Toronto Harbor, Canada

Anyone that has considered moving to Canada will no doubt be excited by promises of friendly, polite residents and spacious houses, but what’s it really like to live in Toronto?

Here, we look at some of the city’s features to see why it’s such a popular place to live, and which bits aren’t so great:

Safe

Toronto has a low crime rate. In 2011, there were 45 murders in Toronto. In comparison Chicago (which has a population of a similar size) recorded 431 murders in the same year.

Youthful

Toronto has been voted ‘Most Youthful City’, taking into account factors including how technology has been embraced, how good the nightlife is and how many young people are in employment.

Inclusive and diverse

As of 2011, 12.9% of people living in Toronto are of an English origin. 12% are of a Chinese origin, and 11.3% are of Canadian origin. 7.6% are East Indian, and 6.9% are Italian. Almost 50% of those living in Toronto were born outside Canada, and 100,000 immigrants move to Toronto each year. It’s one of the most diverse cities on the planet.

Canada was the first country outside Europe to legalise same-sex marriage. The proposed development of an LGBTQ-focused sport and recreation centre in Toronto goes one step further.

The University of Toronto prides itself on teaching in a ‘diverse and inclusive’ environment.

Full of opportunity

Toronto is an ‘alpha world city’ leading economically in culture, software production, finance, business, aerospace, medical research, education, engineering and telecommunications, amongst other things. It’s consistently rated as one of the most liveable cities in the world.

Hard to get around

Toronto might seem to have an excellent transport network with streetcars and a subway, but there are concerns that it’s becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to get around the city.

The BIXI bike share scheme has helped to reduce some pressure on public transport, allowing individuals to pay approximately $100 per year to hire bikes from stations dotted throughout the city. Bikes are then free to use for up to 30 minutes at a time, making them suitable for errand-running and commuting.

Not ideal if you’re injured

There have also been concerns about A&E wait times in Toronto. There are 20 public hospitals, including specialist hospitals, though you might be waiting a long time if your condition isn’t deemed to be life-threatening or serious.

A triage system ensures that most people are initially assessed in two hours at most, though 50% of patients aren’t then dealt with again for at least four hours. If cases are amongst the least urgent, then patients can be left waiting for 12 hours or more.

Toronto, like any city, has its good points and its bad points. It’s a safe and diverse place to live, with plenty of things to do and a wide range of opportunities, though public services are under pressure.

What do you think of Toronto? Could you see yourself living in the city? Are you planning your move to Canada? Let us know in a comment.

This post was written by Marina Davis on behalf of HomeIntelligence. Marina moved to Toronto last year from the UK, and is loving it.

Image by James Wheeler via Flickr

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