Canada's Condominium Magazine

Toronto only 86th most expensive city in the world? #4 in the World for liveability and #3 for city prosperity — there are still good reasons to live in Toronto

With prices on housing at record highs, why do people still want to live here? Relative to otherworld cities, Toronto home prices are very affordable (as compared to Hong Kong New York, London, Paris); for cost of living it’s ranked #86th most expensive city in the world by the Economist (2017). When you consider, Toronto’s ranking as #4 for liveability, and #3 for city prosperity — Toronto’s still a go-to city for living or for business.

 

Toronto skyline keeps changing as it grows. The CN Tower no longer “dominates” the way it used to.

 

North America’s Friendly City?

Despite Toronto’s status as North America’s fourth largest city by population, it also has a reputation for being one of the friendliest — and most livable. Canada’s largest city, Toronto, is home to 2.73 million residents, expected to reach 7.7 million by the year 2025. In North America, only Mexico City, New York City and Los Angeles are larger in terms of population. With that, come some of the issues with urban life — congestion and home valuations — but equally Toronto is one of the most livable cities on the planet. Even with two main weaknesses — transit and waterfront planning — the city is one of the fastest growing in North America for many good reasons.

In current world rankings, Toronto consistently ranks high again:

  • #4 in the world in the Economist’s “World’s most liveable cities” based on liveability index 2106 [4]
  • #10 in World’s Best City Brands out of 100 [1] 2017
  • #8 worldwide in the “Greenest Cities in the World.” [2] (#1 for North America) 2017
  • #4 financial centre worldwide [3] 2017
  • #10 worldwide for “Most Economically Powerful Cities” according to Forbes [5]
  • #3 worldwide for City Prosperity Index (United Nations) [5]

 

Toronto is ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities. A friendly atmosphere punctuates the #4 ranking.

 

North America’s Second Most Liveable City

In the Economist’s “World’s most lievable cities” ranking, three Canadian cities made the list — Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary. No American or Mexican cities made the top ten list. Toronto is considered the second most liveable city after Vancouver (by one place: Vancouver 3rd worldwide, Toronto 4th, Calgary 5th).

The liveability index is particularly telling, as it weighs 30 factors, including: safety health care, education, infrastructure, affordability and environment. The affordability aspect of the index may surprise some — and 2017 may see a change in Toronto’s ranking — however, when compared to other major cities on the list, Toronto is still considered affordable. Cities such as New York, London, Paris and Hong Kong are dramatically more expensive.

 

Transit is one of the few weaknesses in Toronto, a city renowned for liveability.

 

The Greater Toronto Area (the larger urban area) is home to 6.4 million people. Its rich history and diverse culture make it a one of the most desirable places  to live in North America — consistently one of the top rated cities worldwide in livability studies. It is also home to some of the great sport teams: Toronto Argonauts, Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors.

World’s Second Most   Multi-Cultural City

Residents of all backgrounds and ethnicities make this city their home, and they are all more than willing to share their heritage and experience with one another. With such a rich culture full of passionate people, it is easy to see why Toronto is rated “one of the world’s most livable cities.”

 

Lion Dance. Toronto has a very diverse population.

 

How multicultural is Toronto? According the United Nations, Toronto has the second highest percentage of foreign-born residents in the world. In the latest available Canadian Census (below are “origin” not “language”:

  • English (origin, not language) 333,220: 12.9 per cent
  • Chinese 308,690: 12.0 per cent
  • Canadian born (at least 2nd gen) 291,665: 11.3 per cent
  • Irish 250,460: 9.7 per cent
  • Scottish 245,545: 9.5 per cent
  • East Indian 195,590: 7.6 per cent
  • Italian 177,065, 6.9 per cent
  • Filipino 140,420: 5.5 per cent
  • German 119,030: 4.6 per cent
  • French 115,300: 4.5 per cent
  • Polish 98,315: 3.8 per cent
  • Portuguese 93,050: 3.6 per cent
  • Jamaican 81,380: 3.2 per cent
  • Jewish 78,860: 3.1 per cent
  • Ukrainian 64,875 2.5 per cent
  • Russian 62,850 2.4 per cent

Toronto’s Weakness: Transit

No city is all glory, and Toronto is no exception. It’s weak point is in city planning and action on transit, which has been mired in debate, studies and planning (without action) for many years. With a new plan now in place, many analysts say it comes up short and favors the “car” at the expense of public transit. With the population in the core city expected to triple by 2025, serious planning — and action — will be needed.

 

Relative to its population size and growth, Toronto’s subway system is overloaded and needs expansion.

 

For now, though, public transit is available for citizens and visitors. A variety of options are available, including subways and streetcars. The Toronto Transit Commission provides service to the city, while GO Transit offers services for suburban areas. The Toronto Transit Commission offers reliable transportation including hybrid-electric buses, streetcars, and an interconnected underground subway system. Subways run frequently, and each station has at least one entrance which accepts all fares. Toronto also has plenty of bike paths, so residents can travel around their communities.

Business and Jobs: Top Ten in World

One reason property values are high in Toronto is the business and jobs base is among the world’s best. Forbes Magazine included Toronto on its top ten list. [5] CityLab also gave Toronto a “tie” ranking for 10th in the World, in a lock with Stockholm.

 

Toronto is a thriving, busy city with a lot to do, and traffic congestion to go along with its popularity.

 

Toronto’s Second Weakness: Waterfront

Despite beautiful Toronto Island and some lovely beaches, the waterfront and port lands of Toronto are in serious need of more than a facelift. Recently approved expansion and improvement of the existing Gardiner Expressway — again in favor of cars — have visually cut the downtown core off from the waterfront. Fortunately, the waterfront is jointly managed with the Federal, Provicial and city governments. The three levels of government recently agreed to spend $1.25 billion on Toronto’s Port Lands.

 

Toronto’s waterfront is beautiful, but Waterfront planning had, until recently, stalled. 

 

Cultural and Adventure Playground

Life in Toronto can be as full and exciting as you want it to be. Multicultural fairs, amusement parks, elaborate holiday celebrations, sporting events, a vibrant art community, one of the widest varieties of bistros and restaurants in North America, and more provide a mix of urban culture and Canadian-style adventure. Toronto is also home to a major performing arts centre and six opera companies. Toronto communities are so vastly different that there is bound to be something for everyone.

 

Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto is world-class.

 

 

Education and Health Care

Education and Healthcare are both more or less Universal and accessible. They are both highly valued in Canada.

In Ontario teachers are amongst the highest paid in Canada. However, work in the field of education can be difficult to find, with a supply of teachers exceeding demand. Toronto is home to three universities – Ryerson, York University, and The University of Toronto – as well as various community colleges. The prestigious University of Toronto ranks 27th in the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

 

There is plenty of fun and adventure to be had in Toronto.

 

The atmosphere varies from community to community. Families often make their home in the suburbs, while bachelors and bachelorettes prefer to purchase condos in Downtown Toronto. However, even families have begun transitioning to condo life in the city in pursuit of a minimalist lifestyle. Also, with a scorching real estate market, condos are much more affordable than detached homes. A shorter commute, increased annual savings, and more family time have shown that condo life in the city provides greater quality of life than chasing the white picket fence dream. After all, Toronto residents seem to value living well over living large.

 

Depending on your point of view, Toronto winters are relatively mild.

 

NOTES

[1] World’s Best City Brands  

[2] A collaborative ranking Treepedia, of World Economic Forum, MIT and Green View. 

[3] Global Fintech Centres of the Future 

[4] The Economist 2016 

[5] Most economically powerful cities 

 

 

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