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37 Pros and Cons of Living in Toronto in 2024

Trying to weigh out all of the pros and cons of living in Toronto before moving there? If so then check out this epic guide.

After all, moving to Toronto is a big step. So, before you take the plunge, you’ll want to assess all the pros of living in Toronto and cons of living in Toronto.

I mean, I have been to Toronto more times than I can count since my family has a house in New York near the Canadian border.

So, I know a thing or two about this amazing city. Toronto has epic food, tons of amazing things to do, and is just a super fun place with epic transportation.

Add in free healthcare and I’m surprised Americans aren’t jumping across the border by the thousands.

It is expensive though and there is construction everywhere. But, read this entire article and figure out if moving to Toronto is right for you.

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Contents show

Pros and Cons of Living in Toronto: Quick Guide

Easy to Get Around with Public TransportationTraffic is Terrible
Diverse Residents/NeighborhoodsImmigrants Have a Hard Time Finding Jobs
Free HealthcareCompetitive Job Market
High Standard of LivingHealthcare Only Covers Residents
Delish Food From Around the WorldHigh Cost of Living
Home to Big AirportHigh Taxes
Low Crime and SafeRent is Expensive
Big Job MarketProperty is Expensive to Buy
Bikeable CityIssues with Racism and Discrimination
Good SchoolsExpensive Phone Plans
Tons to DoPeople Aren’t Super Friendly
Good Higher EducationUrban Environment
Fun NightlifeTons of Construction
Vibrant Arts and Culture SceneDowntown is Crowded
Cool Festivals and EventsHot Summers and Cold Winters
Fun Activities for KidsSmog/Pollution is Bad
Tons of RestaurantsTravel within Canada is Expensive
Lots of Noise
Poorly Designed Bike Lanes

Pros of Living in Toronto

1. Toronto Has Free Healthcare

Let’s start with one of the pros of living in Toronto that’ll be music to the ears of anyone for America.

Healthcare is free in Canada for residents and citizens!

Yup, you can get stitches, scans, important tests, and even give birth without needing expensive insurance. Of course, you do have the option to pay for private medical attention if you want.

But, having basic healthcare rights takes a huge weight off your mind and is something that all my friends living in Toronto.

You have peace of mind since you don’t have to worry about potential medical bills while enjoying some of the cool things to do in Toronto.

2. Elevated Standard of Living

One of the pros and cons of living in Canada is that the cost of city life is expensive. So, living in places like Toronto is expensive. And the Toronto skyline is pictured here with the CN Tower lit up in oink and the sun setting over the city with the water in the foreground.

Being able to get sick (and, subsequently, cured) without incurring a ton of debt leads to another major pro of living in Toronto. Overall, Ontario’s capital has a high standard of living.

The hospitals and other medical services are exemplary. Public transport is epic. The housing options are varied, and the schools are mint.

And, there are tons of things to do, like check out some of the most epic views of Toronto. If you’re short on a budget, you can also enjoy tons of budget-friendly activities in Toronto.

3. Diverse Residents and Neighborhoods

Toronto is one of the most multicultural and multiracial cities in the world. In fact, over half of its permanent residents belong to a minority group.

As such, close to 170 languages are spoken in Toronto. However, this number continues to increase every year. The diversity of Toronto is represented through its neighborhoods.

For starters, there are FIVE Chinatowns. You’ve also got Little Tokyo, Little Jamaica, Little Italy, Little India, Greektown, Koreatown, Little Portugal, Little Malta, and the Bloor West Ukrainian Village.

So, regardless of what you’re into and the cuisine you like, you can find the perfect brunch in Toronto for you.

4. Global Food Options

A person is holding a pair of chopsticks over bowls of Asian food on a table with green drinks. This is an aerial view of the table and the global cuisine Toronto is known for.

Where diversity leads, excellent food follows. All those neighborhoods mentioned above have restaurants where you can sample iconic and lesser-known dishes from around the globe.

Furthermore, you’ll find just about every cuisine represented across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Thai, Mexican, Syrian, Chilean, and Turkish restaurants are all spread out across the city. So, bon appétit!

5. Awesome Public Transportation

A view of a red street car coming towards the camera during the day in Toronto. One of the pros and cons of living in Toronto is excellent public transportation.

No driver’s license, no worries. One of the pros of living in Toronto is its public transit system.

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) operates a slick subway, bus, and streetcar system.

Plus, monthly and annual passes are reasonably priced so you can spend more money on cool Toronto food tours.

Night owls will also appreciate the overnight Blue Night Network bus and streetcar service.

6. Toronto is home to Canada’s Principal Airport

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) is the busiest airport in Canada. In fact, pretty much every major airline you can think of has flights to and fro YYZ. That includes United, American, Delta, KLM, British, and Lufthansa.

Therefore, one of the best things about living in Toronto is that you can generally get “home” without too much hassle.

7. Low Crime and High Safety Rating

Building in downtown Toronto.

So, is Toronto safe? In short, yes. As with most Canadian cities, Toronto has a high safety rating, even in the downtown area. Actually, it ranks higher than Montreal and Vancouver for safety.

Therefore, you can feel at ease using public transportation, raising kids, and moving around as a solo expat. Yup. just another one of the pros and cons of living in Toronto.

Of course, you’ll need to mind dodgier areas and exercise normal safety precautions at night.

Just do your usual research before choosing a neighborhood to call home.

8. Toronto is a Bikeable City

Rental bikes used for one of the best London at night tours.

Toronto has been upping its game as a bike-friendly city.

Over the years, more bike paths have been cropping up in downtown and suburban areas.

These designated bike lanes make it safer to cycle around the residential/green areas of the city.

They’re used by commuters as well as hobby cyclists, which helps reduce pollution and fossil fuel consumption in the city.

9. Biggest Job Market in Canada

Not only is Toronto the capital of Ontario, but it’s the economic heart of Canada.

So, downtown is overflowing with major firms where you can find work in all sectors. Creative, financial, retail, medical, and hospitality sectors – the lot.

Just be aware that Toronto is a coveted destination for young professionals. So, you’ll need to put the effort in to stand out and secure yourself a job.

10. Excellent Colleges and Universities

View of the Toronto Islands which are home to some of the best beaches in ontario.

Toronto has fine colleges and universities for furthering your education.

You’ve got the OG University of Toronto which is globally renowned for applied science and engineering, management, and public health.

Not forgetting the Toronto Metropolitan, OCAD, York, Ryerson, and Trent universities plus George Brown College.

11. Great Schools for Kids

Bringing the tots? They’ll get a cracking education in Toronto since Ontario has a great education system and is one of the best provinces to live in in Canada.

There is an excellent balance of public and private schools in the downtown and more suburban areas.

That covers elementary and high schools. But, you’ll need to make sure you find a property near the schools that catch your eye.

12. Limitless Things to Do

View of Grafitti Alley in Toronto

Toronto is a cool city with tons of family-friendly attractions, cool museums, harborside gardens, and epic shopping. Basically, it has all the hallmarks of a city – and more.

Some of the most unique things to do in Toronto include Graffiti Alley and the “Crazy Dollhouse” in Leslieville. Or, you can just relax in a Toronto hotel with a jacuzzi, it’s up to you.

But, one of the pros of living in Toronto is that you’ll feel super proud to show your friends and family around when they visit.

13. Amazing Festivals and Events

A pin on a green jacket. The pin is of a Canadian flag which has a white background and a red maple leaf with two red stripes on either end of the flag.

In a nutshell, Toronto is a non-stop destination for festivals. These include music, food, beer, and film events as well as holidays.

In fact, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is one of the most important events in the world for film professionals and movie buffs. Buskerfest is another cool date to add to your diary.

Also, you can always find events around major happenings like Black History Month, Chinese New Year, Easter, and Canada Day.

14. Vibrant Arts and Culture Scene

Among the attractions, you’ll find loads of arts and culture offerings.

There are galleries dedicated to Indigenous, modern, and historic art from Canada and worldwide destinations.

Although, you should start your cultural education at the Royal Ontario Museum.

This huge institution showcases art and natural history from around the world and is very interactive.

15. Fun Nightlife

A view of the Toronto sign lit up in pink at night. It sits atop a reflecting pool and has the city in the background.

Not forgetting the night owls, party animals, and social butterflies, Toronto also has an upbeat nightlife.

Sure, there are bars and clubs where you can sip craft cocktails and dance until you get blisters.

But, Toronto has dozens of theaters and picture houses for cultivated evenings.

Downtown arenas also host all kinds of ice hockey and basketball games as well as big-name musicians.

Just crash at a fun Toronto hotel with a balcony afterward and sleep in the next day.

16. Lots of Fun Activities for Kids

Don’t forget that the kids need entertainment too! One of the pros of living in Toronto is that it’s so family-friendly. Naturally, these intersect with things on your own list – museums, parks, and the like.

Plus, there is a zoo, science center, and aquarium to throw into the mix. Casa Loma is also an epic family outing (what kid doesn’t love a castle?) and you’ve got the Toronto Islands to explore.

17. Dynamic Array of Neighborhoods and Suburbs

view of the stunning Victorian houses in Kensington Market in Toronto.

Downtown isn’t the only place to find cool digs in Toronto.

North Toronto, East York, and The Beaches are all located on the periphery of the city center and feature a calmer environment.

Yet, they’re close enough to get around the city using public transit or even a bike.

Furthermore, you can widen the search even more to include Mississauga or Brampton. Technically, these are different cities but they’re right on the border.

18. Countless Restaurants

A view of a red coffee cup with a black top on it that says Tim Horton's on the side in cursive, white lettering.

I already touched on the diversity of the food in Toronto. Besides the variety of food types, you also have an impressive mix of budget, chain, and luxury restaurants.

There are 15 Michelin-starred restaurants alongside scores of food trucks and hole in the wall places.

Seeing as it’s Canada, you’ll also find poutineries and grills in every neighborhood and can even get some cool food-related Canadian souvenirs to take back home with you.

Cons of living in Toronto

19. Healthcare Only Covers Residents

One snag with that free healthcare is that it only applies to residents and citizens of Canada.

Therefore, you’ll need travel insurance while scouting Toronto as a place to call home. Or, be happy to go private if needed.

However, you’re always entitled to emergency care as a tourist. But, you’d have to go to a hospital, not a clinic.

20. High Cost of Living

A view of the tranquil shores of Cherry Beach in Toronto. One of the best free things to do in Toronot.

That high quality of life in Toronto is matched by an elevated cost of living.

Starting with the basics, rent is higher in Toronto and you’ll have to budget for utilities and any building fees. Plus, public transportation is reasonable but still costly.

Taxes are high, too. However. taxes equate to FREE healthcare! Once you get your residency, of course.

21. High Taxes

Now, you’ll have to pay high taxes if you work for a Toronto company or register a business there.

In Toronto, you have to pay combined federal and provincial taxes. These rise according to your paycheck, but you can expect to pay at least 15-25% of your earnings.

Of course, high taxes are a double-edged sword that serve as one of the many pros and cons of living in Toronto.

22. Rent is Expensive

The high cost of living is reflected in rents that continue to creep up. In fact, they increased by around 10% in the summer of 2023.

Nowadays, you’ll be paying close to $2,620 CAD for a typical one-bedroom apartment. Or, $3,413 CAD for a two-bedroom downtown. On the bright side, it’s cheaper when you live a little further out of the city.

23. Extremely Expensive to Buy Property

When rents are high, you know the house prices are going to follow suit. Like with countless other big metropolitan cities, there is a housing crisis in Toronto.

Buying a one-bedroom in a trendy GTA neighborhood is probably going to be close to $1 million CAD and houses are going to be priced even higher.

Although, it’s a great investment if you can make it happen.

24. Tough for Immigrants to Find Jobs

While there are loads of jobs in Toronto, it has to be said that Torontonians and movers from other Canadian cities are prioritized.

As such, it can be harder to find work as an immigrant. Furthermore, companies are known to favor certain nationalities such as the US and UK.

It definitely helps to be fluent in English. French nationals may have an easier time, too.

25. Competitive Job Market

View of the Toronto Islands which are home to some of the best beaches in ontario.

Actually, the competition is generally very high in Toronto. Therefore, this is one of the cons of living in Toronto for all prospective job hunters.

See, the city has the jobs but it has hundreds of people applying for each one. So, be sure to research your industry before moving to Toronto and decide if you can make living in Toronto happen.

Even better, reach out to recruiters ahead of the big move.

26. Issues with Racism and Discrimination

Unfortunately, Toronto does have issues with racism. It’s maybe not as obvious as in other parts of the world. However, there are discriminatory behaviors.

As mentioned, it’s harder for immigrants to find jobs. And, among the immigrants, certain passports are more highly favored.

27. Rush Hour Traffic is Awful

Despite the rad public transportation and bike-friendly infrastructure, Toronto is like any other North American city. Traffic is a nightmare.

Honestly, due to the boom in the population, the roads just aren’t built for the number of cars on the road. And, congestion is terrible at rush hour in particular.

Don’t even get me started on the extortionate parking rates downtown. They make NYC look cheap.

28. People Aren’t the Friendliest

Aerial view of Toronto and the needle, one of the best cities to live in Canada.

Okay, this is a sweeping generalization. But, it has to be said that Torontonians don’t instantly fall into the friendly Canadians category.

In fact, the vibe is often compared to NYC. However, it’s not hostile.

To be honest, Toronto is pretty typical of any big city where folks are preoccupied with the daily stresses of demanding jobs and getting from A to B.

And, really the average Torontonian is just being respectfully reserved.

29. Expensive Phone Plans

This is a little nitpicky. But, you should note that one of the cons of living in Toronto is that cell phone plans are pricey.

Whereas you can pay a couple of dollars a month in comparable countries, Toronto plans are much more expensive. As a guideline, the average cost for 5GB of data is about $45/50 CAD per month.

See, the reason here is that Canada has limited options. But, it’s still way cheaper than phone plans in the US.

30. Urban Environment

Toronto is the largest city and most densely populated city in Canada. That’s more than double the size of Montreal and almost thrice the size of Vancouver.

And, the city has broken the fundamental rule by building upwards not outwards. As such, there are loads of skyscrapers.

It’s very urban and you may be low-key fantasizing about easy access to the wild Canadian wilderness.

31. Ongoing Construction

Toronto skyline from across the lake.

This vastly growing city is like one big construction site.

Therefore, one of the cons of living in Toronto is that you might not have the prettiest view or suffer from noise or traffic disruption.

I mean, you can try to predict where the next condo building will be built. But, it’s tricky to avoid it.

Just be mindful that you might find an ace place to live and then have a building site pop up the following week.

32. Downtown Toronto is Crowded

Another thing about the growing population in Toronto is that new homes in the downtown area are a bit densely packed together. Therefore, you might end up paying an arm and a leg for a tiny little apartment.

Again, this is a typical minus when living in most big cities around the US (and beyond).

Also, the streets can feel very busy and closed in at times, especially in the commercial areas.

33. Freezing Winters and Sweltering Summers

Snow on the ground and on the mountains in Canada. You can see forests of green trees in winter in Canada

When you think of Canadian weather, you’ll instantly think of snowstorms and freezing temperatures.

And, one of the cons of living in Toronto is that you’ll get very cold winters since this isn’t the best time to visit Canada in general.

January, the coldest month, sees average temperatures of 22 °F (-5.4 °C). But, nights are colder –plunging to 14 °F (-10 °C).

On the other side of the coin, summers are stiflingly hot. It can surpass 100/104 °F (37.8/40 °C during regular heat waves.

Actually, there are only a few weeks during shoulder season when the weather is just perfect.

34. Smog and Pollution is Bad

All those cars on the road result in a lot if smog in Toronto.

It’s worse during summer when a hazy fog lingers over the downtown area. Coupled with high temperatures, it can be really uncomfortable outside.

It’s not ideal for anyone but can be more dangerous for children, the elderly, and those with respiratory issues.

35. Regional Travel in Canada is Expensive

Aerial view of Montreal, one of the best places to live in Canada

Naturally, you’ll want to spend some time while you’re living in Toronto getting out to see other parts of the country.

However, Canada is notoriously expensive and it starts with the cost of a train ticket or the price of airfare. Internal travel often works out comparatively more expensive than in the US.

Therefore, spontaneous weekends away are out the window when living in Toronto.

36. Poorly Designed Bike Lanes

Toronto has gone to crazy lengths to introduce more bike lanes into the city. But, the city planners have some explaining to do since some of these are quite dangerous.

Many cross automobile lanes without any clear indication. Really, it’s best to avoid cycling downtown unless you’re a pro. Save the leisurely cycling for the suburban areas and for local bike trails.

However, the Toronto Islands are the perfect place to bike safely.

37. Noise is an Issue

Hey, Toronto is a big city! That means one of the expected cons of living in Toronto is noise.

That’s a combination of traffic, street noise, nightlife, and construction.

Plus, living in an apartment always comes with the risk of hearing a little more from your neighbors than you bargained for.

Pros and Cons of Living in Toronto FAQs

Is it Worth it to Live in Toronto?

It is definitely worth it to live in Toronto for a high quality of life that includes cultural diversity, an array of cool neighborhoods, economic opportunities, and more.

It’s easily one of the best places to live in Canada.

What Salary Do You Need to Live in Toronto?

To live in Toronto you need a salary of at least $80,000 CAD to $90,000 CAD per year if you’re living alone.

What is the Quality of Life in Toronto Canada?

The quality of life in Toronto, Canada is high and it is regularly ranked one of the most livable cities in the world. It’s a clean, diverse, fun, and safe place to live.

Consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world, Toronto enjoys a reputation as an exciting, diverse, clean, and safe city to set up home

Is Toronto Very Expensive to Live?

Yes, Toronto is a very expensive place to live. It’s one of the one hundred most expensive cities to live in in the world.

That wraps up this list of the pros and cons of living in Toronto. I hope you found it helpful and you can now make a better decision about moving to Toronto.

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