A Short Guide to Toronto Neighborhoods You Should Move to

Posted Country Guides / February 18, 2020
Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

Figuring out which of the dozens of Toronto neighborhoods would be the best fit for you might seem like an overwhelming task. But the truth is, you just have to make a priority list and determine what you are looking for in your future area – is it an array of entertainment options, vast outdoor spaces, low cost of living, diversity, or something else?

Did you know that there are 140 neighborhoods officially recognized by the local authorities, which have earned the city one of its most famous nicknames – the city of neighborhoods? There are over 180 languages and dialects spoken in the city. With that kind of diversity, you will not only feel completely accepted, but you will also get to learn about other cultures. Once you’ve picked your favorite among so many Toronto districts, it’s time to embark on an adventure called moving to Canada.

Explore Every Toronto District Before Choosing Where to Settle Down

Even before you start packing and preparing documents needed to travel abroad, you should look into the areas where you could potentially settle down. You will have to get used to some different locations, rules, and regulations, but most importantly, you should get used to how everything is organized.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing… Meaning that, if you don’t obtain enough information about something, say your future place of residence, you can be led into making a mistake.

That’s why after deciding that The 6ix (as the locals call this metropolis) will be your next destination, it is essential to find the location that fits you, and that can make your life as enjoyable as possible. Take into account that this is a big metropolitan area with nearly six million people and a lot of residential districts.

To make things easier for residents, the city’s core is split and coded into districts that contain dozens of Toronto neighborhoods. There are 33 districts that are split into smaller units, making it easy for the newcomers and locals to find their way around without a fuss. There are 140 official residential areas you can stay in, and they are recognized by the City of Toronto. Some of them are urban jungles, while others have a more suburban and homey vibe. No matter which one you choose, make sure it feels like home.

Roncesvalles Village Is a Popular Place to Raise a Family

If you are moving with kids, Roncesvalles Village might just be the right choice for you. With a homey vibe, friendly people, parks, and plenty of local businesses, it will seem like you live in some of the Toronto suburbs. A mix of old and new makes this location north of Lake Ontario what it is – a close-knit community perfect for families.

The area, once known as “Howard Park,” is the historic hub of the city’s Polish community, with many significant Polish institutions, businesses, and churches being located there.

With the walkability score of 91, you won’t have to worry about the commute and being stuck in traffic. Also, don’t leave your bike in storage, because, with a 95 bikers score, you will probably want to use it to get from one place to another. Spending time outdoors is something you will enjoy while living in Roncesvalles Village.

A Location for Nature Lovers

Since the Roncesvalles Village is bordering High Park, it is a perfect place to spend a day playing fetch with your pet or have a picnic with your family. This is the largest park within the metropolis with 400 acres of green surface, where you can find a zoo, swimming pool, baseball fields, and even a forest in its natural state.

You can also check out Sorauren Avenue Park and Sunnyside Bathing Pavillion that has a boardwalk and beaches.

Kensington Market Is One of the Best Neighborhoods in Toronto

“Kensington today is as much a legend as a district,” Canadian journalist Robert Fulford wrote some 20 years ago. In 2006, the area was acknowledged as a National Historic Site of Canada, which speaks volumes about its significance.

Located in Downtown, this multicultural spot is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city.

Kensington Market has many Victorian homes and other properties to choose from if you want to settle down here. The average price for all accommodation types is $787,929, while rent is $2,222.

Choosing Kensington Market means you will get to live in one of the most photographed locations in the entire city. It features a laid back atmosphere, and a boho vibe that makes walking around seem like an adventure itself.

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Getting Around Kensington Market on Foot

If you are considering shipping your car, know that Torontonians have a unique relationship with their vehicles.

This neighborhood has narrow streets, making driving around somewhat difficult, as well as finding parking space. This is most obvious on Saturdays or late afternoons when pedestrians walk freely down the middle of the road. The walkability score of the location is 97, making it the 3rd most walkable area in Toronto.

Residents, in collaboration with businesses, have been organizing Pedestrian Sunday events since 2004. At the time of the event, the streets are closed to motorized traffic, and pedestrians can enjoy live music, theatre, and games.

Queen West Is an International Arts Center

Queen West is also known as Queen Street, and it is a center for Canadian broadcasting, visual arts, fashion, music, and performance. Over the last quarter of a century, this place has evolved into an international art center as well as a tourist attraction.

Would you like to live in once dingy warehouses transformed into loft spaces? The average price for all accommodation types is $1,293,103, while rent, on average, is $3,353.

The wave of creativity that hit this location caused the blooming of cool yoga studios, supply stores, hair salons, vintage, hipstery stores, and many entertainment establishments. Living in Queen West means you will always have a place to chill out.

Queen West Has a Location for Your Every Need

Let’s say you want to go out and get some fresh air. Take a walk around Trinity Bellwoods Park, people-watch, or bring a blanket and some food and have a picnic. If you are observant enough, you might even see squirrels roaming around freely.

If you are an internet addict and you love to post pics on Instagram, check out Old Faithful Shop, which has a breathtaking design as well as a unique offer of items on display. While you are in search of the perfect photo, check out Graffiti Alley and snap a selfie or two in front of colorful murals.

You can eat and drink in late-night bars such as Fancy. Or take a loved one out and treat them to dinner at one of the fancy restaurants in Queen West.

St. James Town Is the Largest High-Rise Community of All Toronto Districts

When you are looking for a home in Toronto, St. James Town might pop up on your radar. This spot is a landing pad for immigrants, and with its proximity to Downtown, it is perfect for those who are still not sure what they need from a new place.

Demographics of the Area

Did you know that this area is home to approximately 17,000 people? Most of them are within 19 apartment buildings and four low-rise constructions, making it one of the most densely populated communities in Canada.

This location is a blend of different cultures and minorities, and it is often called “the world within the block.” The most widely spoken languages besides English are:

  • Tagalog with 8.1% of the population
  • Tamil with 5.5%
  • Unspecified Chinese, and Mandarin with 2.5%
  • Korean with 1.9%
  • Russian and Spanish with 1.8%
  • Bengali, Serbian and Urdu with 1.4%

Almost 59% of residents identify as immigrants, and that fact is essential for the overall vibe of the location.

Lifestyle and Housing Market

This area is perfect for newcomers that are worrying about the cost of living in Toronto. Despite being close to Downtown, St. James Town has affordable rent.

High rise apartments are usually the most affordable, and you can get a studio one for an average price of $945. One-bedroom flat costs $1,230, and a two-bedroom apartment is $1,830. Rental prices are 15% lower than the city’s average, but they can vary depending on their proximity to Downtown.

Non-Residential Content in the Area

St. James Town is not only a residential spot. You can also find some businesses, institutions, and organizations here, as well. There is a branch of the public library, Youth Council, and a few convenience stores. The location might not be the most luxurious in the metropolis, but it has everything newcomers need while settling down in an unfamiliar spot.

Beaches Is Home to the Best Beaches in the City

On the east side of the metropolis, there is a spot named the Beaches, and it is home to 20,000 people. They enjoy the beach views and 1.86 miles of boardwalk along Lake Ontario on a daily basis. On the south of the boardwalk, you will find Kew Gardens, which is a 6.5 hectares park and flower garden. Here you can enjoy playing baseball as well as indulge in seasonal events. If you check it out in the winter, you can enjoy watching Christmas tree lighting, skating, or caroling.

Becoming a homeowner in this East End neighborhood will cost you, on average, $2,205,454 while renting a place costs $3,357. Low-rise buildings and almost daily community events give the Beaches a small-town vibe. Two-thirds of Torontonians here own their homes, and the majority have kids, making this location excellent for raising a family.

Educational Institutions in the Area

This east-side spot is not only attractive because of its many beaches and parks, here you can enroll your kids in secular English public schools or separate schools that are operated by the Catholic School Board. With a minimum ranking of 7/10 from the Fraser Institute, the prestigious Canadian think-tank, you know your children will get a high-quality education.

Malvern Collegiate Institute, a high school, is located on Malvern Avenue, and if you are moving with teenagers, they don’t have to go that far to get a good education.

North York City Center Is Appealing to All Demographics

If you want to live in Toronto, and you still haven’t figured out what it is exactly that you need from your future location, check out North York. It is appealing to people of all ages, from working professionals and families to senior citizens.

Because of the North York multicultural demographic, there are all kinds of festivals and events. From Hispanic Fiesta to Korean Harvest festival and Iranian festival, you will get to learn so many things about cultures from all around the world.

There Is an Array of Entertainment Options

From concerts to live music venues and movie theatres, you will find it all in the North York Center for the Arts. Aga Khan Museum and Royal Ontario Museum are also spots you should check out.

You don’t have to spend your days in museums if you are a sports fan. There is a former military base turned into a large urban park called Downsview Park Sports Center. With 485,000-square-feet of space where you can have a game of hockey, volleyball, and soccer.

Companies Headquartered in the Business District

The central business spot is home to the majority of corporate headquarters. If you are looking for work, know that you can find work at Downsview Airport, or in retail since two out of five big shopping malls are located here.

Toronto Neighborhoods With an International Vibe

Did you know that according to data from the United Nations Development Programme, the provincial capital of Ontario has the second-highest percentage of constant foreign-born residents? It comes right after Miami, Florida. You should know that no particular nation or culture dominates the population, and it was estimated that over 100,000 immigrants arrive in the metropolis each year. That being said, if you like to settle down in a place with an international vibe to it, you can take your pick.

Eat Your Way Around Little India

Little India is a small spot that managed to host the highest concentration of Indian restaurants, bars, grocers, electronic, and clothing shops in the city. This is also home to Gerrard India Bazaar, the largest South Asian ethnic market in North America. Settling down here also means that you can dine out at some delicious Pakistanian, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, and Indian restaurants.

ZooCasa data shows that the average price list differs depending on the type of accommodation. The average price of a house is $2,271,450, while for a townhouse, you will need $832,450 and $1,135,850 for a condo.

Be prepared to experience different colors and aromas, especially in July, when the Festival of South Asia begins. Even window shopping at that time is exciting.

Don’t Miss out on Food, Drinks, Coffee, and Culture in Little Italy

Have you always dreamed about moving to Italy? Well, if it seems pretty far, and out of reach, you can move to The 6ix, and settle down in Little Italy. Residents here are all about the diverse food scene, coffee, and European culture.

The location is a hot spot when it comes to restaurants because they can offer you more than great pizza and pasta. Coffee is a big deal, from Sicilian Sidewalk Cafe to Dolce Gelato E Cafe, caffeine addicts will be happy with the various coffee roasts and preparing techniques.

If you want to buy a house here, know that the average listing price for all accommodation types is $1,837,100.

Shop for Unique Goods in Little Tokyo

This small location was once a part of Chinatown. However, with the increasing popularity of Japanese brands on Dundas Street and Bay Street, a part of the area changed its name to Tokyo.

The location attracts many millennials that are searching for exciting new dishes that they can photo and post on social media. Little Tokyo is not only about food; there are also shops where you can get favorite manga comics or unique goods made by local and international artists. Check out great spots like Q Pop, and Kinokuniya Bookstore and buy whatever your heart desires. Living here would feel more like living in Tokyo than in The 6ix, but you still get the best of both.

Live Life to the Fullest in the City of Neighborhoods

Did you know that almost 25% of Canada’s entire population lives within 100 miles of The 6ix? After you get your international relocation over with, you will get to see for yourself what exactly makes this place so popular with Canadians and expats.

From a diverse population to 8100 restaurants spread all over the city, you won’t ever be bored. No matter the neighborhood you choose to call home, there will be people to meet and new places to explore.

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