Streetcar Toronto

10 things out of towners notice about Toronto

You can travel to most major cities and notice traffic is horrible, buildings are beautiful or ugly, and people are nice or grumpy — that's just city life. It's the specific things you notice about a metropolis when you visit that are the most intriguing. Toronto has a set of easily discernible quirks that distinguish us from any other city.

Here's what out of towners notice when they visit Toronto.

It's really, really multicultural 

From food, shopping, and cultural activities to just the general population walking around downtown, a visitor quickly realizes this is a city of so many wonderful cultures and traditions. We were named the most diverse city in the world, after all.

There are so many condos being built

Whether you're riding in from the airport, driving down the Gardiner, walking around downtown or .... hell anywhere you go in Toronto there's a crane lifting its long neck into the sky building another condo. It seems like there's an endless amount of towers being built here. We're a hot market!

There are Tim Hortons everywhere

We love our Timmies. It seems they've been everywhere for years as a cheap coffee/doughnut option, but are now on every spare corner we've got. They rival any local coffee shop or Starbucks. Love them or hate them you'll basically be able to find a Tim's no matter what neighbourhood you're in.

There are rules against having fun

When you live here you know there's a lot of fun, creative and exciting stuff happening... but as a visitor or hosting of an out-of-towner, you're quickly reminded Toronto doesn't always like fun. Our patios close at 11 p.m. (and you can't smoke on them), our last call is 2 a.m., and there's plenty other by-laws aimed at keeping everyone in check.

People take streetcars

They're often slow, problematic, and overcrowded, but they're also unique (for now). Toronto is a one of the few North American cities with a major streetcar network, and it can be a great way to get around the city. 

Cyclists riding all over the place

We're no Amsterdam, but Torontonians like to bike downtown and around, a lot. Cycling advocates continue to push for more bike lanes, and we slowly get them. But bikes are also on major streets, side streets, down by the water and locked up to everything they can be. Look both ways before crossing!

Get in line

Torontonians like to lineup. For ice cream, cheese tarts, or pop-ups. We even wait in line to get on a bus or for movie tickets. For whatever reason, we're really good at politely standing in an orderly fashion until it's our turn.

Inner city ravines

Toronto's doesn't have the highest ranking when it comes to percentage of urban space designated as parkland , but it's impossible to spend much time here without noticing the massive ravine system that exists so close to the most dense areas in the city. It's as though the city erupted out of its ravines.

People wait at traffic lights

Though many claim we're always trying to catch up to our Southern New York neighbours, there's one major thing we'll never share, and that is traffic light etiquette. We stop at them. We wait at that red light, in fact most people are terrified of a yellow light. Even when we have intersections with a lack of traffic lights we wait.

Locals don't actually call it the 6ix

Visitors beware, don't arrive calling Toronto the 6ix. No one actually likes the term or calls it that. Drake did, and kind of still does in song and text, but in the same way no one ever calls us the Big Smoke or Hogtown out loud, just ignore this moniker.

Lead photo by

A Great Capture


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

A 1910s Toronto photo extravaganza

Santa Claus Parade route and road closures in Toronto for 2017

Sold! Forest Hill mansion goes for a whopping $15 million

You'll soon get in trouble for driving through the King St. Pilot

What a $1,500 apartment looks like in Toronto right now

Stunning meteor shower will be visible above Toronto tomorrow

Toronto's new subway line is opening in one month

Major road closures happening all over Toronto this weekend