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Moving to Toronto
What to Know if You're Moving to Toronto
If you are thinking of how to move to Toronto, the capital of Ontario, our comprehensive guide tells you all you need to know to settle there. The home of the CN Tower and the Raptors basketball team, the city on Lake Ontario’s north-western shore has a lot to offer.
Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.
Want to know more about the visas and work permits you might need in Toronto? In this section, we cover the Labour Market Impact Assessment, and the International Mobility Program, which could help you start working in Toronto.
We also tell you some things to know before moving, like how to prepare for relocating with pets to Toronto, with information from official sources. Plus, there is information about storage companies that could help your relocation process to Toronto.
The average cost of living in Ontario’s capital (45,500 CND (34,500 USD)) is higher than in any other city in Canada, so bear this in mind when considering the relocation process. Read more information about all the essential aspects of Toronto’s cost of living in our specialized section. It covers topics such monthly rent, cost of groceries and public transportation, and more.
If you are looking to cut costs, it might be worth considering moving to one of Canada’s more affordable cities, check out our comprehensive Canada guide.
Why Should You Move to Toronto?
Read this section for some pros and cons about moving to Toronto. For starters, here are 5 reasons Toronto is considered to be a great place to live:
- Toronto has a fantastic food and restaurant scene. Saint Lawrence Market was voted the best food market in the world by National Geographic and Vogue Magazine claims that Toronto is a must-visit for food fanatics. Fishman Lobster Clubhouse in Scarborough is famous for their world-renown lobster mountain dishes. Bar Raval in Little Italy has an amazing carved wooden interior and serves delicious Spanish plates. Piano Piano in Harbord Village offers great pizzas, and the city’s best roti can be found at Mona’s Roti in a down-to-earth Scarborough setting, and the best Thai food is in the Theatre District.
- The BBC named Toronto the most multicultural city in the world. Toronto is home to over 200 nationalities and has an 8.4% immigrant population.
- If you like hipster cafes and a modern way of life, Toronto has some of the coolest neighborhoods in the world. It seems like there is art and intrigue around every corner, especially in Queen Street West, Kensington Market, and North Riverdale.
- The Norwegian author Gunnar Garfors has been to every country in the world and has said Toronto is the second-best city he has visited. “Vancouver and Montreal have captured the spotlight over the last few years, but Toronto should get top billing. Sure, it can’t compete with the scenery of the western city or the French influence of the river island, but it has soul. And you have to carefully explore, dig, and venture into the unknown to find those hidden treasures. Tiny shops sell tomorrow’s coolest new hobbies, bars ooze hipness, and the chic hotels are too trendy for the travel mags to keep up with. Unwrapping Toronto might be hard work, but it’s anything but boring.”
- Toronto was ranked the fourth most “livable” city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit. This ranking was based on factors such as culture, healthcare, economic stability, education, the environment, and infrastructure.
Not even Toronto is a perfect city though. You should consider these disadvantages before moving there:
- Expect high housing costs compared to other Canadian cities. Buying in downtown Toronto could cost several million CAD (more than 1,508,000 USD).
- Long commutes could give you a headache—the average commute time for Toronto citizens on public transportation is 45 minutes, while motorists take 24 minutes. Some 16% of Toronto residents take more than an hour to commute to work, according to the last census.
- If you do not like very hot or very cold weather, you might not enjoy living in Toronto. In July, the average top temperature is 27°C (80.6°F), while the average in January and February can drop to 0°C (32°F).
10 Things to Know Before You Move to Toronto
- Toronto is the largest city in Canada. It has a population of 3 million people and some call it “the city that never sleeps.” When moving to Toronto, be prepared for busy streets and sidewalks, noise, and smells.
- Due to a lack of available housing, especially of the affordable kind, expect to spend a significant portion of your salary on rent. You can find out more about the housing situation in Canada in our extended guide.
- Over 140 languages are spoken in Toronto and you do not necessarily need to speak French to get by. English is actually the most commonly-used language here. Some 55% of people noted English as their mother tongue in the 2011 census and only 43% of people said their mother tongue was neither English nor French.
- Public transportation in Toronto is reliable, and you have options of the subway, streetcar, bus, ferry, taxis, bikeshare, and more. However, it is worth noting that people do complain about the slow speed of Toronto’s public transportation.
- Toronto is a very safe city. It was ranked fourth out of 60 major cities in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s report in October 2017.
- There is art and culture galore in Toronto with at least 80 film festivals to enjoy through the year. The city is also home to at least 200 performing arts organizations and 66% more artists come to the Ontario capital than any other Canadian city.
- Despite all of the condos and skyscrapers, you might be surprised to know there are a remarkable 1,600 parks in the city, plus hundreds of kilometers of trails for cycling, running, walking, and more.
- There are more than 140 neighborhoods in Toronto, so choose your home wisely. Properties close to subway stations tend to be more expensive but, unless you intend to drive, the subway is probably the easiest way to get around. We tell you more about the best places to live for expats in our dedicated article.
- Last call at pubs and bars is usually at 02:00.
- If you like brunch, Toronto could be heaven for you. Lady Marmalade, Emma’s Country Kitchen, and Aunties & Uncles are just a few of notable brunch spots to try.
Tips and Advice on Relocating to Toronto
Here are a few things you should know if you are thinking of moving to Toronto:
- If you have original identification documents, your resume, or any other important paperwork, in a language other than English or French, you may need to have it translated to avoid any obstacles or delays.
- If you want to get married in Toronto, you can, but you will need to acquire a marriage license This license will last for 90 days. You do not need to be a Canadian citizen to get married in the country. You just need to be a resident and live in the country temporarily or permanently.
- Shipping your goods to Toronto can be expensive depending on the distance. It costs around 800 CAD (600 USD) if you are moving from New York City, USA, but it will cost about 8,000 CAD (6,000 USD) if you are moving from Auckland, New Zealand.
If you are looking to store household items in Toronto, below are some highly-rated self-storage options. You can find out more information on relocating to Canada in our Relocation to Canada guide.
- XYZ Storage: they have storage in Toronto Downtown, Toronto Midtown, Toronto West, Scarborough, Etobicoke, and Mississauga. Their storage options include compact, small, medium, large, parking, and mobile storage.
- Access Storage: this storage firm has eight locations in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), with units starting at around 17 CAD (13 USD) per week.
- My Storage: this company has eight locations in Ontario, with three in the GTA: one in Mississauga, one in North York, and one on Copeland Street.
- Real Storage: they offer drive-up, temporary, accessible, vehicle, boat, RV, and seasonal storage. Plus, they use 24-hour video surveillance and security gates.
- Second Closet: this company, working out of Toronto and Vancouver, offers both space plan and item plans. You can either pay for a certain amount of storage space (starting at 45 CAD (34 USD) a month) or you can pay to store a certain number of items (starting at 3 CAD (2 USD) a month).
- Cargo Cabbie: based in Etobicoke, Ontario, this company will pack, move and store your items. They have eight service options: home move, condo move, storage move, in-home move, packing services, express move (up to four items), box shop, and plastic bin rental.
Owners are required by law to declare any animals they bring into the country. Expect your pets to be inspected by a certified veterinarian on arrival in Canada. Your pet will be checked for diseases and other issues. Find out more about bringing your pets to Canada, such as banned breeds and required documentation, in our Relocating to Canada guide.
What to Know Before Sending Your Pet to Toronto, Canada
- Have your pet checked by a professional before traveling to ensure it is fit to travel. You might need a health certificate for your pet to show once you both get to your destination.
- Make sure you have an appropriate, secure pet carrier for your animal, with adequate ventilation. It must be big enough for your pet to lie down, turn around, and stand naturally.
- For those flying to Canada, be sure to contact the airline in advance to find out their requirements for transporting animals. They should tell you everything you need to know.
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Visas and Work Permits
If you want to move to Toronto, getting information on visas and work permits for Canada should be at the top of your list of priorities. You may need to secure a temporary or permanent residence permit at some stage of your Torontonian adventure, so you should read our guide to Canadian visas and work permits.
How To Get Canada Visas and Work Permits
If you are going to work in Toronto, you may need to pass a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). If a LMIA is required, your new employer must show they have tried but failed to employ a qualified Canadian to do the same job. They must also prove that hiring a foreign worker will benefit, and not affect, the Canadian labor market, and that you will receive a salary and benefits that meet federal and provincial standards.
Requirements and Documents
Foreigners hired through the International Mobility Program do not need an LMIA but do require a work permit. This includes workers under the following agreements: NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services), the Canada-Chile FTA (Canada–Chile Free Trade Agreement), the Canada-Peru FTA (Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement), the Canada-Colombia FTA, the Canada-Korea FTA, and CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement).
Athletes and coaches, aviation accident or incident investigators, business visitors, civil aviation inspectors, clergy, and convention organizers do not need a work permit. See our Visas and Work Permits in Canada guide for more information on who does and does not need a work permit.
Living in Toronto
We also have an in-depth article about what it is like living in Toronto and another one that covers all the essential aspects of the city’s cost of living. The former covers topics, such as how safe it is and why, how to get a phone contract, how to get connected to the internet, etc. The latter tells you how much it will cost you to live there, including monthly rent, public transportation, and more.
Working in Toronto
Find out all you wanted to know about getting a job in Toronto in our Working in Toronto guide. You can find out about average salaries for the top jobs and get to know some new and established coworking spaces, in this overview of the Toronto jobs market.
Whether you are moving abroad for the first time or relocated multiple times before, the process raises many questions. Our complete guide to relocation will ease your doubts along the way, from the initial preparations to how to negotiate a relocation package, we help you GO! prepared with the key answers.