Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

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kurious
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Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by kurious » Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:42 pm

Hello Bogleheads,

I am back for more advice.

In a previous post, I had described tumult in my life because of a visa situation. It is likely that a resolution is on its way. My employer might let me work from Toronto for a while if the paperwork sorts itself out.

Assuming we need to relocate to Toronto from Boston, I have a few questions given that we haven't been to Canada yet:

1. What is Toronto like? How similar should we expect it to be to the Boston area in terms of culture, infrastructure, things to do? I am told the weather is similar. I love Boston because of its (very) friendly and welcoming people, intellectual vibe (lectures, meet-ups), diversity, and access to scenic locations in the New England area that are only a train ride away.

2. Are the expenses comparable?

3. It is necessary to have a car? We didn't have one in Boston and didn't feel the need for it. I will be working from a home office and DW will need to find a job. In such a scenario, what are some neighborhoods worth considering? I am also tempted to join evening classes at a local university or college. I'd like to factor in that possibility as well while choosing a neighborhood.

4. I might keep the equivalent of my USD salary. Having said that, my expenses will increase. I plan to visit Boston and other US areas almost every month for client meetings and intend to rent a room/studio in Boston. It is very likely that I will take a bus from Toronto to Boston unless a drive is a better option. The commute and stay in Boston will be at my dime. In such a scenario, are there money tips that I need to be aware of?

5. What should we do with the ~20k USD in our bank accounts and ~100k USD in retirement accounts (our thoughts right now are not to touch them). We don't know if the Canada relocation is a long term (> 2-3 years) commitment. Depending on how things move in the US and Canada over the next couple of years and our personal situation, we will take a call on whether to remain here or go back to India. I am personally interested in splitting time b/w the continents while working on a social impact tech-ish job.

6. What else should I be thinking about that I am not?

Thank you,

kurious
Last edited by kurious on Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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BeBH65
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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by BeBH65 » Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:58 am

For the topics related to investing, please have a look at the non-US domicile pages of our wiki as well as our canadian sister site finiki.
BeBH65. (only an investment enthusiast, not a financial adviser, perform your due diligence). | Have a look at https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Outline_of_Non-US_domiciles

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:04 am

kurious wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:42 pm
Hello Bogleheads,

I am back for more advice.

In a previous post, I had described tumult in my life because of a visa situation. It is likely that a resolution is on its way. My employer might let me work from Toronto for a while if the paperwork sorts itself out.

Assuming we need to relocate to Toronto from Boston, I have a few questions given that we haven't been to Canada yet:

1. What is Toronto like? How similar should we expect it to be to the Boston area in terms of culture, infrastructure, things to do? I am told the weather is similar. I love Boston because of its (very) friendly and welcoming people, intellectual vibe (lectures, meet-ups), diversity, and access to scenic locations in the New England area that are only a train ride away.
Toronto is less intellectual and more self conscious as "the Canadian New York". It's not as pretty a part of the world (but there are a lot of provincial parks and some lovely cottage country just north - problem is that's not a secret, so the traffic at busy times is toxic).

It's a comparable city in a lot of ways but its bigger. And its Canadian. Canadians tend to be more reserved than Americans (but not necessarily New Englanders). The city is totally diverse - half the population was born outside of Canada. You will notice the size of the East Asian population immediately - Toronto has a great Chinatown (actually there are others in the suburbs) and it has great Chinese food. The South Asian hub is an older one on Gerrard St E (relatively small) and the suburb of Brampton Ont (half the population is South Asian), west of the airport.

The big problem is the city has sprawled into the Greater Toronto Area which now has more people than the city itself (about 2.7 million). And the infrastructure has not kept up. Thus the 401 (22 lanes wide at its widest point) is also pretty much jammed day and night. If you do find yourself in a commuter satellite, Oakville is very nice (west on the lake) but expensive, Burlington is also quite sensible (further west)-- from both there is a regular Metrolinx service to Union Station (downtown). Generally the suburbs to the west are more affluent than the suburbs to the east.

If you go into the commuter belt you want to be 5-10 minutes drive from a Metrolinx (was GO Transit) station, and check carefully the timetable to see if it works for you.

Couple of points: 1. Canadians think Americans talk too loudly (might not be a problem for you as a person, and again coming from New England, but just worth knowing) 2. Toronto is a friendly city, but not a warm one. 3. Toronto is touchy about comparisons, particularly vis a vis the US.
2. Are the expenses comparable?
I would say everything pretty much costs 20% more in Canada. Housing costs are sky high (I believe it is a bubble, and that it will burst unpleasantly). Remember there is GST (Federal tax) as well as PST/ HST (provincial tax). You will be amazed at how much alcohol costs. But of course MJ is now legal ;-) (every province sets up its own distribution and sale arrangements).

Rent I am not sure but I imagine comparable. Housing prices are insane.

Healthcare is free if you qualify. You need to find out whether you will qualify (not sure, depends on immigration status, I think).
3. It is necessary to have a car? We didn't have one in Boston and didn't feel the need for it. I will be working from a home office and DW will need to find a job. In such a scenario, what are some neighborhoods worth considering? I am also tempted to join evening classes at a local university or college. I'd like to factor in that possibility as well while choosing a neighborhood.
If you live within walking distance of the subway then you don't need a car. The bus system is badly overcrowded (so is the subway) and you can find, in the mornings, 3,4,5 buses go by that you cannot get on. This is also a significant problem on the streetcars (check the TTC website, because they may actually have usage figures, some of those streetcar lines are hopelessly over capacity).
4. I might keep the equivalent of my USD salary. Having said that, my expenses will increase. I plan to visit Boston and other US areas almost every month for client meetings and intend to rent a room/studio in Boston. It is very likely that I will take a bus from Toronto to Boston unless a drive is a better option. The commute and stay in Boston will be at my dime. In such a scenario, are there money tips that I need to be aware of?
That bus trip would take forever -- I have no good idea how long. Most people would fly. Unfortunately although VIA Rail to Montreal or Ottawa is a good option, it does not connect well with the USA. If you do have to go by ground transport, I suspect you will wind up driving.

You will unfortunately probably face some hassle with US DHS and Canada Customs & Immigration, each time you go. Remember they keep an electronic record of what you said last time so keep your story consistent.
5. What should we do with the ~20k USD in our bank accounts and ~100k USD in retirement accounts (our thoughts right now are not to touch them). We don't know if the Canada relocation is a long term (> 2-3 years) commitment. Depending on how things move in the US and Canada over the next couple of years and our personal situation, we will take a call on whether to remain here or go back to India. I am personally interested in splitting time b/w the continents while working on a social impact tech-ish job.

6. What else should I be thinking about that I am not?

Thank you,

kurious
Toronto is the city of neighbourhoods, down to having it on each street sign (google BIA Toronto - business improvement areas). The downtown is kind of faceless (although Ben McNally Books on Bay St is not to be missed - the city has few good bookstores left). However the many 'hoods all have their own fiercely defended personality.

I am not sure if I have written on this Forum about 'hoods in Toronto, but I would consider:

- the Annex - central, to the north and west of U of Toronto - expensive but it's just a great place (parking is lousy a good excuse not to own a car). Annex sprawls West to Christie and Ossington these days (along Bloor - the Bloor-Danforth line is the East to West subway, line 2 these days) - there's still a bit of sketchiness but pretty safe (Toronto is a very safe city from a crime point of view)

- live right downtown in one of the many condo towers that are spreading up like mushrooms. It is a bit soulless but the PATH (underground city connecting the office buildings) is right there. There are so many new condos you might be able to get a reasonable deal

- The Danforth - Danforth Ave (Bloor St E of the Bloor St Viaduct) from Broadview on east. It gets sketchy out towards the very east, but again it's a great 'hood (both sides, Riverdale to the South and the Danforth to the north). Ethnic restaurants, coffee shops etc.

- Bloor West Village - Bloor west of High Park - it's a lovely park, and a great area

- Yonge corridor - Yonge & Rosedale to Yonge & Lawrence - lovely neighbourhoods, subway right there, good resources (Toronto's public libraries are generally really good). It can be a real problem getting on at say, Davisville, in the morning. Generally cheaper east of Yonge than west - the area east of Mount Pleasant Avenue "Leaside" is a real family area, really lovely. Basically anything west of the Don River Valley (the Don Valley Parkway) to Bathurst or to the Ditch (the abortive Allen Expressway which stopped at Eglinton rather than being extended downtown). All fine neighbourhoods, lot of amenities.

One warning. They are building an LRT (streetcar) along Eglinton and big chunks of that east to west thoroughfare are in a complete mess - no fun bus commuting while they do it. And although Eglinton West subway station is probably OK in the morning (depending on time) Yonge-Eglinton station itself suffers severe crowding in the morning which will get worse when LRT is finished.

Yonge above Shepherd has a huge amount of condo development. It is soulless, but everything is there and you are straight downtown on the subway. That's also true of say Bayview Village (on the Shepherd Line extension).

You get up to Richmond Hill if you keep going (outside the City limits) and I don't know what the commuting is like (but the traffic down Yonge is just awful). Markham (to the East) is the traditional suburban base of the Chinese community.

- the Junction - in the West, Dundas north of Bloor all the way to Runnymede (Dundas is the old colonial highway and so it runs E to W downtown, then slopes NW). I don't know about commuting from here (how bad the subway is in the morning). But it's a hopping area with a lot going on, restaurants cafes, etc.

Anything along Dundas W is kind of interesting ethnic 'hoods going yuppy. Not sure how that streetcar is for commuting -- slow is OK, being jammed in like cattle (or not being able to get on) is not.

The problem for places like Liberty Village (just west of Bathurst below King) is that streetcar can be too busy to use. I think that area in particular has overdeveloped with new condos. One glimpse of the Gardiner Expressway (elevated highway along the lake) at rush hour will convince you you don't want to commute on it!

I don't know the 'hoods to the east as well. The Beach (Beaches) on Queen St E is its own really funky 'hood. If you like walking your dog on a winter day along the beach, it is a great place. However, it's a long ride on that streetcar downtown through the traffic.

Cabbagetown (immediately east of the downtown), Leslieville, King E, etc have all gentrified but still have sketchy bits. All expensive. East of the Don Valley you get Riverdale which is nice.

PS try Quora as well. There is a guy, Steve Haddon (sp?) who is very knowledgeable about Toronto (urban planner, I think) and writes really well. Very helpful.

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by sawhorse » Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:10 am

kurious wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:42 pm
Hello Bogleheads,

I am back for more advice.

In a previous post, I had described tumult in my life because of a visa situation. It is likely that a resolution is on its way. My employer might let me work from Toronto for a while if the paperwork sorts itself out.

Assuming we need to relocate to Toronto from Boston, I have a few questions given that we haven't been to Canada yet:

1. What is Toronto like? How similar should we expect it to be to the Boston area in terms of culture, infrastructure, things to do? I am told the weather is similar. I love Boston because of its (very) friendly and welcoming people, intellectual vibe (lectures, meet-ups), diversity, and access to scenic locations in the New England area that are only a train ride away.

2. Are the expenses comparable?

3. It is necessary to have a car? We didn't have one in Boston and didn't feel the need for it. I will be working from a home office and DW will need to find a job. In such a scenario, what are some neighborhoods worth considering? I am also tempted to join evening classes at a local university or college. I'd like to factor in that possibility as well while choosing a neighborhood.

4. I might keep the equivalent of my USD salary. Having said that, my expenses will increase. I plan to visit Boston and other US areas almost every month for client meetings and intend to rent a room/studio in Boston. It is very likely that I will take a bus from Toronto to Boston unless a drive is a better option. The commute and stay in Boston will be at my dime. In such a scenario, are there money tips that I need to be aware of?

5. What should we do with the ~20k USD in our bank accounts and ~100k USD in retirement accounts (our thoughts right now are not to touch them). We don't know if the Canada relocation is a long term (> 2-3 years) commitment. Depending on how things move in the US and Canada over the next couple of years and our personal situation, we will take a call on whether to remain here or go back to India. I am personally interested in splitting time b/w the continents while working on a social impact tech-ish job.

6. What else should I be thinking about that I am not?

Thank you,

kurious
I have spent quite a bit of time in both Boston and Toronto.

1) Toronto is a great city. Lots of stuff to do, safe, friendly. The weather is a bit colder and dryer. There is more snow and less freezing rain. The summer weather is great.

2) Depends on the exchange rate. In my experience it's a bit less expensive in Toronto--Boston is so expensive--but I haven't bought a lot of stuff other than the basics (food, clothing, etc) in Toronto. However, you have fewer options with online shopping and will have to pay a not insignificant amount for shipping if buying from the United States. Medical stuff is mostly free and is high quality. I'm not sure if you would be eligible right away.

3) Toronto is more spread out than Boston. It's definitely possible to go without a car due to the extensive public transportation system, but a car is useful, probably more useful than in Boston because it's more spread out. Driving in Toronto isn't as stressful, bumpy, confusing, or all around unpleasant as driving in Boston except for one high speed stretch--I forget the name, sorry--that scares the bejeezus out of me every time.

4) A bus is the cheapest option but pretty uncomfortable for that length of time. Maybe that's because I get sick on buses, so I try to avoid them. Amtrak is a more comfortable option, but it's more expensive and not any shorter. Porter Airlines has direct flights from City Airport to Boston. City Airport is a lot better than Pearson which is quite possibly my least favorite airport in the world. There is a nice Porter lounge that is open to all passengers for free.

6) The mail service really sucks.

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by 22twain » Fri Oct 26, 2018 6:30 am

sawhorse wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:10 am
Amtrak is a more comfortable option, but it's more expensive and not any shorter.
You can't get between Toronto and Boston in a single day via Amtrak. There's one train per day between Toronto and New York via Buffalo and Albany. Connecting at Albany with the one train from there to Boston requires an overnight stay. Connecting at New York means either an overnight train to Boston, leaving Penn Station at 1:22AM, or staying there overnight. Or if you can get a bus that arrives in Buffalo before 9AM, you might be able to connect to that Albany-Boston train which actually originates in Chicago. Might as well bus it all the way, or drive.
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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by quantAndHold » Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:01 am

2 things...

The drive from Toronto to Boston is 10 hours. 600+ miles each way. Buses are 14-16 hours, overnight. You’ll probably want to fly.

Have you checked with your immigration lawyer? Will travel back and forth to the US cause problems with if you want to get residency in the US again in the future? Depending on your current visa situation, it might.

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:30 am

A transportation option is to take via rail from Toronto to Montreal and then bus to Boston. Depending on where you're going, they do stop in Manchester, NH on the way. I've done this when no air travel was allowed in the US. I expect there might be more direct bus routes directly from Toronto. Not sure.
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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by jks1985 » Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:06 pm

Getting between Toronto and Boston, for some reason, is a headache and a half. Plane tickets are super expensive. Trains are non-existent. Busses take too long. I think the best option is to just rent a car and drive it.

But, either way, you picked great places to live. Boston and Toronto are great cities.

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by bsteiner » Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:08 pm

They're both great cities.

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by WhiteMaxima » Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:12 pm

Toronto is a great NA city to live. It is sprawled very wide. Unlike Boston. it is more of international and modern. Interlectural wise, University of Toronto is no less than Harvard and MIT. Toronto internatinal airport has more connection to Europe and Asia than Boston. Good move.

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by dm200 » Fri Oct 26, 2018 3:33 pm

Years ago, visited Toronto many times.

Much colder in winter than Boston. More snow as well.

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by SQRT » Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:15 pm

Born, raised, schooled, worked whole career in Toronto. Been to Boston many times. Fairly similar in many ways but Toronto is: newer, bigger( now the fourth largest city in North America) and growing much faster (80,000 new immigrants per year), much more ethnically diverse, more construction, under invested in infrastructure, probably more exciting,bigger financial center. Just off the top of my head. Maybe more stable “politics” but that’s a personal thing. Good luck on your decision.

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by dm200 » Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:16 pm

Lots of theater there ..

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by CppCoder » Fri Oct 26, 2018 6:44 pm

WhiteMaxima wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:12 pm
Interlectural wise, University of Toronto is no less than Harvard and MIT.
Certainly, you must be Canadian. No American would say this. Also, it's not true (full disclosure, MIT Ph.D.). :wink:

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by Lancelot » Fri Oct 26, 2018 6:55 pm

If you are a US citizen, the Patriot Act can wreak havoc with opening new banking accounts. I was denied the Ally Bank 1% bonus for transferring new funds (to Ally.) Even though I already had an Ally account with a CD on deposit, I was denied when I attempted to add an online savings account so I could transfer funds from Vanguard. I sent Ally a scan of a letter from Social Security with my US address, but that did not satisfy the (human) robots at Ally :D They needed a utility bill in my name, but I don't have one since I'm a perpetual traveler. Looking back, I should have used a VPN using a US location when I attempted to open the Ally account.

Also some foreign banks are now reluctant to open accounts for US citizens because of the onerous compliance the US government requires, courtesy of the Patriot Act.

Having said that, I've opened accounts with American Express and Synchrony bank and never had a problem. FYI and good luck in Toronto
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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:22 pm

kurious wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:42 pm
Hello Bogleheads,

I am back for more advice.

In a previous post, I had described tumult in my life because of a visa situation. It is likely that a resolution is on its way. My employer might let me work from Toronto for a while if the paperwork sorts itself out.
...
Did you mean this post: Request perspective on career, life, and finance
May I recommend you post this same question in our sister Canadian forum
Financial Wisdom Forum
? You'll get expert advice.
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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by Starfish » Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:17 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:04 am
Couple of points: 1. Canadians think Americans talk too loudly
And who doesn't? :D

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by ArchibaldGraham » Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:35 pm

kurious wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:42 pm
Hello Bogleheads,

I am back for more advice.

In a previous post, I had described tumult in my life because of a visa situation. It is likely that a resolution is on its way. My employer might let me work from Toronto for a while if the paperwork sorts itself out.

Assuming we need to relocate to Toronto from Boston, I have a few questions given that we haven't been to Canada yet:

1. What is Toronto like? How similar should we expect it to be to the Boston area in terms of culture, infrastructure, things to do? I am told the weather is similar. I love Boston because of its (very) friendly and welcoming people, intellectual vibe (lectures, meet-ups), diversity, and access to scenic locations in the New England area that are only a train ride away.

2. Are the expenses comparable?

3. It is necessary to have a car? We didn't have one in Boston and didn't feel the need for it. I will be working from a home office and DW will need to find a job. In such a scenario, what are some neighborhoods worth considering? I am also tempted to join evening classes at a local university or college. I'd like to factor in that possibility as well while choosing a neighborhood.

4. I might keep the equivalent of my USD salary. Having said that, my expenses will increase. I plan to visit Boston and other US areas almost every month for client meetings and intend to rent a room/studio in Boston. It is very likely that I will take a bus from Toronto to Boston unless a drive is a better option. The commute and stay in Boston will be at my dime. In such a scenario, are there money tips that I need to be aware of?

5. What should we do with the ~20k USD in our bank accounts and ~100k USD in retirement accounts (our thoughts right now are not to touch them). We don't know if the Canada relocation is a long term (> 2-3 years) commitment. Depending on how things move in the US and Canada over the next couple of years and our personal situation, we will take a call on whether to remain here or go back to India. I am personally interested in splitting time b/w the continents while working on a social impact tech-ish job.

6. What else should I be thinking about that I am not?

Thank you,

kurious
No offense, but this sounds insane to me. Unless there is a very compelling (and temporary) reason for this arrangement I think you should really think hard about it. You are moving to Toronto and regularly commute to Boston on your own dime, over land. Driving from Toronto is 8+ hours away by car, more by bus.

It will be very expensive and uncomfortable. I can't imagine living like that for more than a few months. Can you negotiate with your employer to pay for air travel and hotel as needed?

Worst case if you must move to Canada and bus/drive to Boston regularly why not somewhere closer to Boston (Montreal is way closer)?

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by hmw » Sat Oct 27, 2018 1:08 am

dm200 wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 3:33 pm
Years ago, visited Toronto many times.

Much colder in winter than Boston. More snow as well.
I lived in Toronto for 4 years, and in Massachusetts for 5 years. I don’t think Toronto is colder or have more snow than Boston. They are about the same.

To OP

Toronto is more diverse than Boston. Better ethnic restaurants.

If you plan to live near downtown Toronto, you don’t need a car. But if you want to live in suburbs, you will need a car.

Cost: housing cost are expensive in both cities. Taxes will be higher in Canada. Ontario provincial income tax will be a lot higher than Mass state income tax. Day to day expenses will be similar.

Like many have mentioned, traveling from Toronto to Boston on the cheap on a monthly basis will be very painful.

Good luck

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by Lancelot » Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:11 am

Starfish wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:17 pm
Valuethinker wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:04 am
Couple of points: 1. Canadians think Americans talk too loudly
And who doesn't? :D
Have you met any mainland Chinese tourists? :D
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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by kurious » Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:24 am

Thank you for your thoughtful responses. These are very helpful. I have a few follow up questions:

@Valuethinker

The description of neighborhoods is very helpful
live right downtown in one of the many condo towers that are spreading up like mushrooms. It is a bit soulless but the PATH (underground city connecting the office buildings) is right there. There are so many new condos you might be able to get a reasonable deal


What would you consider a reasonable rent for a 900 sq ft 2BA apartment as well as 1200 sq ft 3BA apartment in the downtown area? I looked online without much context of geography and saw prices from CAD ~2k to CAD ~4k.

@sawhorse

Porter airlines seems to be a good option, although it seems like I will not be able to afford monthly tickets.

@QuantAndHold
Have you checked with your immigration lawyer? Will travel back and forth to the US cause problems with if you want to get residency in the US again in the future? Depending on your current visa situation, it might.
I have written to them with the question after reading your response. Response awaited

@Jack FFR1846
A transportation option is to take via rail from Toronto to Montreal and then bus to Boston. Depending on where you're going, they do stop in Manchester, NH on the way. I've done this when no air travel was allowed in the US. I expect there might be more direct bus routes directly from Toronto. Not sure.
I like this option more than taking a bus all the way. Will explore it to find out how much that will cost.

@jks9845
But, either way, you picked great places to live. Boston and Toronto are great cities.
I just got lucky I guess.

@WhiteMaxima and @CppCoder
Toronto is a great NA city to live. It is sprawled very wide. Unlike Boston. it is more of international and modern. Interlectural wise, University of Toronto is no less than Harvard and MIT. Toronto internatinal airport has more connection to Europe and Asia than Boston. Good move.
That will be nice. I need some engagement outside my home office to be able to get out. Classes seem to be a good option.

@Lancelot
f you are a US citizen, the Patriot Act can wreak havoc with opening new banking accounts. I was denied the Ally Bank 1% bonus for transferring new funds (to Ally.) Even though I already had an Ally account with a CD on deposit, I was denied when I attempted to add an online savings account so I could transfer funds from Vanguard. I sent Ally a scan of a letter from Social Security with my US address, but that did not satisfy the (human) robots at Ally :D They needed a utility bill in my name, but I don't have one since I'm a perpetual traveler. Looking back, I should have used a VPN using a US location when I attempted to open the Ally account.

Also some foreign banks are now reluctant to open accounts for US citizens because of the onerous compliance the US government requires, courtesy of the Patriot Act.

Having said that, I've opened accounts with American Express and Synchrony bank and never had a problem. FYI and good luck in Toronto


Thank you! It's not certain yet that the relocation is a done deal but I am cautiously optimistic.

As for bank accounts, does that mean I need to close all my bank accounts here, close all credit cards, and start fresh in Canada?

@LadyGeek

I just realized that the hyperlink is broken. Will shortly fix it. The query you link to is an older one. I grapple with the challenges I mention there, but I have more pressing concerns at this moment.

@ArchibaldGraham

You raise excellent points.
No offense, but this sounds insane to me. Unless there is a very compelling (and temporary) reason for this arrangement I think you should really think hard about it. You are moving to Toronto and regularly commute to Boston on your own dime, over land. Driving from Toronto is 8+ hours away by car, more by bus.

It will be very expensive and uncomfortable. I can't imagine living like that for more than a few months. Can you negotiate with your employer to pay for air travel and hotel as needed?
My employer hasn't asked me to travel frequently. I want to do it off my own volition. I can't operate out of home office continuously and I like being in the office. Depending on how cumbersome the travel proves to be, I might do it less frequently.
Worst case if you must move to Canada and bus/drive to Boston regularly why not somewhere closer to Boston (Montreal is way closer)?
We did consider Montreal but it will be harder for DW to find a job there because of their preference for French-speaking candidates. Her need to be able to work is our primary reason for relocation.

Cheers,

kurious

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:51 pm

SQRT wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:15 pm
Born, raised, schooled, worked whole career in Toronto. Been to Boston many times. Fairly similar in many ways but Toronto is: newer, bigger( now the fourth largest city in North America) and growing much faster (80,000 new immigrants per year), much more ethnically diverse, more construction, under invested in infrastructure, probably more exciting,bigger financial center. Just off the top of my head. Maybe more stable “politics” but that’s a personal thing. Good luck on your decision.
Have you noticed who is Premier? (The brother of the late mayor Rob Ford for those who don't know)
;-) ;-)

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Oct 27, 2018 1:10 pm

kurious wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:24 am
Thank you for your thoughtful responses. These are very helpful. I have a few follow up questions:

@Valuethinker

The description of neighborhoods is very helpful
live right downtown in one of the many condo towers that are spreading up like mushrooms. It is a bit soulless but the PATH (underground city connecting the office buildings) is right there. There are so many new condos you might be able to get a reasonable deal


What would you consider a reasonable rent for a 900 sq ft 2BA apartment as well as 1200 sq ft 3BA apartment in the downtown area? I looked online without much context of geography and saw prices from CAD ~2k to CAD ~4k.

@sawhorse

Porter airlines seems to be a good option, although it seems like I will not be able to afford monthly tickets.

@QuantAndHold
Have you checked with your immigration lawyer? Will travel back and forth to the US cause problems with if you want to get residency in the US again in the future? Depending on your current visa situation, it might.
I have written to them with the question after reading your response. Response awaited

@Jack FFR1846
A transportation option is to take via rail from Toronto to Montreal and then bus to Boston. Depending on where you're going, they do stop in Manchester, NH on the way. I've done this when no air travel was allowed in the US. I expect there might be more direct bus routes directly from Toronto. Not sure.
I like this option more than taking a bus all the way. Will explore it to find out how much that will cost.

@jks9845
But, either way, you picked great places to live. Boston and Toronto are great cities.
I just got lucky I guess.

@WhiteMaxima and @CppCoder
Toronto is a great NA city to live. It is sprawled very wide. Unlike Boston. it is more of international and modern. Interlectural wise, University of Toronto is no less than Harvard and MIT. Toronto internatinal airport has more connection to Europe and Asia than Boston. Good move.
That will be nice. I need some engagement outside my home office to be able to get out. Classes seem to be a good option.

@Lancelot
f you are a US citizen, the Patriot Act can wreak havoc with opening new banking accounts. I was denied the Ally Bank 1% bonus for transferring new funds (to Ally.) Even though I already had an Ally account with a CD on deposit, I was denied when I attempted to add an online savings account so I could transfer funds from Vanguard. I sent Ally a scan of a letter from Social Security with my US address, but that did not satisfy the (human) robots at Ally :D They needed a utility bill in my name, but I don't have one since I'm a perpetual traveler. Looking back, I should have used a VPN using a US location when I attempted to open the Ally account.

Also some foreign banks are now reluctant to open accounts for US citizens because of the onerous compliance the US government requires, courtesy of the Patriot Act.

Having said that, I've opened accounts with American Express and Synchrony bank and never had a problem. FYI and good luck in Toronto


Thank you! It's not certain yet that the relocation is a done deal but I am cautiously optimistic.

As for bank accounts, does that mean I need to close all my bank accounts here, close all credit cards, and start fresh in Canada?

@LadyGeek

I just realized that the hyperlink is broken. Will shortly fix it. The query you link to is an older one. I grapple with the challenges I mention there, but I have more pressing concerns at this moment.

@ArchibaldGraham

You raise excellent points.
No offense, but this sounds insane to me. Unless there is a very compelling (and temporary) reason for this arrangement I think you should really think hard about it. You are moving to Toronto and regularly commute to Boston on your own dime, over land. Driving from Toronto is 8+ hours away by car, more by bus.

It will be very expensive and uncomfortable. I can't imagine living like that for more than a few months. Can you negotiate with your employer to pay for air travel and hotel as needed?
My employer hasn't asked me to travel frequently. I want to do it off my own volition. I can't operate out of home office continuously and I like being in the office. Depending on how cumbersome the travel proves to be, I might do it less frequently.
Worst case if you must move to Canada and bus/drive to Boston regularly why not somewhere closer to Boston (Montreal is way closer)?
We did consider Montreal but it will be harder for DW to find a job there because of their preference for French-speaking candidates. Her need to be able to work is our primary reason for relocation.

Cheers,

kurious
Re rent I don't know.

Quora is a good place to ask.

It sounds in the right ballpark. There's a wide variation. A lot of condos built so should be able to find bargains.

Afaik the best thing is to keep your American financial accounts open.

Main problem is Canadian tax on US 401k IRA etc.

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by dm200 » Sat Oct 27, 2018 1:55 pm

And from Canadians (NOT many American politicians) - Canadian healthcare is excellent.

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by sawhorse » Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:42 pm

dm200 wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 1:55 pm
And from Canadians (NOT many American politicians) - Canadian healthcare is excellent.
Yes, especially in Toronto. I don't know if the OP would immediately be eligible.

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by Isabelle77 » Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:53 pm

dm200 wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 1:55 pm
And from Canadians (NOT many American politicians) - Canadian healthcare is excellent.
Not an American politician. I grew up in Toronto and now live in the US, I'm a dual citizen. To avoid turning this into a political post I will simply say that healthcare in Canada is wonderful for some things, not wonderful for others, a long torturous wait for some things and not for others.

Most of my friends in Canada do love their healthcare system, it is something that they are taught from a young age, part of their national identity. Most of these friends have never had treatment outside of Canada.

Finally, I will mention that if I were seriously ill, 9x out of 10 I would choose treatment in the US.

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Oct 27, 2018 3:20 pm

Please stay focused on the financial aspects. Discussions of the political process or healthcare system (of any country) are off-topic.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by SQRT » Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:01 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:51 pm
SQRT wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:15 pm
Born, raised, schooled, worked whole career in Toronto. Been to Boston many times. Fairly similar in many ways but Toronto is: newer, bigger( now the fourth largest city in North America) and growing much faster (80,000 new immigrants per year), much more ethnically diverse, more construction, under invested in infrastructure, probably more exciting,bigger financial center. Just off the top of my head. Maybe more stable “politics” but that’s a personal thing. Good luck on your decision.
Have you noticed who is Premier? (The brother of the late mayor Rob Ford for those who don't know)
;-) ;-)
Yes, I know. Still an anomaly, at least so far.

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:08 am

kurious wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:24 am

My employer hasn't asked me to travel frequently. I want to do it off my own volition. I can't operate out of home office continuously and I like being in the office. Depending on how cumbersome the travel proves to be, I might do it less frequently.
Worst case if you must move to Canada and bus/drive to Boston regularly why not somewhere closer to Boston (Montreal is way closer)?
We did consider Montreal but it will be harder for DW to find a job there because of their preference for French-speaking candidates. Her need to be able to work is our primary reason for relocation.

Cheers,

kurious
I understand the need to stay in touch with head office. I would try to fly, even if it means taking a 2-leg to do it (TO to NYC or Montreal, then change). In winter, especially, it would be an awful drive-- you are right over the Adirondacks so read real ice and snow, not the wussy Toronto version of same ;-). That south side of Lake Ontario can get 3-4x as much snow as the Ontario side.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake-effect_snow

Turns out it is called the Lake-effect snow or the lake snow effect.

Going to Montreal by train and then busing it from there would be at least somewhat more sensible. Still a heck of a long journey though.

Compared to my experiences of bus/ coach in northern USA (a long time ago) buses in Canada are a way a lot of people move around. Those who cannot drive, students etc -- you do get some people you'd rather not sit beside/ off their heads on legal or illegal substances BUT it's a perfectly reasonable thing to do for middle class people, too e.g. university students ("college kids" is more of an American thing). The bus stations are not the nicest places in town (Toronto, Barrie, Montreal, Ottawa) but they don't feel unsafe.

You've nailed the problem with Montreal. It's hard enough not to be a native in a city, it's harder when you don't speak the dominant language. Montreal is so multicultural that you can get by in English, but in the workplace some people will be speaking French, and people will switch between English and French fluidly, almost without realizing they are doing it. I think Montreal is not nationalistic in the way Quebec City is (can't imagine working there without speaking French) but it could rub people the wrong way.

Also the economic and career opportunities are in Toronto. Compared to any other city in Canada, the GTA has just more of anything - medical, financial services etc.

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by Jeff Albertson » Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:29 pm

kurious, I hope you're thriving in Toronto.

Amazing statistic in the Economist: "The city (Toronto) added more tech jobs in 2017 than the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle and Washington, DC, combined."
Pushed out by the cost of living as well as by a less welcoming American government, they are being pulled in by countries such as Canada, where tech vacancies are forecast to reach 200,000 by 2020. Canada is gambling that by the time America wakes up to the cost of discouraging immigrants its tech sector will have secured some of the best talent.

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:03 pm

Jeff Albertson wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:29 pm
kurious, I hope you're thriving in Toronto.

Amazing statistic in the Economist: "The city (Toronto) added more tech jobs in 2017 than the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle and Washington, DC, combined."
Pushed out by the cost of living as well as by a less welcoming American government, they are being pulled in by countries such as Canada, where tech vacancies are forecast to reach 200,000 by 2020. Canada is gambling that by the time America wakes up to the cost of discouraging immigrants its tech sector will have secured some of the best talent.


Turn inward just when the world necessitates we turn outward. So far, Canadians are still willing to ride that wave.

Housing costs in GTA are extortionate. 700k for a starter home in Ajax/ Whitby and you could easily be 90 minutes from work. I keep calling for the bubble to burst but it does not although prices are down 10 to 20 per cent from 2017 peak I think.

So where does this tech workforce live? And who do they displace to live there?

The same forces exist in Canada though that they doin other countries. Ontario is badly deindustrializing and when the housing bubble ends it could well turn in on itself. The last provincial election was a warning.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Things to consider when relocating from Boston to Toronto

Post by 4nwestsaylng » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:12 pm

Lancelot wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:11 am
Starfish wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:17 pm
Valuethinker wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:04 am
Couple of points: 1. Canadians think Americans talk too loudly
And who doesn't? :D
Have you met any mainland Chinese tourists? :D
Exactly,but they become Canadians so it will all even out :D

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