Living in Toronto for at least a year, you will see a wide range of extremes in local weather conditions. It probably won’t surprise you to hear that Toronto in winter can be a somewhat harsh experience to expats from warmer regions around the globe, the fact that Toronto is among the most temperate corners of Canada notwithstanding. It is called the True North for a reason! Still, there is little cause for concern: while you will see plenty of snow and might experience week-long stretches when the highest temperature barely reaches -10°C, winter in Toronto is far from being as brutal as in most other parts of Canada.
What will definitely surprise many expats who have prepared for their new life in Toronto by packing warm coats and thermal underwear is the heat. Temperatures in excess of 35°C are not uncommon, and the urban cityscape of Toronto as well as the characteristically high humidity in summer can exacerbate this considerably.
Of course, there is also a cultural side to Toronto. The city is well known for its theater and performing arts scene. More than 50 ballet troupes and dance companies are based in Toronto. Venues such as Massey Hall, Princess of Wales Theatre, and Roy Thompson Hall are renowned well beyond the city limits and even outside Canada. The movie industry also plays a major role in the city: you don’t have to be a Toronto resident to have heard of the TIFF, one of the world’s largest and most famous film festivals.
Humor enthusiasts will surely enjoy living in Toronto to the fullest, as the city has a lively stand-up and improv scene. Many beloved and internationally famous comics started their careers in Toronto.
The Harbourfront Centre and Nathan Phillips Square are almost constantly venues for festivities and cultural events of various kinds. From the smaller ones, like the hot sauce festival, to giant events such as the Caribana or the LGBT Pride Week, there is something for virtually any taste. Life in Toronto does not get boring for the culturally open-minded!
While the city’s music scene does not exactly parallel that of nearby Montreal, there are many gifted local bands and musicians waiting to be discovered, so keeping your ears on the ground is definitely recommended.
Sports buffs are also in luck: the city holds the singular distinction of being represented in seven North American major sports leagues; more than any other Canadian city. In Toronto, you have the possibility of catching games of all the favorite North American pastimes such as basketball, baseball, and football. Of course, the city is also home to the NHL team Toronto Maple Leafs. The Hockey Hall of Fame on Yonge Street has enough memorabilia to spice up any hockey fan’s day.
Few things are easier than escaping the dense cityscape of Toronto for a little while. The municipal government maintains more than 300 parks around the city, making Toronto a remarkably “green” city for its size. Some of the parks are just a few dozen meters across, while others, such as the gigantic High Park, are almost like little inner-city forests, providing citizens and expats with exceptional possibilities for recreation.
That’s, of course, not all: sports fans living in Toronto have ample opportunity to engage in their favorite game. Basketball and tennis courts, for example, can be found all over the city. If you would like to catch some rays in the summer, just take a ferry to Toronto Island and hit the beach!
Toronto is remarkably safe for a city of its size and population and among the safest in all of Canada. While it is true that, as in any other city worldwide, there are some neighborhoods of lesser repute which you might want to avoid while living in Toronto, the entire city is generally very safe. The stereotype of the North American metropolis in which murder and robberies lurk behind every other corner definitely does not apply here!
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