Dundas Square is overrated and the winters are actually worse in the 6ix.
Canada is one of the biggest countries in the world and each province and coast has its own quirks and individual culture from weather to slang.
Here's what two west coast girls from Vancouver and Calgary wish they knew before moving to downtown Toronto.
Cottage Country is sacred
Everyone you meet will either have a cottage or know someone who does. Cottage country is practically sacred in Ontario, and it's the most popular vacation destination you will hear about.
People are far more likely to talk about a Northern Ontario getaway than a trip to Hawaii any day.
Having your first cottage experience is a rite of passage into becoming a true Ontarian, and honestly, it's worth the hype.
But unlike the west coast, cabins are called cottages? And if you call it a cabin, no one will understand what you're talking about.
Apartment hunting is chaotic AF & you need to act fast
If you like an apartment you see, you pretty much need to sign and submit your application even before you leave your viewing. It is a competitive market to rent a place in Toronto, and because of that, there will often be multiple bids on the same unit that you're looking at.
As soon as you see a place that you love -- or at the very least checks most of your boxes -- don't chance it and put down a deposit as soon as you are able.
Yonge & Dundas is so overrated
"It's the Time Square of Toronto!" No, it's one of the worst places in Toronto to hang out, and it feels like 90% of people there are tourists or Ryerson University students.
Although the Eaton Centre is located by the square and no one can deny that it is a great mall, there are so many cleaner and more interesting places in the city to hang out, eat and shop.
Eating outside on a patio next to Yonge Street as cars and pedestrians flood the street may seem exciting when you first move to Toronto, but it quickly loses its charm.
The TTC isn't actually that confusing & Uber is unnecessary
Calgary and Vancouver have some pretty solid public transportation, but moving to Toronto and trying to figure out the TTC was a whole other beast. With different subway and streetcar lines, and buses that run 24-hours-a-day, it is overwhelming at first.
Eventually, it does get easier, and once you figure out the difference between east and west, you'll even know what side of the platform to stand on that'll get you closest to the exit for the station you're heading out at.
On top of that, the TTC covers a fair bit of ground in the downtown core. Uber is an easy option but totally not necessary if you're getting around the 6ix. The TTC may have service closures every now and then, but it'll still be easier on your wallet.
Toronto Island is a thing
Toronto has its own island, and it took us forever to figure this out!
Visiting the Toronto Islands is basically the perfect summer day trip in the 6ix, especially if you don't have a car but an urge to get out of the city and into some nature.
Hanlan's Point becomes a total beach party destination in the summer, with hoards of people blasting music and sunning out on the clothing-optional beach.
You can hop on a water taxi along Lakeshore for a modest price and be on the island in less than 15 minutes to explore the beaches.
Bagged milk is also a thing
Bagged milk is not a universally shared experience across Canada, and the first time you go to the grocery store may be a lot more chaotic than you might expect. Did you know there was an entirely separate container to put your bagged milk in? And did you know there's a certain way to cut the bag, too?
Your typical Toronto grocer will still carry cartons and jugs of milk, so you don't have to take the plunge with precarious packaging if you don't want to.
Toronto has it's own brand of slang
Toronto is a melting pot of different cultures, and with that comes a lot of slang, so if one of your new friends starts talking about a "ting," "a Toronto mans," or asks to "come scoop you," don't panic just do a quick urban dictionary search and you'll be fine.
Winters are way worse in Toronto than out West (and that's including Calgary)
While winters in Calgary are definitely biting and treacherous (it has gotten down to -40C before!) they are nothing compared to Toronto's.
Many people automatically assume that since Calgary is situated right near the Rockies that Calgarians are just constantly freezing, but since the 6ix sits right by a lake, the winter air is much more biting because of the humidity.
Your super cute boots may live in the back of your closet during the winter
Speaking of winter, you're going to need to buy proper boots with insolation and gripped soles. Yes, they will not be as cute as your heeled booties but slipping and smashing your knees into the sidewalk because you slipped on a patch of ice is so much more embarrassing.
People will help you up because it is Canada, and we are polite, but the stink of weather inappropriate footwear shame will follow you in the form of many bruises.
The bright side is you can wear them for fall.
The CNE & The Stampede are pretty much the same (just without the cowboys)
This might be a hot take, but the fairs at the CNE and the Calgary Stampede are virtually the same. They're both filled to the brim with food stalls that offer out-of-this-world food options, games that you can just sink your dollars into trying to score a prize, and wild rides that'll make you feel like you're a little kid again.
But, the biggest difference, of course, is that the CNE is lacking cowboys and the Stampede's renowned rodeo culture. So unless you're itching to kick some boots and line dance with cowboys, the CNE will still scratch that itch.
Warehouse isn’t the ONLY place to eat
Every new Torontonian moving to the city for university or in their early 20s falls into the clutches of Warehouse. The cheap spot has multiple locations, including one on Queen Street West and one on Yonge and the hold this restaurant has on Toronto's new youth is unshakeable. Yes, the food and drinks are cheap, but waiting hours for a table or to get in the bar during the winter is not worth it.
We promise there are other cheap bars that are just as good and less overrated to check out.
That there's a 13% service tax
Service taxes vary in each province, which came as a shock at first. Calgary has a 5% GST (or goods and services tax) so Toronto's 13% HST was a big jump at first. It was an adjustment at first budgeting for outings and shopping dates, but it quickly gets ingrained in your head.
The sushi quality in TO can never live up to Vancouver's
Brooke Houghton | Narcity
East coast sushi just isn't the same as Vancouver sushi.
Sushi in Toronto is so much more expensive and sadly less fresh. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Ontario, you're overpaying for your sushi hand over fist compared to Van.
So if you're a lover of sashimi, you'll definitely notice a difference in price and quality when you move. Our solution is to find a good all-you-can-eat place and if you can't bank on quality, go for quantity.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
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