Like all major cities, Toronto has a number of particularities that it is better to know before visiting or starting to live in it. This way we can get the best out of the city and, at the same time, avoid mistakes typical of newcomers. Got your Canada visa prepared? Now keep reading!
Toronto is not the coldest among the great cities of Canada -Montreal takes the dubious honor-, but we should not underestimate the winter. If we are going to be in the city at that time, it is better not to neglect the warm clothes and take special care if we have to spend a lot of time in the street. Winter is cold and long, but it can be tolerated with the proper precautions. If you have a good sense of direction, the PATH (the underground city) can help you travel almost all of the Downtown through the underground corridors and save you a lot of cold.
That the winter is cold does not mean that the rest of the year is. Summer, especially, can become extremely hot on some occasions due to the high humidity caused by the proximity of Lake Ontario. Talking about air conditioning in winter may seem like a joke, but in the summer it is appreciated. By the way, the beaches are a highly recommended place to spend the hot summer days (despite the fame of the dirty water of the lake).
Electricity and plugs
Be careful if you carry electrical devices in your backpack, since the voltage is 110V, instead of the 220V of other countries of the World. Most computer chargers, photo cameras or mobile phones are prepared for both types of voltage, but check it before traveling. The problems come mainly from simpler small electrical items such as hair dryers. If you can do without them in your suitcase, the better. When in doubt, do not plug them. And, if you still need to use them, come by a store to buy a converter.
The plugs are the same format as the Americans: two flat pins. If you need to plug in an electrical appliance, take a small house adapter (like this one). If you have forgotten, it will not be difficult to find them either in any dollar store or electronics stores.
Money and shopping
Canada is usually a very expensive country and Toronto is one of its main cities, so it is too. If you are planning a visit, keep in mind that it is not the best destination for those people who go with very tight budgets. Accommodation, food and leisure are the chapters that will increase your expenses the most. However, if you come from Europe the final price of your stay will depend a lot on the exchange rate between the euro and the Canadian dollar when you travel. And if what you are going to do in Toronto is to settle in to live or work, make sure you arrive with a sufficient mattress of savings.
Most of the establishments accept the main international credit cards, so if your bank does not charge you commissions for these operations, it is highly recommended that you use them to pay everything you can and avoid having to change or withdraw from the ATM, large amounts of cash.
However, it is always good to carry some cash on top.
The Canadian dollar is not the same currency as the US dollar, although its exchange rate is very similar. However, if you want to use US dollars in Toronto, it is possible that many stores accept them. Be that as it may, accept them or not and the exchange rate they offer depends on the store, so you must be prepared for anything. Of course, you are more likely to be able to use Canadian dollars in US stores, where it is almost impossible.
Another thing is small coins – those of 1, 5, 10 and 25 cents. It is not surprising that Canadian and US currencies circulate indistinctly in Canada. If you have been given a currency of the United States, you have not been deceived. Use it as if nothing in your next purchases. This does not happen on the contrary. In the United States they will not accept Canadian coins.
Hopefully the tips above can help you get to know Canada, especially Toronto.