Toronto

ABOUT THE CITY

A continental gateway and a crossroads for the world, Toronto, Canada’s business capital ranks alongside economic powerhouses such as New York, Boston and Chicago.  Toronto is one of the world’s most diverse cities, as about 49 percent of the population was born outside of Canada. The city’s diversity not only creates unlimited economic and business opportunities, eating is fun too!  Toronto’s cultures offer an unparalleled variety of spice.  How’s this for more juxtaposition: the street vendors even dish up soy hot dogs! If you’re the kind who likes the unexpected, you’ll fall in love with Toronto. And sell your car!  Toronto’s public transit system is the second largest in North America and has the highest per capita ridership rate on the continent. More than 2,400 subway vehicles, buses and streetcars make it easy for more than 1.4 million business riders to travel throughout the city daily.

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    About Toronto

    From 1954 to 1998, the City of Toronto was one city within a larger federation of cities and municipalities called Metropolitan Toronto. When Metropolitan Toronto was amalgamated by the Ontario provincial government under Mike Harris to become one government, the City of Toronto was enlarged to include the former cities and municipalities of York, East York, North York, Etobicoke, and Scarborough. All of these former cities or municipalities still maintain, in some ways, their own distinct identities; their names are still used by their residents.

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    About Ontario

    Ontario is a magnet for industry, the arts and science. The name “Ontario” comes from a native word, possibly “Onitariio” or “Kanadario”, loosely translated as “beautiful” or “sparkling” water or lake. Ontario is a study in contrasts.  The varied landscape includes the vast, rocky and mineral-rich Canadian Shield, which separates the fertile farmland in the south and the grassy lowlands of the north.  There are over 250,000 lakes in Ontario — they make up about one-third of the world’s fresh water.

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    History

    If you think that Toronto, like so many other North American cities, is a relatively young center, think again. More than 8,000 years ago, this spot on the northern shores of Lake Ontario was home to prehistoric humans hunting the dense woods for bears and elk. They were followed by a rich and diverse Iroquois culture spread across nearly 200 villages in the Toronto area alone. British and French fur traders and explorers arriving in the late 16th century changed the power balance in the region.

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    By Car

    Toronto is very easy to navigate, but can see heavy traffic, as would be expected of the largest city in the country.  The main streets are laid out in a rid, so you can find your way around fairly easily.  Parking is easy to find, unless you’re in the heart of downtown, when it becomes a little trickier and more expensive.  Toronto has good public transit, so you probably won’t need to take the car, but if you do, you should be able to navigate fine.

    The 401 connects Toronto to Detroit and Montreal, about 4 hours and 5 and a half hours respectively.  The 400 runs north, and can be used to access all points west in Canada.  The QEW, 404, and 427 are some of the other major highways in the region.

    License & Registration Information

    Public Transportation

    Toronto Transit Commission
    1900 Yonge Street
    Toronto, Ontario M4S 1Z2
    (416) 393-4636
    www.toronto.ca/ttc

    The Toronto Transit Commission runs the public transportation system in the city, and does a very nice job of it.  Fare is currently $2.75, which includes transfers.  You can buy day passes that will allow you unlimited travel for the day, or weekly and monthly passes.

    There are three subway lines, and streetcar and bus systems in place.  The TTC’s website has good information on routes and fares.  The areas surrounding Toronto also have transit systems, but there is no free transfer between systems.

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    Air Transportation

    Toronto Pearson International Airport
    3111 Convair Drive
    Toronto, Ontario L5P 1B2
    (416) 776 -3000
    www.gtaa.com

    Toronto Pearson International is abou 17 miles west of downtown Toronto, accessible off highways 427 or 409.  It’s one of the busiest airports in the country, and has US preborder clearance, one of only 8 airports with that.

    Car Rental
    Avis Inc.
    1-800-TRY-AVIS (1-800-879-2847)
    www.avis.com

    Terminal 1 – (905) 676-1032/33
    Terminal 2 – (905) 676-1057
    Terminal 3 – (905) 676-1034/35

    Budget – (800) 561-5212

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    Local Phone Numbers

    Emergency 911
    Police
    Peel Region (905) 453-3311
    Halton Region (905) 878-5511
    From Toronto (905) 825-4777
    From Hamilton (905) 634-1831
    Fire
    Mississauga FD HQ (905) 615-3777
    Oakville FD (905) 845-7114
    Toronto FD (416) 338-9050
    Brampton FD (905) 874-2700
    Ambulance
    Halton Regional (905) 825-6007 ext. 7111
    Metro Toronto (416) 638-7301
    Peel Regional (905) 791-7800 ext. 4476
    Assaulted Women’s Helpline (416) 863-0511
    Toronto Rape Crisis Centre (416) 597-8808
    Distress Centres(Toronto) (416) 598-1121, (416) 486-1456
    Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centre of Peel (905) 273-9442
    York Region Women’s Sexual Assault Helpline (416) 213-7499
    S.O.S Femmes (French Crisis Line) (416) 759-0138
    Kids Help Phone (800-668-6868)
    Children’s Aid Society (416) 924-4646
    Catholic Children’s Aid Society (416) 395-1500
    Woman’s Own Withdrawal Management Centre (416) 603-1462
    O.P.P. (888) 310-1122
    Metro Toronto (416) 808-2222
    From Cellular *MTP
    Poison Information (800) 268-9017
    TOWARF Emergency (Oakville) (905) 845-8931
    Crime Stoppers (800) 222-8477
    R.C.C. Trenton (800) 267-7270
    Marine & Air Search & Rescue (800) 267-7270
    C.A.A. (800) CAA-HELP
    Toronto Local (416) 222-5222
    From Cellular *CAA
    Utilities
    Water
    Water Works (416) 338-8888
    www.toronto.ca/water
    All aspects of water production, transmission and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, and storm water collection, transmission and treatment, are the responsibility of Water and Wastewater Services.
    Sewers and Drains (416) 338-8888
    www.toronto.ca/water/sewers
    The city is responsible for installing and maintaining its sanitary and combined sewer system from the connection to your property to the sewage treatment plant (STP)/ Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) and its outfall to the lake or the Don River.
    Waste & Recycling
    Works and Emergency Services (416) 338-2010
    Works and Emergency Services provide water, wastewater and solid waste, to the new City of Toronto.
    Gas and Electricity
    Toronto Hydro (416) 542-3000
    www.torontohydro.com
    Toronto Hydro is responsible for distributing 25 per cent of the province’s electricity and serving more than 650,000 customers in Canada’s largest energy market.
    Hydro One (905) 944-3251
    www.hydroonenetworks.com/en/
    At Hydro One Networks owns and maintains Ontario’s electricity transmission system and the distribution system that delivers electricity to your home or business. They don’t generate power, just transmit it.
    Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc.
    Enbridge Gas Distribution provides natural gas. It is one of the fastest growing natural gas companies in North America, serving about 1.7 million residential, commercial and industrial customers across Ontario.
    Phone and Cable
    Bell Canada (800) 668-6878
    www.bell.ca/home
    BCE provides residential and business customers with wireline and wireless telecommunications products, applications and services, satellite communications and direct-to-home television services, systems integration expertise, electronic commerce solutions, Internet access and high-speed data services.
    Cogeco Cable (866) 427-7451
    www.cogeco.ca
    COGECO provides its mostly residential customers with video and audio services, both in analogue and digital form, as well as high-speed Internet access services.
    Rogers Cable (888) 764-3771
    www.shoprogers.com
    Rogers Communications Inc. provides cable television, broadband Internet access, video retailing, digital PCS and cellular services across Canada.
    Shaw Cable
    www.shaw.ca
    Shaw Cable is one of Canada’s leading Cable companies, offering cable, digital, and internet services to consumers and businesses.
    Star Choice, Satellite System (866) STAR WEB
    www.starchoice.com/english/default.asp
    Star Choice is a leading provider of digital satellite television in Canada. We offer over 370* channels to choose from, great programming packs, top quality Motorola hardware, access to Instant Pay Per View movies and events and an onscreen, interactive programming guide.
    Telus Phone Co. (877) 698-3587
    www.telus.com/cgi-ebs/jsp/homepage.jsp 
    TELUS Corporation is one of Canada’s leading telecommunications companies, providing a full range of communications products and services for Canadians at home, in their workplace and on the move.

    Television

    3 CKVR A-Channel
    5 CBLT CBC
    9 CFTO CTV
    11 CHCH CH
    19 CICA TVOntario, education programming
    25 CBLFt SRC, French Language


    Rogers
    Cable

    www.shoprogers.com

    (888) 764-3771

    Rogers Communications Inc. provides cable television, broadband Internet access, video retailing, digital PCS and cellular services across Canada. Some American broadcast stations are available on Canadian cable.

    Radio

    AM Radio
    CJCL 590 The Fan
    CFMJ 640 AM 640
    CFTR 680 680 News
    CJBC 860 Radio-Canada La Première Chaîne
    CFRB 1010 Newstalk CFRB
    CHUM 1050 1050 Chum
    CHKT 1430 Fairchild Radio, multicultural
    CHIN 1540 multicultural station created by Johnny Lombardi
    CHHA 1610 Spanish community station
    CHEV 1610 former special-events station, now defunct
    CHTO 1690 multilingual
    FM Radio
    CKLN 88.1 Ryerson University
    CIRV 88.9 multicultural
    CIUT 89.5 University of Toronto
    CKRG 90.3 Radio-Canada Espace Musique
    CKHC 90.71 Humber College
    CJRT 91.1 Jazz FM
    CHIN-1 91.9 FM rebroadcaster of CHIN (AM), not to be confused with CHIN-FM
    CJAQ 92.5 Jack FM adult hits
    CFXJ 93.5 Flow 93-5 urban music
    CBL 94.1 CBC Radio Two
    CFMZ 96.3 Toronto’s Classical Favourites
    CJEZ 97.3 EZ Rock soft adult contemporary
    CHFI 98.1 soft adult contemporary
    CBLA 99.1 CBC Radio One
    CKFM 99.9 Mix FM
    CHIN 100.7 multicultural
    CJSA 101.3 Canadian Multicultural Radio
    CIRR 103.9 LGBT community station
    CHUM 104.5 hot adult contemporary
    CHOQ 105.1 franco-ontarian community
    CHRY 105.5 York University
    CKAV 106.5 Aboriginal Voices Radio
    CILQ 107.1 Q107

    Newspapers

    Toronto Star
    One Yonge Street, Fifth Floor,
    Toronto, Ontario M5E 1E6
    (416) 869-4300
    www.thestar.com

    The Toronto Star is the main newspaper in Toronto, and has the highest circulation of any paper in Canada.  It’s editorial position leans to the left.

    Toronto Sun
    333 King Street East
    Toronto, Ontario
    www.torontosun.com

    The Toronto Sun is a more conservative leaning paper that is published in a tabloid format.  It’s written a little more sensationally.

    The Globe and Mail
    www.theglobeandmail.com

    The Globe and Mail is a national paper that is based in Toronto.

    Tours

    There are endless possibilities for walking tours in Toronto and, with so many neighborhoods marked by their own history and presence, it’s hard to know where to start. However, two definite must-see areas are the entertainment and financial districts, and the Old Town of York.

    To get a sense of Toronto’s entertainment district, start at the corner of King and John. This area (stretching to Simcoe) is known as Mirvish Walkway or Mirvish Village, named after Ed Mirvish and his son, who have spent awesome amounts refurbishing the area, turning many of the theatres and restaurants into first-class establishments. Their most famous project, the Royal Alexandra Theatre, was saved from certain destruction and has become one of the city’s entertainment jewels.

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    Sports

    Football Toronto Argonauts
    (416) 341-2700
    www.argonauts.ca

    The Argonauts are one of the oldest professional sports teams in North America, having been founded in 1873.  They play Canadian Football, and have won the Grey Cup championship 15 times, the most out of any team.

    Baseball Bluejays
    (416) 341-1000
    http://toronto.bluejays.mlb.com

    The Blue Jays were founded in 1977, and are currently the only MLB team in Canada.  They have two World Series Titles.

    Hockey Maple Leafs
    (416) 872-5000
    www.mapleleafs.com

    The Leafs are the most valuable team in the NHL, and de facto religion in Toronto.  The team was one of the original 6 that founded the league.

    Basketball Raptors
    www.nba.com/raptors/

    (416) 366-DUNK

    The Raptors were founded in 1995, and play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.

    Shopping

    Queen’s Quay Terminal
    207 Queens Quay W.
    (416) 203-3269

    An award-winning specialty retail centre with soaring spaces and an abundance of natural light on Lake Ontario’s waterfront. With more than 30 shops, restaurants and galleries, it provides much of the Harbourfront experience of dining, shopping and browsing. Also in the building, the Premiere Dance Theatre.

    BCE Place
    181 Bay St.
    (416) 777-6480

    The soaring glass and steel structure has received international acclaim for its design, particularly the Allen Lambert Galleria, conceived by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

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    Taxes

    Canada Revenue Agency
    (800) 267-6999
    www.cra-arc.gc.ca

    Canada has a wide variety of social programs, and the money for them has to come from somewhere.  Canadian taxes are generally slightly higher in total than those in the US, though it’s broken down a little differently, because the Provinces are generally in charge of the specific social programs instead of the federal government.  As a Canadian resident, you are required to pay taxes here.  The Canada Revenue Agency’s website has many helpful tools to help you figure out what your tax liability is.

    For the 2006 tax year, federal taxes are in five brackets that go up to 29% if you make more than C$118,285.  Ontario also levies income tax.  The rates can change each year, so it’s a good idea to go to a tax professional, especially one who is familiar with tax preparation for expatriates to ensure that all of you ducks are in a row with your taxes.  Generally, you must file your taxes by April 30th for the previous year.

    If you’re not a Canadian resident, you can get reimbursed on some of the sales tax you pay in the city, so if that’s the case, remember to keep your receipts.

    US citizens’ income tax liabilities are based on worldwide income, so you’re still responsible to pay the IRS on income earned in Canada or other countries.  You do get an $80,000 dollar exemption on money you earn overseas, so the tax burden will be significantly lower.  You can also get foreign tax credit because of how much you’re paying in Canada.  The best move is to let a tax professional help you out with the paperwork.

    Healthcare

    Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)
    47 Sheppard Avenue East, 4th Floor
    Toronto, Ontario M2N 7E7
    (800) 387-5559
    www.health.gov.on.ca

    Canadian healthcare is a publicly funded system, but most services are still provided by private companies.  To take advantage of the Canadian healthcare, you must be a citizen or be lawfully admitted for permanent residence.  Medicare is the largest government program, and it’s actually an amalgamation of 10 provincial programs.  Each province is mainly in charge of its own healthcare system, in Ontario it’s the Ontario Health Insurance Plan that provides coverage.  Forms are available on the organization’s website, or you can get them at most doctor’s offices.

    Most hospital and physician services are covered, but prescription drugs and dental care aren’t.  Many Canadians still maintain private health insurance to help pay for services that go uncovered by the public health system, like prescription drugs.  This is frequently part of a benefits package through your employer.

    Currency

    The dollar is Canada’s currency, which is divided into cents, just like in the US.  Often it is abbreviated C$ to distinguish it from other dollar currency. Some merchants in Vancouver will accept American currency, as will parking meters.  The exchange rate hovers around C$1.15 for US$1, or 86 US cents for each C$1.

    Canadian Banknotes
    Canadian notes are issued by the Bank of Canada, and come equipped with modern security features, like holograms, watermarks, and other technologies.  The also have Braille-like bumps on them to help the blind determine the note’s value.  Just like the US, a “buck” is slang for a dollar. Canadian banknotes incorporate a Braille-like feature, allowing the blind to determine the value of the note.  Canadian banknotes are currently issued in the following colors and denominations:

    $5 is blue
    $10 is purple
    $20 is green
    $50 is red
    $100 is brown

    Canadian Coins
    Coins are minted by the Royal Canadian Mint, and feature Elizabeth II on one side, and usually wildlife on the other.  The $1 coin, for instance, has a loon on it, and is know as the “loonie.”  The mint issues coins in 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1, and $2 denominations.

    Work Permit

    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    (888) 242-2100
    www.cic.gc.ca

    To work in Canada, you need to get a work permit, which is a written authorization to work in the country, normally for a specific amount of time. There are certain industries which are exempt from needing a work permit.  Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) is in charge of the permits, which are then issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).  Your employer should take the first steps with HRSDC to get the process moving.

    To get a permit, you must:
    Have no criminal record
    Be in good health
    Not be deemed a security risk
    Prove that you have enough money to maintain yourself and your family

    The documents you’ll need are:
    Proof of identity in the form of a valid passport and two photos of you and your family members
    Proof of employment in Canada, usually as a letter from your employer, and proof that you meet the job requirements for the position

    You can apply as a family to get a work permit and have your spouse and children accompany you there, but they can’t work unless they fill out their own permit application.

    Mail Delivery

    Canada Post
    (866) 607-6301
    www.canadapost.ca

    Canada Post is the Canadian postal service in charge of letter and package delivery in the country.  It delivers Monday through Friday.  Canada Post covers more area than any other postal service in the world.  Standard mail delivery throughout the country is four days.  First class mail will reach its destination in one day.  Addressing conventions for letters are the same as it is in the US.

    As of the beginning of 2007, the price of postage for a standard letter is 52 cents.  Canada Post sells “permanent” postage, meaning that even if the cost of postage rises, the stamps purchased for 52 cents will still be sufficient to mail an envelope.

    U.S. Consulate

    US Consulate General Toronto
    360 University Avenue
    Toronto, Ontario M5G 1S4
    (416) 595-1700
    http://toronto.usconsulate.gov

    The US Consulate is open for American citizens Mon-Fri between 8 am and 12 pm.

    Education

    Community Colleges
    Community colleges exist for two major purposes. The first is to serve as a bridge from high school to college by providing courses for transfer toward a bachelor’s degree. Four out of 10 collegebound high-school graduates start their college education this way.

    The second function of community colleges is to prepare students for the job market by offering entry-level career training as well as courses for adult students who want to upgrade their skills for the workplace. They often offer programs that are not available at four-year schools, like fashion design.

    Liberal Arts Colleges
    Liberal arts colleges offer a broad base of courses in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Most are private and focus mainly on undergraduate students. Classes tend to be small and personal attention is available.

    Online Learning
    Recent years have witnessed the rise of online degree programs, to allow the busy professional a chance to work at their own pace from the comfort of their home on the path to getting a degree. The costs to students are typically the same as for traditional classes— and financial aid is equally available—while the cost to the institution can be much less.

    There are online universities ranging from legitimate distance learning systems to fly-by-night degree-mills. It’s important to research a particular institution before deciding to enroll in their system. Generally, brick-and-mortar schools that also offer online classes are the safest, though there are plenty of fully accredited online universities out there.

    Nearly 3 million students are believed to be taking online classes at institutions of higher education in the United States this year. That number has been growing about 25% a year recently. Now, virtually all public higher education institutions, as well as a vast majority of private, for-profit institutions, now offer online classes. By contrast, only about half of private, nonprofit schools offer them. Online schools offer everything from Associate’s degrees to Doctoral programs with available emphases in everything from Business Administration to Criminal Justice to Nursing. Some programs require students to attend some campus classes or orientations, but many are delivered completely online. Online courses generally require a computer with a broadband connection, but are now a serious option for the busy professional.

    Public vs. Private
    Public colleges are usually less expensive, particularly for in-state residents. They get most of their money from the state or local government. Private colleges rely on tuition, fees, endowments, and other private sources. Private colleges are usually smaller and can offer more personalized attention and often more prestige.

    Universities
    Generally, a university is bigger than a college and offers more majors and research facilities. Class size often reflects institutional size and some classes may taught by graduate students.

    Upper Division
    Upper-division schools offer the last two years of undergraduate study, usually in specialized programs leading to a bachelor’s degree. Students then generally transfer to an upper-division college after completing an associate degree or after finishing a second year of study at a four-year college.

    Colleges

    Toronto Colleges
    Centennial
    College
    (416) 289-5000
    80 Cowdray Court
    Scarborough Ontario M1K 5E9

    There are more than 80 diploma and certificate programs on a full-time and part-time basis in business, communication arts, community and consumer services, engineering technology, health and transportation.

    George Brown College of Applied Arts & Technology
    (416) 415-5000 or (800) 265-2002
    P.O. Box 1015, Station B
    Toronto, Ontario M5T 2T9

    The college offers a wide range of programming – Business, Technology, Community Services and Health Sciences, Fashion and Creative Technology, Graphic Communications, Language Training, and Hospitality/Tourism.

    Humber College of Applied Arts & Technology
    (416) 675-3111
    205 Humber College Boulevard
    Toronto

    Lakeshore Campus
    (416) 675-5000
    3199 Lake Shore Boulevard West
    Toronto

    Humber College offers 135 full-time diploma and certificate programs at the post secondary and post diploma levels as well as over 1,000 courses through Continuing Education.

    Seneca College
    (416) 491-5050
    1750 Finch Avenue East
    North York M2J 2X5.

    Computer Studies, Communication Arts, Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry and our Centre of Professional Communications.

    Sheridan College
    (905) 845-9430
    1430 Trafalgar Road Oakville
    ON L6H 2L1

    Davis Campus
    (905) 459-7533
    7899 McLaughlin Road Box
    7500 Brampton
    ON L6V 1G6

    Animation, Arts & Design, Business, Community & Liberal Studies, Computing & Information Management, Science & Technology as well as a variety of courses which are offered through Cross-College General Education.

    Ontario College of Art & Design
    (416) 977-6000
    100 McCaul Street
    Toronto ON M5T 1W1

    The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) is one of only four accredited, independent, art and design universities in Canada, and is also the largest university devoted exclusively to the education of professional artists and designers.