One of the main questions that comes up in all the expat groups is: Where to live in Toronto? We all want to know the perfect place to live, whether it's for going out, but also for the quietness of the neighborhood. I've tried to break down Toronto and the surrounding area as best as possible, to help you weigh the pros and cons of each little place. Thanks to Circe for providing a lot of the pictures, don't hesitate to check out her instagram @circebis
Downtown and Financial District.
You'll be close to all major transportation and shopping. To get around Toronto or the surrounding area, it's the best.
On the other hand, the area is not the most aesthetic, there are mainly large buildings with a lot of traffic and noise between ambulances and traffic on the street.
The neighborhood, or rather LGBTQ+ friendly street par excellence of Toronto. The place is very welcoming in terms of prices, starting at the Gerrard street level. However the prices increase as you get closer to Bloor street (north). The area is very lively! Perfect if you like to move around, but if you are looking for a bit of peace and quiet, I advise you to move on :)
Very central area, close to transportation and many stores around. Moreover, the prices are lower than average. The north east side towards Riverdale is welcoming.
But this price also comes with a cost, there are a lot of community centers in this area (center to help homeless and addicts). This can make the neighborhood seem unwelcoming and areas like Moss Park are even to be avoided. As a personal opinion, I lived in this area for two years and never had any problems (same for a girl friend). But the atmosphere can be a bit unfriendly.
Liberty Village is perfect, it has everything downtown has to offer, so avoid it if you want a quieter area. It's a modern village with lots of bars, restaurants, parks and stores. You even have everything you need within 3 steps. You are close to the lake, the BMO field and the GO Train if you need to get out of town.
The only downside is if you need access to the subway. If you live in Liberty Village, it's a short bus ride to the 1 or 2 line. However, there are plenty of buses and streetcars in the area.
Liberty Village can be an expensive neighborhood in terms of rent, inhabited by young professionals and young couples (many are dog owners if you are looking for a pet friendly place).
Queen street west
Going from University street and then through the fashion district, Queen street west is one of the most popular places for young people coming to Toronto. There are a lot of bars and restaurants. Also the famous Trinity Bellwood park. The place contains more houses than big condos and allows easy access on foot to the different subways or tramways that are around. The biggest drawback would be the very high prices but also the numerous construction projects that are emerging more frequently than in the rest of Toronto. So it can be very noisy depending on where you live.
The Annexe et Yorkville
A place that is both chic and residential. You'll be on the edge of downtown with lots of restaurants and bars on Bloor street but also quiet residential. Many of these areas are mid-rise homes or condos. The problem may be the price for Yorkville in terms of housing. On the other hand, some apartments in The Annexe can be more affordable than the rest of Toronto. You'll also be close to lots of parks, which is an advantage if you have a pet to walk.
Toronto's residential neighbourhoods
I've defined this area because I think it's the place with the most houses in Toronto. It covers North Kensington, Little Italy and part of Chinatown.
If you're looking for a place to live, there's a good chance you'll find houses available in this area. It's often quiet and close to lots of transportation. In addition, you have access to Bloor Street to the north, which is very lively in terms of restaurants and bars, or University Street, which is very young.
Disadvantage, for a family I think it will be hard to find something, it's mostly collocations that are rented by the room.
This whole area in front of the lake is usually called Waterfront. If you live here it will usually be in a condo but with a view of the lake if you are lucky and it is quite beautiful to watch.
Be careful when visiting the apartment where the view is going to be. I advise against it if the window is directly on the Gardiner which is the ring road, it can be noisy and a hell on the long term. Also the prices are high and in winter you will be exposed to the cold because of the lake.
There are houses so not a lot of buildings, it's a bit like a European city, small family restaurants. There is also everything: bars, supermarkets, a park nearby and the streetcar.
On the other hand, this part can be quite far from Toronto, the streetcars can take a long time to make the connection with the subways (because they take the same way as the cars).
Residential area nice for its gigantic park. If you're in the southern part, you'll find yourself quite out of the way and rather difficult to access the subways. It is at least one of the areas I can recommend if you work in Mississauga, because it is more to the west.
Small area of Toronto but it was necessary to talk about it. A fairly inexpensive and very lively area. There are often markets on the right and on the left that offer fresh vegetables and fruits, butchers, cheesemongers... in short it could be the perfect place for the little Frenchman.
Cons: What is also an advantage also turns against this neighborhood. It can be very noisy until late at night. And some people have reported to me that sometimes it is not the most welcoming area very late at night.
St Lawrence Market et Distillery District
Quite a nice neighborhood with some historical places. Prices can easily vary from simple to double. There is a lot of entertainment but you often have to pay for it.
The district is still very new in some places and you have the feeling of neighborhood life and of being "isolated". You even have Saint Lawrence Market which is a nice place to shop but you will quickly realize that it is less affordable than the supermarkets (or the Kensington market). But you can always go to cheaper stores such as No Frills which are nearby.
This may still be Toronto's postal code for some parts, but you're really moving away from the hypercenter. In this part, I'm talking about the areas north of Bloor Street, east of Cabbage Town and west of High park.
Yonge and Eglington
Quite good and lively with bars and restaurants. Prices are more affordable but if you go to Toronto Downtown a lot, transportation becomes a must. There is also the fact that there is often construction in the area, so travel is unreliable, especially on weekends. There are also more families there, it's a much quieter neighborhood. You also have one of the best French bakers/pastry chefs there: Thobors.
One of the most popular places in Toronto because the subway goes directly there. Very central to go out and many businesses are present there. The professional opportunity can be there for you... well if you live between Yonge and Sheppard or along the subway. You'll find much quieter, more family-oriented spaces the farther east and west you go.
This area can be a favorite for families, as long as you are close to the subway line 2. It's a quiet, residential area of Toronto with very few condos. Plus, you're close to the beach, which can be great in the summer.
Lots of shopping, restaurants and parks. Plus you're only a 20 minute subway ride from downtown if you're in the north (not far from the green line). The area is also very family friendly. And don't worry, there's plenty of entertainment with bars, restaurants and even live music venues, an area that is quite underrated by Torontonians.
The houses are new (min 2 or 3 million) but many people love it. You should also know that a car to get around could be essential. After that, everything is accessible by bus. Whether it's to go to the metro, shop, go to the grocery store (or walk to Greektown). On the whole it's ok, you'll have access to the lake with the beaches accessible by bus too. It's a more quiet and family oriented place but still close to the center. Indeed if you are near a train station (called GO Station) you can be in the center of Toronto in only 10 minutes. You will also have many events during the summer.
A little further away from Toronto, but can, in some cases, have good access by train from Union Station in Toronto. Most of the recruiting companies are located in this area. This location is perfect for people looking for peace and quiet. However, for someone who wants to live in downtown Toronto, I would not recommend it, as the commute is exhausting and costs quite a bit.
Etobicoke (pronounced Etobico) can be a long way from Toronto. However, there are advantages with the streetcar on Lake Shore, you can also enjoy the waterfront for biking and walking. You have easy access to shops and you are in the axis of the airport (YYZ), nice areas with semi-detached and detached houses (expensive and hard to find to rent though).
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