Canada’s largest city Toronto is an economic powerhouse especially in the tech sector where tech giants such as Google, Uber, and Shopify have camps. Plus it offers over 200,000 tech and internet-related jobs which continue to rise in number.
Despite these, plus its multicultural diversity, and the fact it makes for a great travel destination, Toronto counts as one of the most expensive places to live due to its expensive housing. Besides, you will have to battle constantly with traffic, congestion and long commute times. Still, the unfriendly and standoffish nature of Torontonians will bother new visitors who are trying to find a new home in Toronto.
While young people may find Toronto a little bit more bearable, those moving to the city with families may need to rethink their decisions. I personally enjoy living in Toronto, but like everything in life, nothing is perfect.
Here are some of the reasons for not moving to Toronto or live there.
Housing is expensive
The Toronto Real Estate Board says an aspiring homeowner will part with $1.2 million for a detached home and $630,000 for a Condo
. The board said last month that selling prices rose 12.3 percent year-over-year since 2017. Since then, said the board, mass affordability is the poorest since 2017. The data says a double-digit rise may come over the next few months, and this is due to the low ratio of sales to new listings.
Currently, renting a 900 sqft furnished apartment costs around CAD 2,900
per month. Houses are expensive in the city because of high demand and low supply since there is no land left to build large housing projects in the city. A 480 sqft furnished studio costs around CAD 2,100 to rent.
The latest data showed a 17.1 percent drop in new listing compared to last year.
On top of that, overcrowding is real in Toronto with 133,000 households renting houses in the open market experiencing overcrowding. 16% of people renting in the social affordable housing also experience overcrowding. This introduces other difficulties such as poor
Transportation and traffic are hectic
Navigating Toronto is hard due to congestion. Despite the city having a typical 8-to-12 lane expressway unbelievable, it takes an average commute time of 65 minutes. This amount of time is the longest in the province.
In addition to the expensive monthly pass required when traveling from one region to another, packing is expensive in Toronto if you own a car. Also, you would pay more than you earn monthly, to use the 407 toll route, the GO train, and downtown parking. Despite the high connectedness with subways and routes, it takes longer to move around with public transport including trains. It is also expensive to travel by Go train.
Besides, car insurance is expensive in the Greater Toronto Area with estimated premiums ranging from $2,250 to $2,590 depending on the area you live in. Drivers in this area pay more than those in any other place in the province.
Planning to use a car is more appropriate because most people drive to work. Also, a private means is preferable if you are planning to travel to other regions. However, navigation would sometimes require you to leave the car at home and use public means to avoid crowded areas. This overcrowding causes problems in the use of public services and transportations, and associated delays, in addition to increased risks associated with disease outbreaks.
Speaking about health, Canada uses a public healthcare system. Healthcare is not free in Toronto and for Canadians and residents, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan provides coverage throughout Canada through the Ontario Health Card. However, a visitor will need to pay for their care, which is usually in advance. A visitor would also need to arrange for travel insurance coverage.
Visitors who are using private insurance because they do not have the provincial health cards will also need to pay for their health care until they get became eligible for OHIP card
. Being a public healthcare system, it means you may sometimes need to wait for long hours to get health services.
Tough job market for newcomers
Despite a thriving tech and information sector which offers many jobs, there is high competition between local students and immigrants. This means immigrants and internationals are disadvantaged and may require local experience in Canada to compete favorably.
Sure enough, you could find a job quickly if you are in the software engineering industry or IT sector, but according to the people that I met from the city, immigrants aren’t able to find jobs easily not because of lack of jobs or a bad economy but need for local work experience.
Immigrants will need to understand the recruitment structure and work culture in the country since it’s different from those cultures in other countries. Other challenges for immigrants include failure to communicate during interview, and failure to match Canadian’s standards in resume making.
Toronto city taxes are going up
Toronto city council voted in December last year, to approve an increase in the levy on property taxes. These taxes will increase by 1 percent in 2020 and 2021 and 1.5 percent in 2022 until 2025. This will add to a cumulative increase of 10.5 percent until 2025.
Although this year’s increase will cost average homeowners an extra $43, it could go up to $280 starting in 2025. This will mean an increase in housing and other costs although the additional taxes will go to funding a new 10-year affordable housing plan. Ryerson University says the taxes could even increase further to 20%.
Winter is tough in Canada
Canadian winter is for those who love cold weather and winter sports. Otherwise, winters can be cold and chilly, reaching the lows of -30 degrees C during an average winter. Montreal as does Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, and further North areas can get even colder. Nova Scotia and British Columbia
offer milder weather conditions then. The weather makes Vancouver Canada’s most expensive city.
During winter, Toronto experiences windy in downtown and arctic gusts around tall buildings. It also brings frozen water and air that makes the skin painful. In addition to the adverse experiences, headaches, and discomfort, and need to spend extra money to remain warm, there is a lesser social activity in winter compared to summertime. It may not be one of the greatest cons living in Toronto but it will concern you if used to warm climate.
Summers are hot
Toronto records a temperature rise of up to 35 degrees Celsius in August. Thunderstorms are a possibility too. Sometimes, heat waves may occur, reaching around 34-37 degrees Celcius and it could be hectic due to humidity brought by Lake Ontario.
Starting a business can be hard for immigrants in Canada
If you wish to migrate to Canada to start a business there from scratch, you will be required to apply for a business immigrant Visa. It is the only way you can start the business and also live in the country. In the start-up visa program, one would require a qualifying business and things like letters from venture capital groups and investors and there will be language requirements too.
It takes time to access other countries/continents
If you are migrating from South America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, Canada not just feels but is physically far removed from your home. It means several hours of flight, tiresome travels, and long waiting hours in one or more airports as you make connections from one city and country to another.
It can be hard to find friends
Toronto is not in a shortage of attractions and places you can go to revel. You can visit the Ripley’s Aquarium, Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Art Gallery, and hundreds of other attractive places where you can make good friends.
One of the cons of living in Toronto is that many people are termed as “unfriendly and standoffish.” It may not be their culture but rather since most people are busy and extra cautious. Many people are too involved to notice and until you approach them to make a friend, it can be more difficult compared to places where people are not as this busy.
People looking to explore, socialize, and participate in issues affecting their local community can join Facebook pages run by their neighborhood.
May not be the best place for nature lovers
Toronto is not the best location for nature lovers, especially during winter. That does not mean you will not get outdoor activities in the parks and boating on the lake. These are easy to find and options include Trinity-Bellwood Park, Allen Gardens, High Park. However, hikers, camping enthusiasts, and rock climbers may not get any serious places they can advance their motives.
Besides, if you love the waterfront and have visited cities like Chicago, Toronto is not a pleasant place. The public land is sold to property developers and condos litter the place. It can be nice to own a condo there as a homeowner, but it is not if you are living nearby or visiting the place to enjoy the waterfront.