Toronto is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Canada. It's gotten love from many people, including the folks at The New York Times, The Economist, and even Gunnar Garfors (the guy who's been to every country).
There are a couple things about Toronto that only people who live there would know about. For first-time visitors, such things are useful to know before heading out to the 6. Here's some helpful insider information on the characteristic rhythm of Toronto life, from a Torontonian's perspective:
1. For the most part, transit is a necessity for getting around the city.
And it might be a frustrating experience for those who aren't seasoned Toronto commuters, but you'll get from point A to B at the end of the day (literally).
2. Toronto's subway system has a culture of its own.
There's a story behind every station that's worth reading into.
3. The weather can change drastically from day to day.
If you're visiting, it's probably a good idea to prepare for every type of weather condition (and to plan your outfits ahead).
4. Neither racism nor homophobia are welcome here.
Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world, and it has a huge Pride community. If you're not okay with that, it probably won't work out.
5. The selection of food is glorious.
You'll find restaurants of every cuisine. Anything you can think of, Toronto probably has it. Even our street meat is to die for.
6. Legal drinking age is 19.
Youngins, get your livers ready. Toronto's got bars for days.
7. Not all Torontonians are friendly people.
Don't count on the stereotype that all Canadians are nice.
8. Toronto isn't the cleanest place.
Hypochondriacs beware. It's not New York bad, but it can be pretty gross sometimes.
9. "No Parking" signs really mean "No Parking".
Stubbornness will get you a 40 to 400-dollar parking ticket.
10. Coffee is a big deal here.
Hold off on the Tim Horton's and Starbucks - Toronto has countless indie coffee shops. Before you visit, you might want to try becoming a coffee drinker so you can take full advantage of Toronto's coffee scene.
11. Torontonians have a lot of pride for their city.
Don't talk smack about the 6. You'll probably lose the argument by default.
12. The CN Tower isn't the only place worth taking a tourist picture at.
Toronto's architecture game is on point.
13. Not everybody speaks French.
It's the official second language in Toronto as it is in the rest of Canada, but most people stop studying it after the 8th grade.
14. Toronto has an amazing nightlife scene.
15. There's construction almost everywhere in the city.
But it's all for the better good.
16. Toronto's neighbourhoods are like mini cities of their own.
There's lots to explore. Like lots.
17. Almost everybody ignores the highway speed limits.
If you're driving 100 km/hr, you're likely to be tailgated or smoked.
18. The slang in the city is a separate language.
And once you catch on to the lingo, it's so fun to participate.
19. Things are rather pricey.
If you're visiting, definitely bring the moolah. It's almost as if there's a tax for everything.
20. There's never a dull moment.
There's something new to discover every day. One weekend in the 6 is not enough.
This list barely scratches the surface. What about the Toronto lifestyle would you explain to someone who is planning on visiting Toronto? Leave a comment below!