Toronto is the largest city in Canada, and the GTA is the seventh largest metropolitan area in North America. I have been living and working in Toronto for just over two months now and want to share some of my experiences, thoughts and advice on being “abroad” (somewhat) for an Arts Work Experience (AWE) term.
Moving to a different city adds an element of adventure to your AWE term, especially when it’s halfway across the country. To be honest, I was so hungry to get a position with AWE before I graduated that, when I accepted my current position with Employment and Social Development Canada, I didn’t really think about what it would mean to move to Toronto for a term.
In a short matter of weeks, I had to organize accommodations, figure out my commute and pack four months of clothes into my suitcase. With the magic of the internet and some advice from friends I knew in Toronto, I was able to find a small, but nice, studio apartment in west central Toronto near High Park.
I was so hungry to get a position with AWE before I graduated that I didn’t really think about what it would mean to move to Toronto for a term.
Although you will catch many Torontonians bemoaning it, the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) has been an excellent way to commute to work every day. It is great to live in a city with efficient public transit – the subway runs every three minutes during rush hour, and every five minutes at any other time. I take the subway to work and use their streetcars and buses on the weekends!
Toronto, quite literally, has something going on every night – whether it’s concerts, professional sports, museum exhibitions or new restaurants. Outside of work, I have had a chance to explore in and around Toronto, which has given me a much better picture of Toronto – contrary to popular belief, only a few blocks in the heart of downtown are what people imagine as “The Six.” Prior to the 1980s, when many national headquarters and banks moved from Montreal to Toronto, Toronto was an industrial, railroad town. This blue-collar history, coupled with its many ethnically diverse areas, gives the city endless character in areas such as Cabbagetown or the Danforth.
Living in a city, rather than just visiting it, gives you more of a sense of its “liveability.”
In the last couple months, I have developed a real sense of the layout and character of the city. I have enjoyed living in and exploring Toronto, and it is definitely a change from Edmonton. Living in a city, rather than just visiting it, gives you more of a sense of its “liveability.” My time in Toronto has also shown me some of the things that Edmonton has over Toronto – green spaces, reasonable (being a relative term) traffic and affordable rent. However, one thing that TO will always beat Edmonton on is its warm, snowless autumn.
My position with Employment and Social Development Canada is based out of Toronto because it is an economics job dealing with the Ontario economy. I believe this position has given me a better understanding of Canada’s overall economy because I have learned so much about the economies of Toronto and Ontario. Personally, I have really enjoyed my time in Toronto and could see my career taking me back here because of opportunities and networks I have created. Whether it’s Toronto, Calgary or another city, an AWE position will allow you to make connections and develop a network in a city that will give you more opportunities for future employment.
Note: If you are considering applying for a position that is not in Edmonton, the Student Life and Learning Enrichment Fund is an excellent resource to help supplement costs of relocation.
Student Voices is a WOA blog feature that presents the experiences and viewpoints of current Arts students. Through their posts, you’ll experience the creativity and passion of our students as they present glimpses into student life. The views and opinions expressed within these posts are solely those of the authors.