6 Things I Got Wrong About Toronto After Moving Here From A Small Town One Year Ago
Life in the big city isn't what I expected...
This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
After living in the country for most of my life, I decided to trade open fields for skyscraper views and move to the big city. In the summer of 2021, I left my home in rural Ontario and moved into a condo in Toronto.
City life was certainly different, and I quickly fell in love with my new place and metropolitan surroundings. Just being able to walk to a store, not to mention Starbucks, was a huge excitement for me.
While I had a lot of ideas of what Toronto life would be like, there were still a number of things that surprised me and definitely took some getting used to.
It's difficult to get pretty much anywhere
Being a big city, I figured Toronto would have a convenient and well-developed transit system. I soon learned that if your destination isn't along a subway line, it's not going to be easy to get to. There will often be several transfers involved, making your travel time even longer.
What shocked me most just how difficult it is to get out of the city. I thought it would be easy to hop on a train and visit my friends in Guelph, but I soon learned that on weekends there are no GO trains servicing this route, and the bus rides can be over three hours — not convenient for a day trip.
People are actually really friendly
I was worried the big city would seem harsh in contrast with the small, friendly town I was used to, but I actually found people in Toronto to be really warm and kind.
I feel like Torontonians get a bad rap, and growing up, I'd always hear negative comments about people from the big city. Since moving here, I've met so many amazing people and made some incredible new friends, and I find the general vibe here very pleasant.
Madeline at a restaurant in Toronto.@madeline.forsyth | Instagram
Drinks are SO expensive
Everything in Toronto is expensive, but it was the drink prices that really shocked me. I remember ordering my first Toronto Starbucks and doing a double take when the bill came to over $7.
Coffee isn't the only expensive beverage. Cocktails often cost $15 to $20 or more, and if you're having several on a night out, prepare for your bank account to suffer. The good news is, I've become a pro at homemade lattes and sangria.
Everyone looks fashionable all the time
Coming from a rural community where all you see is plaid and baseball caps, the streets of Toronto looked like a fashion runway to me. While I figured people in the city would be more fashion-forward, I didn't expect just how seriously people would take their outfits.
Everyone always seems to be wearing the latest style, whether they're on a coffee run or doing they're grocery shopping, and I definitely felt the pressure to revamp my wardrobe.
It's hard to get into restaurants and bars
Making reservations was nothing new to me. Small towns have such limited dining options that a reservation is usually required before going out.
I did not, however, expect this to be the case for Toronto. With so many bars and restaurants, I figured you'd be able to show up and get a seat pretty much anywhere.
I couldn't have been more wrong. I can't even recall how many times I've had to go restaurant-to-restaurant or bar-to-bar in order to finally get a seat. One thing is for sure, Torontonians love their food.
I still run into people I know
The small town cliche is true — everyone knows each other. It was pretty much a guarantee that whenever I went into town, I'd see at least one person I know.
I figured it would be a whole other story in a huge city with a population of millions, but I can't believe how many acquaintances I've run into. Once, I ran into three different people I used to go to school with on my walk home. It really is a small world.