Thinking about moving to Toronto? Canada’s biggest city is definitely full of amazing places to eat, has a great arts scene, and a high standard of living. But, with a high standard of living comes a huge cost of living. In fact, Toronto is one of the most expensive places in North America.
So, when you’re weighing up the pros and cons of living in Toronto, you need to carefully consider both sides. There’s no contesting that Toronto is a great city, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of downsides to think about.
With that in mind, let’s dive in and discover the pros and cons of living in Toronto.
A Quick Overview & Comparison
|Pros of Living in Toronto||Cons of Living in Toronto|
|Huge job market||Cost of living|
|Decent public transport||Traffic is a nightmare|
|Tons of international connections||A ton of pollution|
|Great food scene||Downtown can be crowded|
|Free healthcare||The weather is kind of crazy|
|Amazing arts and culture scene||Super competitive for job hunting|
The Pros of Living in Toronto
1. Huge job market
So, Toronto is widely considered to be the financial and business capital of Canada. As a result, there’s a huge amount of jobs in a wide range of industries. This isn’t just limited to one or two fields, from engineering to advertising to tourism to art, there are plenty of businesses that call Toronto home.
In fact, many major global corporations have headquarters in Downtown Canada. So, whether you want to work for a huge multinational or get in on the ground floor at an exciting startup, you’re going to be sure to find plenty of opportunities in Toronto.
2. Decent public transport
Like with many major cities, Toronto’s public transport network is pretty great. With subways, buses, streetcars, trains, and more, it’s relatively easy to get all around Toronto and the greater Toronto area without having a car.
Many locals leave their cars at home and opt to use public transport, so if you’re thinking about traveling at rush hour unnecessarily think again. The fact that so many people rely on Toronto’s extensive public transport network is a testament to how decent it is and the sheer amount of places it seems to reach around the entire greater Toronto area.
3. Tons of international connections
If you want to travel around the world from Toronto, it’s definitely possible. There are two main airports in the city: Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ). Toronto Pearson is the main airport that connects the city across the entire world, even as far as Korea! Billy Bishop, on the other hand, offers North American routes only.
Want to travel overland? Well, you can drive over the border into the US at Niagara Falls in around an hour and 15 minutes depending on traffic. You can also take the Maple Leaf Train from Toronto to New York City via the gorgeous Hudson Valley!
4. Great food scene
Okay, so there’s no getting away from the fact that the food in Toronto is insane. As the city is massively multicultural, you can pretty much find any cuisine that you want somewhere in Toronto. Whether you’re in the mood for a greasy diner burger, you want some deliciously warming ramen, or you want to blow the budget on a Michelin-starred restaurant, you can make it happen in Toronto.
Although Toronto is an expensive place to live, it’s still possible to find delicious cheap eats around the city, especially away from the crowded Downtown Toronto area. Of course, like many big cities, you’ve got to figure out those classic hidden gems that only locals seem to know about – it’s part of the fun of moving to Toronto!
5. Free healthcare
Especially if you’re moving from the US, this is a huge bonus! Free healthcare is available throughout the city from seeing your family doctor all the way up to specialists in the hospital. You won’t see a single bill when it comes to appointments, x-rays, blood tests, or anything like that.
So, when you next think that Canadian taxes are a bit high, they do help to keep healthcare free and accessible to people all across the country which is pretty awesome! This is also a huge pro to consider if you have a family or are starting one as kids’ medical bills can pile up in other countries!
6. Amazing arts and culture scene
From world-class theater direct from Broadway to the biggest film festival in the whole of Canada with the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), it’s hardly news to say that Toronto is jam-packed full of amazing arts and cultural events.
Away from the festivals and theater, you can check out a whole host of amazing museums and galleries, including the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Hockey Hall of Fame. So, whatever kind of things you’re into, there’s bound to be an exhibit, show, event, or festival to suit your tastes. There’s always something going on!
The Cons of Living in Toronto
7. Cost of living
Okay, there’s no getting around the fact that Toronto is incredibly expensive to live in. For a one-bed apartment outside of the city center, you’re still looking at paying $2,300 CAD in rent, and that’s before you spend any money on bills.
Taxes are also notoriously high across Canada in order to subsidize social services like free healthcare. In Toronto, you also pay federal and Ontario provincial tax rates. So, the lowest amount of tax you’d pay is 15% in federal taxes and 5% in provincial taxes. Top band earners can say goodbye to 46% of their earnings in taxes.
8. Traffic is a nightmare
So, most big North American cities have their fair share of traffic issues in the city center, but Toronto takes it to the next level. In fact, it’s been reported that your journey in rush hour can take around three times longer than any other time. It’s insane!
This is because the city is sprawling so quickly and the population continues to grow so more and more people are trying to get into the Downtown business district each and every day which puts pressure on the public transport network and the roads. Add in around $25 CAD per day in parking, and you might want to jump on the bus instead.
9. A ton of pollution
With so many people and cars on the road, the air quality in Toronto isn’t great. You can normally see a haze of smog around the Downtown area where crowds and cars are often the most concentrated. If you already have asthma or cardiovascular issues, this might exacerbate your symptoms and make life difficult, especially in summer when humidity comes into the mix.
There’s also a lot of noise pollution in the Downtown area from the near-constant construction that’s going on in this area. If you’re a light sleeper or want to relax with the window open, you might need to invest in some decent earplugs!
10. Downtown can be crowded
As the hub of all things nightlife and business related it might come as no surprise that Downtown Toronto is super crowded. From the crowds of people heading to and from work during rush hour to the tourists heading out for some nightlife on a weekend, the whole area is super hectic.
If you’re planning on living in the Downtown area, expect very small but very expensive accommodation costs. With there being limited building opportunities left in Downtown (apart from continuing to build upwards), prices here definitely come at a premium and space is a huge commodity.
11. The weather is kind of crazy
You might think because Toronto is a southern city by Canadian standards that the weather is nice and mild, but really you just end up getting the worst of both worlds. Even though the highest temperature might only be 27°C in summer, the added humidity makes it feel like it’s mid-30s to 40s and it’s common to have stay-inside warnings in Toronto.
In the winter months, it’s common for the temperature to drop as low as -7°C. Now, there are many parts of Canada that get way colder, but it does mean that there are around 4.6 months of snowy temperatures each year. It’s a city of extremes so you need to be prepared for both!
12. Super competitive for job hunting
Even though Toronto has the biggest job market in Canada it also has a population of 2.6 million people, making it the biggest city in the country. That’s a lot of people vying for jobs in one place. As it has a huge job market, people travel to Toronto from all around the world to work so it gets really competitive.
The best way to get a job in Toronto is to secure a position before you move. In a recent study, jobs in Toronto had an average of 65.6 applicants per role, so you know that it’s going to take you a while to find a decent job in this competitive city!
How much money do you need to live comfortably in Toronto?
As the average one-bed apartment outside of the city center of Toronto costs around $2300 CAD per month, and it’s estimated that a single person would need around $1,730 CAD per month without rent to live comfortably in Toronto, you’re looking at around $4,000 CAD per month to live comfortably in Toronto as a single person.
For a family of four, the average monthly spend without rent sits at $5,820 CAD, and the average three-bedroom place outside of the city center costs $3,450 CAD per month. So, in total, you’d need around $9,300 CAD per month as a family of four living in Toronto.
How much does the average house cost in Toronto?
The average house price in Toronto is an eye-watering $1,141,400 CAD. This price has continued to rise and is quickly making the city even more unaffordable!
Is it easy to get a job in Toronto?
With an average of 65.6 applicants for each role in Toronto, it’s not easy to get a job in Toronto. Despite having the largest job market in Canada, and the amount of competition from applicants all over the country and the world, it can be really difficult to get a job in Toronto as everyone seems to be vying for the same spot!
What is the quality of life in Toronto?
According to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2022 Global Liveability Index, Toronto is within the top 10 cities in the world for quality of life. The Canadian metropolis beat out all of the US cities but was also beaten by Calgary and Vancouver, so take that into consideration!
What salary is needed to live comfortably in Toronto?
At the moment, the average salary in Toronto sits at around $70,000 CAD per year. With the cost of living going up and the high taxes on both a federal and provincial level, many Canadians saying that you need between $60,000-75,000 CAD to live comfortably in Toronto after tax and rent deductions!
Of course, this depends on whereabouts in the city you’re living, what your lifestyle is like, and if you have any dependents to look after. Some people have said you can live in Toronto comfortably on around $50,000 CAD, so it’s really down to the individual.
Where is the best area to live in Toronto?
There are tons of amazing neighborhoods in Toronto that you can choose to live in from Kensington Market to Scarborough to The Junction and East Chinatown. There’s no one answer to this question as a lot of it depends on what you want from your home area, but these bustling and interesting Toronto neighborhoods are great areas to direct your search!