This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 20 April, 2019

18 things nobody ever told you about moving to Toronto

You’ll need to know some important facts, like how they sell milk in bags.

Toronto Source: Яick Harris

IF YOU’RE IRISH and moving to Toronto, there are some important facts you should know. Like:

1. They sell milk in plastic bags over there

milkbags Source: Twitter

Yes, actual plastic bags. Of milk.

It’s extremely worrying that the whole city thinks that this is acceptable, but you deal with it.

2. You will realise what tipping in Toronto is like on your very first night out

millst Source: Twitter

They open a beer bottle for you? That’s an extra dollar.

You learn fast about the tipping etiquette, and soon you’re a pro. Getting a tab is usually the best option, instead of paying a tip per drink at the bar.

3. You will be an absolute tourist around Toronto for the first couple of weeks, and that’s OK

Union Station + CN Tower Source: 松林L

It doesn’t matter how much you try and fight it. You will end up hanging around the CN Tower, going to a baseball game for some unknown reason and wandering around Kensington Market doing nothing. Embrace it.

4. Tax gets added to things when you’re shopping, and it’s pretty much the worst

PB300743 Source: BlogSpot

No price is as it seems.

When you see something for exactly two dollars and you have a two dollar coin, you think everything is going to be great.

No, that’ll be $2.25. Noooo.

5. Toronto apartments are nearly always bereft of furniture

Upstairs front Source: ndanger

Landlord: “Enjoy!”

You’ll be using makeshift furniture and quickly TTC-ing it to IKEA to stock up.

6. You’ll run into your fellow Irish fairly quickly, and you’ll spot them a mile off

blacksovcks Source: Twitter

The white legs and black socks. The GAA jerseys. The accent. You will know they’re Irish within four seconds of seeing them, and it’s strangely comforting.

7. And they will instantly pass on some cynical local Toronto knowledge when you get chatting

505 Spadina Source: Benson Kua

“Toronto is fair expensive.”

“It’s a struggle to find a gaff here.”

They’ll turn out to be great friends of yours, and you’ll love them for their positivity.

8. There are loads of Irish pubs in Toronto, but you’ll quickly sniff out the real ones

slide6 Source: Ansibinpub

Most of them are questionably “Irish”, but some rare ones are legit and worth the trip if that’s your thing.

9. Buying drink in the off license is a riddle wrapped in an enigma

The Beer Store Source: Joseph.Morris

So, there is the Beer Store where you can just buy beer. Then there is the LCBO which serves everything else (and some beer too). There is no one stop shop. And they don’t serve drink in normal shops either.

Soon, you will develop a strategy and everything will be OK.

10. You will end up in Sneaky Dee’s early in your Toronto life

Sneaky Dee's Source: haven't the slightest

And marvel at the endless graffiti inside.

People will have told you about the nachos about 12 seconds after getting off the plane too.

11. Poutine is better than you would have dreamed

Cheese Burger Poutine Source: Noodles and Beef

Yes, you’ve heard all the chat about it before you arrived – and it turns out that it’s wonderful.

It might very well be the perfect post night out snack. The chips, cheese curds and gravy has whatever you want lashed on there and it really does live up to the hype. If you go further north to Montreal, it gets even better.

12. You will make plans to go to the islands all the time, but rarely actually make it

The magic happens after sundown Source: Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ

“We should spend the whole of Saturday on the island!”

“We haven’t gone in three months and you keep suggesting it.”

But you should, because it’s probably one of the best things about the city.

13. The system of transfers on the streetcars and buses can be gamed for maximum distance travelled

Saint Clair Avenue West Source: MSVG

That one little transfer ticket can get you places. You will learn their wicked ways fast.

14. Toronto’s summers can have baking humidity like you’ve never experienced

Sun Bathers -Woodbine Beach-Toronto Source: Gunnshots

Massive city + humidity = clothes soaked with sweat. But you always have the beaches.

But the hot days are surely better than…

15. Toronto’s winters: Where good craic goes to die in a hail of sleet, snow and wind

Steam Bath Source: Ben Roffelsen Photography

When the cold weather kicks on into March and April, you might pine for the soggy rainfall of an Irish winter.

16. You will get public transport home from a night out and it will be a revelation

Toronto's Winter Tank - TTC Street Car (42/365) Source: Chung Ho Leung

Those 24 hour streetcars and buses will become your friend. Nearly every Canadian gives out about the TTC, but it can be quite useful – especially when a taxi way out of downtown will cost about a month’s rent.

17. There are more Tim Hortons than you could have imagined

Tim Hortons Donuts Source: rfzappala

You knew Tim Hortons was a Canadian institution and all that, but you couldn’t foresee that there would be so many of the f***ers around the place. Toronto people also have an extreme love for “Timmy’s” – especially the weird little TimBits and other assorted sweet foods they serve.

18. And finally… Toronto street meat is surprisingly tasty

Hot Dogs, Bikes, and The CN Tower Source: Anil Mohabir

And it’s on EVERY corner. The carts might not look the most appetising, but you will be tempted eventually and it can be a delight.

Ah, Toronto – enjoy.

More This ‘go home Irish’ ad has created quite a buzz on the streets of Toronto>

More This Irish emigrant captured his time in Canada by filming just a second a day>

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article

About the author:

David Elkin

Read next: