So, tell me about Toronto

RickJay’s post was excellent and I really don’t want to nitpick or ague. Still, this statement:

is somewhat misleading. Almost forty percent of the Provincial budget goes to cover health care!

“If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.”
- P.J. O’Rourke

My yearly tuition at Waterloo is just over $6000/yr plus a mandatory $800 co-op fee ($400/sem). The UofT’s tuition is comparable.

I also have to say that this post is very informative. I moved to Ontario just last September so I still don’t know much about the province.

If quality of life is your number one criterion for chosing Toronto, it might be useful to know that Toronto is nowhere near the top of the list when most Canadians are looking to relocate for that reason.

I will repeat the stereotype not because it is true (nor false) but because if you do move to Toronto, it is part of the identity of Torontonians.

Toronto is the most northerly major city in the United States and the geographic, cultural and financial center of the universe. Nobody is born in Toronto, they move there from places where the words “please” and “thank you” do not exist. After graduating, many students from all over Canada go to Toronto to make their riches. Their loved ones are generally pleased to see them go as their self-absorbed avarice was no longer welcome at home. The people who live in Toronto don’t actually live in Toronto, but in places like Mississauga and Oakville. The actual size of Toronto’s suburbs is only 1/4 of what it appears due to a trick with mirrors. The singular goal of most Torontonians who have been there more than a year is to earn enough money to afford therapy so that they can move back to wherever they came from and rethink their priorities. Sadly few make it. Stress from an 80hr work week kills 30% of people by the age of forty, gangs kill 10%, giant gray squirrels another 10%. Most of the rest perish on the 401.

Now before folks get upset, I’ll say that I only believe half of that. See, many Canadians look at Toronto in much the same way that many Americans look at… well, L A. If high housing costs, busy roads and a dog-eat-dog zeitgeist are familiar to you, Toronto will give you the opportunity to enjoy them at both OoF and 100oF (in dense humidity). Actually, it is a fun city with plenty to do and always has something happening. Its a matter of weighing the costs.

BTW, the Ontario education system has been under fiscal attack in the past decade and has suffered severely.

Hrdygrdymn, you weren’t supposed to mention the grey squirrels! Or the snow snakes!


I thought we agreed about telling Americans how nice Canada was, people…next thing you know, they’ll ALL want to move here. Then we’ll never get any peace and quiet.

(And the snow snakes aren’t that bad. Especially if you have a small dog to feed to them while you run for your life.)

We’re talking about Toronto. I thought I was being nice.:smiley:

Although I’ve spent most of my life in western Canada, I did live in the Toronto area for about 9 years growing up. My personal conclusion is that Calgary is better than Toronto, but I don’t want to turn this into an East versus West debate, so I’m just going to add some general Canadian commentary.

Without immigration, Canada’s population is actually shrinking, so we tend to welcome talented new people with open arms. In my last job, we had four Vietnamese immigrants, two Philippinos, and for a short time an Irish guy who had just arrived in Canada the week before.

Compared with what you’re probably used to, Canada is a very safe place to live. Toronto has about one tenth the homicide rate per capita of L.A. When somebody is murdered in these parts, it makes the front page of the news paper.

The national religion of Canada is hockey. You might as well get your kid a pair of skates now. And for his own sake, teach him to cheer for anyone but the Maple Leafs (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

Tim Hortons is the best doughnut place in the universe.

BTW, Toronto is pronounced “Tranna.” The accepted alternate is “T.O.” Calgary is pronounced “Calgree.” And Saskatchewan is pronounced “Skatchwan.”

Hot dogs are called hot dogs in both English and French.

Although the Canadian Football League has inferior players, the game is, on the whole, more entertaining than the No Fun League.

Dill pickle chips kick ass.

“Eh” is properly placed at the end of statements, not questions, as in “That’s a damn big moose in your yard, eh?” rather than “Is that a moose in your yard, eh?”

That is false. Even without any immigration, Canada’s population would still be growing very slightly; immigration accounts for only 2/3 of population growth. Canada takes in about 250,000 people a year, but the birth rate is high enough to slightly exceed both the death AND emigration rate.

The Relevant Stats

Of course, I’m proud to say we DO welcome immigrants (more than most countries, anyway.)

See, we agree on TWO things. Go Sens!

The GREY squirrels? All this time I’ve been terrified of that Ontarian Anomaly - the BLACK Squirrel - and now you tell me it’s the GREY ones that are dangerous?!?!???

Counting down the days where I move back to Quebec and we only have to worry about rabid language police…

[sub]Actually, we do have grey squirrels too…but really, IMHO, it’s the BLACK ones that are the spawns of Satan. They’re all over campus, and they’re fucking fearless! I once saw one grab part of a hot dog from next to someone on a bench, where they’d put it down to get something from their bag! Less than a foot away![/sub]

But it is nice here! There are few things more invigourating that walking to the bus stop when it’s -18 and the snow squeaks under your boots and ice crystals float glittering in the air as the pale winter sun comes over the horizon…

Much better than that crappy zero-degree drizzle and slush we get too much of around here. If you plan to live here, just skip November, completely.

You’ll know you’re becoming Canadian when you see a Victoria’s Secret catalogue or a display of women’s bathing suits and the first thing you think is, “Damn, she must be absolutely freezing in that outfit…” :slight_smile:

They’re really not that much of a problem. We only lost one consultant last year during the infestation at work. They said all the rest were layoffs.

The squirrels’ nests–you know, those balls of leaves high up in the otherwise-bare trees–are more worrisome. We think the giant squirrels have the little ones trained on binoculars and taking notes.

All squirrels look black in the dark.

And watch out for the moose. A friends’ parents totaled their '69 Mercedes against a moose. The car was a writeoff but the moose walked away. Coincidence? I think not.

Well, what d’ya know: you can learn stuff on the SDMB! I have heard on any number of news reports over the last several years that we were suffering from negative population growth in Canada, but it is yet another lie from the major media. Thank you for clearing that up, RJ.

Sunspace: According to Predators by Kevin Van Tighem, more people are killed by moose and deer in Canada every year than have been killed by cougars in the last century. So remember to watch out for car-attacking moose on your way to work in Toronto, eh?

Why you want to know about Toronto, kemosabe?

Another Torontonian checking in …

I’d like to point out that if this thread was going on in the summer, it would be very different:

Rather than ‘It’s so fcking cold’ we’d be saying 'It’s so fcking hot and humid and smoggy!’. But I still love it: the four seasons thing is definitely interesting, spring and fall are so lovely they make the freezing and the steaming worthwhile. And no matter how cold it gets there’s usually plenty of sun.

I’ve been in several other ‘world cities’ - London, Paris, Rio, Barcelona - and although they are fantastic I will always love Toronto. It’s mostly the multiculturalism, which means many fantastic restaurants (I live five minutes from Little Italy, Little Portugal, the Korean Business District, fifteen Ethiopian restaurants and seven Greek ones - also there’s another Little Italy, a Little India, a Carribbean section, Greek Town and two Chinatowns, one of which is well-populated by Vietnamese), lots of neat music, and a cultural permissiveness that I really missed in those other cities (the term ‘foreigner’ is almost never used here, people seem to be interested in cultural differences rather than threatened by them).

You can find good live jazz or folk any night of the week. You will have more trouble finding good electronic music but it is still possible. In fact, there probably isn’t a kind of music you could name that you can’t find someone playing in Toronto.

There are several repetoiry cinemas where they show second-run/foreign/independent release movies for half the (exorbitant) price you pay at the big cinemas.

The Toronto Film Festival, every September, can’t be beat. Ditto the Jazz Festival, every July - and if you miss it, there’s one just down the highway in Montreal in August.

Toronto is pretty flat (if you live downtown) so biking is the way to go. The transit system is very badly funded (something like 80% of its income comes from the farebox, way more than every other North American city), so if you don’t live near a major route you will have to find alternatives.

The black squirrels are terrifying and may one day take over the world: for now, though, they’re harmless. They will challenge your right to cross certain paths in Queen’s Park, but stand up to them and you should be alright. The snow snakes aren’t too much of a problem, especially once you take the anti-snow-snake course.

Rent: I paid $1750 for three bedrooms, clean, two bathrooms, an outside deck, about a half-hour bike or subway ride from the business district. I’m moving to a two-bedroom $900 place about a half-hour bike or streetcar ride from the business district.

The best thing about Toronto which you often hear is that we don’t have any ‘slums’ in the US city sense. There’s no ‘inner city’. There are a few poor and somewhat ‘violent’ areas, but most of them have some middle-class families living there, and I have never been nervous walking down the street at night in any of them.

There are ongoing tensions not only between English/French (which don’t really affect you in T.O, except that all calls to government/national call centres start with ‘For instructions in English, press 1. Pour les instructions en francais, appuyez le 2’) but between West (Vancouver/Victoria) and East (Toronto), everyone seems to have a strong preference and the debate will never be resolved. Take all opinions (including mine!) with a grain of salt.

See you in Toronto!

Thanks again, everyone, for the helpful information. I’ve done a little research, and it appears my wife qualifies for permanent resident status rather handily (what sort of mutant goes and gets two BAs, and, in her case, before she turns 20? Oh, well, it helps; she gets 20 points just for that). I might qualify, but if I have a job ready, it doesn’t look like getting a work permit will be a big issue.

Okay, I more or less get that it is cold. Thanks, pyschonaut for the perspective. I can remind myself that, while it’s cold, it could be worse. I’m sure that will come as quite the comfort while I am freezing. I did just return from Paris, so can get my mind around, say, -5c or so (we were trapped on the A10 during the “snow storm”, and it got to be what I considered cold); I frankly can’t get my mind around –19, but it sounds extremely unpleasant. We’ll wait a few months to move, so I can look forward to hot and smoggy, which I’m used to.

** Hrdygrdymn**, all I can say is that your post made it sound like home already. Add a little more vitriol, and you could be talking about LA.

I will take the comments about squirrels and snow snakes under advisement. I had learned to fear the albino squirrels at the Louisville campus, I imagine I can learn to fear the black squirrels, too. Should I carry a club with me when I go walking, or just a small collection of dogs to throw to them?

Thanks for the tips about the cool things to do in Toronto, cowgirl, you made the place sound extremely appealing.

RickJay, thanks again for the extremely informative posts. I really can’t think you or SunSpace enough. I’ll start trying to get a handle on the Canada’s politics soonest. Did you manage to make Stockton Day change his name?

Stockwell, not Stockton.

Sadly, no. There was a major schizm between those who wanted it changed to “Doris” and those who preferred “Sonny.” I was one of the vocal minority who wanted “Birth.” Rioting ensued.

hrdygrdymn, I was born in Toronto.

And fled screaming before I was crawling :smiley:

I freely admit to being prejudiced against Toronto. It strikes me as a wanna-be LA. Everyone wants a house with a yard, and yearns to spend 4 hours a day driving. Yuck!
But you may like that type of lifestyle. More power to you.

However, I will never adapt to Torontonians’ annoying habit of asking people how much money they earn at social occasions.

I grew up in Meadowvale Mississauga…we moved when I was 8 so I can’t give you as much help as everyone else here. But I can say I miss the place, it was great bike trails & parks.

And has anyone mentioned Canada’s Wonderland? Fun fun.

Actually Sunspace, there is at least one more Krispy Kreme in Canada - Kitchener, Ontario had one open last November. Other than that, I agree than Tim Hortons is a superior dougnut provider.

Other than that, other Dopers have provided any info I could (I only went to school in Toronto for a year, which I enjoyed so much, I was asked not to come back :smiley: ). Good luck bashere!

When people say the highways in Toronto are bad, you have to ask “compared to what?”.

I’ve worked in L.A., Palm Springs, Van Nuys – when the traffic slows down in Toronto I’m reminded of the traffic in L.A. at 6:15 AM, bumper-to-bumper crawling into the city every day. Toronto’s traffic is bad, but not that bad.

They’re spreading! Alert the Moose Cavalry!!