Things You Should Know Before Moving to Toronto from the US

Posted Country Guides / May 18, 2021
Kate Holland

A true grunge and rock music fan born in Seattle, Kate has moved across the country and started writing about her experience.

The Big Smoke, or the 6ix, as Drake would like us to call it, is the largest city in Canada with almost 6 million people residing in it, and it’s located in the province of Ontario. Learning a few things about this vibrant and dynamic place will make moving to Toronto seem like an adventure. The City of Neighborhoods is a multicultural place, named one of the best overall cities of the world, as well as one of the most livable.

Many sports lovers know that The Big Smoke has representation in 7 major sports and that Babe Ruth made his first home run in Hanlan’s Point Stadium on Centre Island. Believe it or not, GTA sees sunshine for about 300 days a year, but also has very distinct seasons, with July highs being 80°F, while the January average may drop to below 30°F. That means you get to enjoy warm summers and have a taste of real winter with spring and autumn in between.

You can hear over 180 languages spoken here, and Chinatown, Little Portugal, and Little Italy have dual-language street signs (we’ll give you a hint, one is English and the other is not French). If you plan on moving to Toronto from the US, and you’re worried about living in another country, it’s good to know that English is the predominant language, spoken proficiently by 95% of people living here.

Is Moving to Toronto From the US a Good Idea?

If you’ve got Drake’s lyrics “6 cold like Alaska” on your mind when planning on moving to Toronto, Canada, you probably expect devastating winters. But in reality, it’s warmer than most places in the country, and the famous rapper was probably referring to occasional wind tunnels and cold snaps that can be felt in January and February. So, clothes for all four seasons must be included when you make a list of what to pack when relocating abroad. But let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of relocating internationally and making a home here.

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Talking About the Pros of Moving to GTA

The CN Tower dominating Toronto’s skyline may be the first thing that draws your attention, and you won’t be alone in feeling impressed. About 2 million visitors come to see this most recognizable Canadian landmark each year. But more important than its landmark for anyone relocating across the world (or at least from the US) to live here is the fact that it’s one of the safest large cities in North America. Also, the main silver lining when moving abroad to this metropolis is that jobs in Canada are easier to find here than you may think, which makes it one of the best places to live in Canada. But luckily for those who aren’t such workaholics, this place can also offer lots of fun, whether you’re a passionate foodie or you’re relocating for love for brewed beer.

The Cons or Why Moving to Toronto Might Not Suit You

The largest Canadian city has a high cost of living, higher than any other city in the country. But we can freely say that, besides the cost and not having a milder climate, there aren’t so many downsides that could put people off from relocating to Canada, and specifically, to this city. Check out the video below to experience T.O. first-hand.

Get to Know the Neighborhoods

As in every metropolis, T.O. is no different when it comes to offering colorful, distinct, and vibrant neighborhoods. The suburbs are reserved for those who like to be away from the noise and hustle, especially families with children. There are historic and colorful places with different expat communities, while some other parts are for those aiming to be in a hub for young professionals or near the nightlife opportunities. These are just some of more than 140 options in what some people call the City of Neighborhoods:

  • Old Town is home to one of the best foodie destinations in the form of St. Lawrence Market. From local artisans to fresh produce and food, everything can be found here.
  • The Entertainment District offers many things, from fine dining to sports and performances, with so much going on that you wouldn’t know where to start.
  • The Distillery Historic District is a pedestrian-only district with historic buildings, but full of life. It’s home to performance venues, art galleries, and culinary spots.
  • Chinatown, besides being home to the Chinese community, also offers affordable housing near downtown. If you work downtown, you can have a short commute from here while enjoying the scenic district. It also has a variety of affordable grocery stores.
  • Kensington Market has an overall feel of an independent spirit, and the streets hold all sorts of bookshops, fresh food outlets, and cafes, stores, and bars. If you love to enjoy cheap cuisine and drinks, as well as late nights out like a true bohemian, this is a neighborhood to your liking.
  • The Annex’s style is largely formed by the students who primarily reside here. It has a variety of coffee shops, restaurants, galleries, and theatres.

The west part of the metropolis is usually considered the trendier one, but the east side is going through gentrification and becoming more and more attractive.

If You Are Relocating With a Family

The largest Canadian metropolitan area has a lot to offer to families who relocate to live there. From the Zoo, through both beaches and winter sports, to the Aquarium, it has many solutions for parents with children. With family-friendly neighborhoods that have good schools, and are both safe, and have available rental properties, this definitely a place you need to choose if you are relocating with kids.

Are You Taking Your Pet with You?

If you are planning on relocating to Canada with pets, you should know that owners are required to declare any animal they bring into the country. And expect that your pet will be checked by a veterinarian upon arrival, so it’s good to keep a certificate of its health with you. It should travel with you in an appropriate pet carrier, with adequate openings for ventilation. Just make sure you check which breeds are banned, and what documentation you are required to have, along with all the other papers when you move to another country.

The Economic Centre with Many Opportunities

The relocation stress that is always a part of the process of moving internationally can be reduced to really low levels if you have already landed a job. The period of adjusting to a new country comes with a new career path, and it’s great to know that Toronto’s a hub for many industries, which include banking and financial services, insurance, life sciences, but also advanced manufacturing. Toronto’s film industry is worth mentioning, as it makes approximately $1.5 billion each year, and another fun fact is that 25% of new Hollywood movies are actually made here. If you’ve already landed a job here, one of the relocation questions to ask the employer can be whether they’ll help you move, and which documents are needed to travel abroad.

Is It Expensive to Live in Toronto, Canada?

Are you wondering how much money do you need to move to Toronto? According to Mortgage Sandbox, buying an average house in the city may cost you more than $1.3 million, and the rent isn’t that cheap either, with the addition of renting vacancy being low. Although, compared to some other cities in the world, the cost of living in Canada’s largest metro area is pretty reasonable. It may not be the cheapest place to live in Canada, but with so many job opportunities, it doesn’t seem to be a con.

The Costs of Living in Ontario’s Capital

If you’ve moved here alone with an overseas shipping company and paid for their services, you may need to save up when renting. In that case, finding roommates for shared housing is always a good option. That way, you can split the costs of a 3 bedroom apartment in the downtown area, which is about $2,700, based on Numbeo’s statistics. Utility costs for an average size apartment are about $140, but as far as groceries go, you can get great deals in supermarkets and still be able to eat out like an average Torontonian does, a couple of times a week.

Moving to Toronto for Work? Use the Public Transport to Get To Your Office Quickly

Yes, we admit that the average commute time is long (45 minutes), but with many public transportation options, many Torontonians save money as they forgo owning a vehicle, as parking spaces are scarce and pretty expensive. The public transit system includes buses, rails, subway lines, ferries, and streetcars, and it may seem to operate a bit on the slow side (at least the residents think so). However, it gets you where you want to be, and you can rely on it. But if you are planning on shipping a vehicle overseas, you can most certainly drive around Ontario’s capital and get a good feel of the surroundings. And for those who like a healthier lifestyle, you will be delighted that there are more and more dedicated cycling lanes each year, so when you prepare to ship a car overseas, don’t forget to bring your bike, too.

Is There an Airport?

If you are moving overseas and have decided that this is the place for you, so you’ve hired an overseas moving company to relocate you, you’ll be happy to find out that the Toronto Pearson International Airport has flights to and from all around the world. Whether you’re trying to get to Montreal, New York, or Bangkok, you’ll have plenty of options.

Things to Do in The 6ix

From those of you who enjoy brunches to those that are regular bar hoppers, there’s something for everyone here. In fact, there’s so much going on here that you definitely need to plan your pastime. Everyone who enjoys nightlife can find something for themselves at live music venues, dance clubs, or pubs, and various entertainment venues and the last call at the bars is usually 2 A.M.

While there isn’t much nature entwined with The 6ix, there are many parks throughout the urban area, and you can escape to Rouge National Urban Park. For artsy types and film lovers, there are more than 80 film festivals, over 200 performing arts organizations, as well as 90 theaters with over 10,000 performances annually. A good idea on how to keep in touch with friends is to invite them over occasionally to enjoy the cultural life of Ontario’s capital.

Will You Be Moving From the US to Toronto? Look for International Relocation Companies

Toronto has many opportunities to offer, and it can appeal to younger crowds such as students and families with children. Professionals may find that their careers will thrive in this exact place. If you are wondering how to immigrate to Canada, these are just some of the many reasons to call an international moving company and be on your way to Ontario’s capital. Invest in packing services and use storage units for everything you won’t move right away. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to go scouting around the city for the right Toronto neighborhood that suits you.


What Is the Cost of Living Like in Toronto?

The cost of living in Toronto is generally considered to be high, particularly in terms of housing and transportation. However, there are many factors that can affect the cost of living, such as lifestyle, location, and personal spending habits.

How Do I Find a Place to Live in Toronto?

Finding a place to live in Toronto can be challenging, but there are several resources available to help you with your search. Before you start looking for a place to live, it’s important to determine how much you can afford to spend on rent. Consider your income, expenses, and lifestyle when setting your budget. There are many online resources for finding a place to live in Toronto, including websites like Craigslist, Kijiji, and Padmapper.

What Are Some Good Neighborhoods to Live in Toronto?

Toronto has many great neighborhoods to live in, each with its own unique character and amenities. Some popular neighborhoods include downtown, the Annex, Queen West, Kensington Market, Leslieville, and the Beaches.

What Is the Job Market Like in Toronto?

The job market in Toronto is generally considered to be competitive, with a wide range of opportunities in industries such as finance, technology, healthcare, and education. However, the job market can also be impacted by factors such as the economy and global events.

What Is the Healthcare System Like in Toronto?

Toronto has a healthcare system that is generally considered to be of high quality. The healthcare system in Toronto is publicly funded and managed by the government, with healthcare services delivered by hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers.

How Do I Get a Visa to Move to Toronto?

If you are looking to move to Toronto, Canada, and you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you will need to obtain a visa. There are several types of visas available for people who wish to move to Canada, such as work permits, study permits, and family sponsorship.

Research the eligibility requirements for each type of visa and choose the one that is appropriate for your situation. Once you have determined your eligibility, you will need to gather the required documents to support your visa application. These may include your passport, proof of funds, a letter of invitation, and other documents depending on the type of visa.

You can apply for a visa online through the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. Follow the instructions provided on the website and fill out the application form accurately and completely.

What Is the Education System Like in Toronto?

The education system in Toronto, Canada is generally considered to be of high quality and is publicly funded. The education system in Toronto is divided into four levels: primary (grades 1-8), secondary (grades 9-12), college, and university.

Primary and secondary education is compulsory and free for all children in Canada. There are both public and private schools in Toronto. Public schools are free and funded by the government, while private schools charge tuition fees.

Toronto is home to several universities and colleges that offer a wide range of programs and courses. The University of Toronto, York University, and Ryerson University are among the largest and most prestigious universities in the city.

What Is the Transportation System Like in Toronto?

Toronto’s transportation system is generally considered to be good, although like any system, it has its strengths and weaknesses.

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) operates the city’s public transit system, which includes buses, streetcars, and subways. The TTC has an extensive network of routes, with frequent service and extensive coverage throughout the city. It also offers various fare options and discounts for different groups, such as students and seniors.

How Do I Transfer My Belongings to Toronto?

If you are planning to transfer your belongings to Toronto, there are several options available to you:

  • Shipping: You can use a shipping company to transport your belongings to Toronto. This can be a good option if you have a lot of items or if you are moving from a long distance. Make sure to research shipping companies and get quotes from several of them to find the best option for your needs.
  • Driving: If you are moving from a nearby location, you can rent a moving truck and drive your belongings to Toronto. This can be a cost-effective option, but it requires more effort on your part.
  • Flying: If you are moving from a long distance, you can fly to Toronto and have your belongings shipped or delivered to your new location. This can be a good option if you have limited time or don’t want to deal with the hassle of driving.
What Are the Cultural Differences I Should Be Aware of When Moving to Toronto?

When moving to Toronto, some cultural differences to be aware of include the multicultural nature of the city, the use of Canadian English and French, the importance of punctuality, and the general politeness and friendliness of the people.

What Is the Weather Like in Toronto?

Toronto has a humid continental climate, which means it has warm to hot summers and cold winters with moderate to heavy snowfall. The temperature in the summer months of June to August usually ranges from around 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F), with occasional heatwaves that can push temperatures above 35°C (95°F). In the winter months of December to February, the temperature usually ranges from around -10°C to 0°C (14°F to 32°F), although it can sometimes drop to -20°C (-4°F) or below.

How Do I Meet New People and Make Friends in Toronto?

Enrolling in a class or workshop on a topic that interests you can be a great way to meet new people who share your passion. Whether it’s cooking, dance, art, or a new language, taking a class can provide opportunities to socialize and build friendships. Toronto has a vibrant event and festival scene, with plenty of opportunities to meet new people and experience the city’s cultural diversity. Check local listings for upcoming events and festivals and attend those that interest you.

How Do I Find a Job in Toronto Before I Move There?

If you’re looking for a job in Toronto before you move there, there are several steps you can take, including networking with people in your industry, researching companies and job openings online, working with a recruitment agency, attending job fairs and events, and leveraging social media and professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. It’s also important to ensure that your resume and cover letter are tailored to the Canadian job market and meet Canadian employment standards.

Can I Bring My Pets With Me When I Move to Toronto?

Yes, you can bring your pets with you when you move to Toronto, but there are specific regulations that you will need to follow to ensure that your pets are allowed to enter the country and that they meet Canadian import requirements.

Dogs and cats that are at least three months old and have up-to-date rabies vaccinations are generally allowed to enter Canada without quarantine, but you will need to provide proof of vaccination and other documentation upon arrival.

Other pets, such as birds, reptiles, and exotic animals, may require additional permits and documentation. It’s important to research the specific requirements for your type of pet and make sure that you have all the necessary paperwork and permits before you travel.

What Are Some Popular Activities to Do in Toronto?

Visit the CN Tower, explore the Toronto Islands, discover the city’s museums, and shop and dine in neighborhoods. Toronto has many vibrant neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and attractions. Popular neighborhoods for shopping and dining include Kensington Market, the Distillery District, and Yorkville.

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