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Anyone living in Toronto or previously lived in Toronto?

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#1 YoBagaBaga

Posted 31 December 2015 - 03:12 PM

We are moving to Toronto for 12 months. Would love some advice re schools/kindys etc

It's all rather overwhelming!

#2 BornToLove

Posted 31 December 2015 - 03:18 PM

I'm from just outside Toronto, what did you want to know specifically?

#3 Coffeegirl

Posted 31 December 2015 - 03:37 PM

Sorry. My info is about 25 years out of date, but have friends living there.  What would you like to know?

#4 YoBagaBaga

Posted 31 December 2015 - 04:19 PM

Thanks so much for the replies ladies.

We are most likely going to live downtown near the hospital for sick kids (for work). Dd will be 6 and DS will be nearly 4, Bubs will be 8 mths old. Just wondering if the schools are good near there. Also I think DS will be able to go to junior kindy, is this available for all children? Or is it like private kindy/ELC? BorntoLove do you know how many days a week kids go? (Here it's 2.5 days a week). Also what are the dates for 2016/2017 school year?

Are there many parks/playground downtown? Are there toy libraries etc I am madly googling but finding it difficult to find answers!

Once I've sorted out all the essentials, the next question will be are there any must-see/must-dos while we are there? We don't plan on having a car while there as I read it was relatively easy to get around on public transport, is that right?

We move in July and my head is spinning!


#5 MrsMuzz82

Posted 31 December 2015 - 05:15 PM

Wow moving to Toronto - I grew up in Toronto. I can tell you a little bit about what you're wanting to know.

I would considering living in the north Toronto area rather than right downtown. If you lived, for example, around Yonge Ellington, Yonge Lawrence, it would be a very easy and quick commute to the hospital (one subway train basically and the subway is VERY fast and efficient). Those areas are fantastic for families and have the best schools, beautiful parks etc. Other areas to consider to be close to the hospital, if you can afford them, are Rosedale and Yorkville. Again, you'll get fantastic schools and amenities, be close to the subway and an easy trip to the hospital.

If you must live right downtown, yes there are parks, but it's very urban. It's not a coincidence that many movies set in New York or Chicago are actually filmed in Toronto. That's what you're sort of looking at living downtown. The school are a bit of a mixed bag as it's a very diverse demographic living downtown. This has its positives and negatives. The hospital is right smack between Ryerson University and the University of Toronto so you'll get a lot of college kids living in the area, which personally I don't think is great for a young family (think loud parties and broken beer bottles in the playground). It's not a bad area though - I mean I have friend who have lived in that area and have spent much of my youth there. I didn't feel unsafe or anything: It's full of life, vibrant, exciting, lots of clubs, bars, pubs, restaurants etc... but it's a constant hustle and bustle of noise, there is government housing and several rehab/halfway houses around as well, so you get plenty of weirdos and crazies. Most of them are harmless. I remember shirtless Santa and the rat man fondly. But would I want my children growing up there? Probably not. Trust me, go north of Bloor. It's still very central, but you'll be in the properly nice residential, family orientated neighbourhoods, where lunatics don't roam around dancing in the fountain (not an exaggeration or a euphemism), where the parks are glass and syringe-free, and where the schools are as good as you'll find anywhere.

I believe mandatory schooling starts in September for children who have turned 4 or are turning 4 that calendar year. I don't think it's full time, but I can't remember days/times. The following year it was full time - that was like the equivalent of pre-primary. Year 1 starts in September for children turning 6 by the end of that calendar year.

In terms of things to do, there's too much to list. With children, check out Ontario Place (if it's still around... I heard a rumour that they closed it...?), Harbour front usually has different child friendly things going on during the summer, and of course Canada's Wonderland. There's ice skating at city hall (or really everywhere, but city hall is particularly beautiful especially at this time of year), obviously the CN tower, go to a hockey game and a baseball game if you're into sports, go out to Niagara Falls and also Niagara on the Lake for the wineries, rent a cottage at some point in the summer because cottage country is not to be missed, especially around muskoka lakes, go skiing out in Collingwood in winter (not the best skiing but it's not far and better than what we have in Australia anyway so you know... it's MUCH less expensive too). What else? Kensington Markets and St Lawrence Markets are fantastic if you love food. It's a huge city so there's a lot to see and do. You'll have an amazing time!

Now I'm jealous...

#6 Moukmouk

Posted 31 December 2015 - 05:42 PM

It's cold. Very cold. Buy decent winter gear there. Toronto sick kids is an awesome hospital. Lots of lovely people there. I only did a short stint pre-kids, but it's a pretty well trodden path for Aussie doctors on a fellowship year. Can you ask other people who have been there? I would embrace the whole inner city vibe as something different.

#7 BornToLove

Posted 31 December 2015 - 06:24 PM

View PostYoBagaBaga, on 31 December 2015 - 04:19 PM, said:

Thanks so much for the replies ladies.

We are most likely going to live downtown near the hospital for sick kids (for work). Dd will be 6 and DS will be nearly 4, Bubs will be 8 mths old. Just wondering if the schools are good near there. Also I think DS will be able to go to junior kindy, is this available for all children? Or is it like private kindy/ELC? BorntoLove do you know how many days a week kids go? (Here it's 2.5 days a week). Also what are the dates for 2016/2017 school year?

Kindy is a two year program in Ontario, the classes are held in schools. It is completely play based, and often child led. Each class room will have one teacher and one early childhood educator. There maybe an aid for SN kids. It's free as long as your child attends a public or catholic school.  Ontario just finished rolling out full day kindergarten, so your child will attend 5 days per week (approx 6 hours each day).

The first year is know as junior kindergarten (JK) and the second year is senior kindergarten (SK). Your son must be 4 years old by December 31 2016 to be eligible for JK (Your daughter will be placed on grade 1 based on her age).

Depending on the school, they may allow you to send your child part time, but it's at the principal's discretion. JK is optional, you don't have to send him at all.

The school year runs the day after the September long weekend (first weekend in September), straight through to the end of June. There will be approx two weeks off at Christmas and a week off in March.

I'll send you a PM re: schools. There are several options depending on where in the city you end up. You'll have your choice of public, Catholic, and French immersion. Private school isn't really a 'thing' like it is here though there are private schools in Toronto.

Edited by BornToLove, 31 December 2015 - 06:28 PM.

#8 lizzzard

Posted 23 January 2016 - 05:29 AM

My DH is from Toronto and we lived there for a number of years when the kids were younger.

We lived at Avenue & Eglington which is a really nice area and would be an easy commute to Sick Kids. Other nice areas are Young & St Claire or Young & Mt Pleasant. Areas tend to be described by the major intersection in Toronto, although to be confusing there are a few 'suburbs' with a name - like Rosedale and the Annex, both of which are nice areas and a bit closer to downtown. As a general rule, personally I like the Avenue corridor. In terms of where to avoid, the further east and west you get, the less desirable it is (generally speaking).

School wise, our kids attended Oriole Nursery which is a nice preschool in the Young and St Clair area - just keep in mind they tend to be for half-day only (ours was 9-1pm I think). If you're not working that won't be an issue though (we had a nanny so it was fine for us, and all of our friends did the same - I have no idea what people do otherwise!!). Re primary schools, Allenby Primary is well regarded (the only one I know though). We have several friends who's girls attend St Clements and are very very happy there, if you are interested in private schools... If you're looking for swimming lessons, the ones at Havergal College are fantastic.

Besides buying some serious winter gear (long down coats, and water proof winter boots will make such a big difference), my hot tip on settling into Toronto is buying Toronto Life each month. I still miss that magazine!

Edited by lizzzard, 23 January 2016 - 05:30 AM.

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