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Guest KK

Toronto, ON

174 posts in this topic

Can anyone tell me what Torono is like for a grad student? I will go to York, but I want to live in downtown. Don't know if it is very expensive to live in downtown (I prefer to live in a condo with all utilities included, closer to cheap restaurant and grocery shooping). can anyone tell me the housing options and what life is like in Toronto?

I heard the neighborhood betweeb Queen/Spidina/Dandas is qretty good. Easy access to shopping and Chinatown, but don't know if it is very expensive.

Any suggestion to where to live? Thanks

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It would be very difficult and time consuming to commute from downtown Toronto to York, since there is no direct subway connection to the campus. Living near the York campus would definitely be cheaper than downtown, and be a much easeir commute, but it's not a very nice neighbourhood. So that's something to consider

The Queen/Spadina/Dundas neighbourhood is cool. Lots of UofT students. I don't think it's that expensive, but it's all relative. Again, you'd have to consider that it would be difficult to get to York unless you have a car.

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Snoopy, thanks.

I guess I don't need to go to school very often, so the commute might not be a problem. I want to live in a more convinent neighborhood and closer to U of T library. Thanks for your comment!

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How about Finch area? It is between downtwon and York. But I have no idea about that area. Is there convinent? (shopping, CHEAP restaurant, etc)

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What's "hydro" in Canada? In the rent classfied AD they often say "hydro included" Does that mean water?

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In Toronto your hydro bill is your electricity bill. Water is billed separately (usuallly at a flat rate).

While all rentals in Toronto would include water, they don't all include hydro, thus the term "hydro included" in the ad.

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How much do I need to live a comfortable life in Toronto? Is $1000 CDN per month enough?

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Hi,

re: hydro -- it's your electrical bill.

Toronto can be really expensive, but there are relatively cheap apartments around if you do a little hunting. Check out viewit.ca and the Toronto Star online classifieds to get an idea of what's around.

If you're going to York U and don't have a car, but still want to be somewhat "downtown" -- I would suggest sticking near the NW end of the University subway line (e.g., Dupont, St Clair W. stns) to keep your commute bearable.

Someone mentioned that they want to be close to U of T as well -- living close to Dupont stn might be a good compromise. The neighbourhood is quite nice (north Annex) and Dupont & Bathurst/Spadina/St George is about 10min bike ride/20min walk to Robarts (big U of T library).

York U may have a off-campus housing office that can help you find a place if you're not having much luck.

I grew up in the area, went to U of T, etc -- give me a shout if you have questions about specific neighbourhoods, transit routes, etc.

Good luck! I'm sure you'll love it here :)

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Hi,

I did my undergrad at York. 1000/month including rent is not enough. Unless you are renting for 500/month (good luck) but I lived close to York in the so called "crappy" neighbourhood. Everything was closeby etc.

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By "crappy neighborhood" are we talking older houses or do we mean crackheads roaming the streets? The crime isn't that bad in Toronto, is it?

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No its definately not a crackhead neighbourhood, and I lived off campus and I am a female. I lived there when there was a rash on gun violence but thats all cleared up now. The media have found another neighbourhood to pick on. But your best bet is to live on campus in those Assinaboine Apartments or Passey Gardens. PAssey Gardens are really beautiful but a little expensive- my friend used to pay 900/month for duplex studio. Or you can share the assinaboine apartment with a roommate- those are nice as well.

If you absolutely have to live off campus- pick between Fountainhead apartments and Four Winds Drive townhouse complexes, or even Murray Ross Parkway. DO NOT live at Sentinel. My ex bf once peed on the mail boxes when he got drunk- so you get the picture.

And the LCBO on Keele closes at 6 pm whereas the one at Jane closes at 9pm. Just an FYI.

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See, that's much more helpful now that I went to Google and figured out that LCBO isa liquor store. =)

Thanks for the tips. I'll watch out for urine-stained mailboxes when I'm apartment hunting.

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No worries. Feel free to shoot any more questions regarding neighbourhoods.

Bienvennue au Canada!

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Well I see this thread hasn't been bumped in a looong time.

I'm an american student (undergrad in Boston), just been accepted to University of Toronto for a masters program and I'm deeply considering going but I had a few questions about Toronto in general, and also the U of T campus.

Is off-campus housing popular for U of T students, or is on-campus the way to go? Also, I do have a car that I wouldn't mind bringing, but how is the parking situation?

Also, how is campus life at U of T? I know it has it's own "campus" but is it more of a downtown feel like Boston U or NYU, or is it a bit more campus-like, like Columbia? Also any comments from americans going to canada regarding visa, employment, etc. would be helpful!

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Well I see this thread hasn't been bumped in a looong time.

I'm an american student (undergrad in Boston), just been accepted to University of Toronto for a masters program and I'm deeply considering going but I had a few questions about Toronto in general, and also the U of T campus.

Is off-campus housing popular for U of T students, or is on-campus the way to go? Also, I do have a car that I wouldn't mind bringing, but how is the parking situation?

Also, how is campus life at U of T? I know it has it's own "campus" but is it more of a downtown feel like Boston U or NYU, or is it a bit more campus-like, like Columbia? Also any comments from americans going to canada regarding visa, employment, etc. would be helpful!

Congrats! What masters program, if I might ask?

It's my dream school, and I hope to hear a response to my application to the MA comp. lit. program soon-ish!

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I'm currently a U of T undergrad (though not at the downtown campus) and TBH I love love love Toronto. If I end up leaving it will be very hard.

Off-campus housing is definitely popular but the residences on campus are also good. I have a friend who lives in Graduate House and she likes it, and a few others at Massey College (and they LOVE it, it's a really neat community). Do check with the housing office and do your research before you rent, because there are some pretty shitty places around. If you're downtown, parking blows. It can be hard to find and can be expensive. There are a lot of people who commute from the outer reaches of the city, often by car, so there's a lot of traffic. Downtown, though, there's really no reason to have a car other than to leave downtown, haha. The U of T campus is served by about four subway stations and has a few streetcar lines going through it.

Campus life is.... eh. Let's just say you have to get off your ass and get some. There *is* a lot to do (hundreds of clubs, lots of sports teams, plenty of bars and clubs in the neighbourhood, etc.) but it will not come to you - you have to find it. But once you do, let me tell you, it's pretty awesome. I have had no shortage of amazing experiences with incredibly talented, enthusiastic and energetic people during my time at U of T. The vast majority of people (undergrads, at least) are keep-your-nose-to-the-books, stay-in-my-own-bubble types, which can be frustrating. The downtown campus has definitely got its own "chunk" of downtown and you can tell where it stops and starts for the most part - I'm guessing that's what you mean by 'campus' feel, I've never visited any of the other schools you've mentioned so I can't compare it.

I can't help much with international stuff but the International Student Centre here is very good, and it's pretty easy for international students to work in Ontario as far as I know.

ETA: You said you're at Boston U right now; a good friend of mine used to go there and now lives in Toronto, so if you like I can ask him for some points on how the cities & universities compare to pass along. I know he still adores Boston but also really loves it here.

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Thanks for such a detailed reply! I understand what you mean about those bubble types and having to take the initiative to get out - it was like that in Boston.

I plan on visiting the campus soon, and I was wondering if there were anything that I should have on my "must-visit" list. An insider's perspective would be much appreciated =)

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Well, both I suppose. On campus and in the area of Toronto around the campus. Not tourist attractions, but things that the students would usually do. Hangouts, restaurants, coffee shops, anything notable that would really give me a feel for what student life there would be like.

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On-campus I can't say because I'm not entirely familiar with the downtown campus, but I will say that I really like St. George Street (there's not much on it but academic buildings but it's a nice street, especially in the summer) and Hart House.

Around/near campus there's Kensington Market, Chinatown, Future Bakery (yummy desserts), Real Thailand (delicious and affordable), about a billion sushi places (don't ask me which ones are good, I don't like sushi), Honest Ed's, the Bata Shoe Museum (seriously! it's actually kinda cool), Queen St. West, the Royal Ontario Museum (expensive but there's a student discount on certain days), and probably more stuff I'm forgetting because I'm not there right now. Oh, and really good shawarma on College St., Quick Pita is my favourite. There are a variety of pubs, bars, clubs, etc. throughout the city if that's your thing; you can probably find one that suits your style *somewhere*.

Other stuff in the city but not really near campus that I love love love are St. Lawrence Market (peameal bacon sandwiches = YES), the Beach(es) neighbourhood (some people pluralize it, I was taught not to, haha), the Danforth (Greektown), Toronto Islands, the Harbourfront Centre & Power Plant contemporary art gallery, Fran's Restaurant (24 hours, excellent milkshakes), Burrito Boyz, Rainbow Cinemas (cheap!), World's Biggest Bookstore, the Scarborough Bluffs, and the Ontario Science Centre.

Things in general that I love about Toronto: lots of parks and green space, hundreds and hundreds of festivals in the summer (any kind of food, culture, neighbourhood, you name it, there's probably a festival for it, often free/cheap - my favourites include Ribfest and Hot & Spicy Food Festival; avoid Taste of the Danforth because it's way too crowded and commercialized these days), downtown's walk-ability (generally good), almost every band on tour in North America stops here and there are a lot of great music venues, a wide variety of theatre from big touring productions to indie stuff (including the Fringe festival), food from just about everywhere in the world from the far-off to the local, farmers' markets, Doors Open (a really awesome spring event where various buildings in the city open up their doors to the public, for free, so you get to see the inside of places you'd never imagine you'd get into), and taking the subway between Castle Frank and Broadview stations because you go under the Prince Edward Viaduct along Bloor & Danforth, which is over the Don Valley, so you're outside and on a bridge and you can look out over the city and all the trees and the river, and gloat at the folks stuck in traffic on the DVP. :-D

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Thanks so much for the advice, anythingtwice. I'm also very much considering attending the U of T next year (as mentioned in a couple of other threads, I visited last weekend and LOVED IT), and this is all really good to know.

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Future Bakery is kind of a tourist trap. However, the Spadina/Bloor area is a good place to hang out and have drinks, or whatnot. Good Korean food if you go West a few blocks, and good Chinese to the south (but don't go to the dumpling house, as its "night time residents" have been featured on the internet, crawling around on the make lines). Mervish (sp?) Villge is nearby, too, and there are some trendy little cafes and bars.

Toronto is a fun town, if you can meet people (who are very cold at times). But the housing situation is horrible beyond belief for anyone not from NYC or L.A.

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I've never found Future Bakery to be touristy, just swarming with students. I usually just go in, get my cheesecake, and get out. :-)

Ugh! I remember those dumpling house pictures! Made my skin crawl.

And people being cold is true - we don't tend to talk to each other very much in Toronto. That can make things a little lonely, as people tend to stick to their own little bubbles. I think as a student in the city you're at an advantage because then at least you're with people in classes, there are clubs and organizations to join, etc. and that makes it easier to meet people. Decent housing is generally expensive (if it's cheap, the place probably sucks), even with a roommate it can get pricey. Still, it's usually cheaper than on-campus.

The other thing I should mention is that a lot of people hate the city, and a lot of people hate U of T, U of T students often most virulently. It's big, it sprawls, it's expensive, people don't talk to each other, U of T has over 50 000 undergrads and 10 000 grad students across three campuses, transit has a *ton* of room for improvement, there is construction on various major routes throughout the year, and there are about a billion butt-ugly condo towers with new ones going up each year. The rest of Canada loves to hate Toronto and its 'centre of the universe' snobbery. The winters are very cold with deathly winds and shitty snow removal. Summers are really hot and humid with frequent smog alerts. So it's not for everyone, but I love it.

There are a number of great Toronto blogs that can give you some interesting perspectives - Torontoist, spacing.ca, community.livejournal.com/toronto, BlogTO and BlogUT.

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