the best restaurants in Canada and present fantastic opportunities for you to get to know some of the many cultures of Toronto through one of the most straightforward means of cultural expression - food. Make sure you go to Toronto with an open mind and palette. Chances are, you'll be exposed to a world of cuisines you've never seen before and might find your new favourite food in Toronto.
One of the best things to do in Toronto is shop. Toronto is the home of some of the best local and franchise shopping in Canada. Toronto's shopping districts, such as Yorkville, boast a wide variety of international and local brands, catering to all styles and tastes. On top of this, Toronto's bohemian capital, Kensington Market, will give you a shopping experience you can't get anywhere else in the world.
The number of options presented to you can be daunting at first, so make sure to take time to explore the city's shopping districts before you start your spending spree.
Along with the city's excellent restaurant culture, Toronto's bar and club culture are so massive that they even have an Entertainment district, boasting some of Canada's most exciting and interesting bars. In addition, Toronto is world-renowned for its high-level cocktail culture.
Downtown Toronto standouts like Barchef and the Irv offer some of the best cocktails in North America and a wide selection of local and international beverages.
Arts and Culture:
Toronto is home to one of the world's most exciting arts and cultural scenes. The melting pot of international cultures produces some of the most exciting displays of art, theatre, music, filmmaking and performance in the Western world.
Districts like the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) District boast the most significant art galleries in Canada, showcasing some of the most delicate art from local and international artists. Theatres like the Royal Alexandra and Princess of Wales also host massive worldwide productions. Finally, let's not forget that the vast Toronto International Film Festival bringing the stars at the TIFF bell lightbox.
Toronto is hugely sporty, drawing massive crowds for its ice hockey, baseball, football, basketball and soccer matches. Toronto's hockey team, the Maple Leafs are the city's pride and joy (and, yes, it's Leafs, not leaves) and the city's basketball team, the Toronto Raptors, won the NBA championship in 2019, bringing a considerable amount of international attention to Toronto's sporting pedigree.
The city of Toronto's baseball team, the Blue Jays, brings the heat to the MLB every year and Toronto's soccer team, Toronto FC, put the city on the map regarding the world's most popular sport.
Torontonians are very serious about their teams, so it would be in your best interest to have a passing knowledge of the local sports teams to have your best possible understanding of life in Toronto.
The Cost Of Living Is Some Of The Highest In Canada
Canada provides some of the highest quality of living in the world for a fraction of the cost of other developed nations. The quality of life in Toronto is seen as some of the best in Canada. However, quality does come with a cost.
While Toronto isn't the most expensive city in Canada to live in (that honour goes to Vancouver), being in one of Canada's most important centres of industry and culture does make it one of the more expensive places to live. However, when compared to other nations, Toronto is still highly affordable.
According to Numbeo.com, the average monthly costs for a family of four living in Toronto come to around CA$4 769.86. The living costs of a single person are approximately CA$1 308.24. Rent for a single-bedroom apartment in the City Centre is CA$2 111.49 per month, and a for three-bedroom is CA$3, 462.07 per month.
While these numbers can seem daunting, the average monthly salary in Toronto is CA$4 741.14 per person, so most cannot only get by but also enjoy the fantastic lifestyle available in Toronto.
Toronto Public Transport Is How Most People Get Around
As with many major centres of industry and culture, Toronto public transport is the primary way to get around the city. The city has a dense network of subway and bus routes and several high-quality train routes to take you around the Greater Toronto area and all over Canada. Toronto transit is easy and quick once you get used to it, but you do have to get used to it.
The best way to get to grips with Toronto public transport is to look at where you'll be living and the different means of public transport you'll need to use to get to all of the places you want to go before you move to Toronto.
Education is World Class
Toronto's education system is largely recognized as one of the best in the world. Home to the world-famous University of Toronto, OCAD University, Ryerson University and York University, the opportunity to further your education or provide a world-class education for your children is right outside your front door.
Education in Canada is free for all students in the public school system, and with some of the world's top schools like Don Mills, Bathurst Manor, Lawrence Park and Hillcrest Village right in the city, your education is in good hands.
A great idea is to look into what schools in Toronto fulfill your educational needs and ensure you have found the right place before you move to Toronto.
Toronto's City Council is in Charge
Toronto is run by its city council. This council comprises 26 members - the mayor (who handles major city issues) and 25 councillors who represent the 25 wards of the city. Toronto's current mayor is John Tory.
None of the members of the city council are to represent a political party. The Mayor and Councillors all have one vote when voting on city matters and all actions by the council are based on the majority vote. Each council member is allowed to choose how they vote on all issues.
It's important to remember the political structure of Toronto as it often affects specific policies that can impact your life.
Is healthcare free in Toronto?
While the Canadian government doesn't like to use the term free, Toronto is home to arguably the best public healthcare system in Canada. However, getting your public healthcare card can take up to 3 months. For more information on the public healthcare system, look at some of these Frequently Asked Questions.
What's the fastest way I can move to Toronto?
How soon you can move to Toronto depends on your background, country of origin and links to Canada. For a better idea of some of the fastest ways, you can start your journey to Canada, look at this handy guide.
What are the most in-demand jobs in Toronto?
In-demand jobs change based on the needs of the different industries that exist within Toronto. While there is no specific list of the in-demand jobs in Toronto, this page has a full breakdown of the in-demand jobs in Toronto's province, Ontario.
The Whole World in One City
With so many fantastic opportunities and so much life to explore, Toronto offers a truly unique experience. If this sounds like the city for you, click the button below to speak to a RCIC who can help you find the best way to start your life in Toronto.