The 7 Best Places to Live in Toronto
Toronto is an incredible hive of multiculturalism.
As an expat in this majority-minority city, you’ll fit in immediately. 47% of Torontonians are immigrants (source: Statistics Canada), so you can expect to hear hundreds of languages on the streets of the city.
Toronto is the 16th-best city to live in (source: Mercer) – well ahead of more celebrated destinations like New York, London, and Paris – not to mention the sixth-safest city in the world (source: The Economist).
You deserve to find a home that matches the city’s excellent reputation, but with 158 neighbourhoods to choose from, it’s not easy. Don’t worry, though – we’re here to help your move to go smoothly.
Whether you want an area with the best culture, the best parks, or the best chance of finding a bargain property, we’ve got you covered, from Agincourt North to Yorkdale-Glen Park.
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The best neighbourhood in Toronto for cheap property
That makes it the cheapest neighbourhood in Toronto, but crucially, this area in the northeast of the city is also soaring in popularity – with property prices increasing by 95.9% over the past year.
Toronto’s largest neighbourhood also has one of its lowest population density rates, with plenty of wide open spaces available in the stunning Rouge National Urban Park. This is the second-largest city park in Canada, and boasts the biggest zoo in the country.
It’s also not too far from downtown, thanks to the 401, which can – despite being one of the busiest highways in the world – help you cover 20 miles in around half an hour.
The best neighbourhoods in Toronto for green spaces
If you’re searching for wide open green spaces, you can’t go wrong in Toronto.
The city’s Parks and Recreation department – which has a C$1 billion (£590 million) budget – operates under the accurate slogan “a city within a park”. It oversees 1,473 public parks within Toronto, as well as four million trees.
High Park North
For those looking for somewhere central, but still blessed with an abundance of green spaces, High Park North is perfect.
This predominantly residential area – which is less than 30 minutes from downtown by both car and public transport – contains the lovely Lithuania Park, Baird Park, and Ravina Gardens. But the main attraction here is High Park.
Over 400 sprawling acres, you can say hello to some chipmunks, ducks, squirrels, and swans, play on tennis courts, baseball diamonds, and football pitches, and visit monuments, Chinese gardens, a labyrinth, and a pool.
There are also running and hiking trails, stunning cherry blossom trees, and a small zoo that houses creatures like capybaras, peacocks, and bison – plus a petting area where children can play with llamas and rabbits.
High Park North contains many gorgeous parks, but none as stunning as High Park
There are multiple parks with playgrounds in this area to the west of downtown, but the selling point for nature lovers is Trinity Bellwoods Park.
Pass through the gorgeous gates – which form the last remnant of the original Trinity College in Toronto – to the sweeping green space beyond, which comes with tennis courts, a playground, a hockey rink, an off-leash dog walking bowl, picnic tables, and a pool.
You can also enjoy outdoor film nights, the anarchist bookfair, live theatre, and a farmers market that runs every Tuesday from May to October.
The neighbourhood is also surrounded by Little Portugal, Little Italy, and Chinatown, if you like your green areas with a generous helping of culture.
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The best neighbourhood in Toronto for culture
This bohemian neighbourhood has a century-old reputation for culture – so much so that it’s a National Historic Site of Canada – and you can see it bursting from every market stall, vintage clothing shop, art space, and indie shop.
Walking through the streets, you’ll be met with beautiful murals, brightly coloured buildings, and the mouthwatering smells of the world.
On Sundays, cars are banned and the market takes over. The market used to be a way for alienated early 20th-century Jewish immigrants to make a living, and it has since grown into a glorious, overwhelming mixture of cultural offerings from around the world.
Live in the area for years, and between the market, the ever-changing and eclectic shops, and the specialty meat, bread, cheese, and fish shops, you still won’t manage to fully absorb everything it has to offer.
And yes, it may get confusing when you’re telling Brits that you’re moving to Kensington Market, but you won’t be alone: Toronto is also home to Caledonia, York, and Swansea.
The best neighbourhood in Toronto for food
This wasn’t easy. Toronto has multiple Chinatowns, Corso Italia and Little Italy, Little India, Greektown, Little Jamaica, and Koreatown – but Little Portugal beats them all, at least for now.
Located west of downtown, squarely in Old Toronto, you’ll find a glorious selection of food choices.
As well as the churrasqueiras, which produce the best barbecue grilled meat you’ll ever taste, there’s also an incredible variety for just one neighbourhood.
Pay a visit to the Asian-inspired Uncle Mikey’s, where the Korean fried chicken sandwiches are as reasonably priced as they are delicious, before heading to the laid-back Enoteca Sociale for some homemade pasta and wine – as well as a cheese cave.
Treat yourself at the authentic, moreish Chen Chen’s Nashville Hot Chicken, then cool off with an ice-cream at Death In Venice Gelato.
For a snack, you can dive headfirst into the local debate over which astonishingly good Portuguese bakery sells the best pastel de nata – and then it’s time to discover the area’s wonderful, eccentric bars.
Avoid the tourists by grabbing a spot at The Communist's Daughter, a relaxed but sophisticated dive bar that’s hidden behind the previous occupants’ sign, which reads: ‘Nazare Snack Bar’.
If you’re after a more hectic time, check out Black Dice, a rockabilly bar inspired by 1950s Japan that will leave you thoroughly charmed – especially after you try some of their whisky.
The best neighbourhood in Toronto for nightlife
Toronto’s Greektown is officially known as Danforth Avenue, but barely anyone calls it that.
The Danforth is packed with pubs, bars, and late-night restaurants that you can’t experience anywhere else.
You absolutely must drop into Mom's Basement, the perfect bar for Millennials and Gen Xers, where you can watch Hulk Hogan v Ultimate Warrior while playing Battletoads on the NES, and drinking from the Laura Palmer cocktail that rests on your floppy disk coaster.
The Wren is also worth a visit, with its excellent southwestern fare and craft beer, and you should certainly check out the live music and cocktails at Sauce on the Danforth. But it’s compulsory to grab a bite at Pantheon Restaurant – this is Greektown, after all.
If you get déjà vu walking down the street, it may be due to your good taste in films, as several scenes from My Big Fat Greek Wedding were shot here.
The best neighbourhood in Toronto for schools
There are 14 public schools, eight private schools, and three Catholic schools in this small area at Toronto’s northern border, meaning you’ll have all the choice you could hope for – and that’s not all.
The neighbourhood’s test scores are 33% above the national average, and the number of people with Bachelor’s degrees is 83% higher than the Canadian average.
Get your child into Arbor Glen, Hillmount, Cliffwood, or Highland – which are all public schools – and you’ll put them on the path to a great education.
It also helps that two thirds of the residents here are immigrants, which means your children will grow up learning about different cultures.
And better still, there are nine parks in Hillcrest, so your kids will have plenty of places to run around and enjoy the great outdoors.
Finding a place to live in Toronto
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of where you’d like to live when you move to wonderful Toronto. That’s a huge step.
The next part is finding a home in the right neighbourhood and securing it for yourself.