Canada's biggest city has a feeling it's the heart and soul of the country, and the fact is, it's right. Home to more than 2.5 million people in Toronto proper, many of whom are at the forefront of fashion, culture, design, business and technology, Toronto is a city with a fantastic history and an indisputably promising future. Its neighbourhoods are eclectic (Cabbagetown's organic caffeine-fuelled hipsters; the Distillery District's brick-faced warehouse galleries; the Financial District's steel-and-glass skyscrapers; two Chinatowns and one Little Italy) and its residents are equally diverse, with almost half of all residents being born outside of Canada. Toronto without a doubt has something for everyone, including fantastic nightclubs, trendy lounges and microbreweries, arguably the best restaurants in the country, noisy downtown streets, quiet suburbs, yuppie havens, excellent public transit, outdoor recreation and pro sports teams galore. The arts and culture scene is unmatched, offering everything from spoken word to orchestral performances, dive bars giving stage time to garage bands and a world-renowned hip hop scene. The city is as gay-friendly as it is immigrant-friendly, but all this is contributing to it being known as one of the most desirable places to live in North America, which for renters means skyrocketing rents, smaller spaces and shrinking inventory of affordable places to live. Yet, those who want to make Toronto their home are sure to find at least one neighbourhood that feels more like home than anywhere else, and throngs of equally likeminded and different-minded people living next door.
Who Lives Here
No single classification of people makes up the population of Toronto. Half of all residents are foreign born, and approximately the same proportion are of a visible minority, which, frankly, are hardly minorities anymore in Toronto. Young families and retired people call Toronto home (old money is a big part of the city's economy), but the city's being driven by stylish, young professionals who value hard work as much as they love spending the evenings checking out the scene in any of Toronto's many entertainment districts.
Families wanting to take advantage of low housing prices and excellent access to public schools and post-secondary education.
Small town or country folk. Toronto does have quieter neighbourhoods, but they're expensive and for the most part, the city limits are buzzing with activity.
Life and Style
In a city defined by its diversity, it's hard to pin down the lifestyle of the typical Torontonian – such a person doesn't really exist. Toronto is a playground for beatniks, yuppies, hipsters and hippies; suits, gym rats, and bar stars; nouveaux riches and old money; young families, mixed families and nuclear families; nerds, artists, ravers; and even the odd rednecks and gangsters. The Toronto lifestyle caters to all those and more. One neighbourhood might be dominated by yoga studios and raw bars, while the next offers dingy pubs playing underground punk bands. Diversity aside, there's lots all Torontonians (or at least most of them) like to do in their free time, including taking in a Leafs or Raptors game, strolling in Nathan Phillips Square, shopping at Eaton Centre, taking in festivals like the Ex, the Pride Parade and Caribana, heading to The Beaches, or hanging out in High Park. On long weekends, Torontonians head to their cottages in Muskoka, visit Niagara Falls, or travel to Montreal. As the fashion capital of Canada, people in downtown Toronto are well-dressed, eager to make a statement. The after hours scene, whether in Greektown, uptown or downtown, is equally stylish and brings out residents of all walks of life and all income levels.
Toronto, over the past decade or two, has boomed into Canada's most expensive housing market alongside Vancouver, and that goes for renters as much as buyers. Across Toronto proper, renters can expect to pay in excess of $2,000 a month for a two-bedroom apartment, but some the more desirable neighbourhoods closest to downtown post rental rates closer to $3,000 for a similar units. That said, the city is incredibly diverse, not only when it comes to its demographics, but also the housing stock and neighbourhoods vary as much as the colours vary on Don Cherry's jackets. So, while a 800 sq. ft. two-bedroom apartment in might run you $2,800 in Queen Street West, a larger two-bedroom in ______ could cost just $1,600. The magic number comes from deciding which Toronto neighbourhood suits you best, and how much you can afford to spend to live in Canada's biggest, and arguably greatest, city.
Avg. rent by type and size
Avg. rent compared to other Toronto-area towns and regions
Toronto is 40% higher than GTA average
Typical housing type
Everything. 1970s bungalows, multi-storey apartments and condos, and anything in between.
Whether it's recreation, education or anything in between, Toronto has it all. The city is home to the University of Toronto and York University, Ryerson and OCAD, plus the Royal Conservatory of Canada and the Canadian Film Centre. There are nearly 600 public schools within the city, and tons of private Catholic schools. The city has 20 public hospitals, the international airport at Pearson International (in Mississauga), countless highways, great public transit and bike lanes and paths. Sports lovers are treated to Maple Leafs games (hockey), the Raptors (basketball), the Argonauts (football), the Blue Jays (baseball), plus the Toronto Rock (lacrosse) and Toronto FC (soccer). There's also the Rogers Cup tennis tournament, the Molson Indy race, and horse racing at the Woodbine Racetrack. For shoppers, Eaton Centre downtown is the city's biggest and busiest mall, while for art and history lovers, Toronto has endless museums and galleries that are among the country's best.