Kirsti

Recommended suburbs to live in Toronto area

Recommended Posts

Kirsti

Hi mense,

My BF and I are landing in March in Toronto. We don't yet have employment to centre our location around so we would like to ask if anyone can recommend any suburbs to stay in and why.

Thank you so much for your input.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
IreneBez

@Kirsti, I see your post is not getting much attention and I also want follow the discussion. Maybe you will get more responses if you ask on the SACanada Facebook page?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hognods

I don't have first experience, but what I've been told is that there are a few South Africans in Thornhill & Oakville. Alternatively Mississauga or Vaughan have been suggested, or The Beach(es?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Annasofe13

Currently we living in Etobicoke, my husband works in Mississauga and I work in Vaughan. It worked out great for us with regards to our jobs and we can get the TTC to go downtown Toronto. Where we live we have a strip mall up the road with a ShoppersDrugMart, a Foodbasics, a pizza place, a dentist and a medical centre so we have everything we need. We even enjoy the church down the street. See what is where and what your priority will be, I would suggest Airbnb and change if you don't like the location. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Spacefrog

@KirstiWe did our landing trip last year (permanent move also intended in March) and did a thorough investigation, but honestly even with us enjoying that benefit we are no closer to a decision because it will all depend on the employment you find. So I think take @Annasofe13 advice and maybe do a short term rental or sponge off some old SA friends who understand the process you are going through, many of the places have fully equipped basements.  

There are some great areas in an around Toronto particularly in the Vaughn area that you may want to look at, some that I liked were Thornhill (slightly more pricey), Woodbridge and Maple, also easy to commute from these to downtown Toronto. These are areas I think you could make a start in that offer all the perks, obviously there are some areas that are just amazing but unless you owned and sold your shares in Steinhoff before 5 December 2017 the average South African cant afford it. :blink:

Oakville was probably my favorite, its beautiful but also comes at a premium. 

Honestly, I struggled to find an area that was a complete disaster and I think each person will be drawn to aspects of a suburb that they like, so go and enjoy the adventure, its part of the process in my opinion. 

As for South Africans, you will find then littered all over the place and they were and are incredibly friendly. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jules
On 1/4/2018 at 10:56 AM, IreneBez said:

@Kirsti, I see your post is not getting much attention and I also want follow the discussion. Maybe you will get more responses if you ask on the SACanada Facebook page?

The question has been discussed many times previously. I would suggest searching the forum for old threads and then rekindle those discussions. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MaryJane

I don't know enough about Toronto (proper Toronto anyway) suburbs.

I live in Mississauga, which is close enough to Toronto.

I'd agree with @Jules. This topic comes up all the time. I think if you give us a bit more detail of what kind of lifestyle you are after or accustomed to, we can tell you a bit about the different areas that support it.

In general, I've found most areas to be abundant in activities and events to cater for people in all kinds of walks of life.

I gave this advice a few years back so if you are trying to determine where to settle, I hope this helps. 

I also particularly liked this post from Debs where she linked some maps on the GTA. The GTA is big. All the best on your choice @Kirsti!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kirsti

Thank you all so very much for your responses. We don't really have any lifestyle requirements except pet friendly (we have one cat).

The suggestion of airbnb is great! We will definitely go for that and just try and get a very budget friendly option near public transport. Good to hear there aren't really any "Diepsloot type" areas! No S.A. friends in Toronto (yet) I'm afraid, so that's not an option.

Again really appreciate your responses! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tracey22

I love downtown Toronto.  if I had more money, and no kids I would live in a condo on King street or in the annex.  but alas, i do not.

The key for me is how much are you willing to sacrifice for quality of home life when taking into account the commuting time.  When we first came to Canada, my commute was 45 minutes door to door.  It has now become 80 minutes door to door.  With the new TTC expansion, I am back down to 60 minutes.

 

i know of people who live in Simcoe and Guelph and commute to Toronto because they want the lifestyles those cities offer their families. find a community that appeals to you and your lifestyle.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jules

My commute door to door is just under 90 minutes each way daily. 

I choose a long commute to get more house for the money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Qrios1

We are based in Mississauga and we are loving it. Work, school (obviously) church, strip malls, all within 10 minute drive. I love not having to do the trek In GTA traffic everyday as work commute door to door is 8 minutes. When we eventually get our own place, I hope to get something similar. But with house prices in the GTA, we might have to move further away and I will have to commute.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jules
On 1/5/2018 at 5:50 AM, Spacefrog said:

@KirstiWe did our landing trip last year (permanent move also intended in March) and did a thorough investigation, but honestly even with us enjoying that benefit we are no closer to a decision because it will all depend on the employment you find. So I think take @Annasofe13 advice and maybe do a short term rental or sponge off some old SA friends who understand the process you are going through, many of the places have fully equipped basements.  

There are some great areas in an around Toronto particularly in the Vaughn area that you may want to look at, some that I liked were Thornhill (slightly more pricey), Woodbridge and Maple, also easy to commute from these to downtown Toronto. These are areas I think you could make a start in that offer all the perks, obviously there are some areas that are just amazing but unless you owned and sold your shares in Steinhoff before 5 December 2017 the average South African cant afford it. :blink:

Oakville was probably my favorite, its beautiful but also comes at a premium. 

Honestly, I struggled to find an area that was a complete disaster and I think each person will be drawn to aspects of a suburb that they like, so go and enjoy the adventure, its part of the process in my opinion. 

As for South Africans, you will find then littered all over the place and they were and are incredibly friendly. 

You have expensive taste ;-)

The areas you listed are very expensive unfortunately. If Oakville was cheaper I would move there - far enough from the city to feel suburban but close enough that you are ridiculously far from the hustle and bustle of downtown TO.

Plus it's within striking distance of other employment hubs like Oakville itself,  Mississauga and Brampton. 

It's why it is so expensive. The average price of a detached home is over $1 million. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
shaun

I'll tell you a little secret..............Burlington folks, look at Burlington.

50 minute commute to downtown Toronto.

Great neighbourhoods, with no bad areas.

#1 city with a population of under 200k in all of Canada.

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RichT
On 1/15/2018 at 5:28 AM, shaun said:

I'll tell you a little secret..............Burlington folks, look at Burlington.

50 minute commute to downtown Toronto.

Great neighbourhoods, with no bad areas.

#1 city with a population of under 200k in all of Canada.

 

@shaun, I stumbled across your little secret a while back and immediately fell in love... We're moving over in the next few months and have tentatively identified both Oakville (my wife) and Burlington (me) as the areas we'd likely look at settling in. I'd really appreciate any insight you can give me in terms of living in the area as research can only take one so far.

Just some thoughts/concerns from my side which may give you context:

  • We'd ideally like a better work/life balance and therefore like the idea of being further away from the (perceived) pace of Toronto.
  • But we're worried that the commute to and from Toronto (as there's a good chance I'll get a job there) will become a problem. The romantic ideal I have is that I can read/work on the train and use it to switch on/off as I move between my work and home life but I'm not sure if it's actually like this.
  • I also understand that the commute time is not just the train ride itself but getting to the station. The way I'm viewing it is that Burlington is quieter than  Oakville and hence more accessible.
  • I love the outdoors (hiking/mountain biking/triathlons) so I'm drawn to living close to the lake and trails, not sure of the difference here between Oakville and Burlington.
  • Burlington seems to be 10% to 20% cheaper from a rental perspective.
  • Quality of schooling would be a big factor (we have two daughters 12 and 9).

Thanks in advance!

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jules

Rich - the commute is ok by train. I actually get a train at Aldershot which borders Burlington. 1 hour trip in a comfortable air conditioned train. That hour (each way daily) is time for me. Me time. 

I have another 20 minute drive from Ancaster to the station. So my total commute, which includes walking to the office from Toronto union station, is 90 minutes each way. Yes it's a long commute. But driving in from areas 25km from downtown will take over an hour anyway. And the house will be 2x to 3x more expensive. 

I could never afford my home if it was closer to the city so I commute instead. Been doing it for 13 years so not an issue for me. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RichT
1 hour ago, Jules said:

Rich - the commute is ok by train. I actually get a train at Aldershot which borders Burlington. 1 hour trip in a comfortable air conditioned train. That hour (each way daily) is time for me. Me time. 

I have another 20 minute drive from Ancaster to the station. So my total commute, which includes walking to the office from Toronto union station, is 90 minutes each way. Yes it's a long commute. But driving in from areas 25km from downtown will take over an hour anyway. And the house will be 2x to 3x more expensive. 

I could never afford my home if it was closer to the city so I commute instead. Been doing it for 13 years so not an issue for me. 

Thanks Jules. I'm happy to sit on a train for an hour with the ability to be productive or be entertained in some way... 

Do you ever find the train to be too busy whereby you don't get a seat and therefore your me time becomes uncomfortable?

And what is the general approach in terms of work/life balance in Canada? Is it the norm for people to leave at 5pm so you get home at 6:30, or do people work long hours like we do here and therefore I'll be getting home well after 7? 

 

  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jules

The trains do get very full at rush hour. Getting a seat depends on what station you board at. If it's the 6th or 7th station then it will often be full. I'm lucky because Aldershot is the first stop in the morning. Coming home from Toronto one just needs to get to the station several minutes before departure to get a seat.  

As for work life balance - it will depend on industry. I'm in financial services (I work at head office for one of the banks) and there is no work life balance. In SA I worked for Old Mutual head office and there is no comparison. I miss my work days in SA. There's no doubt that they work MUCH harder in Toronto. There's no 9 to 5 unless in are in a very junior role. I'm usually in the office around 8am and I leave around 6.30pm or 7pm. Seldom take lunch breaks. During busier times I will leave around 8pm but that's not normal. Throw in 90 minute commutes and I'm up 5.30am and home after 8pm daily. Getting home at 6.30pm feels like a treat.

I should not generalise but overall I would say that Canada has even less work life balance than SA.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JanSalJanNat

That's not good😨 we currently live in Gauteng & would love to get out of the hustle & bustle of the city.  Hopefully we can get jobs that's got more of a balance.  I am an engineer & my husband an accountant  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tracey22
On 1/5/2018 at 5:50 AM, Spacefrog said:

There are some great areas in an around Toronto particularly in the Vaughn area that you may want to look at, some that I liked were Thornhill (slightly more pricey), Woodbridge and Maple, also easy to commute from these to downtown Toronto. These are areas I think you could make a start in that offer all the perks, obviously there are some areas that are just amazing but unless you owned and sold your shares in Steinhoff before 5 December 2017 the average South African cant afford it. :blink:

Look at Canadian Real estate Association.  This websirte, along with TREB (for the GTA) and Teranet give good statistics on the housing market.

I live in Thornhill on the Vaughan side.  We have the new subway there now - what a difference - by car, my commute is 10 minutes longer in the morning, but 30 minutes shorter in the afternoon.  if I travel the full way by public transit, the commute is 30 minutes shorter in the morning and 45 to 1 hour shorter in the afternoon.

29 minutes ago, Jules said:

As for work life balance - it will depend on industry. I'm in financial services (I work at head office for one of the banks) and there is no work life balance. In SA I worked for Old Mutual head office and there is no comparison. I miss my work days in SA. There's no doubt that they work MUCH harder in Toronto. There's no 9 to 5 unless in are in a very junior role. I'm usually in the office around 8am and I leave around 6.30pm or 7pm. Seldom take lunch breaks. During busier times I will leave around 8pm but that's not normal. Throw in 90 minute commutes and I'm up 5.30am and home after 8pm daily. Getting home at 6.30pm feels like a treat.

I am also in financial services.  i typically work from 7.30 am to 4.30 pm, and then work from home for another 1 or 2 hours.  Quarter end reporting can be a bit worse.  the Company I work for is all for the accommodation of staff - as an example, I had to go to SA last year for a funeral, and I worked from SA for a few days while in SA.  Hubby is going to SA for 2 weeks, and I can work from home for those 2 weeks, no issues.

So a lot has to do with the Company you work for and the job you do.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JanSalJanNat

You are really lucky.  Hope we strike the luck with our jobs aswell😊

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RichT
1 hour ago, Jules said:

The trains do get very full at rush hour. Getting a seat depends on what station you board at. If it's the 6th or 7th station then it will often be full. I'm lucky because Aldershot is the first stop in the morning. Coming home from Toronto one just needs to get to the station several minutes before departure to get a seat.  

As for work life balance - it will depend on industry. I'm in financial services (I work at head office for one of the banks) and there is no work life balance. In SA I worked for Old Mutual head office and there is no comparison. I miss my work days in SA. There's no doubt that they work MUCH harder in Toronto. There's no 9 to 5 unless in are in a very junior role. I'm usually in the office around 8am and I leave around 6.30pm or 7pm. Seldom take lunch breaks. During busier times I will leave around 8pm but that's not normal. Throw in 90 minute commutes and I'm up 5.30am and home after 8pm daily. Getting home at 6.30pm feels like a treat.

I should not generalise but overall I would say that Canada has even less work life balance than SA.

Thanks @Jules, guess I'm moving to Nova Scotia!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jules
10 hours ago, Tracey22 said:

Look at Canadian Real estate Association.  This websirte, along with TREB (for the GTA) and Teranet give good statistics on the housing market.

I live in Thornhill on the Vaughan side.  We have the new subway there now - what a difference - by car, my commute is 10 minutes longer in the morning, but 30 minutes shorter in the afternoon.  if I travel the full way by public transit, the commute is 30 minutes shorter in the morning and 45 to 1 hour shorter in the afternoon.

I am also in financial services.  i typically work from 7.30 am to 4.30 pm, and then work from home for another 1 or 2 hours.  Quarter end reporting can be a bit worse.  the Company I work for is all for the accommodation of staff - as an example, I had to go to SA last year for a funeral, and I worked from SA for a few days while in SA.  Hubby is going to SA for 2 weeks, and I can work from home for those 2 weeks, no issues.

So a lot has to do with the Company you work for and the job you do.

I obviously work for the wrong bank lol

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jules
10 hours ago, RichT said:

Thanks @Jules, guess I'm moving to Nova Scotia!

Actually if we never had kids to consider we probably would sell up and move east. Property price differential is huge. 

I think more and more people from the GTA will sell up to buy property (cash) out east and take jobs that are less stressful. With no mortgage you don't need to earn big $...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
shaun

@RichT, my apologies, I don't come to the site to often these days.

Our intention back in 2003 (when we landed) was to land in Toronto, buy a car and drive across Canada to finally settle somewhere out west.......it didn't happen. Got as far as Burlington where we were staying with friends and never left.

I have a slightly different view on life. I like my work/life balance and strive to maintain it as best I can. When I first landed, I worked shift in the Downtown core for 4 1/2 years before taking a promotion within the company to the Hamilton office. My commute was a 7 minute city bus ride, a 1 hour train (or bus depending on the day back in those days) ride and a 15 minute walk through the PATH system. It changed to a 12 minute drive when I moved office to Hamilton. I was promoted again by the company after a few years and still maintained that balance, although I was on the road a lot more.

For me I look for 'bang for your buck' when looking for that balance. Including housing, commuting, employment, income and playtime.

Burlington back in those day offered all of that. The housing market has since skewed things a little, but I'm here in the market and have no plan to leave.

Bike trails, hiking trails, beaches, marinas, festivals, camping and all the good things that come after a good hard days work are what we enjoy. I recently quit my job and am now self employed, which again has skewed things a little, but hey such is life.....a good life here in Burlington.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SunshineGirl
On 2018/01/18 at 2:15 AM, Jules said:

Actually if we never had kids to consider we probably would sell up and move east. Property price differential is huge. 

HI @Jules, now you have me curious..  Which areas in the east seem like good places for you?  Thanks in advance!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now