Guide to Newcomers to Toronto

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To newcomers to Toronto, welcome to the dynamic and multicultural city located in the province of Ontario. As the largest city in the country, Toronto is known for its diverse communities, vibrant arts and culture scene, and world-class educational and business institutions.

With a population of over 2.9 million, Toronto is home to various neighborhoods with unique character and charm. The city is a hub for multiple industries, including finance, technology, film, and entertainment, making it an exciting place to work and explore.

Beyond its urban center, Toronto also boasts a beautiful waterfront and a wealth of green spaces, including the famous High Park, offering residents and visitors opportunities for outdoor activities and relaxation. Overall, Toronto is a welcoming and inclusive city that prides itself on its diverse communities, vibrant arts scene, and high quality of life.

Table of Contents

Traveling from Toronto airport

Pearson International Airport is the main airport serving the city of Toronto, and it’s located approximately 22.5 km (14 miles) northwest of downtown Toronto. The airport is one of the busiest in North America, with over 50 million passengers passing through it annually.

To navigate out to the city from Pearson International Airport, there are several transportation options available. One of the most popular options is the Union Pearson Express (UP Express), a dedicated express train between downtown Toronto’s airport and Union Station. The journey takes approximately 25 minutes; trains run every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 30 minutes during off-peak hours.

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Alternatively, travelers can take a taxi or ride-sharing service from the airport to their destination in the city. Several public transit options are available, including the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) bus and subway system.

Buses from Toronto Airport

  • 900 Airport Express: This express bus route connects Kipling Station on Line 2 Bloor-Danforth and Pearson International Airport all day.
  • 952 Lawrence West: This route connects Lawrence Station on Line 1 Yonge-University to Pearson Airport all day.
  • 300 Bloor-Danforth (Night Bus): This bus runs between Kipling Station and Warden Station overnight, with stops at Pearson Airport.
  • 332 Eglinton West (Night Bus): This bus runs between Eglinton West Station and Scarlett Road at night, with stops at Pearson Airport.
  • 352 Lawrence West (Night Bus): This bus runs between Lawrence West Station and Dufferin Street at night, with stops at Pearson Airport.
  • The 40 Hamilton-Richmond Hill-Pearson Express: This bus route connects Hamilton, Richmond Hill, and Pearson Airport.
  • 94 Pickering/Mississauga: This route connects Pickering, Mississauga, and Pearson International Airport.
  • Megabus: This intercity bus service connects Pearson Airport to locations throughout Ontario and Quebec.
  • Airporter: This private bus service connects Pearson Airport to numerous destinations in the Greater Toronto Area.

Toronto neighborhoods

Toronto is a city with many diverse neighborhoods, each with its unique characteristics and charm. Here are some of the notable neighborhoods and what makes them special:

The Annex

This neighborhood is known for its beautiful Victorian homes, tree-lined streets, and eclectic mix of shops, cafes, and restaurants. It’s a popular destination for students and young professionals due to its proximity to the University of Toronto.


Yorkville is a high-end neighborhood known for its luxury shopping, fine dining, and art galleries. It’s also home to some of the city’s most prestigious hotels and spas.

Kensington Market

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Kensington Market is a vibrant and diverse neighborhood known for its multiculturalism and eclectic mix of shops, cafes, and restaurants. It’s a popular destination for artists and creatives due to its lively art scene.

Little Italy

This neighborhood is known for its Italian heritage and is home to many authentic Italian restaurants, cafes, and shops. It’s a popular destination for foodies and those looking to taste Italy in the heart of Toronto.


Toronto’s Chinatown is a bustling neighborhood known for its Chinese heritage and cultural attractions. It’s home to many authentic Chinese restaurants, shops, and markets, making it a popular destination for foodies and those interested in Chinese culture.

The Beaches

The Beaches is a neighborhood located on the east end of Toronto, known for its beautiful beaches, boardwalks, and waterfront parks. It’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking for a peaceful escape from the city.

Finding an apartment or house in Toronto

The housing market in Toronto is known to be one of the most expensive and competitive in Canada. The city’s growing population and limited housing supply have driven up prices and made it difficult for many residents to find affordable housing.

The average price of a home in Toronto is well above the national average, with the average price of a detached home in Toronto exceeding $1 million. Condominiums and townhouses are generally more affordable, but prices have increased recently. Rental prices in Toronto are also high, with many residents spending a significant portion of their income on housing.

The city’s robust job market, high standard of living, and diverse cultural scene all contribute to the demand for housing in Toronto. However, the city also faces challenges such as a lack of affordable housing options, increasing homelessness, and long waiting lists for social housing.

For newcomers to Toronto, it can be challenging to navigate the housing market and find a suitable place to live. It’s essential to do thorough research, be prepared to act quickly, and have a realistic budget. Working with a reputable real estate agent or rental agency can also help you find the right home or apartment.

Determine your budget

Before starting your search, it’s essential to determine how much you can afford to spend on rent.

Research neighborhoods

As mentioned, Toronto has many diverse neighborhoods, each with unique characteristics. Researching different neighborhoods will help you find a location that suits your lifestyle and preferences.

Use online resources

Many online resources can help you find apartments and houses for rent in Toronto. Websites like Kijiji, Craigslist, and Padmapper are popular options for searching for rental listings.

Work with a real estate agent.

If you’re looking for a more personalized approach to finding an apartment or house, consider working with a real estate agent. A reputable agent can help you navigate the rental market and find properties that meet your needs.

Visit properties in person.

When you’ve found a few properties that interest you, schedule a viewing to see the property in person. This will help you better understand the space and its surroundings and ensure it meets your expectations.

Understand rental agreements

Before signing a lease, read and understand the agreement thoroughly. Pay attention to rent, move-in dates, and maintenance responsibilities, and ask questions if anything is unclear.

Rental laws and landlord/tenant rights in Toronto

Rental laws and rights in Toronto and Ontario are designed to protect landlords and tenants and ensure everyone has fair and equal access to housing. Here are some essential things to know about rental laws and rights in Toronto and Ontario:

Rent control

In Ontario, rent control applies to most rental units, including apartments, houses, and condominiums. This means landlords can only increase rent by a set amount each year, as determined by the government. Tenants have the right to receive written notice of any rent increase at least 90 days before it takes effect.

Security deposits

In Ontario, landlords are not allowed to charge security deposits or require post-dated cheques as a condition of renting a unit.

Repairs and maintenance

Landlords are responsible for maintaining their rental properties and making necessary repairs. Tenants have the right to a safe and habitable living environment, and if there are any issues with their unit, they should report them to the landlord as soon as possible.


In Ontario, landlords can only evict tenants for specific reasons, such as non-payment of rent, damaging the rental property, or interfering with the rights of other tenants. If a tenant receives an eviction notice, they can challenge it and attend a hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board.


Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, it is illegal for landlords to discriminate against tenants based on factors like race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Tenants have the right to fair and equal treatment when seeking housing.

Public transportation

Toronto has an extensive public transportation system that includes buses, streetcars, subways, and trains, making it easy to get around the city without a car. Here are some of the public transportation options available in Toronto:

Toronto Transit Commission

The TTC is Toronto’s primary public transportation provider and operates a network of buses, streetcars, and subways throughout the city. The TTC also offers a variety of fare options, including tokens, passes, and electronic payment options like Presto.

Go Transit

Go Transit provides regional transportation services in and around Toronto, focusing on connecting commuters from surrounding suburbs and cities to the downtown core. Go Transit operates commuter trains and buses that serve destinations throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

Union Pearson Express (UP Express)

The UP Express is a dedicated train service between downtown Toronto and Pearson International Airport, providing a convenient and efficient way for travelers to and from the airport.

Bike Share Toronto

For those looking for a more active and eco-friendly way to get around the city, Bike Share Toronto provides a network of rental bikes that can be picked up and dropped off at various stations throughout the city.

Taxis and Ride-hailing services

Taxis and ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are also available in Toronto, providing an alternative to public transportation for those who prefer to travel by car.

Overall, Toronto’s public transportation system is comprehensive and reliable, making it easy for residents and visitors to get around the city efficiently and affordably.

Road network

Toronto is well-connected by a network of highways and major roads that provide access to various parts of the city and beyond. Here’s an overview of the major highways and roads in Toronto:

Gardiner Expressway

This major east-west highway runs along the city’s waterfront and provides access to downtown Toronto. The Gardiner Expressway is a toll-free highway, but drivers should know about rush hour traffic and potential delays.

Don Valley Parkway

The Don Valley Parkway is a north-south highway that connects downtown Toronto with the northern suburbs. This highway is also toll-free, but drivers should be cautious of its narrow lanes and sharp curves.

Highway 401

This is Toronto’s busiest and most significant highway, providing access to cities throughout Southern Ontario. The 401 is toll-free but can be heavily congested during peak hours.

King Street

This is one of the city’s main east-west thoroughfares and is known for its streetcar service, which provides affordable and efficient transportation throughout downtown Toronto. King Street has dedicated bike lanes and is generally pedestrian-friendly, with plenty of shops and restaurants along the route.

Bloor Street

Another major east-west road, Bloor Street, is known for its diverse neighborhoods and is a hub for culture and entertainment. Bloor Street has bike lanes and is also easily accessible by public transportation.

It’s important to note that Toronto has a significant population of pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit users. As such, newcomers should be mindful of these groups when driving, obeying traffic laws, and looking out for pedestrians and cyclists. Additionally, some parts of the city have toll roads or express lanes that may require additional usage fees, so it’s important to be aware of these when planning a driving route.

Opening a bank account

Setting up a bank account is essential to settling into life as a newcomer in Toronto. Here’s an overview of what you need to know about setting up a bank account in Toronto:

Types of Bank Accounts

Most banks in Toronto offer a range of accounts, including savings, checking, and credit accounts. As a newcomer, you may consider opening a no-fee checking account, which will allow you to deposit your paychecks and withdraw cash without incurring additional fees. You may also want to consider opening a credit account to help you establish a credit history in Canada.

Major Banks

There are many major banks in Toronto, including the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), Bank of Montreal (BMO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), and Scotiabank. Each of these banks offers a range of accounts and services, so it’s a good idea to research and compare them to find the one that best meets your needs.


To set up a bank account in Toronto, you must provide identification, address, and income proof. Acceptable forms of identification may include your passport or driver’s license, while proof of address could be a recent utility bill or lease agreement. Proof of income may be a recent pay stub or employment contract.

Additional Considerations

When setting up a bank account, you may also want to consider other factors, such as the bank’s ATM network, mobile banking options, and customer service. You may also consider whether the bank offers overdraft protection or credit-building tools.

Signing up for other services

As a newcomer in Toronto, you may need to complete several essential registrations and memberships to access various services and benefits. Here’s an overview of what you need to know:

Health Care

In Canada, each province or territory is publicly funded and administers healthcare. To access healthcare in Ontario, including doctor’s appointments and hospital visits, you must register for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). To be eligible, you must have a valid work or study permit, be a Canadian citizen, or have been granted refugee status. You can apply for OHIP at a ServiceOntario location, and you will need to provide your immigration documents, proof of address, and other identification.

Driver’s License

To drive in Ontario, you must have a valid driver’s license. If you have a driver’s license from another country, you can exchange it for an Ontario license within 60 days of becoming a resident. To exchange your license, you must provide identification, proof of address, and proof of driving experience. If you do not have a driver’s license, you can take a knowledge test and a road test to obtain one. You can find more information about obtaining an Ontario driver’s license on the Ontario government website.

Library Card

The Toronto Public Library is an excellent resource for newcomers, offering a range of books, e-books, online resources, and community programs. To get a library card, you must visit a branch and provide identification and proof of address. The library card is free, and you can use it to borrow books and other materials, access online resources, and attend library programs.

Other Memberships

As a newcomer, you may also want to consider other memberships, such as gym memberships, community center memberships, or memberships to cultural organizations. These memberships can help you meet people and explore the city. To sign up for a membership, you must provide identification, proof of address, and payment.

Job market

Toronto is a vibrant city with a diverse economy, offering a range of job opportunities across various sectors.

Toronto has many large corporations and a thriving small business and startup community. The city is particularly strong in the finance, technology, healthcare, and education industries. There are also opportunities in hospitality, construction, and retail. The job market in Toronto is competitive, but many resources are available to job seekers, including job boards, networking events, and career centers.

If you’re looking for a job in Toronto, there are several steps you can take to improve your chances of success:


Before starting your job search, research the companies and industries that interest you. This will help you identify job opportunities and tailor your application to each position.

Resume and Cover Letter

Your resume and cover letter are essential tools in your job search. Ensure they are well-written, professional, and tailored to each job you apply for.


Networking is an integral part of the job search process in Toronto. Attend networking events, connect with professionals in your industry on LinkedIn, and reach out to recruiters and hiring managers.

Job Boards

Many job boards and websites list job openings in Toronto, including Workopolis, Indeed, and Monster.

Career Centers

Toronto has many career centers and employment services to help your job search. These centers offer job search workshops, resume reviews, and other resources.


If you are invited to an interview, make sure you are well-prepared. Research the company, practice answering common interview questions, and dress professionally.

Build your network

Networking is key to finding job opportunities in Toronto. Attend career fairs and industry events, connect with professionals on LinkedIn, and consider joining professional associations related to your field.

  • Develop your skills: Consider taking courses, attending workshops, or volunteering to develop your skills and gain experience in your field.
  • Customize your resume and cover letter: Tailor your application to each job you apply for, highlighting how your skills and experience are relevant to the position.
  • Research companies: Before applying for a job, research the company to ensure it fits your career goals and values.
  • Apply to job postings: Check job boards and company websites regularly for job postings that match your skills and experience.
  • Consider temporary or contract work: Temporary or contract work can be a great way to gain experience and build your network in your field.
  • Be persistent: The job search process can be frustrating, but staying motivated and trying is essential. Don’t hesitate to contact hiring managers or recruiters to follow up on your application.
  • Be open to new opportunities: Consider taking on internships or entry-level positions to gain experience and build your skills. Be open to opportunities that may not be exactly what you’re looking for, as they can still help you grow your career.

Meeting people

Toronto is a diverse city with a vibrant cultural and community scene. Here are some ways to get involved and meet new people:

Join a community group or organization

Toronto has many community groups and organizations that cater to different interests and demographics. There are plenty of opportunities to meet like-minded people and get involved in local activities, from sports clubs to language exchange groups.

Attend cultural festivals and events.

Toronto has many cultural festivals and events yearly, celebrating the city’s diverse communities and traditions. Attending these events is a great way to learn about different cultures and meet new people.

Take a class or workshop.

Toronto has many classes and workshops on various topics, from cooking to language learning. These classes are a great way to learn new skills and meet people with similar interests.


Toronto has many volunteer opportunities, from environmental conservation to social justice organizations. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community and meet people who share your values.

Join a sports league.

Toronto has many sports leagues and clubs for people of all ages and skill levels. Joining a league is a great way to exercise, have fun, and meet new people.

Attend networking events

There are many networking events in Toronto for professionals in various industries. These events are a great way to meet new people and expand your professional network.

Whether you’re interested in cultural events, sports, or professional networking, Toronto has many opportunities to get involved and meet new people. It’s a great way to explore the city and make new connections.

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