Where To Live In Toronto

Deciding where to live in Toronto can be perplexing for new immigrants in Toronto.

If you have friends who can recommend you the perfect Toronto neighborhood - great! But you too can benefit from these tips and recommendations.

I will try to make your immigration and finding the perfect place to live in Toronto as easy as possible. All these tips are written based on my personal experience of immigration to Canada and finding an apartment or a house in Toronto.

When my family (my husband, I, and our then 1,5 year old son) immigrated to Toronto in 2007, we were lucky because our friends have already rented an apartment for us in their neighborhood, so we did not have to worry where to live in Toronto. It was a pretty good neighborhood from many points of view, but now that I am looking back, I know that we could have found a better place to live in.

Basically, when you are deciding where to live in Toronto, you need to take into account several things - what kind of apartment you want to rent, or what kind of house you want to buy. On this page, I will only be talking about WHERE to live in Toronto.

Tips For Immigrants in Toronto - Proximity To Public Transportation

It is very important to consider proximity to public transportation.

The TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) works pretty well, you can easily get from one place to another anywhere in Toronto by transferring buses, subway and streetcars.

Toronto apartments for rent usually have easy access to bus stops or subway.

But if you rent a house in a remote quiet area in Toronto, you might need to walk to the nearest bus stop for a long time.

Tips For Immigrants in Toronto - Proximity To Food Stores

two-story detached house in Toronto

Consider the proximity to food stores. When you first arrive in Toronto, you might not have a car for a few weeks or even months. Distances in Toronto are HUGE! Going shopping in Toronto by bus can be really tiresome, and by foot - even worse! It would be awesome if other appliances stores were nearby too. You might need to go there often.

We had to interrupt potty-training of our 1.5 year old son because there were no stores nearby where we could buy a potty! This is precisely why we bought a house VERY close to a plaza with multiple food stores. We still go to other food stores for variety, but if we are suddenly out of eggs or milk, we can easily run to the nearest food store.

Tips For Immigrants in Toronto - Proximity To Schools

 A picture of a school in Toronto
  • If you have school age kids, make sure there is a GOOD school nearby. It is most important that elementary school for your kindergartener is close by, because you might need to drop him/her off and pick him up by yourself if the school bus transportation is not available. Older kids can easily go to their secondary school by public transportation.

We did not make a very smart choice deciding where to live in Toronto when we bought a house - I had to walk 1.5 km to bring my 5 year old son to school and pick him up in 3 hours! Well I did find a driver who drops him off and picks him up, but I pay for this privilege. There wouldn't be a problem if we bought a house closer to school.

Tips For Immigrants in Toronto - Proximity To Child Care in Toronto

When deciding where to live in Toronto if you have little kids, ALWAYS make sure there is a day care (child care) centre near your place! The problem is aggravated if you have little kids of different age. Not every day care centre in Toronto can accept children of different ages.

It is especially hard to find a day care in Toronto for babies under 18 months. It is MUCH more harder to find a day care that accepts BOTH babies and preschoolers, and has availability at the exact moment you are looking for a day care in Toronto! And imagine having 3 kids - a baby, a preschooler and a school age child who have to go to different schools in different ends on the city, when you don't yet have a car?!

Tips For Immigrants in Toronto - Proximity To Parks and Playgrounds

Real estate Toronto - A picture of a park with a playgound in Toronto

If you have kids and no car, it's important to consider areas with a park with a playground when coosing where to live in Toronto. Your kids will need to walk and play, and, let me remind you, distances in Toronto are huge!

I have 2 kids - as of 2011, they are 1 year old and 5 year old. At some point in 2011 they both had to go to a day care. I did manage to find a day care centre that accepted both of them, but I travel 6 km by bus and I have to transfer buses twice, which takes 2,5 hours of my time daily. As of writing this page, I do not have a car.

This is going to become worse, because my oldest son will go to a French immersion school this year, and although they do offer school bus transportation, I will need to bring him to the point where the bus will pick him up, and then pick him up, and that point is still 1.5 km from our house! Then, together, we will go 6 km by bus to pick up the other kid! We definitely are going to buy a new house close to school! Please do not repeat our mistake when deciding where to live in Toronto!

Related articles:

Buying A House in Toronto - How to Choose Location

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