Canada has been welcoming immigrants since the beginning of time. However, when it comes to which province or territory accepts the highest number of immigrants, Ontario is always leading the park. Many of those who move there end up in Toronto. So, is Toronto good for immigrants?
Toronto is a generally great place for immigrants due to qualities such as diversity, strong economy, entertainment scene, fairly stable environment, and great residential neighbourhoods. But there are also challenges such as unaffordable housing, cold weather, and the difficulty of finding a job.
However, the few challenges shouldn’t discourage you, especially if you already have a job offer in the city. But if you have to spend time job hunting and don’t have enough savings, it might not be the best decision. Here, we discuss whether Toronto is a good city for immigrants.
Why do immigrants move to Canada?
There are several reasons why several newcomers to Canada would prefer to stay in Toronto, and this significantly explains why it’s a good place for immigrants. They include:
1. Diversity of the Population
With almost 3 million residents, Toronto isn’t only Canada’s biggest city. It’s also the most diverse. There are thousands of ethnic groups from all the world’s countries living here. It has one of the highest percentages of foreign-born residents globally, and all these people from various backgrounds live harmoniously in the city. Its diversity means that most newcomers are more comfortable settling here as they can find people with similar backgrounds. Diversity isn’t just about cultural backgrounds but also ideologies, sexuality, and other unique features that make us human.
Toronto is the economic hub of Canada which means the city has one of the most vibrant job markets in the country. When looking for jobs with high wages, Toronto is the place to go, with only British Columbia having a higher minimum wage. With over six million residents, the Toronto region isn’t only an economic powerhouse in Canada; it has one of the biggest economies in North America and consistently outperforms other cities. It’s also quite diverse in terms of the key business sector. 38% of businesses in Canada have their headquarters in Toronto, and it’s responsible for one-fifth of Canada’s GDP, and almost half of Ontario’s GDP is from Toronto. Many consider it the next tech hub in North America after Silicon Valley. With its economic credentials, it’s not surprising that many residents prefer to live here.
3. Incredible Entertainment Scene
With eight major sports teams, including an NBA Champion, the city undoubtedly has a lot to offer when it comes to entertainment. Fondly referred to as the Six by its natives, including pop stars such as The Weeknd and Drake, there’s nothing you’re looking for when it comes to entertainment options that you won’t find in Toronto. It hosts some of the biggest film festivals in the country, has a rich art and culture heritage, and has a diverse culinary scene. In addition, the nightlife in Toronto is unbeatable. Thus, young immigrants find the fast-paced lifestyle to match their zest for life.
4. Stable Environment and Fair Climate
Canada is cold, and Toronto is one of its less cold areas. The city has a semi-continental climate that’s usually warm in the summer and cold in the winter. The cold here isn’t that serious compared to what you’ll get in most parts of Canada. The weather is stable, and so is the environment. It’s rare to have natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis here. This further makes it attractive for newcomers who’ll appreciate all the stability they can get in a new country.
5. Residential Neighbourhoods Within the City
This isn’t New York, where residential areas are far away from the thick of business and the city. In Toronto, residential areas and corporate spaces exist side by side, and the city does its best to be family-friendly. Parks are everywhere you turn to, and you’ll find good schools in almost every neighbourhood. Its family-friendliness makes it attractive for immigrants moving with children or planning to start a family. Its low crime rate for a big city further makes it a great place.
Challenges For Immigrants in Toronto
While Toronto is good for immigrants and has many features that attract them to the city. Residents face several challenges here, and newcomers have to grapple with these conditions as they struggle to adapt to the city. Challenges that immigrants usually face include:
1. Unaffordable Housing
Rent is one of the major issues in Toronto. Unless you’re a millionaire moving to Toronto on an investment visa, you might find it challenging to find accommodation here. The cost of housing in Toronto is astronomic as it now has the most expensive real estate market in the country. The high cost of rent and difficulty finding affordable accommodation can make your first few months in the city tricky.
2. Finding a Job
Unless you already have a job offer before moving, finding a job in Toronto can be challenging, especially when you have to try to survive in one of the most expensive cities in Canada. While there are a lot of job opportunities in the city, the competitiveness is also high due to the population. So, you’ll need to stand out and have some qualities that set you apart to get a good job here. Most employers will want to see the Canadian experience on your resume, and it’s a bit challenging to get that in a cut-throat job market like Toronto. It’s not enough to get a job. You have to get one that pays very well to afford the high cost of living. So, minimum wage won’t do.
Toronto might be one of the warmest cities in Canada, but it’s still very cold, especially compared with several other countries. So, immigrants in Toronto may find it difficult to adapt to the cold. But with time, you might come to enjoy the experience.
Toronto is a great city for immigrants, but the challenges of living here mean a newcomer might do better to start with smaller cities or a different province. Then, after fully settling down in Canada, they can now consider moving to Toronto.