Toronto, Ontario, is a vibrant and multicultural city that offers many opportunities and experiences for residents and visitors alike. As Canada's largest city, it is known for its thriving arts and culture scene, diverse neighborhoods, and world-class attractions. Whether you're considering a move here or plan to visit, this comprehensive Toronto city guide will provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your time in this remarkable city.
Toronto is Canada's largest city. According to Statistics Canada, it is home to some 2,7 million people. Since Canada is known for its reliance on foreign workers to maintain its economy, it is evident that Toronto City is the exact manifestation of that attitude. Today, the city's population comprises people from over 250 nationalities. As a result, Toronto is a center of diversity and the fusing of cultures.
A City of Tolerance
The city celebrates the different religious groups that coexist within its borders. It is home to some of the oldest religious centers 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.
The city is also known for its respectful treatment of its LGBTQ+ citizens, with a massive annual pride festival and the Church-Wellesley Village being world famous as Toronto's Gay village.
Canada is a bilingual country, with vast portions of the population speaking their particular brand of Canadian French. So, it's common 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. However, the city still caters to its French-speaking population. As a result, most businesses and street signs will have some means to appease French speakers.
Language is hugely important in Canada. 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 you must pass it if you want to move to Toronto.
Learn more about the Canadian language benchmark.
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.
Where is Toronto on the Map?
Toronto is located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario, on the southeast side of Canada. It sits near the US-Canada border, only around a four-hour drive from New York.
Climate/Weather in Toronto
Canada is famous for its icy climate. While Toronto sees its fair share of below-freezing temperatures, it also experiences beautiful clear summers, picturesque amber autumns, and fresh green springs.
Living in Toronto, you'll find that its warm season generally lasts around 3.5 months, and most Torontonians treat 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 reach a bone-chilling -30°C.
For many immigrants, the transition to cold weather can be difficult. If you are from a country with a far different climate, 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.
Work and Jobs 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. According to Canada's Job Bank, employment in Toronto increased, with 130,500 added in the last year. The city's labor force grew by 162,600.
The primary industries in Toronto are financial services, real estate, wholesale and retail trade. Finding a job in Toronto is therefore not too hard. And with Canada's high minimum wage, you shouldn’t have any issues covering your living costs.
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 enjoyable. You can become a part of Toronto's world-renowned workforce and have the money to enjoy the fantastic lifestyle Toronto provides.
Check out the top in-demand jobs in Toronto, Ontario, along with the average salary for each position, according to Indeed.
|In-demand Occupations in Toronto||Average Salary Per Year|
|Teacher (NOC 41220)||39,116 CAD|
|Cook (NOC 63200)||54,119 CAD|
|Financial Analyst (NOC 11101)||68,667 CAD|
|Customer Service Representative (NOC 62023)||62,127 CAD|
|Heavy Equipment Operator (NOC 73400)||72,675 CAD|
|Registered nurse (NOC 31301)||82,404 CAD|
|Physician (NOC 31102)||280,267 CAD|
|Cloud Architect (NOC 21231)||118,047 CAD|
|Sales Manager (NOC 60020)||88,007 CAD|
Cost of Living in Toronto
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 honor goes to Vancouver), being in one of Canada's most important centers 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. Let's take a look at the cost of living in Toronto compared to Vancouver, according to Numbeo.
|Cost of Living||Toronto||Vancouver|
|Renting an Apartment in the City||2,601.21 CAD||2,830.55 CAD|
|Renting a 3 Bedroom Apartment Outside City Centre||3,552.73 CAD||3,930.58 CAD|
|Gasoline per litre||1.65 CAD||1.98 CAD|
|A Loaf of Fresh Bread||3.74 CAD||4.13 CAD|
|Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)||74.98 CAD||83.83 CAD|
|A Meal at Inexpensive Restaurant||24.00 CAD||26.00 CAD|
Neighborhoods in Toronto
Historically, Toronto combines several smaller communities that became incorporated into one. As a result, the city boasts a wide variety of neighborhoods, each with its style, culture, and character. If you want to move to Toronto, here are some of the best neighborhoods to seek out.
Old Town Toronto
Right in the city's center, this vibrant, exciting neighborhood is perfect for young professionals as it's close to Toronto's central business district and home to some of the most vibrant, exciting things to do in Toronto. A stone's throw from the Distillery Historic District, Old Town is widely considered a perfect starting point for those wanting to experience Toronto's vibrant, diverse culture.
Another fantastic area for those looking to experience all Toronto has to offer, Kensington Market is home to some of Canada's most diverse groups. On top of the fantastic mix of people, Kensington Market has hundreds of cafes, stores, bars, and markets to ensure you have everything you need right out your front door. However, everyone will tell you that the best part of living in Kensington is the unique spirit and feel of the neighborhood. This makes it a fantastic place for young professionals to get their start in Toronto.
Scarborough is somewhere you shouldn't miss out on for young families or those looking to start families. With the lowest crime rates and some of the cheapest rent in the Greater Toronto Area, this is the perfect place to find your feet and grow your family in Toronto. Famous for its multiculturalism and open-mindedness, Scarborough often provides a safe space for new arrivals.
If you are looking for the peace and safety Canada provides, Davisville should be on your list. With affordable housing, a friendly culture, and extremely high safety standards, Davisville gives the feel of a small-town living within a large city. This is also a fantastic area to raise children.
Transportation in Toronto
As with many significant centers 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 the places you want to go before you move to Toronto.
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.
Neighborhoods like The Annex, Dundas West, and Little Italy boast some of the best restaurants in Canada and present fantastic opportunities to get to know some of the many cultures of Toronto through one of the most straightforward means of cultural expression - food. So 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 favorite 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 can be daunting, so 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 is 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 Canada's most significant art galleries, 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 the vast Toronto International Film Festival bringing the stars to 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, is the city's pride and joy (and, yes, it's Leafs, not leaves). The city's basketball team, the Toronto Raptors, won the NBA championship in 2019, bringing considerable 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, puts 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.
Education in Toronto
Toronto's education system is primarily 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. 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.
Immigrate to Toronto
As the capital of Ontario, Toronto has many unique pathways for a visa via the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program. Those looking to move to Toronto can increase their chances of getting permanent residency via one of Ontario's specific immigration pathways. Some of these programs are:
- The International Student Stream
- The Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream
- The OINP Tech Stream
- The Express Entry French-Speaking Skilled Worker's Stream
- The Entrepreneur Stream
Learn more about Toronto's unique immigration visas.
Pros and Cons
Regardless of where you choose to settle, each place has its positive and negative aspects. Here are a few pros and cons of living in Toronto.
|The massive and booming job market||The relatively high general cost of living for Canada|
|Vibrant, multicultural population||Lots of people lead to lots of traffic and a chaotic|
|No shortage of activities and things to do.||Higher crime rate than other Canadian cities|
Is Healthcare Free in Toronto?
If you have Canadian Permanent Residency, you can access Canada's universal healthcare system. Ontario has a unique healthcare plan called the Ontario’s Health Care Plan (OHIP). If you move to Toronto and apply for a Ontario Health Card you can qualify for the OHIP.
In terms of healthcare, Toronto boasts a comprehensive network of hospitals and medical facilities that provide high-quality care to residents. The city is home to renowned hospitals such as the Toronto General Hospital and the SickKids Hospital, which specialize in various fields of medicine. Additionally, Toronto's commitment to research and innovation ensures that patients have access to cutting-edge treatments and technologies.
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. Here's a handy guide on starting your journey to Canada.