Solo in Toronto…

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, a bit about my background: Single girl from India, moved to Toronto/TO as a Permanent Resident in February this year. Nobody knew my name except for a couple of acquaintances. Finance professional with over eight years of work experience. I quit my lucrative job at a global bank and looked out for opportunities in my industry in the Great White North! Currently working with the largest and oldest Canadian Insurance company and living in downtown/DT, TO. Content and Confident 😊!

This article covers 3 indispensable topics to muse on when you are new in the 6ix!

1- Know the city! Its lovely: It is imperative that you get to know the city of TO, more so when you are a first-time visitor and aspire to settle down. TO is a safe city overall and most of DT core is walkable. Consider avoiding sketchy neighborhood’s (Jane and Finch, Queen and Sherbourne etc.) when walking alone in the dark. During the winter months, I used the “Path” (World’s largest Underground shopping complex/pedestrian walkway where you might get lost if it’s your first time 😉) to commute within DT core covering the financial and entertainment hub. During the Spring and Summer, you should take long walks or bike around the city. Spending time outdoors is encouraged by the authorities. During my first few months, every day I would venture out to explore new spots and discover the unique vibe of each of those spots. Head down to the water front, pick up fresh cherries/orange juice at Longo’s store near you, go deep woods to the Evergreen Brickworks or get lost in the High Park, walk around Kensington Market, eat your way through the Greek town, Little Italy, St. Lawrence market, soak into some art at the Royal Ontario Museum, visit Graffiti Alley or take a daylong trip to the Islands. These will help you gain insight into the local culture, food and lingo, making you feel more settled. Not to forget, you get more ideas for making interesting conversations while you find your feet. 

From left to right: Bike stands across the city; Royal Ontario Museum; Harbourfront; Fall Foliage at High Park

2- Job hunting: Networking! Networking! Networking! I can’t emphasize enough on networking when you are trying to find your grounds. It takes a while to make yourself known and build your professional network. It is expected from you to reach out to experienced professionals in your field over a coffee chat. So, come forward all prepared with your blurb and elevator pitch. For people like me who are more of an introverted personality, you might feel discomforting to meet complete strangers. But once you step out of your comfort zone, you would start enjoying it. Not everyone would have a job to offer, but everyone has an experience to share. The more you interact the more you learn about people and the industry, progressing towards building your professional network. It is always a win win!

On the right: “The Path” connecting more than 70 buildings via 30 kms of tunnels, walkways & shopping areas. Most of the coffee chats happen here!

3- House hunting: I had booked my air bnb two months before my landing date. It was a private room in an apartment by the lakeshore. I wanted to reminisce about my first few weeks in this totally new city, soon to be called my home. You must have already guessed that I have high levels of wishful thinking! 😊 Once I could secure a permanent job, I moved to a leased apartment in my own name. I actively looked for leased apartment on sites like- Kijiji.ca, Roomster.com, condos.ca and finally got a condo (apartment/flat) through a broker. Yes, you do not need to pay brokerage if you are the tenant. Deciding on where to stay in TO, depends on your preferences, budget, and Lifestyle. Rent will absorb a major chunk of your income, so budget and choose accordingly. I decided to stay in DT, for the ease of commuting, networking, and enjoying the city life. I can proudly call Canada my new home!

From left to right: My first air Airbnb at lakeshore (Feb’20); Second Airbnb near Lawrence market (Mar’20); First house on short term lease at Carlton and College (April-May’20); Long term lease condo at Wellesley and Yonge (June’20-present)

Moving to a new country alone can be daunting and stressful. But it’s a chance to stand out on your own and build the life you have always wanted for yourself. Have faith, Plan well, Be patient, Enjoy the Journey and remember that success begins in your mind.

Published by Nitya Singh

Finance professional - Permanent Resident, Canada - Creative Soul - Blogger

3 thoughts on “Solo in Toronto…

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