Welcome to the big city!
Going to a new private high school is an exciting opportunity for any student, but coupling that with a big move takes that excitement up to a whole new level.
For international students who’ve never been to Toronto before — you’re probably both excited and anxious to embark on this adventure because you don’t quite know what to expect. To help make that transition easier, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to student living in Toronto. If you want to know exactly what you can expect in “The 6ix”, read on to find out!
Public transit is a big part of city living in Toronto. Many high school students rely on the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to get to school on time. Fare costs $2.20 which can be used for unlimited travel for two hours. If you think you’ll be using the TTC everyday, including weekends, it may be more economical to get their monthly student metropass, which will cost $122.45. If you’re looking to lower costs even further, students can buy a 12-month pass which averages out to being $112.25 per month. Please note that high school students aged 16-19 are required to carry government issued I.D. to verify their age, if necessary.
All fares and monthly passes can be uploaded onto your Presto Card. The card can be purchased at any TTC station but the user account, where you can upload your fare, can be managed online. If you lose or misplace your Presto Card for any reason, you can cancel your card online without losing the money on that account. Once you replace your card, all the money under your account can be transferred over.
The best part about Presto is it can be used in multiple cities in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) including Ottawa, Canada’s capital city. With that said, each city has their own fare and monthly pass pricing that is not covered by Toronto’s fare rates. Depending on how far you’re travelling, you may have to pay fare for two transit systems. For example, if you’re coming from Mississauga, you’ll be required to pay fare for the Mississauga transit system as well as the TTC once you enter the Toronto area. This can double up transportation costs going to and from school. While there are discount passes available in all these neighbouring cities, it’s always a good idea crunch the numbers on transportation costs and the amount of time it will take to travel to school before settling in a specific neighbourhood.
Housing is a key component for any international student moving to Toronto. Prices for rent vary across the city and depends on the neighbourhood you’re looking to settle in. With that said, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto is $2,260, with two-bedroom apartments going for an average of $2,850 a month. If you’re looking for more affordable options, it’s best to into neighbourhoods away from the downtown core like North York, Mimico and Little Portugal.
Another great alternative for international students is participating in a Canadian homestay. These programs are great because they place international students with a Canadian family for $1,000-$1,200 a month, depending on the school program. Students are given a private room, three meals a day and access to free wifi during their stay. Apart from being an affordable option for many international students, one of the most convenient parts of a homestay program is the opportunity it gives them to interact with Canadian families who can show them the ins and outs of the city. If this is something of interest to you, be sure to contact Cestar High School today to get a more comprehensive breakdown and cost of the program.
When it comes to buying groceries for yourself, some of the major supermarket chains in the city include No Frills, FreshCO, Food Basics, Metro and Loblaws. Be sure to check their online flyers every week as the price difference between grocers can be quite drastic.
Some schools you attend might eliminate the hassle of you having to buy your own groceries by offering meal plans. Before you sign up, be sure to check some of the food options and crunch the numbers to see if this truly works within your budget.
When it comes to eating out, you’ll never run out of options. Since Toronto is so multicultural, you’ll find that the city’s food palette is reflective of that as well. Whether you’re craving Mexican, Indian or traditional North American comfort foods, Toronto will be the place to have it. If you want a chance to experience high class dining for a fraction of the price, keep an eye out for Winterlicious and Summerlicious, where restaurants across the city offer incredible prix fixe menus for a fraction of what they would usually cost.
One of the best parts about moving to a new city, is all the entertainment! If you’re an international student, you’ll probably want to visit all the biggest attractions and experience it like a true tourist. If you’re on a budget, consider getting a Museum + Arts Pass from the Toronto Public Library which gives you access to some of the city’s biggest attractions in the city for free. You will require an adult library to access this, so it’s advised to get this through a family member you’re staying with or your Homestay host. It’s one pass per person, typically valid for two adults and five children at a time. It gives you access to attractions including the Art Gallery Of Ontario (AGO), Aga Khan Museum, Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Toronto Zoo and more.
If there’s someplace you want to check out that’s not on that list, be sure to check the attraction’s website as some offer discounted ticket prices for off peak hours. For example, regular admission to Ripley’s Aquarium is typically $37.00, but if you decide to pay a visit after 7 p.m., their admission prices go down to $30.00.
Finally, another great way to keep up with all the exciting events happening across the city is by checking out popular outlets like BlogTO and DailyHive. They keep readers in the loop of all the latest events, festivals and openings happening around Toronto.
If you’re looking for a private high school in the heart of all the action, contact Cestar High School today. They’re one of the leading private high schools in Toronto for both domestic and international students, looking for higher quality education. With smaller class sizes, project-based learning programs and dedicated teachers — call Cestar High School to find out how they can make a difference in your child’s academic life!