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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello to all,

I currently reside in South Florida and may be taking a job in Toronto with my current company. Before I make that final decision in taking this Job and moving my family which consist of my wife and 2 boys (9 and 6), I would like to get more information about Toronto. Can anyone provide information between the cost of living difference between South Florida and Toronto. On average, what would be the % increase that should be factored in order to have a compatible lifestyle in Toronto. I currently own a home in South Florida but will proabably rent for the first year in Toronto. What kind of taxes will I face in Toronto. How is the school system in Ontario compared to South Florida. Should I expect a better school system in Toronto. My wife is a school teacher in Florida, would she be able to teach in Toronto and how is the process.

Would definitely appreciate if anyone can assist me in gathing information so I can make a sound decision.

Thank you.
 

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Hello to all,

I currently reside in South Florida and may be taking a job in Toronto with my current company. Before I make that final decision in taking this Job and moving my family which consist of my wife and 2 boys (9 and 6), I would like to get more information about Toronto. Can anyone provide information between the cost of living difference between South Florida and Toronto. On average, what would be the % increase that should be factored in order to have a compatible lifestyle in Toronto. I currently own a home in South Florida but will proabably rent for the first year in Toronto. What kind of taxes will I face in Toronto. How is the school system in Ontario compared to South Florida. Should I expect a better school system in Toronto. My wife is a school teacher in Florida, would she be able to teach in Toronto and how is the process.

Would definitely appreciate if anyone can assist me in gathing information so I can make a sound decision.

Thank you.
You mention a comparable lifestyle. Without knowing your present lifestyle that would be virtually impossible information to provide. For a decent middle-class lifestyle in Toronto you would need income(s) of Can$100k minimum. That wouldn't leave a lot of room for savings or expensive vacations etc. Rent for a 3 bedroom home in a nice community will set you back $2-2500 p/m. Federal/Provincial taxes and other deductions will be around 25% of your income. There is also realty taxes and sales taxes of 13%
Ontario is regarded as having one of the best school systems anywhere so that should not be of concrn to you. For your wife to teach she would require to have her qualifications evaluated by the authorities here. Teachers are not in great demand here so, if she could get a position, the chances are it would be on a supply basis only until a permanent one became available.
If you have lived in the northern US States then you will have an idea of our climate here, although Toronto is not as severe as Buffalo (2 hours away)
Best of Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You mention a comparable lifestyle. Without knowing your present lifestyle that would be virtually impossible information to provide. For a decent middle-class lifestyle in Toronto you would need income(s) of Can$100k minimum. That wouldn't leave a lot of room for savings or expensive vacations etc. Rent for a 3 bedroom home in a nice community will set you back $2-2500 p/m. Federal/Provincial taxes and other deductions will be around 25% of your income. There is also realty taxes and sales taxes of 13%
Ontario is regarded as having one of the best school systems anywhere so that should not be of concrn to you. For your wife to teach she would require to have her qualifications evaluated by the authorities here. Teachers are not in great demand here so, if she could get a position, the chances are it would be on a supply basis only until a permanent one became available.
If you have lived in the northern US States then you will have an idea of our climate here, although Toronto is not as severe as Buffalo (2 hours away)
Best of Luck.

Thank you for your reply, I appreciate your input as this is a big step for my family and I. Compatible lifestyle would be middle class, own a home, 2 cars, occassional dining out (once a week), taking kids to children events, yearly vacations. I won't be buying a home too soon but will like to rent one. The salary amount and the rent you state should be a big help in deciding to take the job and in negotiating a salary with my employer.
As I read more and more, I definitely hear the same thing that the Ontario school system is one of the best. That is comforting to hear.
We are anticipating for my wife not to work for the 1st year that we are in Toronto. This should give her some time to get her qualifications in order. Do you or anyone else know what she would need to do in order for her qualifications to be evaluated?
My wife and I are originally from New York City so we know of the cold, though I guess it is colder in Toronto then it is in NYC. We have been living in Florida for the last 9 years, so our blood has thinned and 50° F is very cold for us:)
We will get used to it, hopefully the boys will too and they will find the cold weather fun as I used to growing up in NYC. Though we did not get a lot of Snow, it was fun when we did.
As far as commuting, I hear Toronto has public transportation. Is it advisable to use public transportion or drive when commuting to work and home. I remember communting to work in NYC during the winter. It was really bad since I lived right by the beach. Is it advisable to drive instead of taking public transportation since I am so afraid of the cold?

Again, thanks for your reply.
 

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Thank you for your reply, I appreciate your input as this is a big step for my family and I. Compatible lifestyle would be middle class, own a home, 2 cars, occassional dining out (once a week), taking kids to children events, yearly vacations. I won't be buying a home too soon but will like to rent one. The salary amount and the rent you state should be a big help in deciding to take the job and in negotiating a salary with my employer.
As I read more and more, I definitely hear the same thing that the Ontario school system is one of the best. That is comforting to hear.
We are anticipating for my wife not to work for the 1st year that we are in Toronto. This should give her some time to get her qualifications in order. Do you or anyone else know what she would need to do in order for her qualifications to be evaluated?
Your wife should contact the Ontario College of Education College Staff - The Ontario College of Teachers
My wife and I are originally from New York City so we know of the cold, though I guess it is colder in Toronto then it is in NYC. We have been living in Florida for the last 9 years, so our blood has thinned and 50° F is very cold for us:)
We will get used to it, hopefully the boys will too and they will find the cold weather fun as I used to growing up in NYC. Though we did not get a lot of Snow, it was fun when we did.
Toronto would be colder/more snowy than NYC for sure but, because of its location, not as bad as a 40km radius from the city. If you're (family) is/can be into winter activities there is lots of it quite close to the city such as downhill/cross country skiing, snowmobiling, skating, etc.
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As far as commuting, I hear Toronto has public transportation. Is it advisable to use public transportion or drive when commuting to work and home. I remember commuting to work in NYC during the winter. It was really bad since I lived right by the beach. Is it advisable to drive instead of taking public transportation since I am so afraid of the cold?
The answer to this much depends on where you choose to live in the GTA, which covers a very large area. If you live in the city proper there is a good bus/subway/streetcar system. Should you choose to live in one of the many dormitory communities there is a train system which works well for many thousands each day. Is your company's Toronto office in the city centre? That could well determine if you require to drive or not. Getting into/out the city by car during rush hours is nightmarish.

Again, thanks for your reply.
Much good wishes and please ask more questions if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Much good wishes and please ask more questions if needed.
Thank you Auld Yin.

The office is located in Concord, ON off Langstaff road. I know the commute time will depend on where I end up living, but does this area have bad rush hour? Are there decent areas to live close to this vacinity with good school systems? How far is this Concord, ON to downtown Toronto.

I spoke to someone and they mention that there are many underground train system where you can assess many areas through the underground. Is this true and if so this would help out in the cold.

On the school system, are children required to take up French in the Ontario system?

Thanks a bunch for answering my inquiries.
 

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Thank you Auld Yin.

The office is located in Concord, ON off Langstaff road. I know the commute time will depend on where I end up living, but does this area have bad rush hour? Are there decent areas to live close to this vacinity with good school systems? How far is this Concord, ON to downtown Toronto.There is plenty of good housing surrounding this area so finding somewhere close to work will not be difficult. If you do this your commute would be no more than 30 minutes but could be considerably less. Good schooling is available. To downtown Toronto would be about 45-60 minutes outside rush hour by car. By public transit about 1.25 hours.

I spoke to someone and they mention that there are many underground train system where you can assess many areas through the underground. Is this true and if so this would help out in the cold.
Toronto does have a subway system and in the downtown area there is a large underground walkway linked to a number of subway stations. The walkway is a large shopping centre and a facility for people to access their work without surfacing.

On the school system, are children required to take up French in the Ontario system?
Yes, they would be required to take French, as it's one of Canada's official languages. There is also French Immersion available where they can be taught in both languages simoultaniously. It's an accepted fact that someone having more than one language has an advantage in life,

Thanks a bunch for answering my inquiries.
Continued good luck with your decision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Continued good luck with your decision.
Thanks,

what is the average rent for a 4 bedroom home in the Concord Area. And what are the average sales price for equivalent home?

How is the car insurance? On average, what should I expect to pay for 2 cars? Will my US driver's licence automatic get me a driver's license in Ontario?

Thanks for your help.
 

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Thanks,

what is the average rent for a 4 bedroom home in the Concord Area. And what are the average sales price for equivalent home?

How is the car insurance? On average, what should I expect to pay for 2 cars? Will my US driver's licence automatic get me a driver's license in Ontario?

Thanks for your help.
I would expect tp pay C$2500-3500p/m for a decent property. This would/should include realty taxes but not utilities. In that area (City of Vaughan) a good 4 bedroom home would be C$350-500K and up).

Car insurance in Ontario is expensive. For two cars I pay about $2000 annually which does not include usage for work.
Yes, you can just do a straight exchange for your US licence.

I can appreciate this must be a difficult decision for you and your family. Having been to Florida many times I imagine that moving here would be quite the change. Many people here claim they couldn't live in the heat all year round but Florida is the first place most of think of when it's -20c here and/or there's a blizzard blowing. Before you make any decision is there a chance that you and your wife could do a quick 2-3 day reccie of the area. That might firm up your minds one way or the other.
Cheers.
 

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If you could afford (or were used to) New York City then Toronto won't be a problem for you, stuff at the supermarket is slightly more expensive than America on average (and I think Florida was on the cheaper end of that spectrum). Rent gets cheaper the further from the core you get, but it's still reasonable in the center of Toronto (i think it's cheaper than most major American cities). Toronto isn't crazy like New York/London/Moscow/Tokyo or anything.

Having a car though is a pain since you get gouged on parking at every turn (the core city is very anti-car). And Canadian car insurance is pretty steep, especially in Toronto where they drive like maniacs. But it's still affordable, it won't ruin you. It's not uncommon for people to take the subway to work even though they have a car.. though I would be surprised to find anyone taking the bus instead of driving if you are off the subway route - you mention Concord, which is kind of the boonies, I lived near there once and I would say it's definitely a driving kind of area (you may not want to live too close to that area btw).

As for the cold - I actually find Toronto way too hot, you need an air conditioner in the summer, and the winter is at most rare light snow which turns to slush. Something to do with being near the lake I suspect.

Taxes - a 13% sales tax, and >$70,000 CAD/year = 40% tax bracket. This is really the only thing to factor in (convert take home pay to USD and compare) - I think you would find the cost of living to be otherwise run of the mill (vs America).

You can look at places to rent on the internet (i forget what you'd google - Toronto rentals or something).. it's the best way to look even if you were physically there.

Someone said $100K/year, New York/Moscow/Tokyo need $100K/year.. I'd say you are comfortable on $50K/year in Toronto (but of course it's relative and more is always better).

French - just one class.. not like having to learn math in French (unless you went with French immersion).

Thank you for your reply, I appreciate your input as this is a big step for my family and I. Compatible lifestyle would be middle class, own a home, 2 cars, occassional dining out (once a week), taking kids to children events, yearly vacations. I won't be buying a home too soon but will like to rent one. The salary amount and the rent you state should be a big help in deciding to take the job and in negotiating a salary with my employer.
As I read more and more, I definitely hear the same thing that the Ontario school system is one of the best. That is comforting to hear.
We are anticipating for my wife not to work for the 1st year that we are in Toronto. This should give her some time to get her qualifications in order. Do you or anyone else know what she would need to do in order for her qualifications to be evaluated?
My wife and I are originally from New York City so we know of the cold, though I guess it is colder in Toronto then it is in NYC. We have been living in Florida for the last 9 years, so our blood has thinned and 50° F is very cold for us:)
We will get used to it, hopefully the boys will too and they will find the cold weather fun as I used to growing up in NYC. Though we did not get a lot of Snow, it was fun when we did.
As far as commuting, I hear Toronto has public transportation. Is it advisable to use public transportion or drive when commuting to work and home. I remember communting to work in NYC during the winter. It was really bad since I lived right by the beach. Is it advisable to drive instead of taking public transportation since I am so afraid of the cold?

Again, thanks for your reply.
 

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Someone said $100K/year, New York/Moscow/Tokyo need $100K/year.. I'd say you are comfortable on $50K/year in Toronto (but of course it's relative and more is always better).

For a family of 4, it would be extremely tight trying to live on $50k annually in the GTA,
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I would expect tp pay C$2500-3500p/m for a decent property. This would/should include realty taxes but not utilities. In that area (City of Vaughan) a good 4 bedroom home would be C$350-500K and up).

Car insurance in Ontario is expensive. For two cars I pay about $2000 annually which does not include usage for work.
Yes, you can just do a straight exchange for your US licence.

I can appreciate this must be a difficult decision for you and your family. Having been to Florida many times I imagine that moving here would be quite the change. Many people here claim they couldn't live in the heat all year round but Florida is the first place most of think of when it's -20c here and/or there's a blizzard blowing. Before you make any decision is there a chance that you and your wife could do a quick 2-3 day reccie of the area. That might firm up your minds one way or the other.
Cheers.


We will definitely will try to go their in the next month. If I take the Job I already mentioned to my employer that I won't physically move until June when the kids finish school. This will give me the opportunity to go there with the family a few times until we move. I will definitely make sure we go during January or February just to make sure we can take the cold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Someone said $100K/year, New York/Moscow/Tokyo need $100K/year.. I'd say you are comfortable on $50K/year in Toronto (but of course it's relative and more is always better).

For a family of 4, it would be extremely tight trying to live on $50k annually in the GTA,
The salary will be just over $100K USD but I am thinking this will not be enough if I want to buy a house of at least 4 bedrooms. I have a 3,000 sf size home in Florida and I think an equivalent size home in Toronto will be about $500K USD. Renting an equivalent size home seems tough as well. If this is the case, I think a salary of $100K may not cut it. Would love for anyone to contradict me. I think I will feel more comfortable if a salary of $100K USD would be enough.

Do homes come with basements in Toronto?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Someone said $100K/year, New York/Moscow/Tokyo need $100K/year.. I'd say you are comfortable on $50K/year in Toronto (but of course it's relative and more is always better).

For a family of 4, it would be extremely tight trying to live on $50k annually in the GTA,
I forgot to ask about the effective income tax rate. On a salary of $100K will I expect to take home $60K? Or are there deductions/exeptions you can take to lower the taxable income subject to the 40% tax rate?

Thanks.
 

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The salary will be just over $100K USD but I am thinking this will not be enough if I want to buy a house of at least 4 bedrooms. I have a 3,000 sf size home in Florida and I think an equivalent size home in Toronto will be about $500K USD. Renting an equivalent size home seems tough as well. If this is the case, I think a salary of $100K may not cut it. Would love for anyone to contradict me. I think I will feel more comfortable if a salary of $100K USD would be enough.

Do homes come with basements in Toronto?
You know what they say? The three most important aspects of house buying are location, location, location. On the city's outskirts you get a lot of house for USD$500k, and most definitely at least 3000 s/f. I think you could find satisfactory housing for less than this. Yes, all homes have basements. Many people have "finished" the basements into large family recreation areas and of course this add substantially to the square footage of living space.
As far as USD$100k being enough, much depends on how large a mortgage you would be carrying.
As far as income taxes are concerned you would get deduction allowances for your wife and each child, so that always helps. You have IRA's in the States whereas in Canada they're called RRSP's, so depending on your income, you may use this as an tax reducing savings investments.
 

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I moved to Toronto 6 weeks ago from London (UK) and find it more expensive. Property seems cheap. An hour down the road a 3000 sq ft house is CAD400k which would be 1.2 million an hour out of London but then I would not fancy that commute when the winter kicks in here. Our apartment is paid for with all bills but my wife and I cant get through a week on less than 1200. we eat out 3 times a week (no where fancy) and do drink most nights and get a fair few cabs (which are necessary if you dont have a car here). Am looking forward to the snow arriving so we can go skiing and I should imagine the summers are nice here and they dont seem to have the crime and gang culture here which is a big problem back home. We might go home after 6 months or we might stay (still undecided) but give me Florida any day!
 

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I moved to Toronto 6 weeks ago from London (UK) and find it more expensive. Property seems cheap. An hour down the road a 3000 sq ft house is CAD400k which would be 1.2 million an hour out of London but then I would not fancy that commute when the winter kicks in here. Our apartment is paid for with all bills but my wife and I cant get through a week on less than 1200. we eat out 3 times a week (no where fancy) and do drink most nights and get a fair few cabs (which are necessary if you dont have a car here). Am looking forward to the snow arriving so we can go skiing and I should imagine the summers are nice here and they dont seem to have the crime and gang culture here which is a big problem back home. We might go home after 6 months or we might stay (still undecided) but give me Florida any day!
If you are spending $1200 weekly after accommodation costs then by the standards of most Torontonians you are living high off the hog. When you say "a fair few cabs" I suspect that runs into hundreds of $ per week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I moved to Toronto 6 weeks ago from London (UK) and find it more expensive. Property seems cheap. An hour down the road a 3000 sq ft house is CAD400k which would be 1.2 million an hour out of London but then I would not fancy that commute when the winter kicks in here. Our apartment is paid for with all bills but my wife and I cant get through a week on less than 1200. we eat out 3 times a week (no where fancy) and do drink most nights and get a fair few cabs (which are necessary if you dont have a car here). Am looking forward to the snow arriving so we can go skiing and I should imagine the summers are nice here and they dont seem to have the crime and gang culture here which is a big problem back home. We might go home after 6 months or we might stay (still undecided) but give me Florida any day!

You guys must be living the high life. I definitely won't be spending this amount every week, more like every month on expense that does not include housing and utilities. I see us going out during the weekend and with 2 kids and no one to take care of the kids, going out by ourselves will be very few. I want a fairly reasonable size home which compares with ours here in Florid, but I do not want my commute to be this far. I have asked around and through this thread I am being informed that based on where the office is in Vaughan, the sourrounding areas are good live in. But further insight as to the best place to live around this area where the commute is not to long would be appreciated.
 

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You guys must be living the high life. I definitely won't be spending this amount every week, more like every month on expense that does not include housing and utilities. I see us going out during the weekend and with 2 kids and no one to take care of the kids, going out by ourselves will be very few. I want a fairly reasonable size home which compares with ours here in Florid, but I do not want my commute to be this far. I have asked around and through this thread I am being informed that based on where the office is in Vaughan, the sourrounding areas are good live in. But further insight as to the best place to live around this area where the commute is not to long would be appreciated.
I think what we have here is a description of two distinctively different lifestyles. You are a family man with the responsibilities that entails. The OP and his wife, I suspect, are DINKS (double income, no kids), who are high income earners and able to live the downstyle lifestyle.
Being a suburban person for many years I much prefer that lifestyle, but to each his/her own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I think what we have here is a description of two distinctively different lifestyles. You are a family man with the responsibilities that entails. The OP and his wife, I suspect, are DINKS (double income, no kids), who are high income earners and able to live the downstyle lifestyle.
Being a suburban person for many years I much prefer that lifestyle, but to each his/her own.
Suburban lifestyle is what we are looking for and definitely enjoy Toronto as much and financially feasible as we can. Are there websites that give you information on Vaughan and the sourrounding areas as well as pictures and videos?
 

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Someone said $100K/year, New York/Moscow/Tokyo need $100K/year.. I'd say you are comfortable on $50K/year in Toronto (but of course it's relative and more is always better).

I am a Canadian, living in Europe for the last 30 years. 3 years ago I moved back to Canada, Niagara, and found my memories must have been playing tricks. I also have extensive family in Florida, North and South. The reality of living in Canada, is that people walk around telling themselves what a great place it is, how there is no crime, the winters arent really so bad, the cost of living is reasonable etc. The truth is that most Canadians would head south if they could get visas, many would return to their original country of origin if they could get the money to go back, it is expensive even by European standards, violent crime is endemic, maybe not gun crime, but the migrants have brought it with them especially to Toronto, who you know and what you have is more important than who you are. Frankly, a much over hyped country. Why do you think that many comedians and television shows laugh at Canadians, because they are a pretty simple people. Lack of culture, only material values, and a desire to get out asap all contribute to this identity. I cant think of any reason to move to Canada unless you come from some third world country and are at the bottom of the food chain. Which is the where most immigrants are actually coming from, when they get turned down for the USA.
 
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