Today’s my Torontoversary!

A year ago today I became a permanent resident of Canada. When we left Brooklyn for Toronto, there were certain things I knew I’d miss. Since we’d spent a good amount of time in Toronto before making it official (in fact, we had apartments in both cities for over a year), I thought I knew what to expect.

Want to move to Canada? Here’s how to do it.


What I expected to miss

Amazon.com

Canadians will claim they have online shopping, but it’s not really true. It’s equivalent to online shopping in the US circa 2003 — a time when I got my colorful Chuck Taylors online and people thought that was very dangerous [cd: you’re still fairly dangerous] and futuristic. Amazon.ca is notorious for comically high shipping rates, nothing that qualifies for Prime, and a general lack of selection.

Every time I cross the border, I get a comical number of packages delivered to hotels and there’s always a package or two waiting for me at my dad’s place.

Unlimited internet

I didn’t realize metered internet was a thing. When we tried to set up internet in our new place and they asked how much internet we wanted I had no idea what that meant. All of it, obviously.

We both work remotely and Casey has at least one video streaming [cd: I counter that I never have more than one video streaming at once] at any given moment, so it was surprising to realize we don’t really use that many gigs [cd: we still have unlimited internet even though we don’t come close to needing it, because the idea of having a limit just feels so wrong].

American Netflix

Perhaps because of metered internet, Canadian Netflix has way less of a selection than its American counterpart. We were a little concerned about this.

So far, it hasn’t really come up. That might have something to do with being so busy at work and living right downtown. And I’m in love with Bloor Hot Docs.

[cd: you don’t even watch movies at home unless I pick them out so your only measurement is how much I complain about the lack of choices on Netflix.]

Pizza

New York and New Jersey take their pizza really seriously. New York pizza is the staple food of my people. Even dollar slices seemed essential to survival. Yet I moved to a land of Pizza Pizza.

It’s embarrassing to admit, but I’ve learned to love the Pizza Pizza [cd: and Domino’s!]. While late night poutine will never be a dollar slice, it still works.

I do dream of Benny Tudino’s. [cd: how many times had you gone to Benny Tudino’s in the last 5 years before we moved to Toronto? I’m pretty sure it was once.]

toronto city hallWhat I actually miss

Real bars

The first time I walked into Cocktail Bar it was crowded, obviously. I walked in, went over to the bar, and tried to order a drink. It was like the music stopped. My friend had to explain to the bartender that I was a New Yorker and pulled me aside to explain how bars in Ontario work.

Apparently in Ontario you don’t order and pay at the bar. At 90% of bars, everyone sits at tables and there’s table service. If there are no seats, you wait in a line until a seat opens up. This makes bar meetups kind of awful. You’re stuck next to whoever you sit next to and there’s no option to ghost. I don’t know how to live this way [cd: I concur, wholeheartedly].

While I love the fact that you can sit down at a restaurant and just order drinks, it still makes me feel uncomfortable.

Free meetups

Meetups in Toronto are often extra awkward (see above) and they almost all cost money to attend. New York’s golden age of free networking events may have slowed down when Bloomberg left office (the open bars! the charcuterie! the top-notch speakers!), but Toronto still doesn’t come anywhere close.

We’ve all walked out of plenty of events, so walking out after you’ve paid $20 for a ticket adds to the burn.

Cheap American beer

This is an unpopular opinion, but I’m not a fan of Ontario craft beer. Or, rather, Ontario craft beer does not care for me. A single beer can give me a serious alcohol flush reaction and make me feel immediately hung over.

American beer may not be good, but it’s safe. I resent how expensive crappy American beers are up here. [cd: $13 + HST for a 6 pack of Coors Light just feels wrong. It’s even more wrong that it’s my top choice at the LCBO. This makes me sad.]

At least a G&T is a lot cheaper here than in NYC [cd: though I do miss the NYC bartender pour after a good tip…those tiny, perfectly measured jiggers don’t compare].

Cheap stuff in general

I’m assuming that certain things are cheaper in the US than pretty much everywhere else in the world because of America’s low minimum wage and low import fees. I’m thrilled that Canada has livable wages, taxes on things that are bad for the environment, and more realistic trade agreements. However, I’m continually thrown by random things that are twice as expensive north of the border.

Tacos

Hard shell or soft should not be a question. I know everyone loves La Carnita, but I’m not impressed [cd: remember that “taco” that was actually a tostada?]. Campechano is the best option I’ve found so far, but I still wish Toronto would lure up some restaurateurs from Central America.

Water fountains

Toronto has public bathrooms pretty much everywhere, which is amazing. What they don’t have is water fountains. New York certainly doesn’t have a lot of water fountains, but you can generally count on finding them in any park, public buildings, and outside store bathrooms. That’s not the case here.

Walking more

I expected to walk more in Toronto, since I’m living downtown and everything is within walking distance. One of the problems with everything being so conveniently close is I’m not getting the same number of miles in. In New York, the miles to and from (and in) the subway added up quickly. I’m sure working from home full-time now has a lot to do with this, too. [cd: plus jaywalking, I know how much you miss jaywalking and how alarmed everybody is when you stroll across an empty street before the walk sign comes on.]


what it's like to move from the USA to Canada

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