Toronto - something about that place?

Over the past 1.5 years, I’ve met 3 people who are from Toronto in their 20’s, 30’s and 50’s, who now I consider friends I frequently interact with.  I met them in San Francisco, where I live.

There’s something I like about the people from the place - hustle, ingenuity, independence of mind and action - that I don’t think gets enough attention.  It was after noticing, I was getting friends from the place, I started asking more questions.

First of all, Toronto is an English speaking city in a country that speaks French and English.  That influenced where immigrants ended up settling down, which occurred in bigger numbers 30-40 years ago, since my friend in the 50’s said the city changed a lot from when he was growing up.

It is said that online banking originated from a Toronto based company.  AI also had some big origins or progress at the University of Toronto (Geoffrey Hinton).

I would like to learn more from people from Toronto - if there is an ethos, dynamic, city pride.  I really didn’t know anything about the place until recently. But now would love to visit and be more familiar.  

There’s something about Toronto.


Poutine is great. When you're tired and cold and come in from the snow, it is very satisfying.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

"Toronto has the highest number of CFA charterholders per capita on the planet."

"For example, the CFA Society of Toronto boasts over 10,000 members whereas the CFA Society of New York, a much larger market, boasts roughly the same number of members. For further context, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has a population of just over 6 million while the New York Metropolitan Area (or Tri-State Area) has just under 20 million. What this implies is that CFA charterholders are ~3x as common in Toronto than in New York, a global financial hub."

CFA in Toronto: Should You Pursue It? — Chartered Perspective

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Despite its flaws, I do love Toronto. We have an absurd amount of good food from different cultures, have done a great job with the immigration melting pot relative to other Western cities, and as far as the finance community goes Bay Street is a small village and folks in high finance all know each other.
There are also so few seats in finance that competition makes people pretty well rounded, and then anyone who is very good will go to the US and be a fantastic ambassador for Toronto / Canada


Typing this comment from Toronto, am visiting in-laws for Thanksgiving. We haven't really been able to come up here a ton recently - work, COVID-esque border closure, lack of time, all that. Have really also been trying to get to know the city better, super nice to decompress here for these last three days. Seems people here love their city, which goes a long way for me. This is something I also personally noticed about Chicago when I first visited - as a New York guy, pretty cool to see the city-spirit parallels. 

First visited Toronto nearly a decade ago on a Christmas trip with some friends - wasn't a big fan, kind of found it boring. I just think I wasn't looking hard enough as there's plenty of shit to do here. I really did love Montreal, however, need to find an excuse to go back some time. 


I took a (really long) train to Montreal with some friends back in 2019, really great city that I could see myself living in tbh. I was supposed to go to Toronto in April of 2020... need to finally check it out.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

Montreal definitely has a better food, arts & culture scene than Toronto, and there's so much more to do. However, high-finance ops are larger in Toronto, and you're taxed a bit less too. Also, being in Montreal without talking French is absolutely doable (especially if you hang downtown or in the West), but it's better if you do.

Basically, Montreal has the food, bars & nature.
Toronto has the career, sports, and language aspect.


From Toronto—yes the people here are generally nicer but it’s honestly not that good of a city for a few reasons:

  1. Getting around Toronto sucks. The 401 is the busiest highway in North America (not even mentioning the Don Valley), there’s really only 1 subway line downtown, and things are generally far out—this won't affect you if you're living downtown though. Shoutout to the GO Train too for people who live outside downtown.
  2. Nightlife is OK. Club scene here isn’t the best, bars are very spread out for the most part unless you’re on King West.
  3. Comp is lower.
  4. Toronto’s new mayor sucks, our Province’s Premier is mediocre at best, and our Prime Minister sucks.
  5. It’s insanely expensive to live in actual downtown Toronto.

Yes, there’s lots I love about Canada/Toronto, but there are way better cities domestically and abroad.

non target degenerate

The 401 is the busiest highway in North America

for some reason I found this hard to believe living in the US, but it checks out. I thought it would have been some part of I-95, but apparently not.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

First of all:
I love Canada, the Canadian culture and most Canadian cities I have been to/lived in.

Cost of living
It was shocking to realize how much even the most trivial product would cost

Cost of housing/rent/RE valuation
Rent is beyond realistic for normal income levels, and purchasing real estate is only for households with two good salaries or for the absolute high-earners
If you then add hydro and other bills, you will see very little money at the end of the month

Lack of jobs
There is demand for nurses, medical staff, doctors, IT folks, and more - but finance or general management isn't the best place to be.

Rapid surge in immigration
Canada has done a better job in integrating newcomers from all over the world in their mosaic (compared to other regions in the world). But this is still a fairly segregated nation. There are also not enough opportunities for all of these people, there is not enough housing.


Can anyone comment on the comparison between Hong Kong and Toronto?

Currently feeling stuck in Hong Kong as the deal flow stagnates, cannot foresee a revival anytime soon. Rounds and rounds of layoffs also imposed gloomy perception.

I also know the rent crisis in Toronto is insane now while there is no clear sign of action to be taken by the gov.

Should I quit Hong Kong’s IB and move to Toronto?

Thanks for any advice.


A crass overgeneralization, but an obsersation. My work has taken on a more global mandate recently, but looking at smaller caps. Pretty much every Canadian opportunity that has crossed my desk looks like the stuff of nightmares with stock promotions, dodgy management and borderline fraud and 70%+ capital destruction. I'd far prefer the predictability of the Asian markets or the mining spivs in Australia

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