Toronto, Canada Report of what it's like to live there - 11/14/16
Personal Experiences from Toronto, Canada
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
No, I have lived all over the USA, Canada, Kingston, Jamaica, Romania, and Czech Republic.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
Takes 2 hours from DC, 1 from NYC, 5 from LA and 7 from London, England. You can get a direct flight to most places in the world.
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
A mix of apartments and homes.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
I would say the prices are similar to that of the USA.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
None, everything is available here.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Thousands of great restaurants from every place in the world. The same fast food places that you will find the the USA are here.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
Post offices are fine, you can use Canada Post, or UPS.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
You can hire a cleaner, however it is not cheap.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Yes, they are everywhere and fairly cheap.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
They are, they are safe and ATMS are all over the city.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
English is needed, there are many free English classes.
7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
Only some, some train stations have no elevator as well as some older office buildings.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Very, it is better to use the subway than drive as traffic is bad.
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
Do not bring a car, Toronto has the longest recorded commute in North America, highest car insurance costs in Canada and expensive parking. Use the subway or trains they are so much cheaper.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Use any phone, go with any of the national companies.
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
There are vets, kennels and no quarantines needed.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
Unemployment among spouses/partners is a problem.
2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?
3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
You can wear what you want, no dress code in public.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
The city is safe for its size, just be aware of your surroundings.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
None, and Canada has universal health care.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
Moderate, no impact on health.
4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?
None, there are no environmental issues and many restaurants have food for people with allergies.
5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?
6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
4 Seasons, hot in the summer, very cold in winter and temperate in fall and spring
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
Local schools are good.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
Many public schools do not, you may have to check out private schools.
3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
Many expats, morale is great.
2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
Lots of clubs, go to a restaurant, bar or festival.
3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Yes, yes and yes.
4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
It is, Toronto has on of the largest LGBT populations in North America.
5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Exploring the city, day trip to Niagara Falls, hiking along Lake Ontario and going to the many festivals.
7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
There is always something to do, there are often festivals and events.
8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
It is, there are so many shopping opportunities.
9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
The culture and endless amount of activities to do. You will never be bored.
Words of Wisdom:
1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?
The high housing prices.
2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
4. But don't forget your:
5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?
Toronto Stories is a movie about the city and life there.
6. Do you have any other comments?