As Canada’s most populous city, Toronto combines big-city vibes with more than 1,500 parks that keep residents connected to the outdoors. With a perfect score in the stability sub-ranking, Toronto maintains a sense of safety that lets people feel comfortable whether they’re walking, taking public transport or cycling.
In particular, the human-centred infrastructure means that life is much easier than in comparable big cities. Residents especially rave about the PATH, the underground pedestrian walkway that makes the Canadian winter more bearable. “From my office to the airport [train], dining, shopping and even doctor appointments, everything [is] conveniently accessible without the need for a winter coat,” said resident Hoang Anh Le, who blogs at Luxury under Budget.
Resident Kyra Marskell agrees, saying while the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) isn’t without its flaws, having integrated transit options – most of which come within four minutes – makes a world of difference when coming from a suburb where driving is the only option. “We also have rental bikes all around the city which is a great green-friendly commuting option I’ve recently enjoyed,” she added.
The city is also known for its diversity, with more than 51% of its residents born outside of Canada. “It’s the only major Western city where the visible [non-white] minority is the majority,” said Marcus Räder, CEO and co-founder at software company Hostaway. “There are chances to experience a lot of cultures and languages here, and Canada embraces multiculturality rather than pushing for assimilation.” This cultural diversity enriches the community through a variety of festivals, cuisines at every price point and a respect for sharing new ideas and ways of living.
An entrepreneurial spirit also influences Toronto, from big business (Uber, Google and Facebook all have offices here) to new start-ups. In recent years, the city has become North America’s third-largest tech hub, just behind New York City and Silicon Valley. When paired with city’s diverse community, the tech scene creates great exposure to people from different cultures and backgrounds, say residents.
“It’s interesting getting to learn cultural habits in relation to people’s work and personal lives,” said Jonathan Azouri, CEO and co-founder of CatchCorner, an app to book sports facilities. “It’s almost as if you gain a sense of international work life experience without needing to leave the city.”
Living In is a series from BBC Travel that discovers what it’s like to reside in some of the world’s top destinations.
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