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Renter's Guide to Toronto

Known as a cultural hub and boasting a diverse population, Toronto is a major southern Canadian city situated along Lake Ontario. It is the capital city of the province of Ontario and an important international business center, home to the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).

Aside from being the largest city in Ontario, Toronto is also the largest city population-wise in Canada. It has more than half of the population of Vancouver, BC and about 1 million more people than Canada’s next largest city, Montréal, QC.

Toronto is located 86 miles from Peterborough and 280 miles from Ottawa. Montréal, QC is 335 miles away from Toronto and Saint John, NB sits about 910 miles away. There are 1388 miles between Toronto and Winnipeg, MB.

The Toronto climate is humid continental, which gives the city warm, humid summers and cold winters. In the summer, Toronto weather sees temperatures average above 68ºF, with highs sometimes surpassing 95ºF. Winter temperatures average around 32ºF, with some days dipping below 14ºF, and cold snaps seeing temperatures below -13ºF.

Toronto sees quite a bit of rain, mostly in the spring, summer, and autumn months. The city can also get a significant amount of snow, with close to 50 inches per year. Ice storms and flooding are possible issues for the city, and Toronto has been affected by at least one hurricane in the past.

Cost of Living in Toronto, ON

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) operates the main forms of public transportation in Toronto, including the city’s subway system, light metro line, buses, and streetcars. For adults, the regular cash fare is $3.25, while the price for seniors (65+) is $2.10. Children 12 and under can ride for free. Other fare options include a weekly pass ($43.75 regular, $34.75 seniors), a monthly pass ($146.25 regular, $116.75 seniors), and a yearly pass ($134.00 regular, $107.00 seniors).

There are a number of taxi options in the city, including larger operations like City Taxi, Beck Taxi, CO-OP Cabs, and Diamond Taxi. The average commute time in Toronto is 34 minutes, which means it takes residents a little longer to get around compared to the national average of 26.2 minutes.

At a mid-priced restaurant, people in Toronto can expect to pay $60 to $100 for a three-course meal. Those in the mood for a regular cappuccino can expect to pay $4.31 in the city.

The average monthly bill for utilities such as electricity, heating, water, and garbage for a 915-square-foot apartment in Toronto is $162.35. This is slightly more than the Canadian average of $147.21.

Living in Toronto

Living in Toronto has its pros and cons. Benefits of living in Toronto include the myriad of arts and cultural activities available, such as film festivals, theater performances, concerts, art exhibits, cultural festivals, and neighborhood parties. The city also offers plenty of variety when it comes to dining out. Residents can travel the globe by simply taking advantage of the diverse cuisine in the Toronto restaurant scene.

However, with these benefits come things like traffic jams, a higher cost of living than in some of the other cities in Canada, and dense crowds in some areas. Due to congested traffic and the nearby manufacturing industries, air pollution can sometimes be a problem.

With it being such a lively city full of opportunities, Toronto has been ranked fifth in Nestpick’s 2018 Millennial Cities Ranking out of 110 cities. Millennials considered the city’s job market, access to essential services, personal freedom, and activities when ranking Toronto. The city has also been ranked as one of the Most Livable Cities of 2018 by the Economist Intelligence Unit. It took the seventh spot (tying with Tokyo) out of 10 cities, based on stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.

Things to Do in Toronto

There is a seemingly endless list of fun things to do in Toronto. The city has a number of sports teams, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), the Toronto Raptors (NBA), the Toronto Blue Jays (MLB), and the Toronto FC.

Some Toronto attractions for kids include the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, the Royal Ontario Museum (one of the best museums in Toronto), and the Ontario Science Centre. The Toronto Zoo is always a big draw, and kids can enjoy seeing the over 5,000 animals, including giraffes, penguins, polar bears, tigers, and gorillas.

Couples looking for things to do in Toronto can experience the romance of Casa Loma, an impressive estate built in the early 20th century. Located on a bluff overlooking the city, this re-created medieval castle features 98 rooms and five acres of land with formal gardens, sculptures, and fountains.

Popular restaurants in Toronto can be found in many neighborhoods and some examples include Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse, Pai Toronto, Carisma, Ruby Watchco, and Richmond Station. The city has a restaurant for every taste, with offerings including Italian, Mexican, Cajun, Chinese, and everything in between.

One of the most well-known events that take place in Toronto is the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The festival was founded in 1976 and now attracts close to 500,000 people every year. Celebrities, film critics, and fans alike gather each year to celebrate films from around the world. Other major events in the city include the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, the Toronto Fringe Festival, and Toronto Pride.

Employment & Economy in Toronto

Considered an important international center for business and finance, Toronto has numerous banks and other financial companies located in the city’s financial district. Toronto is also home to the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). Canada’s five largest financial institutions have national offices in Toronto.

The communications and entertainment industry is also important here, with some of the larger companies in the city including Bell Media, Torstar, and Rogers Communications. Other important industries in the city include the service industry, wholesale and distribution, pharmaceutical, and aerospace. Toronto’s unemployment rate is 6.4 percent, which is slightly higher than the national rate of 5.8 percent.

Education in Toronto

According to the Fraser Institute, 6 elementary schools in Toronto are among the top-ranked institutions in Ontario. They are Avondale Elementary Alternative School, Havergal College, Islamic Institute of Toronto, Northmount School, Sathya Sai School, and St. Sebastian Catholic School. There are 30 public high schools in Toronto, and some of the highest ranked are Ursula Franklin Academy, Lawrence Park Collegiate, North Toronto Collegiate, and Leaside SS. There are also a number of private high schools in the area.

Toronto’s top colleges and universities include the University of Toronto (often ranked the best university in Canada), Ryerson University (home to Canada’s largest business school), OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design) University, York University (which includes Canada’s oldest film school), Humber College, Centennial College, George Brown College, and Seneca College.

Tips for Renting in Toronto

Those moving to Toronto should inquire more about the specific renter’s rights as they differ depending on the region. Check all the available information online and if you have questions regarding the renting process and what it entails, be sure to discuss them with the landlord.

If you have children, it’s also important to take into consideration the fact that students are assigned to the public schools in the area they live in.

Lastly, read the lease agreement carefully before signing it and take time to research the area you’re going to live in.

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