Thinking of moving to Toronto? It’s not hard to see why. Toronto, Canada, repeatedly is found at the top of so many international best cities lists. It’s safe, modern, diverse, and friendly, with internationally renowned hospitals and universities. Toronto is also the place to be for art and technology and a foodie’s dream locale.
Toronto is incredibly multicultural, with more than 50% of the city’s population from a visible minority. Wherever you go within the city, you’re likely to hear chatter in many languages, taste foods from around the world, and have the chance to learn from and participate in all sorts of cultural events.
Toronto is very much a city of neighbourhoods. You can feel like you’re travelling the world just by taking a long walk through the city. Here are a few neighbourhood top pics:
Moving to Toronto: Kensington Market
If you’re looking to buy or rent in the city, the neighbourhood known as Kensington Market is as colourful and fun as they come. With deep immigrant roots, the area remains a diverse bohemian enclave, with many independent boutiques, international grocers, specialty foods shops, restaurants, and arts and music venues. The community you’ll find here comes from every walk of life to create a tight-knit group passionate about their neighbourhood. It’s not uncommon to stumble into a street festival, like Pedestrian Sundays in the summer and fall (no cars allowed, one Sunday each month), winter and summer solstice events, a jazz festival and an art fair, to name a few.
Kensington Market is only a few minutes walks to the St George Campus at the University of Toronto, OCAD University, one of the country’s best art colleges, vibrant Chinatown, all of Toronto’s major hospitals, and the MaRS Discovery District, a non-profit that supports social entrepreneurship and innovative new business. Kensington Market is definitely a perfect place for those studying at the university or taking a residency at one of the city’s hospitals.
Moving to Toronto: Financial District
If hustle and bustle is what you crave, there’s no more perfect spot for you than the financial district in Toronto, located right downtown. Live where the titans of industry work their magic among the sky scrappers. Everything is at your door, from transit to every conceivable amenity. And if you’re winter adverse, take advantage of the PATH system, a network of underground pedestrian tunnels that connect office towers for over 30 kilometres! In this underground path, you’ll find your groceries, cobbler, boutiques and big brands, gyms, restaurants and take-out places, drycleaners and more. You could even live through a famous Toronto winter without a coat in this locale (but who’d want to do that?).
Living in the financial district also puts you a hop, skip, and jump, to the best live theatre venues the city offers, sports and concert stadiums. You’re also within walking distance to all major hospitals and both Ryerson University and the University of Toronto. It’s the perfect place for the busy bee who enjoys a lot of activity on a tight schedule.
Moving to Toronto: Parkdale
One of the most eclectic and interesting neighbourhoods in Toronto is Parkdale, located in the southwest end of downtown. Diverse is the best descriptor for this community. Here you’ll find some of the grandest- and priciest- Victorian mansions a block over from high-rise, low-rent towers that cater to Tibetan, North African, and West Indian newcomers.
If you like cool shopping and one-of-a-kind finds, this is the place to be. Parkdale is where you find the city’s greatest vintage clothing, antique, and fabric shops. Some of the best restaurants, bars and art galleries in the city also call Parkdale home. There’s a reason Vogue magazine rated this neighbourhood the second on its list of international neighbourhoods. That’s right, the number TWO neighbourhood in the entire world, right here in Toronto!
Artists, activists, young families, and newly settled Canadians all call this place home. You’ll find they all work together to make the place special and welcoming, no matter your walk of life.
Moving to Toronto: The Beach/The Beaches
Family and pet friendly, that’s what you’ll find in The Beach, located southeast of downtown Toronto. Tons of green space and yes, fabulous beaches are steps from your home for you, your kids and your dogs. It’s the perfect place for active families, whether you like leisurely strolls down the boardwalk, tennis, skating, hiking the nearby ravines, or joining the local soccer team. Also here: plenty of eateries, family-friendly shopping, great schools and only a quick commute by car or transit to the very heart of downtown.
The whole neighbourhood has a small-town vibe. You’ll be on a first-name basis with your green grocer, toy sellers, and bakers in no time. There are also lots of festivals that bring in folks from all over the city and beyond. The only thing to beef about is what you call the neighbourhood. There are two camps: The Beach and Beaches. Which will you choose?
Moving to Toronto: The Village
Church-Wellesley Village is located in downtown Toronto. It’s Toronto’s historic home to LGBTQ communities. It’s the primary contact point and gathering place for tourists and LGBTQ people moving to the city. Here you’ll find a supportive community that offers a small-town connectedness. Every amenity is available in this bustling and beautiful neighbourhood. And great transit options mean you’re only minutes away from everything downtown has to offer.
Art and culture are central in The Village. You’ll find fabulous galleries, art installations and theatre here, as well as a vibrant nightlife. The Village is also ground zero for Toronto’s annual Pride Week. Every June, The Village hosts one of the world’s biggest Pride events in the world.
Of course, there are many more neighbourhoods in Toronto, and all of them are worthy of mention. But this round-up should give you a taste of what the City has to offer and where to find it. Wherever you land, you’re sure to find a community that welcomes you.
Want to read on? If you’re thinking of moving to Toronto from abroad, here’s a handy checklist that covers the basics.