Toronto - Post Report Question and Answers

What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is nice once you find it. Downtown offers townhouses, row houses, and high- to mid-rise apartments with amenities. If you really don't care about small spaces, you could even rent an apartment in the Shangri-La and use the amenities all the time. Suburbs offer typical North American suburban living and if you find the right place you can commute on the commuter train lines, if not it is a drive. - Aug 2022

Most housing is in modern apartments (condos), or very old single family homes. Employees willing to live further away from the downtown (30-60 minutes by pubic transportation or POV) can often find newer, single-family homes in nice neighborhoods. However, be warned: Mission Canada is an LQA mission, and Toronto has experienced excessive increases in housing costs. In our opinion, the official housing allowance has not kept pace, and it seems as though it is increasingly difficult for staff to find appropriate, safe housing within a reasonable distance from the office. It's my understanding that allowances have not changed for years, and I felt this made finding affordable housing very difficult. One can search for news articles about "Toronto housing prices" to learn more about the spiraling cost of housing. This seems to be probably the biggest bureaucratic problem official employees could face at post, and for me, a big morale problem. Knowing about this issue ahead of time would have helped me be better informed about bidding on Toronto. - Jun 2018

Local Quarters Allowance. We lived in a condo in the Shangri La hotel building. Commute was 10 minutes by foot. One bedroom, 2 bath with den which we used as a guest room/TV room. Downtown in "Entertainment District." - Apr 2018

A mix of apartments and homes. - Nov 2016

Housing through the U.S. consulate can be very problematic--Toronto has an overheated housing market, and finding a place you can afford within the budget allowance is tricky. Even if you can find one, most people do not want to rent to you given all the technical requirements and clauses in the contract that we are required to use. Because of this, morale of incoming staff is low, and creates a very stressful transition the first few months at post. Mission management in Ottawa does not really seem to appreciate the challenges faced by staff serving in Toronto, in my opinion. - Oct 2016

LQA post. Reimbursements can be a headache. Make sure you have a cash float when you come here of at least $10k and it will make your life easier. - Nov 2015

This is an LQA post, so housing is totally up to you, depending on your allowance. We lived in a condo downtown that was very expensive, but great --- only about a ten-minute walk to the consulate. Parking is limited at the consulate, so keep this in mind for the winter. It does snow a fair bit here, and snow plows are sometimes quite slow in coming, so be careful and watch for ice when walking. - Jul 2015

This is an LQA post for US gov't workers. It is a steep learning curve and some what complex to get reimbursed for housing expenses. Make sure you have $5000 - $10,000 cash to cover first month, security deposit and utility deposit when you sign a lease. Ottawa will reimburse, but it is a process. Try to have your landlord include utilities in the lease. It will make your life much easier. Also, furniture rental is not very common, so if you are coming from DC, you might want to add furniture to your shipment. It is much more expensive to buy it in Toronto and the Consulate will not pay for furniture you want to purchase, they will only pay to rent it. Generally, housing is quite expensive, but the allowance is adequate. Most families live in single family homes north of Eglington, most couples and singles live in apartments in the downtown area. The commute is easy and fast when using the TTC.Parking at the consulate is very limited so keep public transportation in mind when house hunting. - Jan 2013

There are many houses to choose from, there are also so many condos and apartment. The best areas in the city is downtown or the Beach area, they are the safest and nicest areas. Commute time varys, if you are in the north of the city and want to get downtoun the commute time is about one hour, this is true for most the the city unless you live downtown. There is a subway system however that is a lot faster, it takes about 15-30 minutes, and is cheaper and faster that driving a car, traffic is so bad here. - May 2010

This is an LQA post, which some like and some hate. You can choose you own place (although it has to fall within space limitations) but you are also responsible for things that GSO usually takes care of. Then there are the annual reconcilliations that seem to be wildly unpredictable with those thinking they will get money back owing and those thinking that they will owe getting money back. The procedure used to determine things like exchange rates and annual maximums seems somewhat shrouded in mystery. To me, being able to chose my own place and not have to deal with post to have repairs done was worth the negative aspects. - Apr 2010

Good housing around the city. Commute time is from 5-120 minutes. - Aug 2008

All types. Downtown you can walk to work and there are also suburbs nearby. You can take the GO train into the city. This is a LQA post. - Jan 2008

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