According to Statistics Canada, more than 1.2 million people moved into the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area between 2001 and 2016. Despite the occasional tragic news, the City of Toronto and our surrounding municipalities are still desirable places to live on an international scale – and that is likely to continue for many more years.
The Ontario Ministry of Finance’s population projections predict that the GTA will be the fastest-growing region of Ontario. They quote its population to increase by 2.8 million during that time, to reach nearly 9.7 million. Phew!
Why the rush to move here? Why not? So far this year, the City of Toronto has earned eight world rankings, ranging from 5th out of 110 cities for the best location for Millennials to live in (by Nestpick), to 8th out of 165 cities in the Cities in Motion Index. Toronto also recently came in 16th on MoneySense Magazine’s list of Best Places to Live in Canada 2018.
Toronto and its surroundings are among the most multicultural in the world, so people from all backgrounds and walks of life will find like-minded folks populating our communities. Toronto alone has 140 distinct neighbourhoods, from Scarborough and the Rouge in the east to Don Mills and Mount Pleasant in the centre, and Eringate and West Humber in the west. Each has its own character and highlights.
Take food, for example. If you’re hungry for ethnic fare in Toronto, take your pick: Jamaican, Mexican, Italian, Korean, Indian, Polish, Japanese, Ethiopian, Chinese, Greek and Middle Eastern, to name just a few. Toronto and the GTA are home to excellent schools, including public, private, alternative, preparatory and religious institutions. Post-secondary, you ask? Again, take your pick among several, including renowned colleges and universities. And remember those world rankings for Toronto? Our city also ranked 4th out of the top-50 tech talent markets (CBRE Research Scoring Tech Talent for North America).
I wish there was an award for shopping. I mean, across the GTA, you can browse for antiques in little out-of-the-way spots in villages such as King City and Sunderland, indulge in world-class venues such as Hermès and Chanel in Yorkville, get delightfully lost in massive malls like Vaughan Mills, enjoy a fresh food experience at the St. Lawrence Market or any number of farmers’ markets across the GTA, get all artsy fartsy at Harbourfront, or hurry through a big-box extravaganza just about anywhere.
Attractions? We got ‘em. Catch live theatre in downtown Toronto, and check out the amazing productions offered around the city in Mississauga, Markham and the like. How about Canada’s Wonderland, the Toronto Zoo, CN Tower, Casa Loma, Aga Khan Museum, Ontario Science Centre, Art Gallery of Ontario and Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada? Oh, and sports-lovers love the fact that they can watch major league games in downtown Toronto, and that just about every village and hamlet across the GTA has an arena and local sports teams.
There’s a lot to celebrate in Toronto and the GTA, and celebrate, we certainly do. Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to events focused on food, culture and more. Plus, wherever they live in Toronto or the GTA, large bodies of water are never far away, from Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe. Speaking of water, if you’ve never treated yourself to a visit to the Scarborough Bluffs, get off your butt and go now. This naturally occurring escarpment features a series of parks, both atop them and at its base. The views of nature at its most rugged are dramatic and beautiful.
All of this represents a drop in the bucket filled with reasons why so many people choose Toronto and the GTA to call home. Last year, The Economist even ranked Toronto the safest city in North America and in the top five cities worldwide. It will be interesting to see how the rankings fall this year, but I suspect Toronto will still be considered among the safest, relatively speaking.
When you look at what’s going on in other countries around the world, including the one just to the south of us, Canada looks pretty darned good as a whole. I, for one, am proud to live in Canada, in Ontario, in Toronto. Traveling is great, but it’s even better to breathe a sigh of relief upon returning home. I can understand the enormous pull people feel to move to Toronto and the GTA so they can have a safe, amenity-rich place to call home.