Living car free in Toronto

Hello All

We are a family of 3 (with <1 year old infant). We recently got our PR and planning to move to Toronto this summer. In Toronto, we are planning to live somewhere within 30min public transit commuting distance to downtown Toronto and within walking distance of grocery stores, parks, some restaurants. I have a fully paid off car that I currently drive (in California). I am wondering whether to sell the car or take it to Toronto.

The cost of shipping the car is around 2000$ including customs cost. On top of that, given we want to live in proper Toronto (not GTA or even North York), the parking cost is going to be around 200$ in most apartment buildings I have inquired about (range is 150$-250$). On top of that, insurance will cost another 200$-250$ I think. So, it’s 400$-450$ monthly cost of having a car, that we will only use over the weekend. We are definitely not going to use the car for daily office commute. I imagine we can just use Uber/Zipcar for short trips whenever we need to Costco/doctor office/etc, and rental cars for weekend trips. It will likely be significantly cheaper that way

Question for people who moved from US to Toronto with a young child and lived in Toronto proper. If you lived car-free, did you feel it worked out pretty well? Did it feel inconvenient to not have a car with a young child? For people who took the car with them but didn’t use it for daily office commute, did you find it very useful to have the car and pay the cost of insurance+parking? Just looking for general experience/thoughts.

@deepac @siddEE

Hi @deepac if you could share your experience I would really appreciate it. Did you have friends who had small kids but did not have a car and it was easy to manage day care, etc without a car? Based on your experience in other threads, I think car is not needed even if you have to take kids to day care etc as long as you live in Toronto proper like Leslieville etc. We have a 6 month old baby. Just wondering if there is any more color you could add there.

If you are going to be living in the city you absolutely don’t need a car. Based on our experience when we moved with 2 kids under 4 in 2016 we absolutely loved how walkable everything was - school, groceries, gym, cafe just about everything was walking and for traversing to other parts of the city the bus and street car connectivity is great. We did move our car from California to Toronto though as there was no one to guide us, MOV North didn’t exist then. But we didn’t end up using it for one whole year. You can totally live car free in Toronto. When you are looking for neighbourhoods checkout their walkability score too.

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@deepac thanks for the response! This is very helpful guidance. I think we will likely sell our car before moving as we are definitely planning to be living in the city in areas with high walk score and transit score.

It all depends on your personal preference.
Some people prefers to stay in calm area with family like a suburb of Toronto, and don’t like tall buildings of downtown etc, so that you can have bigger house or apartment to live with family and have car for convenience for stores, grocery or any trips anytime with family.

Some people like to stay in downtown with tall buildings and traffic, but enjoy walking to office, enjoy different restaurants and like fast life of downtown etc.

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