March 21, 2022 | city vs suburbs
For a long time, one of the big reasons someone wanted to leave Toronto had to do with affordability. And I can certainly appreciate that reason. As discussed in my previous blog, the gap between living in Toronto and living outside of Toronto, whether it’s a suburb or a small town, has closed. The prices during Covid, and even before Covid, were rocketing upward outside the city faster than in it. So, the cost of living outside Toronto may be less appealing now that it was last year or five years ago. In other words, the bargain you think you’ll find out of the city may not be worth it anymore. Your dollar does not go as far.
Is it cheaper to live in Toronto? No. But for some people, the price difference may not be worth the move out. Here’s why:
PUMPING THE GAS
It’s true. You often find much more space outside of the city. And for many people it’s worth the move for the square footage gained. If you need to come to the city to work, however, you may have noticed that gas prices have gone through the roof. And they may stay up on the roof for awhile. So, the commute into the city will cost you more than you may have anticipated in your budget earlier this year. Even if you don’t have to commute to Toronto, the burbs are often built for the car. So, you may be driving more in the suburb or small town outside the city.
TRAFFIC IS BACK
And since we are on the topic of driving, getting in and out of the city was a lot easier in the past two years during the early days of Covid. I remember driving during the first two months of the pandemic, and it was like a dream. I hadn’t realized how quickly you can drive from one side of the city to the other when many Canadians were working from home and reducing their driving. Well, with restrictions quickly receding, we should be back up to regular pre-Covid traffic soon, despite the boom in remote work.
BACK TO THE OFFICE
Though remote work is here to stay with us, and the hydrid model of working from home and the office seems to be a popular choice for many companies, there’s no denying that many of us will be back in the office to some extent. Some may dread it, and some may look forward to more human interaction. Either way, many companies may prefer to have people come through the office to cultivate their corporate cultures and to generate some creativity by having people work together in the same space. I think we have all learned the limits of the zoom call. I’m sure they will still be used in meetings, but real in-person meetings might actually feel good post-pandemic. If we’re going back to the office, then leaving the city may not make much sense if you need to be in Toronto.
TORONTO IS BACK!
With all the practical reasons that people may wish to come to Toronto – from painful commutes to the growing expense of living outside the city – there are less practical reasons why people are coming back. All the best parts of Toronto after two long years, are back! All the things that make this city great has sparked back to life. And boy oh boy, are Torontonians ready to go out and engage with this city. Back to soccer, hockey and basketball games. Back to theatres, art crawls, restaurants, Festivals, Caribana, Pride Week, movies, busy cafes, new restaurants crowed yoga classes and gyms. Back is the simple joy of just walking down at Toronto street when it’s full of life. Sitting at home is so 2020.
With all that said, let me remind you that this is the beginning of a trend. It has not fully taken off yet. And who knows, it may be more of a blip more than a trend. I don’t think so. I expect in the years ahead, we may see the gap between the cost of living in Toronto and the suburbs/small town to widen once again. Though there will always be people leaving the city for a quieter life with more space, there will still be those who prefer a short commute and the life that a big city like Toronto offers.