Friday, August 7, 2009

Being in Toronto and Greater Toronto Area (GTA), what's it like?

The city of Toronto is the largest city in Canada. Its also one of the largest in North America. Its population hovers just over an estimated 4.6 million people. That's higher than Kuala Lumpur which stands at 1.6 million. When mention Toronto, its often mistaken for Greater Toronto Area (GTA) which these days its use interchangeable. In actual fact, GTA is what Klang Valley is to Kuala Lumpur. Sometimes when people say KL, they could simply mean anyway else in Klang Valley. Just like Toronto. The actual Toronto is Toronto downtown which is sits at the heart of GTA. But GTA itself comprises of more than one municipalities or cities.

You see, property prices has gone astronomically high that so much so nobody could even afford a home in Toronto downtown itself. People have to live away and then travel everyday to downtown to work.

For us, we had the benefit of experiencing life in Toronto and GTA. Actually we were staying with a friend whose home is in the farthest part of Mississauga (a city just west of Toronto downtown). Traveling by bus (Go transit) cost to Downtown cost us approximately 6 dollars and took us an 1 hour to get to downtown's Union station.

Frankly speaking, we weren't too excited about going to downtown. The only reason why we did was that we wanted to know and experience what it was like. And now that we know, we were very sure, that's not the place we would want to work in given the chance. Lucky for many other people too. In fact, lots of larger cooperations have establish offices away from the downtown area. As we were in the local Mississauga, getting to our friend's place, we noticed companies like Microsoft, Accenture and even Siemens having their base away from the center of the city. Perhaps its serves both the company and the employees' interest. Cheaper rental!! And faster traveling time.

One difference we felt being in Toronto is that we weren't really in a white country. Why is that? Almost everywhere we go, there's immigrants! Chinese or oriental do make up a sizable amount but there's also alot of South Indians and Middle Eastern folks. The of course there are also Latin American and sometimes when they speak, you know the whites are actually Eastern Europeans (e.g. Russians / Bulgarians / Hungarians).

Compared to Halifax, you hardly see much immigrants and the numbers gets less away from the downtown Halifax area. Furthermore, there's lots and lots of Asian groceries and their size are sheer enormous. Its just like shopping in Tesco or Carrefour back home. Food stuff are generally cheaper than in Halifax. You could find about almost everything in the Asian groceries here. We stocked some dry stuff. Bought some chinese medicine, milo, curry powder, cincalok, etc. etc.

Another notable difference was that homes in Toronto are mainly made of bricks. Unlike in Halifax, in which most homes are mainly made of wood. We also took the opportunity to walk around the housing area. What we found out is that for every zone, there's some kind of park allocated. It really doesn't have to be that big but there was ample greenary for every housing area. There's also forest like walkways to give the urbanite residents the opportunity to some hiking for their leisure activities. As for us, we walked about 2 Kms from our friends home to a nearby park with a lake and saddle up on a small hill to enjoy the afternoon breeze while pinicking. It was a good experience and something we enjoyed alot.

Here are some of the pictures we took while we were there. Not as much as in Niagara though.

Here's the famous CN Tower

The inside interior of Hockey Hall of Fame building in downtown Toronto. Hockey's like what Badminton is to Canadians.

The famous St. Lawrence Market.

The peameal bacon is a popular food stuff here in St. Lawrence Market. There's more than 1 store selling it.

Apparently there's a street with the same name as the one we're staying here in Halifax.

Some places of worship. Here's a Chinese temple in Mississauga.

And here's St. James Cathedral in Downtown.

Li Ka Shing has his hands in here too...

The old City hall building.

Freedom of speech is important here in Canada. Although the speaker's corner's notice board wasn't given much respect though.

One way to get around in downtown is by this contraption.

Chinatown in downtown

A picture of the subway. Its very old and dirty.

Houses in Toronto. Hardly any intermediate. Most development are bungalow type.

Here's lake Acquiatine which we had our picnic at.

And Pearson International Airport in Toronto.

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