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A Guide to Settling in Toronto

Written by CNN Team

Want to settle in Toronto? This guide can help you build expectations for what it’s like to live there!

Toronto is home to more than 6 million people, over 250 ethnicities, and 170 languages spoken. With great cuisine, entertainment, a stable climate and multicultural population, there are many reasons why people move to Toronto. The booming art and festival scenes also make Toronto a place that is full of culture and excitement alongside being a business hub. Benefit from reading this guide to settling in Toronto, so you can prepare for your new life in this great city.

What is the Weather Like in Toronto?

Toronto has a semi-continental climate, so its weather depends on the season. Summers are warm, humid, and comfortable whereas the winters can be cold, windy, and dry. The weather during Toronto’s spring and fall seasons range somewhere in between and include many rainy days. Earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes are not an issue. Year round, Toronto’s temperature varies from -7 degrees Celsius to 28 degrees Celsius. 

What are the Living Costs in Toronto?

There are many types of housing to buy or rent in Toronto. For example, you can rent anywhere from a full sized family home, to a townhouse, to an apartment, to a single room. Therefore, whatever your lifestyle preference is, it’s likely that Toronto can cater to it. 

How expensive is it to live in Toronto? Unfortunately, Toronto’s rent prices are some of the highest in Canada. Additional monthly expenses such as phone plans, groceries, public transportation, education, healthcare, entertainment, and utility costs (i.e. internet, water, gas, and hydro) can vary depending on your lifestyle and needs. Toronto’s average rent prices range from:

  • 1-bedroom: $1,900 
  • 2-bedroom: $2,350
  • 3-bedroom: $2,450

If we were to estimate Toronto’s cost of living, a single person’s average monthly spending is approximately $2,130 CAD without rent. A family of four would pay approximately $4,500 CAD a month without rent. 

What is Public Transit Like in Toronto?

Many Torontonians use public transit because it is the most convenient and cost-effective method of getting around the popular city. In fact, Toronto’s public transit system is the third-largest in North America. The local transit authority is the Toronto Transit Commission, also known as the TTC. Anticipated monthly transportation costs can be around $263. TTC and Presto fares range from:

  • Single Adult Cash Fare: $3.25
  • Presto Adult Fare: $3.10
  • Presto One-Ride Ticket: $3.25
  • Presto Two-Ride Ticket: $6.50
  • Presto Day Pass: $13.50
  • Monthly TTC Pass (Adults): $156.00
  • 12-Month Pass (Adults): $143.00

In addition to the TTC, there are also GO trains and GO bus stations that connect to the Greater Toronto Area (known as the GTA). 

Subway

There are four underground lines in Toronto with future plans to extend lines and create new ones. These are the current underground TTC lines in Toronto:

  • Yonge-University 
  • Bloor-Danforth 
  • Scarborough 
  • Sheppard 

Bus

Buses are convenient with accessible entrances. Stops are found on either side of the roads. The front and back of each bus displays the route number and destination, so you always know which bus you hop on. Additionally, there is an announcement for each stop so you always know where you are. 

Train

Commuter GO trains run to Lakeshore West, Lakeshore East, Milton, Niagara, Kitchener, Richmond Hill, Barrie, and Stouffville. Review the GO trains route options for more details. 

Streetcar

Riding a streetcar is very similar to riding the bus, except the streetcars are powered by overhead electric cables. Also, like the bus, all stops are announced and there is priority seating and access ramps available.  

Cab/Uber/Lyft

If all else fails, you can always call a cab, Uber, or Lyft to drive you around. These are a little costly but they are more direct. 

What is the Culture in Toronto? 

Since approximately half of Toronto’s population was born outside of Canada, the city is considered to be one of the most multicultural cities in the world and has often been referred to as “the World within a City”. Most importantly, this multiculturalism is woven into many areas including festivals, film, art, cuisine, and business. How can you explore these areas?

  • Check out a food truck festival for great cuisine. 
  • Attend one of Toronto’s many film festivals such as the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the Canadian Film Festival, and many more. 
  • From museums to art galleries, explore Toronto’s history, exhibits, and community events during the year. 
  • Toronto is known for its street art. Take a walk down Graffiti Alley to see stunning murals done by local artists. 
  • Go up to the top of the CN Tower for a stellar view and a new experience.

What are the Best Websites to Find Apartments in Toronto?

With a 1% vacancy rate, there is much more demand than there are available apartments. Therefore, expect a competitive housing market in Toronto. Here is a list of the best websites to find apartments in the city: 

  • TorontoRentals.com Narrow down your choices by searching for pet-friendly options, property type, price range, bedrooms, and bathrooms. 
  • Rentals.ca – It is easy to navigate with a map of rental listings and a 3D virtual apartment tour. 
  • Viewit.ca – Conduct your search by property type, bedrooms, bathrooms, furnished apartments, and city zones. 
  • RentSeeker.ca – In addition to your regular search options, focus on select amenities such as pools, balconies, parking options, and air conditioning. 
  • PadMapper.com – Whether you are looking for a short term or long term rental, you can draw on their map to outline the area where you wish to move.
  • WalkScore.com – Discover how walkable a property is from grocery stores, shops, and restaurants. 
  • Condos.ca – Users can rent, sell, or buy condos. 
  • Realtor.ca – Search for commercial and residential properties to rent or purchase.

What are the Best Job Search Websites for People to Find Jobs in Toronto?

Looking for a job can be a stressful experience. Here is a list of the best job search websites for people to find jobs in Toronto based on their skills and interests:

  • TorontoJobs.ca – Look up local business advertisements and salary expectations.
  • Service Canada Job Bank – Break down your search based on part time or full time work, employment length, location, and category. 
  • Workopolis – Use the advanced search to narrow it down to companies you recognize. 
  • Monster – Easily scan job postings without much clicking required.
  • Indeed – A popular search engine that retrieves positions from a variety of websites.
  • City of Toronto – Check out “Current Opportunities” in the city. 
  • GoodWork Canada – Look for positions in green companies and environmental organizations.
  • LinkedIn – Benefit from using the largest online networking website.
  • Jeff Gaulin – Catering to writers and journalists. 
  • Charity Village – For non-profit sector work.
  • EightSix Network – Explore the hospitality sector for job opportunities. 
  • Media Job Search – For media-related job postings. 

What are the Top Local Organizations that Help New Immigrants Get Settled in Toronto?

Prepare for life in Canada by connecting with community organizations and immigrant-serving agencies that offer referral services and information regarding finding accommodation, employment, health care, registering your children in school, immigration programs, citizenship, legal services, community, and recreation activities. They can also help you to access programs including French and English classes, skills training, and more. The Government of Canada website on Getting Settled in Ontario can help you to narrow your search to find the best local organizations in Toronto. 

Final Thoughts

Don’t be intimidated by the big city. Toronto is fast-paced and busy. Many people find themselves rushing to get to their next destination, but they are still nice at their core. If you smile, they will smile back. It is a wonderful place to begin your new life in Canada. Enjoy!

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.