Toronto is the perfect destination for those looking for active urban life, in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. There is a massive blend of cultures, which shows in the diverse food, shopping and attractions littered around the centre. The picturesque city sits between the Huron and Ontario lakes, two of the five Great Lakes of North America, giving stunning views in every direction.
Things to do
The lifestyle in Toronto is one of the reasons that there is such a great rate of immigration to Canada. Arts and culture ranks highly, with museums, galleries and exhibitions in abundance to cater for every taste. Eating out is a pleasure, with a wide range of global cuisines and good value for money.
There is plenty to see and do. The CN Tower is one of the most famous landmarks. At 1,815ft (553m), it is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. In winter, the city is taken over by ice rinks – ice skating and ice hockey are among the region’s most popular recreational activities.
Toronto is a haven for those who like the great outdoors. It’s within an easy drive to the popular Niagara Falls, with its gushing cascades. There are plenty of forests and trails for hiking, cycling and walking, as well as ample locations to try watersports like kayaking and sailing. The Toronto Islands offer a quiet haven away from the buzzing city life, and is a popular destination for families at the weekend.
Toronto is the business capital of Canada. It can be difficult to get a foot in the door, but there are strong ties between the UK and Canada, particularly in trading, which may offer opportunities in certain industries. A large majority of expats who relocate to Toronto do so due to a transfer through their existing company. Those with specialised skills are more likely to pick up work easily, whereas the service and teaching industries are more competitive.
Language won’t be a problem in Toronto. Canada is officially bilingual (Canadian English and Canadian French), with most French-speaking nationals centred around the neighbouring Québec. This makes it easy for families to settle straight into work and school.
Property prices are high, especially in the urban centre, which is why many families in Toronto are making the move into some of the neighbourhoods in the Greater Toronto Area, such as Roncesvalles Village, The Junction and Corso Italia. Each of these offer a choice of good mixed and Catholic schools, with wide-ranging programs and a high level of education. Schools have great facilities, particularly in sports and music for a well-rounded curriculum.
Healthcare is very highly regarded in Toronto, and expats with permanent resident status can access the tax-funded national health insurance system.
It’s easy to get around Toronto, thanks to its efficient public transport network. As with most major cities, the easiest way to navigate is using the subway, which connects most of the outer districts to the centre. It’s certainly worth investing in a bike too. The City Council are making huge inroads for cyclists, and have adopted a 10-year Cycling Network Plan to improve its infrastructure for bikes. But the standout form of transport is the streetcar, which is now unique to Toronto with most other North American cities having phased them out. The network is mostly concentrated in the Downtown areas, close to the waterfront.
Information correct at time of publication