The Many Advantages of Living in Toronto

In June 2017, two financial news stories reported by respected American and Canadian publications highlighted some of the advantages of living in Toronto. One of the stories was reported in the United States by National Public Radio, and it mentioned tech giants such as Facebook, Google and Uber, three companies actively expanding their respective satellite offices in Toronto and attracting international talent to join their teams. The other story was published by the Toronto Star newspaper, and it involved a cloud-based software startup that took a chance by moving from Silicon Valley to Toronto in 2016.

The two aforementioned stories had a few topics in common: first of all, there was the backdrop of the Trump administration in the United States, which is prompting foreigners to inquire about the benefits of living in Canada. Second, both stories addressed the question, “is Toronto a good place to live?” Finally, the two stories concluded that Toronto is poised to attract a considerable number of American tech firms who are prepared to hire foreign workers.

For people who know about the City of Toronto and its way of life, it is not surprising to learn that this metropolis is on its way to becoming a Silicon Valley of the North. Despite the fact that the Trump maelstrom in the U.S. is motivating American firms and professionals to relocate to Toronto, there are many other advantages of living in the city affectionately known as “The T.O.”

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Toronto Pros and Cons

As with all decisions related to relocation, moving to Toronto should be weighed carefully and taking into consideration the benefits of living in Canada against what some people may perceive as disadvantages. From just about any standpoint, the pros of moving to Toronto greatly outweigh the few cons.

Toronto is one of the largest cities in North America. In terms of population, it is less crowded than Los Angeles and could be compared to Chicago. It is important to note that the name of this city often refers to what is officially known as the Greater Toronto Area, which includes the large urban centers of Hamilton, York, Durham, Halton, and Peel, all located to the north of Lake Ontario. Toronto has strong transportation links to the United States and shares a lot of its culture.

When weighing Toronto’s pros and cons, comparisons to American cities such as New York and Chicago are inevitable; however, the benefits of living in Canada tend to make Toronto a better choice for families and young professionals who wish to relocate.

Here are some of the advantages of moving to Toronto:

Cost of Living and Economic Opportunities

When comparing New York to Toronto, two things immediately come to mind: first of all, the Canadian city is clearly a lot more affordable. The average cost of living, including rent, utilities, and household expenses, in Toronto tends to be 75 percent lower than in New York City. Second, newcomers to Toronto will find that entrepreneurship and employment opportunities are more abundant and accessible in comparison to many American cities.

In June 2017, the median cost of renting one-bedroom apartments close to the heart of downtown Toronto was under CAD $1,700 per month, about USD $1,287. A loaf of bread costs USD $2.00 less in Toronto, and the same goes for most groceries. Utilities, transportation, childcare, and entertainment costs are also lower.

As far as economic opportunities go, the unemployment rate in the Ontario province reached its lowest level in the 21st century when Statistics Canada released its March 2017 figures. As previously mentioned, tech firms are not only flocking to Toronto but are also eager to recruit foreigners as business associates and employees. Although the technology sector is growing significantly in the Toronto-Waterloo corridor, there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs and workers in the service industry; this is a trend that has been observed since 2013 thanks to the Startup Visa Program rolled out by Immigration Canada, and it is being augmented with a move by the federal government to streamline the visa process at a time when foreign skilled workers are having a hard time securing visas in the U.S.

Cultural Diversity and Quality of Life

Is Toronto a good place to live? This is a question often asked by those who wish to make sure that they are making the right relocation decision, and the answer is: yes, Toronto is a great place to live, thanks to various socioeconomic and cultural factors.

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Statistics compiled by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 2016 indicate that Toronto is one of the safest cities in the world when taking into consideration the size of its population. Over the last four years, the Toronto crime rate has been falling at a gradual rate, and this is in stark contrast to cities such as Chicago, which feature similar population sizes but much higher crime rates. Sociologists often point out that Toronto’s great diversity, which according to the 2006 Census, is represented by a 47 percent concentration of minorities, proves that tolerance, respect and a desire to prosper have transformed the city in very positive ways. In fact, the city’s motto happens to be “Diversity is Our Strength.”

Against this backdrop of diversity and a great outlook for prosperity, provincial and municipal officials realize that education is an essential ingredient in the recipe that makes the Greater Toronto Area so appealing to families. School teachers here enjoy the highest salaries of all Canadian regions, and many teachers spend a few months or a couple of years overseas for the purpose of getting acquainted with children of various cultures. There’s also the University of Toronto to consider; this is a research institution ranked among the best in the world, along with York University, which recently opened an international campus in the Costa Rica rain forest.

Forbes magazine ranks Toronto as the 21st cleanest metropolis in the world; this is a city that is very serious about preserving its green areas, collecting garbage, recycling, and promoting mass transportation. The Toronto Transit Commission has been recognized as one of the most efficient public transportation systems in the world, particularly for its efforts to make the city more accessible to bicycle riders.

Family life is very enjoyable in Toronto. When city planners realized in the 1980s that the region was aging rapidly, immigration-friendly policies were adopted, and efforts were undertaken to increase the quality of life. Those efforts have certainly paid off: each neighbourhood in the Greater Toronto Area features parks, playgrounds, athletic facilities, and entertainment districts. Toronto is particularly enjoyable in the summer, thanks to the Pride Festival and the Canadian National Exhibition. Once the weather turns cooler, children anxiously await the Distillery District Christmas Market, which competes against similar holiday markets in Europe, and there is also the Royal Winter Fair to enjoy. Speaking of winters, one of the reasons that make Toronto so populous is that local weather conditions are actually very mild for Canada. In fact, a few weeks in the summer can feel hot and humid to the point of making air conditioning a necessity.

Disadvantages of Living in Toronto

Life in a big city is not for everyone; while living in Toronto may feel Utopian to many people, a few others may not agree with this sentiment.

Everything that makes Toronto a great place to live is negatively reflected in the speculative real estate market, which ran out of control from late 2015 until April 2017, when provincial officials introduced new legislation that essentially poured a bucket of cold water on the housing market. Heavy speculation resulted in irrational pricing and a high tax for foreign home buyers who could expect to pay up to 15 percent on their property purchases.

Whenever a city starts enjoying prosperity and growth, overcrowding may ensue; in Toronto, this is made evident to drivers who currently deal with daily commutes of 65 minutes, but this burden can be significantly lessened with public transportation options.

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Foreigners who come from societies where social life is close-knit and very warm may feel as if life in Toronto is not very friendly. This happens to be the case for many newcomers upon their arrival to big cities, but it tends to be a passing issue. Foreigners who move into their own ethnic neighbourhoods in Toronto tend to make friends very fast; it may take a little longer for others who do not make an effort to participate in community events.

A New Life Awaits in Toronto

In the end, moving to Toronto will likely be the right decision for most families and single professionals who are looking for peace, development and prosperity. This is a dynamic metropolis that seems to be on a fast track towards achieving greater prosperity and quality of life. While the widespread aspiration and high hopes of the American Dream have been losing their sheen in recent years, living conditions in Toronto have been increasing exponentially; in other words, moving here could be the best decision someone can make.