Putting together your pros and cons of living in Toronto before you move here?
Okay, maybe I’m a little biased as someone who’s spent their whole life in Toronto.
But Toronto is an incredible place to live, work, and play, whether you’re planning on staying temporarily or moving here permanently.
I was born and raised in Toronto, and I plan on spending the rest of my life in this beautiful city!
Although Adam does constantly try to push the idea of moving to Vancouver…
Anyway, here are some of the pros and cons of living in Toronto, if you’re trying to weigh out the positives and negatives!
Pros of living in Toronto
1. Toronto has many unique neighbourhoods
One of the best things about life in Toronto is all the different and unique neighbourhoods scattered across the city.
Grab authentic Italian eats in the Little Italy neighbourhood, or pay a visit to Chinatown to taste authentic Asian bites!
If you’re renting, then you can try living in different Toronto neighbourhoods to see which areas you like the best!
Or, you can just spend your weekends exploring cute Toronto neighbourhoods.
2. Toronto is a multicultural city
Fun fact: Toronto is known as the most multicultural city in the world!
More than half of the population of Toronto is a visible minority, which is pretty cool.
I grew up in the Greater Toronto Area (known by locals as the GTA), so I’ve always experienced living in diverse and multicultural neighbourhoods.
It’s so awesome being able to meet people from all kinds of different cultures and backgrounds!
3. Plenty of dating opportunities
Since there are just so many gosh darn people in Toronto, there’s also a larger pool of people that you have the opportunity to date.
Whether you’re looking to swipe for some matches on Tinder or hit up a local bar to meet new people, there are so many more opportunities to meet people to date in Toronto.
Fun fact: Adam and I actually met on Tinder back in 2015! 😛
4. It’s easy to get around downtown Toronto
Toronto as a whole isn’t walkable, but many neighbourhoods within Toronto are very walkable.
Although locals love to hate on the TTC, it still makes it pretty easy to get around the city.
The main TTC subway line runs along Yonge Street, which connects to streetcar lines along popular streets downtown like Queen Street and King Street.
Sometimes it’s even faster to walk or take the TTC than driving when it comes to getting around downtown Toronto!
5. The food scene in Toronto is amazing
With so much diversity in Toronto, of course there’s also plenty of incredible food from all kinds of different cultures.
You’ll find authentic Indian restaurants right next to authentic Mexican spots, and budget-friendly hidden gems next to elegant fine dining.
I have plenty of blog posts on Toronto restaurants if you’re looking to try some new places to eat in the city!
6. There’s always something to do in Toronto
You’ll pretty much never be bored because there are always fun things to do in Toronto, no matter what kinds of things you’re interested in.
If you’re into adventurous activities in the city, you can do everything from stand-up paddle boarding on the Toronto Islands to cycling to the Beaches.
Even in a concrete jungle like Toronto, there are plenty of parks and green spaces where you can enjoy walking, hiking, or just good ol’ relaxing.
If you’re into live concerts, performances, and all that jazz (or even jazz itself), you’ll definitely love the live event scene in Toronto.
Since Toronto is the largest city in Canada, most performers stop in Toronto during their tours as their only Canadian city, which was a blessing during my younger concert-going days.
7. The job opportunities in Toronto are abundant
Toronto is the largest city in all of Canada, which of course means there are way more job opportunities here than you’ll find anywhere else in the country.
If you’re still in school, you’ll find plenty of job and internship opportunities to get your foot in the door before you actually start in the workforce.
I’m more familiar with the film and media industry (I studied Media Production at Ryerson University), and Toronto is definitely the hotspot for it.
8. Toronto experiences all four seasons
Although I spend my winters wondering why the heck I’m choosing to stay in Toronto, I do appreciate that we experience all four seasons here in the city.
Winter gives us a snowy holiday season, spring brings us cherry blossoms, summer makes the city come to life, and fall gives us fall foliage!
It kind of keeps things exciting, I guess?
Although a warm and sunny Christmas season in California does sound nice. Kidding. Kind of.
Toronto gets as cold as -30 degrees celsius during the winter and as hot as 30 degrees celsius during the summer, but really only on the bad days.
9. Toronto is a very safe city
Is Toronto a safe city to live in? Of course it is!
Ontario has the second lowest crime rate next to Quebec, and Toronto has a much lower crime rate than other large cities in North America.
I’ve been living in downtown Toronto for 6 years, and I’ve traveled all across the city plenty of times on my own.
Of course there are some neighbourhoods that are safer than others, and it’s not always safe to go out in some areas after dark, but overall Toronto is a very safe place to live.
10. Toronto has free healthcare
If you’re living in Toronto and are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or landed immigrant, you may be eligible to apply for OHIP and get free healthcare.
You can find out more on the Ontario government website!
Cons of living in Toronto
1. The housing market is very expensive
Spend a little time with some locals and the conversation of housing will definitely come up at least once.
Rent is extremely expensive in Toronto, and so is the average house in the Greater Toronto Area.
The average cost of rent in Toronto for a 1 bedroom apartment is $1,800 CAD, which doesn’t even include other expenses like utilities and internet.
This equates to over $20,000 a year, which is a big chunk of your salary if you’re not a doctor or stock broker.
A typical 1 bedroom apartment is also pretty tiny, so you’re not really getting a bang for your buck either.
The average cost of a detached home in Toronto is almost $1.4 million CAD, and we’re not talking luxury mansions here.
2. The cost of living in Toronto is high
It’s more than just the housing costs that are expensive – the overall cost of living in Toronto is high.
From groceries to internet, you’ll be paying high costs for pretty much everything in Toronto.
Downtown Toronto is more populated with pricier grocery stores like Loblaws and Longo’s, although you can find some No Frills locations spruced around.
Things are slightly cheaper a little outside of the city, but still expensive.
Our 13% tax rate in Ontario is not as high as other provinces, but it’s still pretty expensive.
So if you’re eating at a restaurant and your bill is $100, expect to pay an additional $13 in taxes, plus tips on top of that!
3. The city is very congested
Living in Toronto means enduring high traffic congestion, especially if you’re in the downtown core or commuting on the highways.
While Toronto is a big city, the infrastructure just isn’t enough to handle the growing population.
TTC streetcars and subways come super frequently during rush hour, but that doesn’t stop it from being so overcrowded to the point where you have to wait for multiple cars or trains to pass by.
If you’re living in the suburbs of Toronto, getting into or out of the city can take double or triple the amount of time it normally takes.
If you’re working or going around the city at odd hours you’ll be fine, but traveling with the 9 AM and 5 PM rush crowd ain’t a fun time.
4. It’s not easy to get around outside of downtown Toronto
Downtown Toronto is very expensive to live in, so a lot of people choose to live on the outskirts of the city in Etobicoke (west), North York (north), or Scarborough (east).
While it is a bit cheaper to live on the outskirts of the city, public transit isn’t as reliable and you’ll likely want a car to be able to get around easier.
Taking either public transit or a car can take you around an hour to get into downtown, so it ain’t always a fun time.
If you do take public transit, you’ll also likely encounter TTC delays pretty often, AKA you’ll have to leave a lot earlier for work.
5. Toronto doesn’t have great bike lanes
If cycling is your preferred mode of transport, take note that Toronto’s bike lanes really aren’t all that great.
The only bike lane I regularly ride on is the Waterfront Trail on Queens Quay, which is actually very safe!
I personally don’t feel safe cycling on the streets, but there are definitely nice areas in Toronto to bike along like along the waterfront or in High Park.
I have a separate blog post all about the best bike trails in Toronto!
6. There’s a lot of litter in Toronto
Unfortunately there are a lot of disgusting people in Toronto who find joy in tossing their litter everywhere – roads, parks, Lake Ontario – you name it.
You’ll find everything from Tim Hortons cups to used masks just littered all over the city.
There’s an abundance of garbage and recycling bins all across the city, so yes – a lot of people here are just gross.
7. Toronto has long and unpredictable winters
Winter in Toronto is a miserable time for everyone, especially after the holiday season when there’s nothing to look forward to besides spring.
Our winters can start as early as October and end as late as April, which is literally half the year.
It’s not always that long or that bad, but it’d be nice if winter just took up its fair quarter of the year instead.
I mean, our winters are definitely not as bad as other Canadian cities like Winnipeg, but we Torontonians love to complain.
Those were some pros and cons of living in Toronto, in my own personal opinion!
I honestly think the pros of living in Toronto outweigh the cons, which is why I plan on staying here forever.
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