Mere hours after I had landed, my host and I were out walking through a balmy (for November) Toronto evening along Yonge Street near Eglinton – an area where I immediately felt at home. By the time we had returned to her house, I had started a list of apartments in the area with “for rent” signs; many of them are listed on viewit.ca or other similar websites, where there are photos and some general information you can look at before calling for the details.
Since there are so many sources of listings of apartments here, and all of them seem to divide up the city in different ways, it can be frustrating to try to figure out which apartments are in the part of town you are interested in living in unless you know the names of all the streets in the area – and the various names by which their neighbourhoods may be known.
The easiest way to find an apartment is to walk around and take pictures of the ones you like and jot down notes about them. Yesterday I took a couple of hours to do that – it allowed me a lovely stroll through well-treed old neighbourhoods. The temperature went to 13 (55F) yesterday so I was really too warm in my all-weather coat.
It is reassuring to see that there are quite a few apartments for rent. Some of them are well beyond my reach, of course, but some are manageable. It has been my hope to find a two-bedroom apartment in which I would use the second bedroom as a den and guest room, but last night I considered that perhaps I was being silly: I can make do with a one-bedroom for now, and conserve a little money every month. So I am open to renting either a one- or two-bedroom at this point, and it will come down to what’s available at what cost, what utilities need to be added on each month, the availability of laundry facilities on-site, and whether or not there is air-conditioning.
When I arrived at the Toronto airport on Saturday night I thought how much of a different feeling I would have had if I’d been arriving from Sri Lanka, Kurdistan or Hong Kong to start a new life here. But it still seemed pretty momentous. I have moments of great misgiving about what I am trying to do, but this is familiar territory to me and I am sure that I am doing the right thing for me, and that gives me confidence. So far the only “cultural” differences I’ve noticed between here and western Canada are that the taxi driver assumed I’d sit in the backseat rather than the front, which I prefer anyway, and (unlike in Saskatoon but similar to Edmonton) drivers actually come to a stop when there is a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
My host has been more than kind – and I’ve already booked an appointment with her dentist for the tooth that broke last Thursday and has been nagging at my tongue ever since. She has fed me, given me a comfortable bed to sleep in, and driven me all over this part of Toronto so I can orient myself. I am very fortunate to have been taken in by such a kind and helpful person!