After salary related questions the next most popular question I’m asked is the Vancouver or Toronto question. I think this is a much harder question to answer. We were struggling with this exact question, to us the west coast seems more beautiful and with better climate. The west cost appealed more to us coming from California. I’ll try to describe my thinking when I choose Toronto.
Vancouver is beautiful but ask anyone who lives in Seattle it is very rainy and overcast. Yes is not as cold as Toronto but then again its hard to go out in the rain especially if you have kids. In the cold not so with the right clothes you can venture out and when it snows its actually a little warmer and fun for everyone. Vancouver has more natural beauty right by the city while in Toronto is a little further away. Keep in mind both these places are technically on the top of the world so there is a lot of beautiful untouched nature for miles around. And you can always take holiday trips, spending the summer on farms near Montreal, hiking on the Canadian Shield or spending the summer on a lake site cottage are some of the popular options for people living in Toronto. While Vancouver gets a little more points here Toronto is not far behind.
Daily family life includes work, school, housing and safety. For us Toronto scored higher on these points. Vancouver has more drug related crimes, more expensive housing and lesser jobs. While there are a few tech companies in Vancouver including big ones like Slack, Toronto has the more active and fast growing startup ecosystem and has engineering offices of big name tech companies like Google, Uber, Shopify, etc. Toronto is also the finance sector of Toronto with banks hiring tech talent all of this makes for hiring paying jobs and an ecosystem I can bet on.
The entire corridor around Toronto which includes Waterloo, Kitchener and Montreal is a tech heavy. This area is also considered the birthplace of deep learning (AI) and a lot of the people heading AI at Google, Uber, Twitter are from here. Many are returning to start things like the Vector Institute with funding from Google.
While I don’t have data to prove this point, housing in Vancouver is considered some of the most expensive in the world. Toronto by comparison is more cost effective. You can even find a whole house with a back yard close to downtown in this city. Again I don’t have information on schools and parks in Vancouver but our initial trips to Toronto told us that there are great neighbourhoods here with parks filled with kids. The school my kid goes to is down the street from where we live its a really great school and my kids have made lots of friends.
We had friends in Toronto some who moved from Silicon Valley a few years before us and others who moved here from places like Singapore. They all loved this city and this helped give us more confidence in our decision. One final thing was that we felt Vancouver is too far away from everything while Toronto was next door to NYC, Chicago, Washington DC, Montreal and shorter flight times to India and Europe. Love to hear more opinions here on both places Vancouver and Toronto.