10 Things You Should Know Before Moving to Toronto
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Are you thinking about moving to Toronto? Here are some fun facts that will help acquaint you with our city before you get here.
It gets cold.
Winters here can be harsh, especially the months of January and February. But the downtown core gets less snow than the rest of the city because of 2 things: the lake effect, and the urban heat island effect. Many people do bike all year round, but most people put their bikes into storage for at least 4 months a year (December-March)
It gets hot.
We are not the Great White North of Bob and Doug Mckenzie fame. We actually do have a summer in Toronto. In fact, we have 4 seasons in Toronto. Seeing the mercury rise above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) when factoring in the humidity is not an uncommon occurrence from about Mid June to late August.
Toronto has a lot of nicknames.
Popular ones include “The Big Smoke”, “T.o.”, “Hogtown”, “The T-dot”, and of course “Toronna“. There isn’t one that is universally accepted so feel free to pick that that works for you.
Getting around is easy.
Most of Toronto is based on a grid-pattern that goes north from Lake Ontario. Yonge Street is the major dividing line east/west, and Bloor St is the unofficial dividing line between downtown/uptown. The two major subway lines are the Yonge line and the Bloor line. If you get disoriented, just look up. The CN Tower is always south.
The world is here, and the results are delicious!
Toronto is one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world. Almost half of all new immigrants to Canada settle in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). The restaurant scene in Toronto is as diverse as its population.
We like to compare.
Torontonians (that’s what we call ourselves) like to speak of themselves in relation to other ‘greatest’ cities. Downtown should be more like New York, waterfront should be more like Chicago, etc. Despite our self-effacing nature, when push comes to shove there is no other city on earth we would rather live.
Toronto is actually a pretty big city.
Most people know that Toronto is Canada’s largest city, but many are surprised to hear that the GTA’s population of about 5.5 million makes it the 5th largest metropolitan area in North America.
Toronto is on the water, but we are not really a waterfront city.
If you are coming to Toronto from a city like Chicago, Vancouver, or New York, and hoping for a similar connection with the water-you’ll probably be disappointed. Yes we have beaches, yacht clubs, and a waterfront trail (sort-of), but Toronto was never set-up to be a waterfront city. Things are starting to change though.
Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods.
From Little Italy, Greektown, Chinatown, Rosedale, Forest Hill, Cabbagetown, The Annex, Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods – each with it’s own unique character and flavour.
Toronto is a safe city.
Make no mistake, crime does take place in our city, but overall Toronto is one of the safest cities in Canada and even the world. There are very few areas in Toronto where an average person would not feel secure walking around by themselves at night.