Some people seem to have a hard time accepting the fact that all cities are unique in their own ways. A quick internet search will reveal quite a few online commenters engaged in long, fiery discussions about cities that are supposedly similar to each other.

Toronto is often mentioned in these discussions, and sometimes the proposed similarities of Toronto to other cities tend to undermine its uniqueness as a city.

But we all know Toronto is one-of-a-kind. Here are 7 Alpha cities around the world that are too frequently compared to Toronto, along with a few individual opinions on what makes each of them similar to it:


Chicago, USA

"When I first went there [Chicago], I couldn't get over some of the similarities. The tall buildings, cool baseball stadiums, lakefront location and similar people and climates are all areas of commonality. I found the food pretty similar; Toronto may have a slight edge with ethnic food, though it has nothing like Alinea. Even the cultural offerings (Aquarium, art museums, sports) are similar." - Maldwyn Jenkins, Online Commenter

"The two look similar from above: A dense urban core surrounded by a spider web of suburban dwellers. The official city populations are roughly equal, but when you take into account the surrounding suburbs — theirs, Chicagoland, and ours, Greater Toronto Area — Chicago’s population is 9.7 million compared with 5.5 million in the GTA."  - Tim Alamenciak for The Star


London, England

"In terms of diversity, London is a close comparison ... In terms of medicine and hospital facilities, it compares to any city with a large number of teaching hospitals. I think it compares to Boston, or London." - Rick HarrisTorontonian

"London can be very similar to Toronto sometimes, while other times you just don’t know what’s going on." - Chris McHugh for SWAP UK

"Climatically, Toronto in October is the same as London from September to June." - Evan Saskin, Architect


Photo credomnihotels.com

New York, USA

"Toronto is New York, run by the Swiss." - Peter Ustinov, Writer

"Toronto is often compared to New York because it's the largest city in Canada and because it's known for its corporate headquarters." - Robynator, Online Commenter

"Well, I was only in Toronto briefly, but I was immediately struck by it's resemblance to New York City. It felt huge the way that only New York has felt to me... Toronto feels like a big city. I've only been there once - and that in passing - but it so reminded me of New York City - with it's canyons of glass and steel. It felt enormous, vibrant, hustling and alive. I live in Seattle - which is not exactly small - and Toronto made Seattle feel absolutely puny."  - Lord Balfor, Online Commenter


Melbourne, Australia

"Melbourne, Australia has a very similar feel in terms of neighbourhoods, culture, and energy. It may explain why most Australians you meet in Toronto seem to hail from that particular city." - Connie Tsang, Toronto Photographer

"It is said that Melbourne is Toronto's precise equal for world cities. The difference is that Melbourne aims to progress and improve, and, because of this, is now leaving Toronto behind. It's not just about Melbourne-Toronto, but Australia in general has more of a want for progressing and also being all about Australia and its citizens." - NativeTorontonianAI, Online Commenter

"Having visited both Montreal and Toronto, I still believe that Melbourne is a better fit with Toronto. Population figures aside, the tram system is very similar to Melbourne and even the look and feel of the place gave me a familiar sense." - Melbourneguy, Online Commenter


Boston, USA

"In terms of sports, and fan loyalty, we compare to Boston." - Rick HarrisTorontonian

On similarities: "Compact downtown, but multiple 'clusters' of tall buildings and satellite centers; main shopping arteries in small-scale buildings often converted from domestic use; quiet, leafy neighborhoods directly adjacent to or within blocks of major avenues; schools and universities as a fundamental part of the urban core and its fabric overall...

...An initial impression of suburban sobriety and quiet conservatism that yields distinctly subversive elements upon closer inspection; a much-used and iconic subway system that frankly could use a bit of work; a notion of somehow being 'British' or 'European' in flavor compared with most other American cities, yet is actually fairly unique." - Ladies Mile, Online Commenter


Auckland, New Zealand

"Auckland’s Sky Tower (completed 1997) comes very close to the CN Tower’s (built 1975) design. There are many similarities but the CN tower holds the record for being the World’s Tallest Freestanding Structure on Land by the World Federation of Great Towers at 553 meters (1,815 feet and 5 inches). The Auckland Sky Tower ranks 12th at 328 meters." - William for meltingPOT

"Having visited Auckland I can tell you it’s a lot like Toronto (where I live). It’s a wonderful city to live in but not very exciting to visit." - Ayngelina, Online Commenter

"Some similarities [Toronto has] with Auckland included rising immigration, strong jobs growth and a population which envisaged no end to price rises during the boom." - Anne Gibson for the NZ Herald


Philadelphia, USA

"Toronto most reminds me of Philadelphia ... Similar amounts and quality of arts and culture; similar crippling inferiority complex due to constant self-comparisons with NYC; similar bustling, compact, mixed-use downtown cores (in fairness, Toronto's is about twice the size of Philly's); similar inadequate and underfunded transit systems; similar rundown 19th-century housing stock that gives the cities their distinct look; similar world-class universities just outside the central core (Penn/UofT). Outside downtown both Toronto and Philly sprawl forever over essentially flat landscapes." - CS2000, Online Commenter

"Philadelphia has a lot of elements of Queen St." - Brent Thomas, Entrepreneur

"Toronto shares more similarity with Philadephia than with New York to be honest." - Boticelli, Online Commenter


The people have spoken. And while there may be some nuggets of truth in their statements, Toronto is still one-of-a-kind in the end! What's your verdict? Leave a comment below!

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