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Toronto/Is Toronto like New York?


QUESTION: I was told that of all the cities in Canada,Toronto is the one that is most similar to New York city.Is this true?And if not,what is Toronto really like?

ANSWER: Hi David, and thanks for your question.

Toronto is indeed similar to New York in many factors, but differs in others. Without writing an essay (which is quite possible), I'll try to cover as much detail without going overboard.

Toronto is easily the most diverse, multi-cultural city in the world. Almost half of the population of greater Toronto is foreign-born. New York is similar in that aspect. Toronto's population (when you count in the Greater area which includes surrounding cities) is about seven million people. And in geographic area, it's vast. Recently, it was labelled as the fourth largest metropolis in North America, after Mexico City, New York and Los Angeles, just beating out Chicago for that position.

New York's ethnicity is essentially European, with a large Central and South American population (particularly Puerto Rican, Mexican, etc). So, you'll hear lots of Spanish, Italian, Russian, Irish and other European languages being spoken there. Toronto, on the other hand, has very large Asian community (Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Philippine, Thai...), Russian, Jewish, South Asian (Indian, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan... ), Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Irish, and lots more. You will hear literally hundreds of different dialects spoken. All of these different cultures and backgrounds lead to a diversity of culture, which in turn allows representation of almost every religion in the world. Far more diverse than New York.

Toronto, like New York, is a city of neighbourhoods, without a real "downtown core". It also has its Little Italy, Portugal, Chinatown, Jamaican and India components, but out in the suburbs, you'll find the large neighbourhoods of one ethnicity or another.

Like New York, Toronto never sleeps. Something is always going at any time. It's also extremely safe and clean. Canadian are not allowed to carry guns, and this may have an effect on the overall safety factor.

I could go on for pages, but to summarize for now, Toronto is very much like New York, but the diversity of the people, the many cultures blending together, the safety and cleanliness, all help create a different environment that one encounters in New York.

So, is Toronto like New York? Yes, but smaller in population, more diverse in culture, and very "Canadian", which might mean polite, helpful, accepting and accommodating. I hope I was able to give you some insight on this topic, without running on too much. If you need more information, I'd be happy to help you out again.

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QUESTION: I do have another question:what is Canadian T.V like?In the U.S,several cable T.V options exist(e.g-Comcast,Verizion,Direct T.V)are availbile to consumers.Does a simliar situation exist in Canada?And what type of shows are offered?Are they the some ones as Americans watch,or are they diffrent programs that are geared more towards their specific country?Im just wondering.

ANSWER: Hi again, David,

In Canada, we have the CRTC, the Canada Radio and Television Commission, which mandates that a certain percentage of our programming must be Canadian content (or frankly, everything we'd watch would be from American networks). What this means is that all TV and radio stations and networks must log playlists with the CRTC to ensure that there is sufficient Canadian content, which could mean several things: a program could have a Canadian artist, producer, composer, director, etc. Some Canadian TV shows and networks are branches of American networks, which results in Canadian versions of Food, History, Discovery channels, and so on.

In Canada we have two major networks; Bell and Rogers. These companies control TV, satellite, cell phone and other aspects of electronic media. So, while we can't get access to AT&T, Verizon, and the like, we have similar Canadian versions. TV programming is very much the same as what you get, and if you were here for a week, you might notice a few changes in the lineup of different channels, but for the most part, and for most people, the change is negligible. The digital cable boxes we use allows hundreds of channels, and there is a lot of choice. All types of shows are available. And because of the diversity of language and culture, we have an array of channels dedicated to the Chinese, Punjabi, Islamic, Italian, Spanish and Russian population and more. We also get channels from different countries (TV Japan, for example).

We also have a substantial number of French-language channels to accommodate those who live in Quebec and other parts of Canada whose first language is French.

It's safe to say that if you were to visit us, there's be no shortage of opportunity for you to become a Canadian Couch Potato.


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QUESTION: I have another another question about Toronto.In my first question,I compared the city to New York.Well,New York is famous for having certain sections of the city(Park Ave,Central Park West)that are the domain of the super-rich and that have incredibly luxurious,incredibly high priced condos and apts.Is there any area in Toronto that is comparable?If so,what area is it.And is the real estate there as high-end as what you'd find in a city like New York?

Hi David,

Sorry about the delay, but this question simply never made it to my In Box until today.

There are several locations around Toronto that are very high-end. The obvious ones being Rosedale, Post Road and Forest Hills, the older moneyed neighbourhoods. With many condos going up around the downtown core, Yorkville, Liberty Village and The Beaches areas have their share of multi-million dollar homes.

The Real Estate market in Toronto hasn't slowed down in years, with some houses that might have been bought 20 years ago selling for $100,000 now going for $1.2 million dollars. It's all a case of supply and demand, so with literally hundreds of condos going up as we speak, this may evolve from a seller's market into a buyer's market as more and more new homes are left empty simply because locations outnumber buyers. Time will tell.



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Paul Caplin


I can answer most questions about Toronto, its history, culture, lifestyle and it's ongoing developing ethnicity. I'm also able to answer questions on the Province of Ontario in general, the history of "Upper Canada", its settlers and communities, and the importance of this province to Canada. I also am an expert on the history of some of the pro sports teams in the Toronto area, and can answer questions on the football Argonauts, hockey Maple Leafs and baseball Blue Jays. I can also answer questions pretaining to Canadian Visual Art, the Group of Seven, and what makes Canadian art so different from anything else in the world.


Born and raised in Toronto, there probably isn't a side street I haven't walked, a restaurant I haven't been in, a neighbourhood I haven't toured or a streetcar I haven't taken. I've seen communities come and go, buildings built and torn down, to be replaced by others, and seen the growth of Toronto that has become the incredible ethnic mix that it is today, more than any other city in the world.

Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University, Bachelor of Education from University of Toronto, Associateship of the Royal Conservatory of Music. Retired music, art, Canadian history and drama teacher at the secondary school level for 35 years (31 in the same school).

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