Why Live in Toronto & the GTA
Piercing the clouds across Lake Ontario, nothing beats the Toronto skyline. Within the big city’s borders, at least 140 neighbourhoods are waiting to be called home. Diversity is a philosophy in The 6ix.
There’s always something to do in the streets of Toronto. The city is engulfed in arts and culture, providing many different sights, smells and sounds to both tourists and residents alike. At its forefront is the notorious CN Tower, which becomes a colourful beacon in the night sky. The elevator ride to the top is a breathtaking journey, while the tower’s revolving 360 Restaurant provides panoramic views unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
If you’re looking to up your Instagram game, Toronto is a city that delivers. While you’re near the tower, check out Ripley’s Aquarium and get a selfie with a shark. Catch a concert at the Scotiabank Arena or a game at the Rogers Centre. A quick subway ride from Union Station will take you to the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario for some seriously inspiring snaps. And of course, don’t forget to swing by Nathan Phillips Square for a picture with the Toronto sign – maybe even in your ice skates.
But, the notable experiences don’t stop there. The Distillery District is also worth the trip. The site of a former whiskey distillery, the cobblestone streets are packed with trendy boutiques, larger-than-life art installations, and savvy restaurants and bars. In the winter, the district hosts the Toronto Christmas Market, an old-world style bazaar that encompasses the season. If you’re craving more tradition, a visit to Casa Loma just might be the fix. The Gothic-style mansion dates back to the early 1900s, serving as both a museum and a historical landmark. It’s an extremely popular wedding venue, and it even has an escape room for those who wish to take their adventure to the next level.
Toronto is also a great place to shop ‘til you drop. Aside from the largely popular Eaton Centre, it has some smaller, more unique offerings. Kensington Market oozes cultural influence among colourful, kooky and vintage boutiques, while Queen Street West hosts an abundance of high-fashion finds. You can even find some more fruitful options at the St. Lawrence Market, where crops and creativity come together in perfect harmony.
While the big city vibe is great for some, others may want to get away from the hustle and bustle. If this sounds familiar, you still have some great local options. Etobicoke is more toned down and suburban, with quiet, intimate neighbourhoods that are perfect for the whole family. Alternatively, a peaceful boat ride from the harbour will take you to the Toronto Islands, where you can go cycling or relax on the beach. And if you’re really looking to get away, catch a flight across the world from Pearson – the country’s busiest airport!
The diversity of the big city carries into the GTA, which comprises the Halton, Peel, York and Durham regions.
To the north is the York Region, extending through to Lake Simcoe. It consists of Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham, Aurora, Newmarket, Whitchurch-Stouffville, East Gwillimbury, Georgina and King. It’s a great place to spend your summer, as the region hosts more than 30 festivals over 50 days, celebrating everything from food to music. It’s also home to several beaches and conservation areas, the Lake Simcoe Trail, and more than 70 golf courses. For thrill seekers, Canada’s Wonderland – the country’s largest theme park – is located in Vaughan.
To the east is the Durham Region, which includes Pickering, Oshawa, Ajax, Whitby, Clarington, Uxbridge, Scugog and Brock. Here, there are more than 350 kilometres of recreational trails and conservation areas, including the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail. There is a variety of farmers’ markets, pick-your-own farms, agricultural fairs, galleries and museums, as well as several renowned craft breweries and wineries.
To the west is the Peel Region, formed from Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon. Here, you’ll find Square One – the largest shopping centre in Ontario – along with the 100-acre Wet N’ Wild Toronto waterpark. Additionally, Mississauga alone has almost 500 parks and woodlands within its borders, while Caledon is the west bookend of the Oak Ridges Moraine, which stretches across Peel, York and Durham to the Kawartha Lakes region.
Further to the west is the Halton Region, made up of Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills. Halton is the main source for the Bruce Trail – Canada’s oldest and longest walking path. In fact, you can embrace the great outdoors throughout the region, hiking at Crawford Lake and Hilton Falls Conservation Areas, as well as camping at Kelso Conservation Area and Bronte Creek Provincial Park. There is also access to more than 25 kilometres of Lake Ontario waterfront through various parks and conservation areas. See more of what Burlington and Oakville have to offer in our Communities section.