Living in Toronto | The Complete Guide to Canada’s Largest City

Living in Toronto | The Complete Guide to Canada’s Largest City

Charlotte Koks
Charlotte Koks

Toronto is a city for everyone. As the largest city in Canada, it has that cosmopolitan, multicultural, and modern touch that young travelers love! Living in Toronto gives you access to numerous job opportunities, course and study programs, and proximity to Canada’s largest events! Even more appealing, you’ll discover that almost half of the city’s population is from a different country. As an international student or traveller, you’ll fit right in!

So, if you’re looking to work and study abroad in Toronto, you’ve come to the right place. This complete guide on living in Toronto provides all of the information and tips you need for the best experience in the capital of Ontario.

Quality of Life in Toronto

citizens walking in Toronto

Toronto lists as one of the 10 best cities in the world to live. Keep reading to learn more reasons why many students make this popular destination their new home.

Multicultural City

With a population of almost three million, Toronto is a melting pot of ethnicities, cultures, and traditions. Did you know that 30% of Toronto’s population speaks a language other than English and French? The city welcomes people from all backgrounds and nationalities, making international students feel right at home.

Industrious Lifestyle

While living in Toronto, you’ll notice the city never sleeps. Students and travelers in the city enjoy the fun and dynamic vibe, as there is always something to do or explore.

If you’re a lover of malls, live events, and social spots, this city is for you. Compared to other cities in Canada, where nature and outdoor activities are common, Toronto is an urban city ideal for shopping, eating, and sightseeing.

Speaking of urban, public transportation and hangout spots in Toronto operate late into the night, which is why it has a reputable nightlife. Toronto has an infinite list of bars, pubs, restaurants, and clubs all over the city for you to enjoy!

Climate in Toronto

view of a park in Toronto

Toronto, which sits near Lake Ontario, is in a zone of the province that has a humid continental climate. This location makes Toronto one of Canada’s warmer cities during the winter, but still experiences severely low temperatures and snow throughout the season.


Summers in Toronto are from June to August, where you can expect temperatures to fall between 24 and 26°C. Additionally, daylight lasts much longer, where you will still see sunshine as late as 8 p.m. You can spend the day at one of many beaches in Toronto as well as enjoy plenty of events and festivals that take place.

Between September and November, Autumn temperatures are an average of 15°C, in which one can enjoy the outdoors and city parks comfortably with a warm jacket.

Winter in Toronto, although milder than most Canadian cities, is still snowy and cold from December to March. Temperatures during this time can drop below 0°C. Still, many locals enjoy many of the city’s skating rinks and winter holiday festivities. If you will be living in Toronto throughout the cold season, be sure to pack warm, waterproof clothing and accessories.

Finally, Spring in Toronto is an unpredictable season. Temperatures fluctuate, sometimes as high as summer weather, and sporadic thunderstorms take place. However, this is the time outdoor eateries and social spots begin to reopen.

Cost of Living in Toronto

Toronto metro rail

A key point to evaluate before moving to any new city is its cost of living. As a large city and financial capital, the cost of living in Toronto is expensive compared to other Canadian cities. Fortunately, as a growing business center, citizens earn a high income. As of 2020, the minimum wage in the province of Ontario is 14.25 CAD.

Accommodation & Utilities

To give you an idea of costs, let’s walk through the average rental expenses per month in Canadian dollars (CAD) for someone living in Toronto:

  • One-bedroom Apartment (within the city): $2,150
  • One-bedroom Apartment (outer city suburbs): $1,770
  • Basic Utilities (electricity, water, HVAC): $150
  • Internet (high speed): $70

Keep in mind that rental prices vary depending on the area where you live. For example, an apartment downtown, which is in proximity to more tourist attractions and public transportation, will be more expensive than the city outskirts. To cut costs and save money, you can choose to rent further from the city center and share an apartment with a roommate.

Food & Transportation

As for groceries, eating out, and traveling, this amount will vary according to your lifestyle. Below is a list of common food necessities and their costs (in CAD) at a local grocery store in Toronto:

  • 1 Liter of milk: $3.07
  • A Dozen eggs: $3.37
  • A loaf of bread: $2.87
  • Bag of rice (1kg): $3.56
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle): $2.22
  • 1 box of cereal: $3.00

Next, if you’re getting around town without a car, here are the average costs of public transport in Toronto (in CAD):

  • Taxi ride (8km): $22
  • One-way metro ticket: $3.25
  • Monthly Pass (bus, metro, and train): $154

To help save costs on groceries, you can shop at many of the local farmers’ markets in Toronto. Also, to cut transport costs, take advantage of the PRESTO card, the electronic payment system of Toronto public transport.Fares are cheaper when using a PRESTO card instead of cash.

Entertainment & Leisure

Finally, it’s only natural to create the best experience while living in Toronto. Many tourists and students choose Toronto for the bustling city life, meaning social events, dining, and nightlife. Here is a list of common entertainment and leisure costs (in CAD):

  • Meal at a restaurant: $20- $30
  • Fast food combo meal: $12
  • A movie ticket: $15
  • A drink at a club: $14
  • Cappuccino in a cafe: $4.50
  • Gym membership: $56

Work while Living in Toronto

person walking dogs as a job

As the financial capital of Canada, Toronto is booming in business and available jobs. Many people immigrate to Toronto for career opportunities. Before reviewing jobs that most interest you, let’s discuss the legal requirements to work in Toronto.

Requirements to Work in Toronto

To work in Canada in general, you must meet the following:

  • Be of legal age, which is 18 years old.
  • Have a visa for Canada.
  • Acquire the necessary permits that allow you to work in Canada.

Though not mandatory, opening a bank account in Toronto is helpful, as well as being proficient in English. If you would like to improve your English while living in Toronto, there are plenty of English language courses available through our GrowPro program. We will discuss this more in-depth as you continue reading.

Most In-Demand Jobs

Canada has a large number of job opportunities across many sectors, especially for international students. The most in-demand job positions include:

  • Hospitality (hotels and restaurant positions)
  • Au pair
  • Tourism services
  • Construction
  • student/campus jobs

Tips for Finding Jobs

So, how should someone start job hunting in Toronto? Being in a different country may be intimidating, but don’t let that stop you from searching!

First, you can start by walking through your neighborhood and check in local shops and cafes to see if they are hiring. Be sure to bring copies of your resume to leave with each manager or store owner you encounter.

Next, use your networking skills. Ask your teachers, roommate, or classmates if their place of work or someone they know is hiring. Teachers may even be able to put in a good word on your behalf.

Last but not least, the internet is your most valuable source for job searching. You can take advantage of social networks, such as LinkedIn and Facebook groups, which post job listings and connect you with company pages. Also, job boards allow you to search for available jobs within your field and locations. Popular Canadian job board websites include IndeedKijiji, and Jobs in Canada.

Areas to Live in Toronto

residential area in Ontario

Now that you have job search tips and an idea of living costs, it’s time to review the different areas you can live in Toronto. Let’s explore the best neighborhoods and residential areas of the city.

Downtown Toronto

Downtown Toronto is the most expensive area of the city, but it’s also the most convenient. Main office buildings of corporations are downtown, as well as dozens of restaurants, bars, pubs, nightclubs, and cinemas. Some of the most popular areas downtown include the Entertainment District, Saint Lawrence Market, Queen West, and the Financial District.

West Toronto

The west side of Toronto has some of the quietest and tranquil neighborhoods in the city. Residential areas here include West Bend, High Park North, Junction Triangle, and Little Italy. West Toronto is known for its family-friendly atmosphere and a nice place for cycling.

East Toronto

East Toronto is another heavy residential area where you can enjoy recreational activities, such as volleyball, and events such as the International Jazz Festival. Also, on Danforth Avenue, you can walk to many restaurants, cafes, bars, and pharmacies.

Best Areas to Go Out in Toronto

people ice skating in Toronto

After working and studying all week, it’s time to discover all of the fun that Toronto has to offer. As a diverse and popular city, there is something for everyone. While living in Toronto, here are three districts you can find the best entertainment.

Entertainment District

With a buzzing atmosphere filled with bars, restaurants, theaters, and nightclubs, you will always find something to do in the Entertainment District. Here you can visit popular tourist attractions, including Ripley’s Aquarium, Roger’s Center, and the CN Tower. If you’re looking for outdoor activities and cultural events on the weekend, the Entertainment District is the place to be!

College Street

This bohemian fun zone is in proximity to the University of Toronto, thus receiving the nickname College Street. Here, the nightclubs are less formal and much cheaper compared to those in the Entertainment District, which attracts more college students. Also, the breweries and pubs on College Street are known as some of the best in the city!

Distillery District

Last but not least, the Distillery District is a popular spot among travelers and locals. What was once home to a large whiskey distillery is now a pedestrian-only street filled with bars, restaurants, and boutiques. The cobblestone streets and Victorian-style buildings throughout this area give the Distillery District a vintage-industrial vibe. From outdoor galleries to musical performances, the Distillery District is the best place in Toronto for arts, culture, and entertainment.

15 Things to Do in Toronto

graffiti area of Toronto

Aside from nightlife and entertainment, there are plenty of other activities to explore while living in Toronto. Below is a list of fun ideas to get you started:

  1. Have a photoshoot or take selfies in Graffiti Alley.
  2. Experience one of many festivals in Toronto, such as the Taste of the Danforth.
  3. Visit Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto’s version of Time Square.
  4. Dine in neighborhoods of different cultures (Little ItalyChinatownGreektown, etc.).
  5. Check out a sports game, including the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team.
  6. Take a stroll or have a picnic in High Park.
  7. Visit the indoor botanical gardens and greenhouses in Allan Gardens Conservatory.
  8. Grab a drink or meal in Kensington Market, Toronto’s diverse, bohemian neighborhood.
  9. Visit one of many museums and galleries, including the Art Gallery of Ontario.
  10. Go ice skating in Nathan Phillips Square during the winter .
  11. Take a beer-tasting tour in Steam Whistle Brewing.
  12. Go shopping in the PATH, Toronto’s underground pedestrian walkway.
  13. Tour through Casa Loma, Toronto’s majestic, Gothic mansion.
  14. Go kayaking through the Toronto Islands, a 10-minute ferry ride from the city.
  15. Climb the CN Tower for a panoramic view of Toronto city.

Study while Living in Toronto

woman studying in college library

Canada has an excellent education system with international recognition, attracting students worldwide. With well-structured educational programs and internships, students who study in Toronto can quickly enter the labor market after graduation. If you’re interested in studying while living in Toronto, let’s review the criteria.

Requirements to Study in Toronto

To study in Canada in general, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a valid passport for the duration of your study program
  • Obtain a visa or eTA for Canada
  • Have a Study Permit (if staying over six months)
  • Proof of no criminal record
  • Be in good health (you may need to provide a medical exam)
  • Demonstrate financial solvency (coverage of tuition and living expenses)
  • Proof of enrollment at university or educational institution

Additionally, depending on the school, you may need an English level certificate, such as a TOEFL or IELTS, and a certificate or high school diploma as proof of passing prerequisite courses.

Courses to take in Toronto

As mentioned in a previous section, there are plenty of courses available in Toronto through our GrowPro program. Let’s explore the options below:

English Courses

Would you like to improve your English while living in Toronto? Immersion and English courses are the best way to strengthen your proficiency! We offer general and intensive English courses through our partnerships with some of Toronto’s best English schools. You can also take advantage of our official exam preparation courses if you plan to certify your English proficiency through exams such as IELTS and TOEFL.

Vocational Courses

If you already have a college degree or are interested in educational alternatives, we have Cooperative Education (Co-Op) courses through vocational programs in Toronto. Here, you can receive the knowledge and skills of a specific trade or profession and earn a professional certification.


Live in Toronto through GrowPro Experience

Toronto is a multicultural and vibrant city to live in, and this guide only shows a small snippet. If you’re ready to travel and experience Toronto for yourself, GrowPro Experience can help!

Here at GrowPro, we have helped thousands of young adventurous souls like you fulfill their dreams of moving and studying abroad. We can help you live in Toronto and receive the experience of a lifetime! Check out dozens of programs we offer in Canada, choose one that best fits your goals, and fill out the form. Afterward, our team members will contact you and take it from there!

If you have questions, our Student Advisors are here to help. They can assist you in filling out any paperwork, student visa applications, and more! Once you arrive in Toronto, our GrowPro team greets you at the airport and takes you to our Welcome Session for tips and resources to get you settled in the city.

Come live in Toronto through GrowPro! Your adventure awaits!

About the author

Charlotte Koks
Charlotte Koks

Hey there! My name is Charlotte, and I'm working as an International Project Manager at GrowPro Experience. My goal is to help students all around the world to live the experiences of a lifetime 🙌🏽. I'm trying to inspire students by means of telling the story of former growers, showing what we are doing at each destination and writing about our cities and tips on our blogs. I got a big passion for adventures, doing sports in the park, learning new languages and seeing new places 🌏. That's one of the reasons why I studied European Studies and why I currently work for GrowPro, to expand my horizons. Hopefully, I can inspire you to do the same!

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