I’m going to make a post of the things I find different about Toronto as opposed to Melbourne and London, the other two cities I’ve lived in. I will update this post as I find new things to mention.
The housing. People live in basement apartments, as well as first level, second level apartments in what appears to be a house. So you’ll have several apartments in a house but the laundry is in the basement so to use it, the people on the upper levels need to go through the lower levels to get to it. The house I will be moving into is on the first level (second level, I think they’d call it here) of a house. It’s self contained, meaning it has its own bathroom and kitchen, but the entry is downstairs in what is really the ground floor’s hallway. So I feel like I’m walking through someone else’s apartment whenever I enter. And to get to the basement, I have to walk through their kitchen. So strange, but so normal here. I don’t know if it’s usually one owner of a house who rents out the different levels, or if each level can have its own owner. I’ll find out over time, I suppose.
Also, the law in Ontario states that you can’t ask to see an employment letter or payslip. Interesting. And most places will just ask for first and last months rent. In London and Melbourne, I needed to pay a deposit and first months rent, plus the bond.
The money. They have 5c, 10c, 25c, $1, $2 coins, and notes from $5. The 10c is tiny tiny tiny, smaller than the 5c, which confused me initially. The $1 is gold and the $2 is gold & silver.
Subway restaurants. No carrot in the Subway’s here. Sigh. And they have Pepsi as the brand of drink instead of coke. Double sigh.
Pepsi. This seems to be a more common brand in most stores, actually. I’ve seen it a lot more than coke. You can’t even buy coke in Dollarama (a store much like Poundland or The $2 Shop), they only sell pepsi!
The public transport. They have trams/streetcars, which I always like because we have them back in Melbourne as well, and the buses seem quite regular. The trams all go directly into a metro station, which means you don’t need to tap in again when you catch the train. The metro only has two lines though. Well, two lines plus another two that only have 3-4 stops on them. So chances are you’ll need to catch at least one other mode of transport wherever you’re going. Big change from London. They also don’t seem to have a capped rate, so if you’re travelling all over the city, it will be $3 every time you tap on. I guess if you know you’re going to be doing that, you would buy a Daily Pass for $12.50, but in London and Melbourne, they cap you at a certain limit, and the whole day’s travel will be that much. In London, the daily pass is only convenient if you’re going outside zone 3.
Milk. They have almond milk as well as soy milk at most cafes. And they sell all the different versions of non-dairy and lactose-free milk at the supermarkets and it seems to be the same price as regular milk. Boy do I appreciate that. It’s obviously more common here than in Melbourne. We’re getting there, in Melbourne, but non-dairy milk is still considered somewhat of a luxury. Oh, and milk in stores is sold in bags! They also have it in cartons but you can buy one big bag full of smaller bags (like, 2l) of milk. Apparently you then put the smaller bag into a jug specially made for the milk. Which makes me wonder why you don’t just buy a carton, which would be saving the trouble of moving the milk from the big bag into the container…
Bread. I can’t find $1 bread. In Melbourne, you can buy a loaf of bread for $1. It’s not the best quality but it’s there. Here, I haven’t seen one cheaper than $2. I don’t actually buy the $1 bread but it’s worth noting. – Edit: They have $1.50 bread at Freshco.
CIBC Bank. I walked into CIBC to get a debit card and they also gave me a credit card. I didn’t ask for one, she offered it to me because they had a promotion on at the time. I had been in the country one day, at that point, and had no credit history, no proof of address or job, nothing. She gave me a credit card! Granted, it only has a $500 limit that I will likely never be able to increase but still, no bank should be giving a credit card to someone who could just leave and never pay it back. I’m only here for two years!
Ring-pull cans. Not very common. They still have cans that you need to open with a can opener here, which means I have to actually go and buy a can opener. I didn’t need one the entire time I was living in London or when I was back home.
Frozen steamed bags of veggies. Don’t exist here, I’ve looked in Loblaws, Metro, Freshco, No Frills and Walmart. Can’t find them. They have regular frozen veggies but not the individual steamed packets I lived on in London.