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Welcome to Toronto

 “The city had been built by people from innumerable elsewheres. It was a chaos of cultures ordered only by its long streets. It belonged to no one and never would, or maybe it was a million cities in one, unique to each of its inhabitants, belonging to whoever walked its streets.” 

 André Alexis

Toronto the Good

Toronto is a place of diversity and of contrast, with a unique feel among world cities. It was nicknamed ‘Toronto the Good’ during the Victorian era because of its prudish reputation, although this hardly fits the spirit of Toronto today. Toronto is a huge, sprawling metropolis made up of a mosaic of different cultures from every corner of the globe.

When we talk about Toronto, there is both the City of Toronto, and what is called the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) which covers a much wider space. The population of the city was 2.96 as of 2018. However, the GTA had 6.3 million people.

In a city made up of only 50% Caucasian people, most immigrants fit right in and find their place. In 2016, the top 3 countries immigrants originated from were India, China, and the Philippines. As of 2016, 46.1% of the population of Toronto were immigrants. Toronto is the city where everyone fits in if they so desire.

courtesy of statcan.gc.ca

A Little Taste of Everywhere

Toronto is packed with various ethnocultural neighbourhoods filled with immigrants. These areas are fun to visit as well, and are part of the excitement of living in Toronto. Some of these areas include:

Greektown:

This area of Toronto lies along Danforth Avenue, or “The Danforth” to locals. There are dozens of Greek restaurants to choose from if you enjoy a good souvlaki or some baklava, as well as some great shops, bars, and cafes. Even the street signs are in Greek!

Chinatown:

There’s a massive Chinatown at Spadina and Dundas with a long history. Head down there if you feel like some authentic, delicious Chinese food. There are also numerous shops, museums, and spas in the neighbourhood.

Little India:

This bustling, crowded area can be found on Gerrard Street East, between Coxwell and Greenwood Avenue. It’s sometimes referred to as Gerrard Indian Bazaar because there are 125 South Asian shops packed into a tight little area.

Toronto’s Economy

There’s no doubt that the cost of living is very high in Toronto. You do have to make a decent living to get along financially, at least in the city itself.  The average household income in Toronto is $98,000 a year, and $104,000 in the GTA.

However, there are many, many great suburbs and outlying areas like Mississauga and North York which are a lot more affordable. They are all within commuting distance of Toronto, by car or public transport. What’s more, the unemployment rate in the city of Toronto is only 6.4, and 6.0 in the GTA. Your chances of finding employment are high. Many immigrants come to Canada on special employment programs like the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

courtesy of toronto.ca

Key Industries in Toronto

Whatever industry you work in, you’re almost certain to find options in Toronto. Important industries include service, fashion, entertainment, retail, pharmaceutical, law, and medicine.

Toronto has the best educational system in Canada with very high-quality schools. Aerospace is also a huge area, with Canada’s second largest workforce in the field. Other important industries include finance, tourism, and food and beverage. There are helpful resources online to help you find work in Canada.

Toronto for Americans

The high tech industry is currently booming as Toronto is becoming a major city in that arena. A tech talent report from 2017 listed 22, 500 new technology jobs – far greater than New York City at 5370. Some of the industry from the States has immigrated to Toronto, and it’s largely considered to be because the level of talent here is so high. 

Toronto also has a number of very high level institutions like the University of Toronto, which offer excellent academic training to future high-tech workers. People move to Toronto from the US to study and they stay on afterwards because of the number of opportunities.

Toronto Weather

Spring and summer are really lovely seasons in Canada. The flowers start blooming, the sun comes out, and it stays for quite a few months. Sometimes it can get hot in the summer, even up into the 30s. However, much of the time it stays in an ideal zone around 25.

Canadian fall is truly beautiful and ethereal, with its coloured leaves in shades of reds, oranges, yellows and purples falling on the ground where you walk and crunching under your feet. The temperature starts to get cooler during this time, especially at night. It can get extra rainy in fall sometimes, although in Canada it rains in every season.

Winter in Toronto is not the nightmare it’s made out to be. Toronto has a much milder winter than Montreal and Ottawa. There may be days when you leave the house to cold and snow blowing in your face, but there will also be times when the sun will come out and reflect in various magical colours across the snow. Moments where you’ll see children making snow angels and snowmen, and playfully throwing snowballs at each other. At those times, even in wintertime, you’ll be glad you moved to Toronto.

Entertainment in Toronto

There’s no shortage of entertainment in Toronto. There are several sports stadiums, and hockey and basketball teams to cheer for like the Maple Leafs and the Raptors. For those who love theatre there are always a number of great shows in town, although this is usually costly.

However, there’s plenty of cheap or free entertainment in the city. The Toronto Library system is extensive and allows you to borrow books and music for free. There’s a library in most neighbourhoods. Toronto also has an excellent Parks and Recreation service, with numerous beautiful parks that include equipment for kids, fields to play sports, and often courses and programs.

Anyone who loves skiing will find a number of places like Collingwood which are within a couple of hours of the city – close enough to come back the same day and save on hotel costs. These locations all rent equipment, and you can purchase a day pass to the ski hills.

Toronto’s Rogers Center – Courtesy of Tim Gouw 

Why Settle in Toronto?

Is Toronto the place for you? It depends. If you love living in an urban setting surrounded by people, shops, theaters, and buildings, then it may be a good location. If you’re a professional looking to build a career in a new home, Toronto definitely could be a suitable spot for you.

If you love being around a mix of cultures and living in an area surrounded by people from your own region, then Toronto is a city you should certainly consider.

There’s a reason why Toronto is such a popular place for immigrants to settle. It has a little bit of everything – diversity, culture, educational institutions, nature, entertainment…and immigrants! Canada2036 is a place for you to get started as a new Torontinian if you’re not sure where to begin. You can also seek out the advice of a RCIC agent. Welcome to Toronto: you’re going to feel right at home.

Melissa

Melissa

Melissa is currently living in her hometown of Toronto, Canada. Her family originates from both Poland and Scotland. She’s familiar with the immigrant experience, having lived abroad for 18 years. Melissa has a master’s degree in Immigration and Settlement which focuses on Canadian immigration.

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