Moving a Career to Another City: Toronto Edition
It’s official: I moved to Toronto! It was completely unplanned and unexpected – but a little Linkedin in-mail with a job proposition completely changed my life in the blink of an eye. It all happened so fast that I still don’t quite realize it. There is one thing I know for sure: it was all meant to be and I don’t regret it for a minute! Side tip: Always keep your Linkedin profile updated regardless whether you’re happy with your current job or not! You never know what opportunities are out there.
If you already contemplated moving your career to another city, I wanted to write an article about my experience of moving to Toronto & what you need to know about moving a career to another city in order to help you take the leap!
“When in Rome”
- Dress code: Fashion is different from city to city and from one company to another. Naturally, it’s the 1st thing I noticed! Toronto’s fashion is very diversified. In the downtown area – also know as the ‘corporate hub’, the dress code is refined & classy. People look very professional and put together during business hours. But after work, heels get swapped for sneakers before heading to dinner or to grab drinks after work! Outside of the city, I noticed the dress code is a lot more laid back and casual. In order to blend in, I opted for this gorgeous Le Chateau Stripe Cotton Poplin Tie Front Dress, which I dressed up with these stunning Pearl Embellished Open Toe Mules & Crossbody Bag. I then dressed down the look with these Perforated Leather Lace-up Sneakers – perfect to run and catch the metro! Yes, I take the metro now somedays – who am I? lol – Haven’t taken the metro since I got a car 8 years ago…But, I live in the midtown area and the metro is right around the corner, plus it gets me there in 10 mins – can’t beat that with a car (more on parking in Toronto later)…I always find myself stocking up on workwear essentials at Le Chateau, as they have such a great selection both in terms of clothes and shoes. I noticed that their shoe collection has grown substantially and I really had a hard time picking a pair because I wanted so many of them! I usually opt for suits, but this shirtdress really caught my eye. It’s great for those hot summer days (even if today is not one of those days) and it fits perfectly! If you love this look, wait until you see the Roxy Earle x LE CHÂTEAU collection, check it out HERE. It’s a capsule collection with Roxy Earle, designed for all women sizes 0-22W!
- Etiquette: If there is one major thing you should know about the etiquette in Toronto is that people do not kiss on the cheeks! Coming from Poland, a culture where we kiss 3 times on the cheeks & Montreal, a culture where we kiss twice on the cheeks, I was stunned to learn that people in Toronto are huggers! If you meet a new person, you hug them with one arm, and gently pat them on the back once. How did I find out? The old fashioned way: I leaned over to do the kissing ritual and I was awkwardly met by a hug….lesson learnt!
- Integration: There is one thing that blew me away when I started working in Toronto: people speak English here on another level! They come out with expressions I never heard before, everything they say is so proper and I will completely steal my husband’s words to say: “They all speak as if they were in PR” – that’s probably the best way to describe it. And it true. Puts my English to shame – been trying to shape up! Will “bake in” some good words into my vocabulary ;) Another thing I noticed is that people work a lotttt in Toronto. They work hard, do a lot of overtime, but my perception is that they love what they do. Now, I don’t mean that everyday is going to involve working overtime and that there is no flexibility – there is a ton of that, but if you find yourself working until 10pm on your 1st day – don’t be surprised! Sometimes a rush comes and you need to get things out. There are also those times where you don’t do any overtime to compensate – so at the end, it’s fair!
“The good, the bad & the ugly”
Every city has its charm & every move has its struggle, but if you’re prepared, everything should fall into place.
- The City: Toronto is a big beautiful city and the people are genuinely nice and welcoming. At the same time, there are potholes absolutely everywhere and people stop abruptly on the highway, often causing accidents. When you come to another city, you have to do it with an open mind and adapt to the change in circumstances. Not everything will be easy, but that doesn’t mean you made the wrong decision! On most days, I drive to work but on other days I like to grab the metro. I’m lucky enough to have parking at work but if you don’t, here is how to spot a parking in Toronto – even for free sometimes ;) In Toronto core, there are some parking spots available on the street, but these are usually taken by early risers. There are also underground parking lots indicated by a P in a green circle, some outdoor lots (expensive), and some paid street parking which you can pay directly via an app. However, if you move a little bit outside of the main core and find a residential area (eg. Yorkville), you can grab a free spot on those streets! Just make sure to read the signs because some of those spots are only available for 1-3 hours.
- The Move: Hire good movers & sign a contract! Moving from one city to another is a lot of work. You’re already stressed and exhausted packing up your entire life into boxes, the last thing you need is to worry about how you stuff will make it from A to B in one piece. Invest in a professional company & be specific with what is being moved, how, when & how much. This way there are no surprises. We had to change movers at the last minute because of the lack of professionalism. We then had to scramble to find another company, but ended up in really good hands! We hired Hercules Moving and they were extremely professional, punctual, quick & friendly. When it came to payment, there was no surprise. If we move again, we will use them again for sure.
- The admin stuff: One major thing you need to know is that Service Ontario will change your medicare but they will not change your out of province driver’s license for an Ontario one, contrary to many people’s advice. You need to head to a Drive Test Center to get this done. Aside from bringing your driver’s license, you also need one other piece of ID, can you guess what it is? Wrong, it’s a passport! Yep, even though you did not leave the country, you need to bring a passport with you to exchange your license – do.not.forget.it!!! The centers are open until 7pm, but there are peak times where even at 5pm it might be too late and the line might get too long. So, if you don’t want to go back and forth 4 times like me, go there at opening time: 7am – no lineup, no hustle, no problem!
If you have any questions about relocating to Toronto, don’t be shy to shoot me an e-mail!