Toronto is a city of neighborhoods. From the luxury of Yorkville to the ravines of Forest Hill, or the 24-hour action of the Entertainment District to the India bazaar of Gerrard Street, there is something for every lifestyle somewhere in Toronto.
Start with Transportation
Toronto has among the longest average commuting times of any city in the world. Your first step in choosing an apartment is thinking about transportation. If you work in the suburbs, and commute by car, look north of Highway 401, for a wide selection of relatively inexpensive but very spacious new apartment complexes, away from the traffic snarls of downtown. For subway commuters, avoid the hassles of multiple transfers by living near a subway stop on the same line as your workplace. The shorter the commute to the downtown core, the higher the rents; if you can tolerate taking a streetcar to a subway or are biking to work, try the burgeoning Queen East area with its edgy shops, restos, galleries, and affordable prices.
Little Italy, due west of University of Toronto, caters to U. of T. students with colorful Kensington market shops spilling out into the sidewalks, many ethnic and alternative shops, bookstores, coffeehouses and clubs. Prices are modest, classrooms are in easy walking or biking distance, and there is something to do at all hours of day and night. Rentals are often remodelled upper stories or basements of Victorian houses, with lots of character. Just north of the university, the row of high rises along St. George caters to students, but prices in much of the “Annex” area north of Bloor can be astronomical.
Ryerson students can live downtown within a few blocks of school, with many inexpensive high rises on offer, especially east of Yonge. Noise and crime can be issues, though, so choose carefully. York students can choose the Village area near York, but there isn’t much to do in the neighborhood; search near the Eglington West subway for good shopping and a more pleasant environment, with convenient transportation.
Yorkville, just north of Bloor Street, is filled with luxury apartments, often with 24-hour concierge service, valet parking, and great health clubs. You’ll be near Holt Renfrew, Whole Foods, designer boutiques, art galleries, and the Royal Ontario Museum. The Forest Hill area, near St. Claire Avenue, offer quieter high-end apartments at slightly lower prices, with convenient access to bike and walking trails in the ravines. The Annex, just north of Bloor, offers many upscale renovations of Victorian houses and some luxury high rises, in a pleasant and central located area.
If you work in the downtown core, Bay Street is home to many young professionals with convenient access to downtown offices, shopping, and entertainment. The Entertainment District can be noisy, it’s the place to be for clubbing, with many converted warehouse lofts for rent. The shore of Lake Ontario is lined with new highrises, with great views and a wide range of mid- to high- end pricing.