Where in Toronto should I live?
Every new immigrant asks this question, or thinks while they plan to move. It is very important to identify the right location. Right location is a relative term, given your personal or family situation. Priorities are different if you are alone or have a family with children. To detail more on this, being alone or couple, you can stay nearer to downtown, closer to work, vibrant neighbourhoods are usually closer to entertainment district of the city. On the other hand if you immigrate here with little children, and if they are going to school you need to identify, good schools, safe neighbourhood easy commute to work. However, there is no reason to think it is harder to find accommodation with family. In reality, both situations have different priorities. Due to Toronto demographics finding accommodation is equally demanding in both situations. Following are few factors you may consider in identifying your preferred area to live, these are only overview. If you think there are other critical factors we should add to guide new immigrants, please use our contact for to let us know.
Safety and security:
In general Toronto is safe city, like any other big city petty crimes do happen. When you are new in this city you may become easy victim of such crime. If you have family, you increase your chance of such exposure. Alternative is to identify areas which has lower crime statistics. Check neighbourhood crime statistics page of the Toronto Police website listed at #1 below.
Population composition: City of Toronto, with the help of statistics Canada maintains a neighbourhood profile information. These data are very useful when you want to decide a suitable neighbourhood. At a very high level, you should stay in the neighbourhood where you can mix easily. As Toronto is a city of immigrants, there are parts of the city called little India, China town, Greek town etc. In your initial days you may feel comfortable staying near to these places. However, this may create a cocoon environment for you and important aspect of immigration may be lost. Population composition of a neighbourhood means the profile of the neighbourhood. You can research and identify few suitable neighbourhoods by using “neighbourhood profile" page at City of Toronto website listed at #2 below.
You greatly depend on public transportation for commuting in your initial days. Like many North American city, Toronto culture is to own a vehicle for transportation. However, before you are ready to buy a vehicle (i. e. you have driver's license and finance) public transportation is the most economic way to move around. Identify a location suitable close to a public transport e. g. near TTC, YRT bus/ subway route. You can find Greater Toronto Area (GTA) commuter maps linked at “Commuting" page of author's website listed below.
When you are selecting a location to search for rental places consider other amenities that you consider important according to your lifestyle. Places for activities, entertainment, worship etc. To sum it up, Toronto is a big city, finding a suitable place to live is not impossible, but takes a little bit of homework. To find the suitable residence 3 steps should be, A) Identify your requirements B) Start the research process well ahead of time C) Locate places that meets your requirement. Due to high demand on housing, places are rented in very short notice.
Naeemul Rahman is an immigrant to Toronto, Canada. He leads http://www.toronto-immigrant-guide.com which offers guidance to new immigrants from the immigrant's point of view. This site advises on, preparation before arriving, steps after arrival, and what is involved to settle down in Toronto. His site will include forums for immigrants to share their experiences. His objective is to make immigration to Toronto a success story for new immigrants. Reference websites