What do Hogtown, Queen City, and T-Dot all have in common? They’re all synonymous for the city of Toronto. Locals have plenty of endearing nicknames to choose from, although Drake fans will likely stick to referring to their home as the 6ix.
It’s basically common knowledge that the Toronto-born singer popularized this last alias, however not everyone knows its origin. Besides its reference to the city’s 416 and 647 area codes, the 6ix also alludes to the six boroughs that were joined during Toronto’s transformation into a ‘megacity.’ And with a status like major Canadian metropolis comes the opportunity to find plenty of condos for rent in Toronto.
The year was 1998, and Mike Harris, Premier of Ontario, decided that the province was unnecessarily overly governed. Harris’ plan to fix this dilemma was to unite downtown Toronto with the East End and West End, Etobicoke, Scarborough, North York, York Crosstown, Midtown, and East York.
Although a great number of residents were (and still are) opposed to the new ‘megacity,’ the event certainly helped to solidify Toronto’s place on the map. Suddenly the city had the fifth highest population in North America, with only Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Mexico City beating Toronto’s record.
Since amalgamation, news of Toronto’s prestige has traveled far and wide. People from all around the world now have an interest in both visiting the Toronto and renting a condo in Toronto, which has only helped the city’s multicultural makeup to diversify and intensify further.
Toronto is undoubtedly the most populous, diverse, and exciting city in Canada (though Vancouverites may try to argue otherwise), as well as one of the most multicultural cities in the world. As the Capital of Ontario, and a city that welcomes 25 million tourists every year, Toronto also contributes to Canada’s reputation as a friendly, welcoming, and affable city.
Toronto’s architecture is almost as varied as its residents. Early 19th century structures still stand, even as contemporary condos for rent in Toronto continue to pop up around them at a rapid pace.
It’s hard to believe, but prior to the turn of the 20th century, there were no multi-residential buildings in the entire city, aside from subdivided houses. The first of its kind was the 1904-built St. George Mansions, located at 1 Harbord Street. Around the same time, immigration to Toronto spiked, creating more demand for multi-residential apartment buildings.
Fast-forward to 2016, and the census revealed that nearly 1.5 million people were living in Toronto condos. This is possible because beginning in the 1960’s, Toronto has been marked by steady condo development. The result is a heterogeneous array of Toronto condos for rent, both big and small, and which express every architectural style under the sun.
In recent years, impressive new developments by celebrity architects have begun to appear in the Toronto skyline. Pier 27, for example, was designed by renowned architect Peter Clewes, and consists of four buildings connected by a cantilevered bridge. Then there’s the L Tower by celebrity architect Daniel Libeskind, which is divided into almost 600 homes.
That said, with the vacancy rate hovering around 1% for the past couple of years, renters in Toronto are still in need of more housing options — otherwise prices will continue to become less and less affordable. More and more renters have been opting to be represented by a realtor in order to get around this issue. They're not all created equal, but a good realtor will dramatically increase one’s odds of securing a rental property in a competitive market — and their service is free (they're paid a half-month's rent fee by the landlord once a renter selects a home).
Another option for those looking for a Toronto condo for rent are industrial buildings that have been converted into lofts. Toronto happens to be home to a large quantity of authentic hard lofts, as well as soft lofts: contemporary buildings created to resemble lofts. Renters who want the real deal — meaning an authentic hard loft conversion — should focus their search in areas like Riverdale, Queen West, King West and Liberty Village.
Typically, this type of rental condo has an understated, rugged exterior, as well as some truly impressive interior spaces. At 68 Broadview Avenue, in the South Riverdale neighbourhood, for example, a former warehouse for Rexall Drugs boasts exposed wooden posts and beams, ductwork, and preserved antique doors. And at 1 Columbus Avenue, what was once the Rawlings Baseball Glove Factory now offers modern-day renters the chance to live amongst exposed brick, ductwork, and concrete, as well as dramatic wooden beams.
When renting a condo in Toronto, the neighbourhood surrounding one’s building is guaranteed to feature at least one park, although there’s no promise it’ll be large. Those who want to live near sprawling green spaces should consider renting a condo strategically: renting in Trinity Bellwoods and Queen West provides access to Trinity Bellwoods Park; South Riverdale and North Riverdale, Regent Park, and Cabbagetown residents all live within walking distance of Riverdale Park; and those who want to be near High Park should consider renting in Roncesvalles, Swansea, or High Park North.
Parks along Lake Ontario are accessible to those living in the The Waterfront, Fort York, and Corktown. Renters living in the latter neighbourhood can spend a day exploring the Port Lands, which might include a picnic on Cherry Beach or bird watching in Tommy Thompson Park. The Beaches, on the other hand, is best suited to anyone renting a condo in Toronto who prefers sand and water to expanses of grass.
As expected, renting a condo away from the downtown core is also a great way to live within close reach of larger, quieter outdoor spaces. The Scarborough Bluffs may welcome visitors from all over on the weekends, but during off-hours these cliffs — and the parks above and beaches below them — are reserved for renters living in the immediate area - such as Cliffside and Cliffcrest.
When Torontonians want to feel like they’re escaping the city altogether, there’s always the Toronto Islands. The main ferry departs from the Jack Layton terminal at the bottom of Yonge Street, however adventurous types are welcome to make their way by canoe, kayak, or sailboat.
No matter where one’s interests lie, renting a Toronto condo automatically means having access to an array of exciting annual events. Anyone hoping to rent in the centre of all the Pride action will want to look for a home in The Village. For others, the Christmas Market is reason enough to rent a condo in the Distillery District.
Alternatively, one can choose to live close to venues that host various events throughout the year. Exhibition Place, for example, is home to the Ex, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and various trade shows including the Baby Show, the One of a Kind show, and the National Home Show. Annual events at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, on the other hand, include Art Toronto, the NHL Awards, Fan Expo, and the Canadian International Auto Show.
During certain weeks of the year, Toronto becomes animated thanks to various cultural festivals. Concentrated in King West, the city is home to the Toronto International Film Festival, one of the biggest public film festivals in the world. While attendance may be slightly less overwhelming for the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, it’s nonetheless North America’s largest documentary film festival.
As exciting as the previously mentioned events can be, there’s no single night where Toronto comes alive quite like it does during Nuit Blanche. Originating in Helsinki and now held in over 120 cities worldwide, since 2006 Torontonians have had the chance to wander the city until dusk, taking in art exhibits, installations, and performances along the way. Anyone renting a condo in the Toronto core can join in on the fun: the subway runs all night and those using line 3 get to ride for free.
Toronto is truly a city of neighbourhoods, and while it’s hard to rank them objectively, different renters may have specific needs and desires that can be satisfied by living in particular areas. Thankfully, there are countless Toronto condos for rent spread throughout the city, albeit some neighbourhoods feature more high-rise, high-density buildings than others.
Those looking for a neighbourhood that never sleeps can check out Kensington Market. While this area really comes alive on the weekends, it’s filled with plenty of bars and restaurants that fill up every night of the week. The City Centre is equally lively, yet with a less eccentric ambiance. Here, Toronto renters can expect to find major attractions like the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, Air Canada Centre, and the Ripley’s Aquarium.
Some of the most luxurious condos in Toronto can be found in Yorkville and King West, including the Four Seasons Private Residences at 50 Yorkville Avenue and Theatre Park at 224 King Street West. Rosedale and Forest Hill have a lower concentration of condos, however they’re still good contenders for anyone looking for a Toronto condo for rent in one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in the city.
As for renters with families, this city is home to plenty of neighbourhoods filled with parks, schools, charming, tree-lined streets, and of course plenty of condos. Parents can seek out idyllic condo rental options in Trinity Bellwoods, Cabbagetown, Leslieville, and the Beaches, to name a few.
With more than half of Torontonians belonging to a visible minority, it’s no wonder this city is considered one of the most multicultural in the world. In fact, a grand total of 160 languages are spoken in the city, any combination of which can be heard while walking the streets of Toronto. Most notably, over 100,000 Torontonians speak Mandarin, while another 100,000 speak Cantonese.
The demographics of Toronto are subject to change, though, as it’s the fastest growing part of Ontario. A population of almost 10 million is expected by 2041 — quite the jump from the 6.5 million residents who occupied the city back in 2016.
Toronto’s multicultural nature has left quite the impact on its neighbourhoods, and not just by increasing the number of rental options. Immigrants from various countries have formed communities and established businesses all over the city, allowing other residents to explore their cultures — especially through food.
Chinese bakeries and dim sum restaurants line Spadina and Dundas in Chinatown while Little Italy is brimming with pizzerias. Then there’s Little India, Greektown, and Korea Town, which should be fairly self-explanatory. Little Portugal can also be found south of Little Italy and east of Parkdale, Little Jamaica is situated along Eglinton West, and there’s a sizeable Polish community living in Roncesvalles.
Schools of all sizes and types are spread throughout the city, making the decision to rent a condo in Toronto even easier. Parents who have their hearts set on a particular school, on the other hand, might opt for a condo within walking distance.
The most prestigious private schools include the Bishop Strachan School, Branksome Hall, and the Crescent School, in Forest Hill, Rosedale, and the Bridle Path neighbourhoods, respectively. These neighbourhoods have an abundance of single-family homes, but those who aren’t ready for that sort of commitment can surely find a fair amount of condo rental options as well.
In terms of post-secondary education, the Ontario College of Art and Design is situated in Grange Park, Ryerson University in the Church Street Corridor neighbourhood, York University in York University Heights, and the University of Toronto in the The Annex and Harbord Village & U of T neighbourhood. Toronto is also home to a number of colleges with campuses throughout the city, such as Centennial College (main campuses in Scarborough), George Brown College (two campuses in Downtown and Midtown), Humber College (two campuses in Etobicoke), and Seneca College (two campuses in North York).
As previously mentioned, many of Toronto’s most recognizable landmarks happen to be found within the Entertainment District in the downtown core — and thankfully this area is one of the richest in condo options. The Rogers Centre and Air Canada Centre are Toronto’s go-to spots for sports games as well as major concerts, while tourists or families might opt to spend a Saturday at the Ripley’s Aquarium or the CN Tower.
The Distillery District may be home to plenty of condo buildings, but it’s also an architectural and cultural attraction in its own right. Home to North America’s largest collection of industrial Victorian architecture, visitors can wander the area’s cobblestone streets, walk in and out of galleries, or post up on a patio for some food or a couple of drinks.
The St. Lawrence Market is yet another site where visitors can find a healthy combination of history and food. While the current building has only been around since 1968, previous market buildings have occupied the same plot of land since 1820, and an outdoor market took place on the site since as early as 1803.
With so many residents to entertain, Toronto simply had no choice but to step up its museum game. Those looking to engage in some cultural activities can visit the Ontario Science Centre, the Aga Khan Museum, the Bata Shoe Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, and MOCA, as well as university galleries like the Ryerson Image Centre and the Art Museum at the University of Toronto. Best of all, there are plenty of Toronto condos for rent near each of these institutions.
The city is also filled with countless venues for everything from movies to plays and of course concerts. Fans of classical music can rent a condo near Roy Thompson Hall, where they can catch performances by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on the regular. Opera lovers, alternatively, will want to rent a condo close to the Four Seasons for the Performing Arts, a theatre built specifically for opera and ballet performances.
Large-scale theatre productions — including traveling Broadway shows of course — are constantly playing at the Mirvish, Princess of Wales, and Royal Alexandra Theatres, while independent and locally produced plays can be found at smaller venues like the Tarragon, Buddies in Bad Times, and Crow’s Theatres. Music fans are also in luck, as the lineups at venues like the Phoenix Concert Theatre, the Cameron House, the Horseshoe Tavern, and the Danforth Music Hall never disappoint.
Being the most populous city in Canada comes with its fair share of pressure, especially when it comes to having efficient transportation infrastructure. With highways connecting residents living in different areas of the city, as well as a complex system of buses, subway trains, and streetcars, getting around the city is easy.
Drivers are quite accustomed to highways like the Don Valley Parkway, the 401, the 427, the Gardiner Expressway, and the Allen Expressway — including their peak traffic hours. The stretch of the 401 that crosses Toronto is the busiest highway in North America, meaning drivers heading out using this route during rush hour need to bring some patience along with them.
Renters without cars have their pick between buses, streetcars, and the subway, depending on where they live in the city. Toronto’s subway system certainly isn’t the most expansive in the world, but it’s grown significantly in recent years. The Yonge-University-Spadina line received quite the upgrade with the Toronto-York extension, which resulted in new stations like York University and Pioneer Village, now offering access to even more Toronto condos for rent that lie outside of the city centre. Those looking to traverse the city from east to west can do so by hopping on the Bloor-Danforth subway line, and by 2021 the Eglinton line will carry passengers east and west along Eglinton as well.
While Pearson International Airport is Toronto’s better-known airport, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is also situated in the downtown core. The latter is the hub for Porter Airlines, and ideal for anyone renting a condo in the west end. Those who live downtown can still reach Pearson with ease, though, thanks to the UP Express service that makes its way from Union Station to the airport, with stops at Bloor and Weston Road along the way.
The Locals: Anything but homogenous.
Code of Conduct: Locals have to put up with traffic jams and long lines at the hottest restaurants, but that’s the price to pay for living in the busiest city in the country.
What You’ll Find: A massive urban centre whose residents stop to hold doors for each other.
What You Won’t Find: Decreasing rental prices.
The Homes: Rental condos may be harder and harder to find, but Toronto realtors can make the process of finding one less of a challenge.
Sealing the Deal: Canada may be America’s hat, but Toronto is the New York City of Canada.