Toronto, Canada Report of what it's like to live there - 05/11/10

Personal Experiences from Toronto, Canada

Toronto, Canada 05/11/10

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

This is not my first expat experience, I have living in Kingston, Jamaica. Prauge, Czech Republic and bugerest, Romania.

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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?

I do not have a home base, my home base it where I live at the present time.

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3. How long have you lived here?

I have been living here for 2 1/2 years.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Student.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

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.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

You can buy everything here, it is about the same cost as in the USA.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Nothing, you can buy everyhing here.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Toronto has all the fast food you can think of. There are thousands of restaurants here because of all the cultures. No matter where you are from you will find a restaurant with food from your country.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

No problems; some mosquitoes in summer but not too many.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

There are many post offices in the city.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

It is available but I am not sure about the cost.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, everywhere.

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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?

Most stores accept credit cards, and ATMs are all over the city.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Most are in english.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

All are in english; same cost as in USA.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Everyone in Toronto speaks English, so you need to know it.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Some, but most sidewalks have ramps, buildings have elevators and buses can lower for wheelchairs.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

All are safe, and affordable. Toronto has a great subway system that will take you everywhere. There are aslo trolleys and buses to take you where the subways dont go. You do not need a car in this city; public transit is cheaper and much quicker: 15 minutes to downtown via subway or 1 hour via car. I have lived here without a car for 2 years and have done fine.

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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?

All cars can be brought in.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Available.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

No, however the most popular cell phone network in Toronto is Rogers.

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Pets:

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?

No.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Many around the city.

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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?

There are many.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Most workplaces ask that you dress nicely, such as a suit. In public you can wear normal clothing.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

No, Toronto is very safe for its size, safer than American cities of the same size. I feel safe as a young woman walking alone at night downtown.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

No health concerns, great medical care,. With Universal Health Care, you do not have to pay for doctor visits; it great.

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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, however it can change, sometimes there are smog alerts, but this rarley happens

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Toronto is one of the warmes cities in Canada, but this does not mean it is nice in the winter, in the wineter the teprature is about -10 to-15C, the summer is nice however with a temprature about plus 20 to 25C

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are no international schools, the local public and private schools are good, many offer English as the second langauge

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Only private schools make accommodations, so if your child has special needs you should go to a private school.

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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?

Lots of Preschool and daycare around the city.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Most schools offer sports programs, as do the recreation centers.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

It seems like 49 percent of the people in Toronto are either expats or are foreign born

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2. Morale among expats:

Great, most love it here.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

So much: there is a great nightlife, with most restaurants staying open til 3 a.m. downtown. There are so many bars, and as I mentioned before, lots of shopping and great beaches.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

YES YES AND YES, it is good for all

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes it is great, Toronto has the largest gay/lesbian community in the world.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not at all becasue there are just so many people from around the world living here.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Toronto has great beaches so one of the highlights of living here is long walks on the beach. Also there is much shopping it goes on for many Miles.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

There is so much to do, first there are the great beaches right in the city, with boardwalks, shops, and a waterpark for the kids. There is so much shopping in Toronto, there are atleast 6 streets were the shopping goes on for 10 KM almost nonestop, Toronoto also has the largest underground shopping in the world. There is also many festivals and parades in the city. with all the cultures in the the city there are interesting areas like Greek town, China town, Korea Town, little Italy, India town, Little Jamaica and many more. There is a amusment park 30 minutes from Toronto, and Toronto has the 3rd largest zoo in the world. 2 hours from Toronto there is the world famous Niagara Falls. Toronto has something for everyone!

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Not much, maybe maple syrup.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Great scenery in Canada, with mountins in the west the ocean in the east and prairies in the middle. There is much culture in Toronto, it is the most multicultural city in the world, about 49 percent of the population of Toronto if forgion born, this adds more interesting things to the city such as festivals, and places like China town, Korea town and Greek town.

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11. Can you save money?

Not really. Toronto is an expensive city.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

YES YES AND YES! I LOVE TORONTO!

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Bring everything.

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3. But don't forget your:

winter coat, beach wear, and good walking shoes.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

There are many travel books available for Toronto, so get one before coming.

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

One movie called "Toronto Stories".

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6. Do you have any other comments?

Toronto is a great city for all. It is safe, and there is so much to do. Come to Toronto and have a great time.

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