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Living in North York: Things to Know & Places

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Living in Toronto offers a vibrant and diverse experience, with North York standing out as a particularly attractive area for residents. Situated in the northern part of Toronto, North York boasts a rich history, diverse culture, and an array of amenities that make it a great place to live. 

This article will explore various aspects of living in North York, providing a comprehensive guide to potential residents.

North York: An Overview

North York, a prominent district within Toronto, has a rich history and diverse cultural landscape. Originally established as a township in 1922, North York transitioned to a city in 1979 before amalgamating with Toronto in 1998. This area has undergone significant development, featuring both residential and industrial growth post-World War II. 

North York is now known for its extensive green spaces, encompassing over 4,000 acres of parks and open areas, which provide residents with ample recreational opportunities.

North York General Hospital (NYGH) stands out as a key healthcare institution in the area. Affiliated with the University of Toronto, NYGH offers a comprehensive range of acute, ambulatory, and long-term care services across multiple sites. 

The hospital is a leader in community academic healthcare, partnering with 36 academic institutions to train future healthcare professionals. NYGH is recognized for its commitment to patient-centered care and has been serving the diverse communities of North Toronto since 1968.

Cost of Living in North York

Living in North York, part of the larger Toronto metropolitan area, can be quite expensive, although it remains somewhat more affordable than downtown Toronto. As of 2024, the average cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in North York is approximately $2,280.60 per month, whereas a three-bedroom apartment can cost around $3,434.43 per month. 

This is slightly lower than the central areas of Toronto, making North York an attractive option for those looking for more affordable housing within the city.

The overall cost of living in North York is about 8% lower than the Toronto average but 2% higher than the national average in Canada. Utilities, which include electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage, cost approximately $208.67 per month for a standard apartment. 

Additionally, the cost of groceries in North York mirrors that of Toronto, with an average monthly expense of around $354.36. Despite these costs, North York offers a relatively balanced lifestyle with good access to public transportation and amenities, making it a desirable place to live within the Greater Toronto Area.

Transportation in North York

North York, a prominent district in Toronto, boasts a robust and efficient transportation network that caters to the needs of its residents. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) operates an extensive system of subways, buses, and streetcars throughout North York, ensuring comprehensive coverage and connectivity. 

The primary subway lines serving North York include Line 1 (Yonge-University) and Line 4 (Sheppard), which connect to major parts of Toronto and facilitate easy access to downtown. Public transportation fares are standardized, with a single ride costing $3.35 and monthly passes available for $156, making it a cost-effective option for daily commuting.

For those who prefer driving, North York is well-served by several major highways, including Highway 401 and Highway 404, which provide seamless connections to other parts of Toronto and beyond. 

The ongoing transportation projects in the area aim to improve traffic flow and safety, including the widening of major routes and the installation of modern infrastructure. Additionally, North York’s extensive network of bike lanes and paths promotes cycling as a viable and eco-friendly mode of transport. 

With these diverse transportation options, North York ensures that residents can navigate the area efficiently, whether they are commuting for work or leisure.

Educational Institutions

North York, a vibrant district within Toronto, is home to a range of prestigious educational institutions that cater to a diverse population. York University, one of Canada’s largest and most respected universities, is located in North York. 

It offers a wide array of undergraduate and postgraduate programs and is known for its research contributions and academic excellence. 

The university’s campus spans 475 acres, providing students with extensive facilities and resources to support their education and extracurricular activities.

In addition to York University, North York hosts numerous specialized colleges and private institutions that focus on various fields such as business, technology, healthcare, and the arts. 

For example, the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College offer specialized health-related programs, while the Academy of Learning Career College provides vocational training in business and technology. 

These institutions are recognized for their practical approach to education, preparing students for professional careers with hands-on training and industry connections. 

The presence of such diverse educational options makes North York an attractive destination for students seeking quality education and career opportunities in Toronto.

Healthcare Facilities

North York, a key district in Toronto, is well-served by a variety of healthcare facilities, ensuring comprehensive medical services for its residents. 

North York General Hospital (NYGH) is a flagship healthcare institution in the area, offering a broad spectrum of services, including emergency care, cancer care, maternal and pediatric care, and specialized geriatric services. 

NYGH is known for its patient-centered approach, advanced medical technology, and significant contributions to medical research and education. Recently, NYGH has introduced new initiatives like the “MyJourney” digital platform for breast cancer patients, enhancing patient empowerment and care management.

In addition to NYGH, North York residents benefit from the expansive network of Toronto’s healthcare system. The NYC Health + Hospitals system, recognized for its excellence in patient care and health equity, offers services in numerous locations across the city, including North York. 

These facilities provide a range of services from primary care to specialized treatments, ensuring that all healthcare needs are met. The recent expansion of the Essential Plan in New York State now covers more residents, including those with incomes up to $37,650, providing high-quality, premium-free health insurance to an additional 100,000 people. 

This expansion is part of a broader effort to reduce health disparities and improve access to healthcare across the state.

Recreational Activities

North York offers a wide array of recreational activities that cater to various interests and age groups, making it a vibrant place for both residents and visitors. One of the standout features of North York is its extensive park system. G Ross Lord Park is a popular destination, providing ample opportunities for biking, picnicking, and enjoying nature. 

The park also features an off-leash area for dogs, a firepit, and sports fields, making it a versatile spot for family outings and sports enthusiasts. For those who enjoy winter sports, the Earl Bales Ski and Snowboard Centre offers excellent facilities for skiing and snowboarding, complete with a cozy café and locker rentals.

In addition to outdoor activities, North York boasts a variety of community centers and recreational programs. 

The newly opened Ethennonnhawahstihnen’ Community Recreation Centre and Library is a significant addition, offering a range of services and programming that includes fitness classes, arts and crafts, and community events. 

For seniors, the North York Seniors Centre provides a plethora of social and recreational activities, from dance classes and card games to day trips and guest speaker events. These facilities ensure that residents of all ages have access to enriching activities that promote health and well-being.

Dining and Shopping

North York, a bustling district in Toronto, offers a plethora of dining and shopping options that cater to diverse tastes and preferences. 

The area is home to some of Toronto’s premier shopping centers, including the Yorkdale Shopping Centre, known for its upscale stores such as Louis Vuitton, Fendi, and Chanel. This mall provides a luxurious shopping experience with a variety of high-end brands and is a popular destination for fashion enthusiasts. 

Another notable shopping destination is the Bayview Village Shopping Centre, which offers a more intimate shopping experience with a range of boutique stores and gourmet food options. The center is particularly known for its excellent selection of eateries located on the westerly side of the mall.

When it comes to dining, North York boasts a vibrant culinary scene with a wide array of restaurants serving various cuisines. For those seeking a unique dining experience, the Shops at Don Mills features an array of restaurants offering everything from casual bites to fine dining. 

Noteworthy establishments include Parcheggio Ristorante, which specializes in Italian cuisine and is a part of the esteemed Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality group. 

Additionally, the Keg Steakhouse + Bar is a popular spot for steak lovers, offering a cozy atmosphere and a menu filled with classic steakhouse favorites. These dining options, combined with the area’s shopping venues, make North York a dynamic destination for both residents and visitors  .

Safety in North York

Safety in North York, like the rest of Toronto, varies significantly depending on the specific neighborhood. Generally, Toronto is considered one of the safer major cities globally. It was ranked the fourth safest city in the world by The Economist in 2017 and continues to maintain a relatively low crime rate compared to other large North American cities. 

However, North York has seen an increase in certain types of crime in recent years, particularly in areas like Jane and Finch, which have higher instances of gang-related activities and violent crime. Despite this, most neighborhoods in North York remain safe and family-friendly.

Toronto’s overall safety is also influenced by socio-economic factors, such as the rise in homelessness, which has been linked to increased petty crimes, particularly in downtown areas and public parks. 

Nonetheless, affluent neighborhoods in North York, such as Bridle Path and Lawrence Park, report significantly lower crime rates, contributing to the area’s overall sense of security. The Toronto Police Service’s Public Safety Data Portal offers detailed crime maps and statistics, allowing residents and visitors to stay informed about safety in specific areas. 

While vigilance is always advised, especially in less desirable neighborhoods at night, Toronto and North York are generally safe places to live and visit. 

For those planning to move to North York, hiring professional movers can significantly ease the relocation process. Moving companies not only handle the transportation of your belongings but also help familiarize you with the new area, making your transition smoother. 

Companies like Carmen Transportation are highly recommended for their professional service and customer satisfaction. They can assist with all aspects of your move, ensuring that your items are safely transported and helping you get settled in North York.

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