- Download our Moving to Toronto Guide (PDF)
Our list of pros and cons offers a snapshot of what expats can expect in Toronto.
Accommodation in Toronto
+ PRO: Wide range of neighbourhoods
The Greater Toronto Area has a wide variety of neighbourhoods, all of which are distinctive in style, character and architecture. Newcomers stand a good chance of finding the right fit for their taste and budget.
- CON: Rent is expensive
Toronto has some of the most expensive rental costs in Canada, and there are a few reasons for this. For one, the city has attracted many foreign investors who can afford to pay top dollar for accommodation, which drives up housing costs. The addition of condos in many neighbourhoods has further affected rental prices. As the real-estate market places a higher value on condos, their presence drives up rent in previously affordable neighbourhoods.
Working in Toronto
+ PRO: Strong job market
Toronto is Canada’s financial capital and is a great place to further a business career. Indeed, the city’s financial sector employs more than 200,000 people. Some of the world’s biggest tech, pharmaceutical and international research companies have offices in Toronto, and the startup scene is robust and boasts constant job creation.
Getting around in Toronto
- CON: Traffic congestion
Toronto struggles with traffic congestion, as do most big cities, making driving a hassle. The city’s public transport is efficient, and the buses and subway system are great alternatives to driving.
Raising kids in Toronto
+ PRO: Broad schooling options
The city’s school and education system are of a high standard. Residents and those who have work permits can enrol their kids in public schools free of charge.
+ PRO: A range of fun activities
Parents can entertain children at various attractions, including farms, amusement parks and kid-friendly museums. There isn’t a shortage of things to do with the little ones.
Healthcare in Toronto
+ PRO: Publicly funded healthcare
The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) funds Toronto’s healthcare system, and coverage extends to all residents of the Ontario Province. Residents pay a minimal monthly premium automatically deducted from their salaries to access doctors, specialists and surgery.
- CON: The OHIP only covers residents
Expats who don’t have residence permits will have to rely on private health insurance rather than the tax-funded OHIP.
Cost of living in Toronto
- CON: The city is expensive
Rent isn’t the only expense driving up Toronto’s eye-watering cost of living. Drinks, food and utilities in Toronto are pricier than in other Canadian cities.
Lifestyle in Toronto
+ PRO: Eclectic food scene
Toronto is easily among the best culinary cities in North America. Gastros who relocate here can explore the world through their palates, thanks to Toronto’s multiculturalism. Options include heavenly dim sum in Chinatown, authentic pasta in Little Italy, tasty curry in Little India and Mediterranean-style dishes in Greektown.
+ PRO: Incredible arts and culture scene
The city is also a wonderland for art lovers, who can sate their appetites for beauty, meaning and sophistication with an enviable list of attractions. Theatre, live music, comedy shows and poetry readings will vie with exciting museums and galleries for their attention.
+ PRO: Low crime rate
Though some degree of crime is inevitable in every city, Toronto suffers relatively little of it. In fact, it often ranks among the safest big cities in North America and the world.
- CON: Challenging weather
Toronto’s climate is slightly milder than those of other Canadian cities, though winter temperatures can still get extremely chilly. Summers, on the other hand, can be hot and humid, with temperatures reaching highs of 95°F (35°C).
►For more on expat life in the city check out our Lifestyle in Toronto page
"I enjoy how convenient everything is here; big grocery stores are open 24/7, drive-thru ATMs, and government services don’t have long queues, just to name a few things. Being from Cape Town, it’s not really fair to compare the quality of life I had back home to Toronto. Cape Town has great weather year-round, more outdoor activities and the cost of living is gentler than in Toronto (I’m obviously very patriotic)."
Read more about South African expat Figo's experiences in Toronto
Are you an expat living in Toronto?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Toronto. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance.
Medical insurance specifically designed for expats. With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider.
International Movers. Get Quotes. Compare Prices.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.