Has Canada’s recent decision to allow more visas for Irish people got you thinking? If you are looking at possibilities in Canada, think about Toronto. If you like cities, this is one of the biggest and best. Toronto is growing, and that means increasing opportunity. It usually ranks high on any list of most liveable cities. But what is life really like in Toronto? What are the pros and cons of moving there? Would you enjoy being one of the more than six million people who live in the greater Toronto area?
It is a big, big city. If you love the vibrancy of city life, you’ll love Toronto. But if you are interested in Canada’s great outdoors, this isn’t the best option. While Toronto does have parks and it is on the shore of Lake Ontario, you won’t find much solitude or unspoiled nature here. The nightlife and restaurant scene is legendary. Almost half of the city’s population is from outside Canada, which means two things. You won’t stand out as a newcomer, and you can find amazing food from all over the world in this city. The city’s motto is “diversity our strength”.
The downside of life in a popular city is the cost of housing. But you can offset that a bit by foregoing car ownership. That’s actually a realistic option in Toronto because while locals grumble about the public transportation, it is an extensive and well-run system. Irish people are usually wowed by how it compares to our public transportation. And Toronto is pretty flat with lots of bike lanes, so cycling is a good option for much of the year.
What to Expect in Toronto, Ontario
Toronto has four distinct seasons – but not all in one day. Yes, winter is very cold and you’ll see snow regularly. But it’s not as cold as in other parts of Canada because it isn’t that far north and because the Great Lakes moderate the temperatures a bit. Summer is hot. Temperatures hit the high 20s in July and August, and it gets humid.
Within Canada, Torontonians are stereotyped as unfriendly. Locals dispute this and say that it only seems that way because life in the city is busy and people are under time pressure. In any big city, the key to making new friends is to find an activity to participate in or a group to volunteer with. But you would need to make more of an effort to meet people in Toronto than in other places in Canada.
As far as work, Toronto is a major player for finance and IT. The city’s sustained population growth also bodes well for the building trades and custom service such as retail and restaurant work. But all work and no play make one very dull they say. So what about recreation in Toronto? Cheering on the Maple Leafs at ice hockey is a popular pastime here, regardless of how the team is doing. Toronto has an incredible theatre scene with big productions, community theatre, ballet, opera, live gigs by bands large and small, and lots of comedy shows. The Toronto Zoo is the largest in Canada. While Lake Ontario is not a nature-lover’s paradise, it has some fantastic urban beaches with great trails for cycling and rollerblading.
City life isn’t for everyone, but if you yearn for the bright lights and big city, Toronto is an excellent option. A relatively low crime rate and booming financial sector combined with a vibrant nightlife and cultural scene make it a very ideal city.