Two years ago, I wrote an article entitled, 20 Things You Should Know Before Moving to Toronto. Those 20 things still certainly apply, and I recommend you check them out before (or after) reading this extension.
Since that time, however, I have crossed into my mid-thirties, Canada has crossed into its mid-hundreds (HAPPY 150th, YOU HOT PIECE OF ASS!), and being the fast-paced place that it is, Toronto has seen its share of growing up, growing into, and growing out of.
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So in the spirit of growth, globalization, and semi-helpful-but-highly-consumable-listicles-that-will-be-read-by-way-more-by-people-living-here-than-moving-here, these are 20 more things you might want to keep in mind before trekking to the TDot.
1. Our mascot is not a blue jay, it is not a polar bear, it is not a maple leaf, and it is definitely not a rubber duck. It is a Jewish rapper named ‘Drake’.
From our fashion scene, to our music scene, to our sports and our nightlife, even when he’s on his “Worst Behavior”, he’s still helping to put this city on the map in a positive way. You may not dig the guy’s music, but as an appreciative Torontonian, it’s hard not to have “Make Me Proud” stuck in your head. NOT THAT YOU SHOULD EVER FORGET ABOUT ALANNAH MYLES.
2. If you’re into startups and technology, you’re in the right place.
As you may have heard, Toronto was recently ranked the third biggest tech hub in the world. With well over 2,000 active tech startups in the city, Venture Funding in Canada at its highest since 2002, puny myopic companies like Google banking big money that Toronto will be at the bleeding edge of Artificial Intelligence, and a non-stop flow of geniuses from world-class University programs, incubators and advisory programs, The Big Smoke has a full stack (see what I did there?) of opportunities for young, hungry, tech-savvy professionals and entrepreneurs.
3. Rain is the new snow.
4. You may actually have to start liking hockey.
The Jays can’t seem to get off the ground this year, and the way the NBA is going, the Raptors might as well be playing against The Avengers. The Leafs, on the other hand…well, I never thought I’d say this before we figured out time travel, but holy hell they look exciting. You move to Toronto in the next 5 years, you might just be moving to a good old-fashioned hockey town.
5. You can continue to assume that if you’re racist, homophobic, or generally a bigot, you will struggle here.
Yes, as with any major city, of course there are still scumbags floating around Toronto saying atrocious things and thinking atrocious thoughts. But in Toronto, those kinds of people end up spending most of their time as social fugitives, little of their time as professional role models, and none of their time as cultural ambassadors. More and more, each year “different” loses ground as a criticism and gains endorsement as an expectation. If that doesn’t fit well with your agenda, chances are you won’t fit well with this city.
6. There are tons of super-cool neighbourhoods, and you should check out all of them.
One of the most exciting and entertaining things about Toronto is its extensive spectrum of ‘hoods. From the culture-coated areas like Little Portugal, Little Italy, Little India and Greektown, to the social-sexy scenes of West Queen West, King West, Ossington, Yorkville and Riverside, you need to make a habit of exploring. I mean, really…explore the space. (You’ll also want to get that Christopher Walken reference before you move here too.)
7. Be prepared to get a psuedo-degree in real estate economics, with a minor in insufferable opinions.
I have yet to attend a party in 2017 at which at least one person did not bring up the Toronto housing market. Not coincidentally, I have also yet to attend a party in 2017 at which I did not want to sneeze guacamole on least one person who brought up the Toronto housing market. Everyone is an “expert” on the topic, and they just loooove sharing their expertise. Better study up.
8. If you’re thinking of buying a house in the city, know that when someone says “The market is cooling”, they mean “Buying a house in Toronto is now only ONE AND A HALF BILLLION DOLLARS.”
“Ooooooo the opinionated writer said something that sort of contradicts his opinion about annoying opinions in the previous point. BUUUURN.” Nah. Here’s the deal: Toronto is a world-class metropolis in a world-class country. From now ‘till forever, you’ll need a deep-chubby 6-figure household income and access to several thousand Gs to even have a shot at buying a house “in the city”. That ain’t easy, and it probably ain’t getting easier. But hey: there’s nothing wrong with rentals and condos.
9. It feels like we’re kinda overdoing the condo thing… but all those condos do make for a pretty bumping core.
So far in the 2010s, Toronto has added around 110,000 condo units in addition to the approximately 104,000 units that were added in the 2000s…AND IT’S ONLY 2017. AND THAT’S ONLY THE CONDOS AT YONGE AND BLOOR. Ok, that’s a lie, but it’s sort of not. That said, while all that development tends to make things somewhat congested sometimes, unlike most North American cities (I’m looking at you, Denver) it also tends to make things across the heart of the city a lot awesome a lot of the time. One thing Toronto is not, is a snoozy spot.
10. If you love having your day ruined by construction, you will LOVE this city.
And by “your day”, I mean “every day”. It doesn’t help that our “rush-hour” traffic is already some of the worst in North America. #OneLaneIsTheNewThreeLanes
11. Our film festival is AMAZING, plan ahead to experience it properly.
Whether it’s the movies, or the patios, or the 4am last calls, or the creepy HD photos of strangers who in no way are your acquaintances, or just the raw human energy and excitement pulsing across the city — if you have a soul, there is something you can love about TIFF. Early September; put it in the calendar and make the most of it.
12. Beware of the hot new restaurant that seats 35.
Use caution when absorbing “hot new restaurant” tips. There is no shortage of arrogantly-mediocre-and-wildly-overpriced-but-hyper-popular-because-they-forgot-to-make-room-for-people-but-remembered-to-paint-a-chocolate-disco-egg restaurants consuming all the spare culinary crevasses of Toronto.
13. But know that our food situation gets more and more mind-blowing all the time.
Start getting comfortable spending all your disposable income on food. And maybe a gym membership. So you can eat more food. We may not have any Micheline stars (yet), but it’s a damn pleasure chewing up a few spare tires in Toronto.
14. If you want a lively social scene and nightlife, west is still best. If you want to dodge babies in front of “That place with the amazing gluten-free croissants”, east will be just fine.
I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE COMMENTS ON THIS ONE. I’m obviously exaggerating, and the East is on its way, but still, for now, West is for Turnt Up, East is for turndown.
15. Uber is starting to suck here.
From no-brainer to brain aneurysm. If it’s between 6:04 am and 3:58 am and there isn’t a surge, and your driver shows up within three blocks of the pickup address you submitted to their mapping software, consider yourself lucky.
16. Ok, except for that THEY NOW DELIVER MCDONALD’S.
True story. 145 McDonald’s locations across Toronto and the GTA deliver through UberEATS. Bone Apple Tea my foreigner friends.
17. There are EVEN MORE good looking people here now.
They just keep on piling in. If eye-candy gave you diabetes, Toronto would be Mississippi.
18. There are EVEN MORE douchey people here now.
They just keep on piling in. Do we offer them tax breaks I don’t know about?
19. It’s still one of the world’s best places to live in for, like, everything.
Since our 2015 accolades ranging from “best overall city in the world”, to “the second coolest neighborhood on the planet”, and the “hottest luxury real estate market in the world”, we’ve tacked on more notable recognition; the third best city in the world to live and work (PwC), the fifth leading FinTech centre now, and the fourth leading global FinTech centre of the future (survey via TFSA & Z/Yen), top 20 cities in the world with the best quality of life (Mercer Quality of Living Index), top 25 best city in the world for Millennials (Nestpick), and more. So who do we love? Say it with me…
20. There IS a second ‘T’ in Toronto, but once you move here, feel free to not pronounce it.
Welcome to Terronna. Grab a 2-4 and a toque and feel free to stay a while.