6 Things People In Toronto Take For Granted From Someone Who Moved Away

You'll miss the 6ix when you're gone.

Brooke Houghton. Right: Toronto skyline.
Brooke Houghton. Right: Toronto skyline.

Toronto may be infested with raccoons, dirty streets, and Drake songs, but trust me — you won't fully appreciate the city until you leave it.

I moved to Toronto in 2017 for university and just recently moved to New York, and I can now say I didn't know how good I had it living in the 6ix until I moved away.

In my six years in Toronto, I fell in love with the city's incredible culture, free things to do, delicious food scene, and endless activities, from checking out the Toronto Islands to exploring a new neighbourhood.

That's not to say I didn't have my complaints like most locals, though.

If you live in Toronto, you probably rant about the housing crisis and affordability issues that have you paying $18 for every cocktail in the west end and $2,000 and up for a one-bedroom apartment, but it could be worse.

I love Toronto like any proud Torontonian, and after moving away, I now look back at my time there with the warm glow of nostalgia.

Here are the six things I'll miss that you shouldn't take for granted.

Toronto isn't crawling with cockroaches

Toronto may have raccoons, bedbugs, and some rats, but compared to other massive cities, it's barely got a pest control problem.

Cockroaches are ridiculously common in other cities to the point where it's normal to spot a handful crawling on the streets on a 20-minute walk home.

I don't know about you, but the only time I spotted cockroaches in Toronto was when I was working in a restaurant, and those guys were itty-bitty compared to the monstrosities you can see in other cities.

So please enjoy your odd raccoon sighting and subway rat – it could be a cockroach the size of a large man smushed under your new shoes.

Rental prices really aren't that bad

Rent in Toronto is rough, but compared to cities like New York and Vancouver, it still feels like Monopoly money.

The average one-bedroom in Toronto is $2,526, which is still ridiculously expensive, considering the average apartment size is 647 square feet, according to Joloan Properties.

It's no surprise that people are unhappy with the prices, but compared to other major cities, Torontonians are living large.

In New York, the average rent for a one-bedroom is USD $4,195, according to Renthop, which converts to $5,636.19 CAD.

Across Canada, in West Vancouver, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment goes for $2,844, per month.

So while I agree rent prices have gotten out of control, it could be worse — and I'm talking thousands more dollars a month worse.

So please enjoy your rent prices while you can, because chances are you have no idea how affordable it actually is compared to other major cities.

Toronto takes pride in its city

Torontonians love their city.

Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world, and the pride its citizens take in that is unreal. I don't think I've ever seen a group of people who rep their city harder.

From Drake to Shawn Mendes to the random Uber driver you chat up who has lived in the city for 30 years, people who have lived in Toronto tend to have a soft spot for the city for life.

We all love to complain about the construction on Eglinton and the strange amount of dog poop on the sidewalks, but at the end of the day, it's all worth it.

I lived in Vancouver for seven years, spent six weeks in Calgary, and recently left the country for NYC, and I've yet to meet people who speak as highly of their city as Torontonians do.

People in Toronto all have their own story with the city, whether they immigrated years ago or have freshly moved from a small town in Alberta.

Once people live in Toronto, they always speak of it with a fondness that is seldom found elsewhere, and I think that speaks to the magic of the city.

So enjoy your city pride and wear it well.

Healthcare is free

If you've only ever lived in Canada, you may be shocked to find that in other countries, you actually have to pay for your healthcare, and it doesn't come cheap.

Enjoy your free hospital visits, family doctors, and surgeries while you can because not everywhere in the world offers it for free.

The winters are actually kind of nice???

This is going to be controversial as Toronto's winters may be miserable at the moment, but they truly are unique to the region.

I spent many winters in Toronto with a crazy carpet in Trinity Bellwoods, throwing my body down a steep hill at full force and walking home with a bruised butt and a big smile on my face.

Toronto's winters are magical, from the Distillery District Winter Village to walking the snowy trails at High Park.

Winter in Toronto may be brutally cold, but it is truly beautiful.

Even the wild snow storms that shut down the city for days delaying bus routes and forcing Doug Ford to dig out citizens with a tiny shovel are a treasure to look back on.

So before you moan and groan over the slush-covered streets, remember one day, you may live in a city where a snow day isn't always on the horizon.

Toronto restaurants are unmatched

Toronto is a haven for incredible food and cuisine from around the world.

In the six years I lived in the city, I found my favourite restaurants for Thai,Vietnamese, Italian, Japanese, Greek, Korean and dozens of other cuisines that have rivalled the food I've tasted at other restaurants around the world.

When you live in Toronto, you have such a diverse array of authentic cuisine right at your fingertips, and depending on where you move, you may not have that same luxury.

So if you live in Toronto, do me a favour and dine out tonight and try a dish you've never had before.

Toronto truly is one of a kind, so enjoy it while you can and soak up all it has to offer!

Brooke Houghton
Brooke Houghton is a contributing writer for Narcity Media based in Toronto, Ontario.