What are the best Toronto neighborhoods to rent in, and where should you live?
This is a far more complicated question here than for other cities, because Toronto is so deceptively large.
It is home to 140 officially defined neighborhoods (spelled "neighbourhoods" here) and 239 unofficial ones. This "city of neighbourhoods" oddly mixes high-rises and suburban sprawls, each with official and unofficial borders. So when trying to determine where to live in Toronto, it can get very confusing very quickly. Here are a few simplifications to help you find where to move to.
What are the greater regions of Toronto?
There are 28 wards that break up Toronto, in six official sections (East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, Toronto, and York). If one examines a map of the greater area, however, many will split it up like this:
To the far west of the city is Etobicoke, which is far from the downtown areas and known for being a suburban sprawl with a fairly diverse population.
Full of old-world charm, this section of the city is well-connected to the TTC and very calm.
This is possibly the coolest part of the city, with gentrified areas and plenty of fun shops and places for hipsters.
North of Midtown and part of Old Toronto, this historical part of the city has become a favorite spot to bring a young family.
This is the business section where everything happens. A lot of young professionals will compete for space in Midtown and Downtown.
Packed into a tight space is a vast array of neighborhoods. This section is the home of skyscrapers and many of the tourist attractions of the city.
One of the oldest sections of the city, this area is for those who want to visit the beaches of Lake Ontario more often.
Once known as Canada’s only borough, the area is now a peaceful residential area for the middle and working classes.
The easternmost part of Toronto, Scarborough is one of the main suburbs of the city, though many visitors’ guides snub the area. But it has plenty to do: Visit the cliffs for a great day out!
Sitting atop the city of Toronto, with a fairly diverse population and some of the most affluent parts of the city, this region was once only considered to be an agricultural hub and a separate city.
Which are the best neighborhoods in Toronto to live in?
Since there are 140 neighborhoods, everyone has a very different opinion of their own best neighborhood. In Toronto, there’s such a variety that it’s hard to even make selections to point out. Toronto Life ranked the neighborhoods based on the affordability of housing, crime rates, convenience of transit, and several other factors, and this is their top ten list of Toronto neighborhoods:
Yonge-Eglington: Scoring the highest in every category, this North End neighborhood is very well-connected and the home of spiking property values.
Casa Loma: Another North End favorite, this place is full of castles and mansions.
Playter Estates-Danforth: This East End area may be a difficult place to find housing, as property in the area usually is inherited by younger generations who often don’t leave.
Runnymede-Bloor West Village: A well-connected area that’s home to low crime and plenty of fun shops, this area has cheaper housing and a lot of access.
Lawrence Park North: For affluent families, this ritzy area is near some of the better access points of the city.
North Riverdale: Home of some of the best schools in the city, this is a favorite for families and close to many of the city’s best parks.
Yonge-St. Clair: A bit cooler than the other areas on this list, it’s the home of sweet nightlife and has an urban feel.
Mount Pleasant East: With a very low crime rate and a suburban feel, this area also has quick access to Downtown.
Cabbagetown: Artists, young professionals, and musicians flock to Cabbagetown, though it’s still a favorite for families due to its array of public and private schools.
Leaside: This suburban area of East York has been revitalized with a booming housing market.
Are there other great places to live?
Certainly! Don’t just take one publication’s word for it; there are plenty of other places to live that have their own draws. Here are a few of the other best neighborhoods in Toronto, Ontario:
- Church and Wellesley: This is the most LGBT-friendly neighborhood in the city, sometimes called "the gay village."
- Yonge and Dundas: Called "Toronto’s Times Square," this is a shopping paradise with plenty of free events going on.
- West Queen West: This area is ranked as one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world by Vogue. It’s very bohemian, with lots of unique bars, restaurants, and art galleries.
- Corso Italia: A place of cheaper rent and fun restaurants and cafes, this is the best choice for those hoping to live in Toronto on a tight budget.
It’s true that you can find numerous nice places to live in Toronto. "Best" neighborhoods are everywhere, so this term is really just splitting hairs. It’s all about finding the best situation for you.