Moving to Toronto: 5 Things You Need to Know

by Adrienn Takacs
4 min. read

Are you still sticking to your new year’s resolutions and set on moving to the city of your dreams this year? If you’re fully committed to packing up your things and heading over to the largest city in Canada, we’re here to cheer you on! But before you contact a real estate agent to see what the Toronto real estate market has to offer, you’d be well advised to learn about some of the city’s key characteristics. So, without further ado, here are 5 things you should know before moving to Queen City:  

Cultural Diversity at its Finest

According to a recent census based on data from 2016, more than half of all Torontonians (51.5%) identify as being part of a visible minority. This marks the city out as being one of the most multicultural in the world, with specific ethnic areas like Chinatown, Little Italy, Little India, Greektown and Little Jamaica scattered around the city.

These neighbourhoods offer a wide variety of colourful events, traditional festivities and characteristic culinary delights all aimed at celebrating the city’s diverse population. With such a unique mixture of various communities from around the world, Toronto is one of the best places to experience the positive impact such a multiracial society can have on a city’s economic and demographic growth.

A City of Neighbourhoods

With a total of 140 recognized neighbourhoods (and many more unofficial areas), it’s easy to feel lost in Toronto when it comes to choosing the perfect location as your home base. The Midtown and Downtown districts boast competitive housing markets, since they lie in the proximity of the business district and all the main attractions. The West End is highly popular among youngsters, offering an active nightlife and a lively social scene. East End and East York feature quieter and more peaceful residential areas, mostly preferred by families with children, and are located not too far away from some of the most attractive beaches in Toronto.

For a complete overview of the city’s different neighbourhoods, you could check out a very useful website that ranks them by livability from highest to lowest. The comprehensive list was put together by taking into consideration a number of influential factors, such as housing availability, crime rates and transit, as well as schooling, employment and entertainment options.

Real Estate Prices Compare Reasonably Well to Similar Cities

The cost of living in Toronto is second only to Vancouver, which continues to be the most expensive city in Canada for now.  The housing market is equally competitive, with homes for sale being expensive and maybe not as many rental options as one would ideally wish for. The average residential price in Toronto last year was $766,626, with semi-detached homes costing nearly $1M. But, on the bright side, co-op apartments seem to be the most budget-friendly housing option in the city, with a current average of $316,780.

Renting a place instead of purchasing one is a viable option in Toronto. Even though prices have gone up in past years, the city still offers some affordable rental properties, even in some of the more popular neighbourhoods. The average price for rentals in 2017 was $1,308, which is actually not that expensive compared to similar big North American cities. Even though rental vacancy is limited, new condominiums are being built all the time so chances are you’ll find something right for you.

Tech Hub of Canada

With over 2,000 tech start-up companies choosing this city and employers offering over 50,000 jobs, it’s safe to say that Toronto is one of the main technology centres of Canada, and it has ambitions to be the best in the world. Incubator programs, tech accelerators and a number of other mentorship platforms are set on helping companies which are at the beginning of their journey.

Besides all these useful programs, the city of Toronto also boasts some of the best schools and universities in the country. The University of Toronto and York University are two of the largest in Canada, and together with four smaller faculties they contrinute approximately 187,000 undergraduate students to the city’s population.

Countless Recreation Opportunities

With an active arts and culture scene boasting top galleries, theatre groups, concert venues and a myriad of seasonal festivals and events, you’ll probably never feel bored in the city. Toronto also has over 6,000 restaurants along with countless bars, nightclubs and pubs scattered around the city.

In the summer months you can enjoy some peaceful downtime in one of the city’s 1,600 parks. Plan a day of hiking or biking and choose between the 200 kilometres of nature trails, or escape the city heat by jumping on the ferry and heading to the islands on Lake Ontario.

To summarize, even if the city tends to be a bit pricier than others, you still can’t beat the high quality of life Toronto offers its residents. The myriad of opportunities to advance both professionally and creatively, the abundance of entertainment options, the favourable infrastructure and the unparalleled cultural diversity are just some of the components that constitute Queen City’s all-encompassing charm. So, if you want to make the move after learning about all the ins and outs of life in Toronto, we think the city will definitely give you a return on your investment. 

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