Living in Toronto, Ontario

Life in Toronto.



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Toronto’s Location

Environment :: Transport :: Where to Live :: Business :: Jobs :: Pros and Cons

Location and Climate

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and is North America’s fifth most populous municipality – with a population of 2.7 million people.

The Greater Toronto Area, usually called the GTA is home to 5.6 million people.

Canada’s government expects the GTA’s population will reach 7.7 million by 2025.

Toronto sits in Southern Ontario’s ‘Golden Horseshoe’: 8 million people – over one-quarter of Canada’s total population – live in this densely populated region.

The city lies on largely flat land, with little in the way of hills.

Toronto’s latitude – 43 degrees north – is similar to Bordeaux, France and – in the southern hemisphere – Christchurch, New Zealand.

Although Toronto’s climate is partially moderated by its Great Lakes location, it is more extreme than Bordeaux’s and Christchurch’s, with somewhat hotter summers and considerably colder winters.

Character

Toronto’s motto is “Diversity Our Strength”.

Known as one of the world’s most multi-cultural cities, Toronto prides itself on its wide range of cultures, languages, food and arts. Almost half of its population are immigrants.

Business and Jobs

Forbes Magazine tracked the “World’s Most Economically Powerful Cities” and included Toronto in its top ten list.

Toronto - Canada's Financial Capital
Toronto – Canada’s Financial Capital

According to Forbes, powerful cities such as Toronto attract investment due to the size of their economy, their projected future prosperity, cost of living and quality of life. Forbes describes Toronto as lying at the economic heart of one of the world’s wealthiest countries, projected to keep humming through 2020.

The other top ten most economically powerful cities identified by Forbes were London, Hong Kong, New York, Tokyo, Chicago, Seoul, Paris, Los Angeles, and Shanghai.

Toronto is Canada’s banking/financial capital and the home of its principle stock exchange, the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Toronto has North America’s third largest concentration of private IT companies, bettered only by San Francisco and New York.

In addition to IT and high finance Ontario’s plentiful natural resources, such as hydroelectricity and raw materials, have helped Toronto and its surrounding municipalities to become major industrial centres, producing more than 50 percent of Canada’s manufactured products.

From the perspective of today’s more troubled economic times, Canada’s banks never extended themselves as unwisely as some of their American and European counterparts and have relatively strong balance sheets.

Toronto currently has a construction boom because it is hosting the 2015 Pan American Games. The boom is dominated by condo developments and construction of games facilities.

Figures published by Statistics Canada show that 11,000 net full-time jobs were created in the Toronto region in the 12 months to June 2014. As a result of these new jobs, the unemployment rate in the Toronto region is 8.2% at the end of June 2014.

Where to Live in Toronto

Snow in Suburban Toronto
Snow in Suburban Toronto

Suburbs such as North York, Markham and Richmond Hill (north, east) and the Halton region (Oakville and Milton for example) are favoured by families and are among the best places to live in Toronto.

Single men and women tend to prefer the downtown core, where the condominium market has exploded over the last decade.

Government housing is prominent in some parts of west Toronto and higher crime rates are recorded in these areas, such as Jane & Finch, Lawrence Heights, and parts of Etobicoke such as Rexdale. In downtown Toronto, Parkdale, St. James, Regent Park and Moss Park have high crime rates. To the east of the city, parts of Scarborough such as Malvern also have higher crime rates.

Overall, the city of Toronto’s crime rates are low compared with many North American cities, including Canadian cities such as Vancouver, Montreal, Edmonton, Halifax and Winnipeg. Toronto’s crime rates are similar to Calgary’s and Ottawa’s.

The crime rate in parts of the Greater Toronto Area is lower than the city’s — areas such as Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Oakville and Burlington enjoy crime rates less than half that of the city.

Education

Toronto University Building
Toronto University Building

The University of Toronto is one of the world’s most prestigious post-secondary institutions, ranking 24th in the Academic Ranking of World Universities. There are three different campuses, located in the Downtown area as well as the west (Mississauga) and east (Scarborough).

Toronto is also home to two other universities, Ryerson and York University as well as several community colleges.

Ontario’s school teachers are amonst the highest paid teachers in Canada. Unfortunately, the supply of teachers in Ontario exceeds the demand, and finding work is not easy. Indeed, it’s common for Canadian trained teachers to move overseas to gain experience.

Environment and Getting Around

Union Station Skywalk
Union Station Skywalk

Toronto is one of the very few North American cities in which people can choose not to own a car without suffering major inconveniences. This is largely due to The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) – North America’s third largest public transit system.

The TTC’s far-reaching and reliable network of buses and streetcars are interconnected by an extensive underground subway system. The buses are newly manufactured hybrid-electrics, introduced to reduce air pollution.

The transportation corridor image on the left shows a choice of transportation methods leading to and from downtown Toronto – road, bike-path, railway, and the Don River.

Toronto also has Zipcar, a membership car-sharing service that is billable by the hour. This service is most frequently used in the downtown.

Ontario operates a rail and bus system called GO Transit, connecting the TTC and the Greater Toronto Area. The surrounding regions (York, Peel and Durham) also have transit systems that connect with the TTC, making travel with the public transit system nearly seamless.

The 400 series highways all merge in Toronto’s core. The 401, which is North America’s busiest highway, is the spine of Ontario and Toronto’s infrastructure.

Chinese Lantern Festival, Toronto
Chinese Lantern Festival, Toronto

The rapid growth in the Golden Horseshoe’s population has in turn led to an explosion of the number of vehicles on the road which creates significant gridlock at rush hour periods on most if not all major highways.

Toronto’s air quality is not as good as Canada’s other large metropolitan cities; it has been compromised by the large number of vehicles in the city. Despite this, Toronto still achieved 21st position in the Top 50 cleanest cities reported by Forbes Magazine.

Toronto’s city-wide Green Bin program has been acclaimed for its approach to waste management.

What to do in Toronto

Wonderland
Wonderland

Toronto is well-known for its healthy arts scene, numerous sporting events, a vibrant nightlife, and restaurants, bistros and eateries featuring cuisine from just about any nationality one could think of.

The Art Gallery of Ontario and Royal Ontario Museum are popular with both tourists and residents.

Toronto is a major performing arts centre, with more than fifty ballet & dance companies, six opera companies and two symphony orchestras, performing in many notable venues including Roy Thompson Hall, The Hummingbird Centre and The Centre for the Performing Arts.

The city is also known for its many amusement parks; the best-known of which is Canada’s Wonderland.

Toronto has 6 major sports teams in Hockey, Basketball, Baseball, Football, Soccer and Lacrosse.

The major venues for sporting events are the Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre (see image) and BMO Field.

Summing Up

Toronto is one of the world’s most multicultural cities, famous for a diverse choice of food, arts, festivals and weather patterns! Smaller suburbs surround the large city offering options for people who prefer to step back from big city life.

For those who love the big city feel like of places like New York and Los Angeles – but with less crime – Toronto is a great fit.

Toronto’s Negatives

Oversized and ever growing population.
Somewhat cold winter.
Constant influx of traffic and vehicles on the road.
Pollution – not the cleanest city.
Expensive housing compared with most Canadian locations.

Toronto’s Positives

Prestigious schools, from elementary to tertiary.
The art scene and leisure options.
Surrounding suburbs to get away from the big city.
Transit system that spans a large area.
Opportunities for the educated.
Canada’s financial, IT and manufacturing hub.
Long, hot summers – too humid for some people.


Comments

  1. Well… have you tried public transportation in Toronto yourself?
    The buses (TTC) don’t actually look that high-tech and the maintenance of the asphalt in the streets is horrible! you can definitely get severe backache from using TTC buses!
    How about healthcare? Isn’t that important? in Toronto healthcare is not well organized and although the insurance is governmental, it’s not very strong.
    I am amazed at how many good reviews about Toronto can be found and how no one is disappointed with some things!
    On the other hand, it’s in no ways a tourist friendly city! the maps showing different venues and transportation routs are not helpful at all! It will take you about two weeks to truly get the hang of how the buses and trains work. And “tokens”?? I mean seriously?! What year is it in Toronto?

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