Toronto is a city that requires a full personal investment if you plan to really enjoy living here. If you’re looking for that city-life, those busy streets, and a million things to do, there’s no better place in Canada. If you just want a quiet, suburban life, with a nice lawn and calm Friday evenings, you can get that too, but you won’t be living in the real Toronto. Toronto has its suburbs, but because it’s such a big city (with over two million people), travelling downtown from the suburbs is no easy feat. Find a home for sale in Toronto concentrate yourself there. To help you make the most of this city, we’re here to give you a few things to keep in mind before buying a house in Toronto.
Take a birds eye view of the city and you’ll see that it’s roughly rectangular. Right in the center of that rectangle, from the University of Toronto to the waterfront, that is downtown. The city gets rough east of downtown, that is until you get to the fringes where there are many nice neighborhoods with whom you can watch movies on solarmovie. To the west of downtown you’ll find trendy blocks with great nightlife and high rise condos.
The city is less dense in the northern section of the rectangle. Once you get north of Dupont street the neighborhoods become more dispersed, with more parkland to be enjoyed. After crossing Highway 401 (the four-oh-one in Toronto-nese) you’re thoroughly into the suburbs. The city extends west all the way to the Toronto Pearson International Airport, and east to the suburb of Scarborough. The farther east and west you go from the city centre, the more suburban Toronto becomes. Measured end to end, Toronto is roughly 37 kilometres long and 17 kilometres wide.
Though Lake Ontario does a lot to moderate the weather in Toronto compared to inland Canadian cities, the summers in Toronto are still hot and humid, and the winters are cold and snowy. You can expect to see snow on the ground from December through February. Make sure you have warm winter clothes if you plan to stay active downtown throughout the winter unless you are planning to stay back in your blanket around the thermostat. Toronto also does have some smog, but most days out of the year the air quality is only ever rated moderate at worst.
The Toronto Public School District has some of the highest rated schools in Canada. There are hundreds of preschools, elementary schools, and secondary schools to choose from, both public and private. Where you live determines which school your children will go to, but there are also magnet-like schools called specialized programs that focus on narrower and deeper ranges of study.
People alternatively praise and disparage the Toronto Transit Commission. Frankly, we can’t think of a city that doesn’t have problems with public transportation, and for a system that serves over two million people, the TTC holds its own. There are plenty of options to get around in Toronto. You can take a streetcar, a bus, a taxi, and even a subway.
We highly, highly recommend that you do not try to drive your car through the city. The streets are congested as it is, and crosstown traffic during rush hour could take as long as two hours to get from end to end of the city. Use the TTC, or ride your bike, both options are much faster.
As the largest city in Canada, property in Toronto doesn’t come cheap. The median sale price for a single family home in Toronto is over a million dollars. Most people that live in the lower half of the Toronto rectangle live in condos, which can range from $500,000 to $1,000,000. Rent is more affordable than you might think, with many properties averaging around $1,500 to $1,800 a month.
In the northern part of the city, as well as the eastern and western extremities, you can find suburbs with grassy lawns and more personal space. Neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city tend towards rowhouses, with big front porches and usually two stories to a unity. The center and southern parts of Toronto are almost wholly dominated by condos.
One great thing to keep in mind before buying a house for sale in Toronto is to check out the neighborhood before you put money down. This can be hard if you’re currently living far from the city, but we promise it’s worth the time if you can spare it. Take a walk through the streets of the area you’re interested in.
Test out the neighborhood first during the day, then at night. If you’re not comfortable with the feel of the place, think again about buying that house. Toronto is a very diverse city with tons of different neighborhoods to choose from, and we promise that if you don’t like one, you’ll like another. Take your time and don’t sacrifice your peace of mind if you don’t have to. With all that being said, let’s take a quick look at a range of some of Toronto’s best neighborhoods.
- Yonge and Finch
This neighborhood historically has a “rough around the edges” reputation, but in recent years this place has been revitalizing into a favored spot in the city. Here you’ll find plenty of green spaces as well as York University.
- North York
Just over the 401, North York is like a suburb with an urban spine. Sometimes called “Toronto’s Second Downtown” you can find highrises running along Yonge street while tree lined residential streets branch off to the east and west.
- King West Village
Just west of downtown, King West Village is a stylish, trendy neighborhood nestled in a canyon of highrise condos. You might need to update your wardrobe if you’re thinking of moving here.
- Upper Beaches
This is a quiet, low-key neighborhood on the eastern edge of Toronto. Here you’ll find walk up townhomes and quaint two story houses. Most homes have some yard space and a driveway, and there are as many trees lining the streets here as there are houses. This is a great neighborhood for raising kids.
For people used to living in a city, Toronto won’t pose too many challenges. Work on getting that mental map fixed in your head, learn the streets, and get used to the rhythm of the place. If you’re coming from a rural area, first off, welcome! Forget the stereotype that city people are cold and mean, that’s not true. People are the same just about everywhere you go, there’s just a whole lot more people in Toronto than you might be used to.
Be prepared to run into some colorful characters on the streets from time to time. Be prepared for the noise. A city is rarely a quiet place, but eventually you’ll be able to tune-out the revving motorcycles and squealing brakes on the TTC busses. If you’re having trouble with too outside much noise leaking into your home, consider buying some window inserts that can block out all that ruckus.
Because driving can be a hassle, you’ll be doing most of your grocery shopping on foot. Maximize the amount of groceries you can carry on your person. Supplement what you can’t carry by eating at any of the fantastic restaurants found all over Toronto.
Don’t forget to take a break away from the city if you can. If you have a car, head out on the road from time to time. Drive up to Algonquin Provincial Park. It’s about three hours away by car, but the time spent on the road will pay off for all the time in the woods. Take some time off in nature to clear your head. Then you can dive back into the exciting fast-paced Toronto that you know and love.
Let’s do a quick review of some things to keep in mind before buying a house for sale in Toronto.
- There are condos in the south, houses in the north.
- Test your neighborhood at night before buying.
- Be prepared to rely on public transportation.
- The schools are fantastic but you’re limited by district.
- Wherever you live, be sure that it’s the right place for you, and give it your all.
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