Is Toronto a Dream City or a Financial Nightmare? 

Is Toronto a Dream City or a Financial Nightmare? 

Photo Credit: Emily Tung

From its gruelling traffic to its devoted sports fanbases, perhaps the city’s charm lies in its chaos.

Ethan Chan, Senior Staff Writer

Toronto, affectionately known as the “6ix,” has evolved to become a significant player in the international market with its boasting renowned sports teams, musical artists, universities, and distinctive architecture. Nonetheless, anyone who has ever set foot — or driven — in Toronto is aware of its sky-high housing costs and nightmarish traffic congestion. This brings us to the question: is Toronto still a city worth living in?  

The phrase “there is traffic on the Gardiner, AGAIN” has been a recurring one for my parents since I started my studies at U of T in 2021. After 2 years, it still hasn’t changed. From the 401, 427, 409, and DVP, navigating the city’s highways often feels akin to manoeuvring through a maze. In fact, the average commute time in Toronto stands at 65 minutes, the longest in the province. Factor in the fifth unofficial season, aptly called “construction season,” and driving in Toronto becomes more of a game of strategic challenge than a simple trip to school or the office. 

For those who successfully navigate the traffic, the next hurdle is finding affordable accommodations. The soaring cost of living in this city seems boundless, with the average cost of a detached house now reaching a staggering $1,300,000. Coupled with rising food costs and near-stagnant minimum wage increases, finding a place to stay in Toronto is akin to finding a needle in a haystack.  

Despite the headache of Toronto traffic and the housing market, Toronto’s reputation precedes itself. The city possesses the largest freestanding structure in the western hemisphere with the CN Tower. It houses the most diehard — yet not always realistic — sports fan bases supporting the Leafs, Raptors, Jays, Argos, and TFC. Furthermore, The University of Toronto ranks among the world’s top institutions, and Torontonians speak 140 different languages. According to Forbes, Toronto is the ninth-best city in the world! In short, it is safe to say that Toronto has made a name for itself on the global stage.  

Although I was born in Toronto, I spent most of my life in the suburbs. As such, my opinion may differ from someone who has lived in the city their entire life. Nevertheless, my last two years at U of T have demonstrated that, despite its challenges, Toronto is a place where people can be themselves. The question of whether Toronto is still a city worth living in has yet to be answered definitively. It depends on one’s tolerance for the daily struggles and the capacity to embrace what Toronto truly offers. Just like the traffic, its true charm lies in its ability to challenge you continuously. Despite the occasional jams and rising living costs, Toronto remains a city where perseverance, diversity, and innovation thrive. Maybe, just maybe, that is what makes the city worth calling home.