Ontario Bees! I want to chat.

posted 1 month ago in Beehive
Post # 2
6566 posts
Bee Keeper

I’m a western canadian bee and personally hate Toronto/GTA, BUT you will not die of cold lol. One of my best friends is a floridian and she is surviving lol. 

Depending on where you live, you can avoid a bunch of snow-related duties. Get a townhouse condo or apartment. Normally the fees include snow removal. Try snow-related activities! Skiing, snowboarding, skating, tubing. Maybe plan a weekend away at Blue Mountain (there is also a reeeally killer spa up there which is magical in the winter). 

It will definitely be a shock for you though. If possible, I’d try to come up in the spring or summer, so that you can get the slower adjustment into winter. You’ll probably need a LOT of new clothing additions lol. Are you going to be working? Driving/transit? Id be uncomfortable driving if you’ve never driven in snow/ice before, but transit in the winter sucks too haha.

Post # 3
4791 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

desertgypsy :  lol Toronto Has tons of suburbs and the greater Toronto area varies. You can still be technically listed as living in Toronto but a hour away from the actual city, as there are 25 municipalities other than downtown T.O. Do you know whereabouts in Toronto? Which region? Halton? Peel? Durham? York?

It’s definitely cold and snowy in the winter and sometimes, like this year, we still had snowfall in APRIL LOL. You might fall in love with the weather, the people are really friendly, tons to do. 

Do you know how long you’ll be staying? Good thing is that AZ is just a flight away and pearson airport is close!

* There’s no problem driving in the snow as the city is fantastic at plowing and salting roadways . Snowtires are amazing too.


Post # 4
372 posts
Helper bee

It will open up a whole new world for you. And winter has it’s own set of fun activities. Skiing, skating and generally if you are in the city, the winter is a bit milder. Not sure what suburb you will be in though. 

Toronto is a relatively clean city with no end to awesome neighborhoods that offer great restaurants, parks and festivals. A good place for foodies and a great place to be in the summer too. We live close to the lake which is great too.

Yea winter can be cold but I truly think you would enjoy it for the couple of years you would be here.

Post # 5
7856 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

desertgypsy :  I’m a Boston bee and I had friends in college move here from the desert and it is a change. Wool is your friend and learn to layer! You will definitely need more layers than natives so don’t look out the window and decide what to wear based on what other people are wearing. Here we wear shorts and flip flops the second it’s 50 degrees and the snow stops lol. 

Post # 6
871 posts
Busy bee

I lived in Toronto/ GTA most of my life, am now in a semi-near city the past 12 years. Would you feel comfortable sharing which suburb? These suburbs can be vastly different themselves. 

If you’re used to a hot dry desert climate, the winters may seem harsh at first- but they can also be beautiful, especially if you get out there and enjoy activities like ice skating, skiing, hockey etc. We have fairly hot summers but they can also be humid and I think that will be an adjustment for you too, a damp heat as opposed to a dry heat. Gorgeous weather in autumn and spring. 

PROS: Toronto is extremely multi-cultural, so many different festivals and restaurants etc and very diverse in general. Lots of first rate shows and attractions. Great subway and transit. About an hour and a bit’s drive to the Niagara Region (wine country, Niagara Falls, bike tours, Niagara-On-the-Lake, the U.S. border) or a few hours north to beautiful cottage country. Driving distance to Ottawa, Montreal & New York for semi-near vacations. Excellent schools, tons of activities for kids of all ages. 

CONS: Toronto has become majorly expensive, especially if you’re thinking of buying/ renting in or near the downtown core. Possibly look into outlying but easily commutable areas to live. And unfortunately violence has become a reality in Toronto, not on the scale of the U.S. but shootings and other crime have increased. 

Oh, and uncertain if this matters to you, but marijuana is legal here, you can literally go into a specialty store and buy it like you would alcohol. I’m in favour of it being legal but don’t use it myself. 

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, in Canada it’s the second week in October rather than the third week in November. And we use Celsius not Farenheit, though most people use pounds instead of kilos for weight- I want to use British stone, it makes me sound like I weigh less 🙂 


Post # 7
304 posts
Helper bee

desertgypsy :  Wow, what a cool opportunity! You won’t die of cold, but it will be an adjustment for sure though. Winters here can vary – a few years ago it was mild and not snowy at all. But last winter was icy, snowy, very cold and very very very long. It will also depend on where you live in the GTA. Barrie weather is different than the Durham or Niagara region. You will need proper boots, for sure. I personally love my bean boots and blundstones for winter. 

Like other bees said, you might actually live up to an hour away from the city. It’s really easy to get into Toronto for day trips though using the GO train or bus. There’s so much to do in Toronto. The shopping and restaurants are amazing, and there are so many theatres. You could see broadway shows, go to a Jays game, go to Ripley’s aquarium, the Toronto Zoo, Canada’s wonderland. Those are kind of touristy, but they’re fun. There’s a lot of really cool things to do outside of Toronto too! So many lovely small towns and cities. 

Post # 8
579 posts
Busy bee

I’m not a Toronto bee, but aside from the cold…I’d be more concerned about the difference in latitude/lack of sunshine. Are you at all sensitive to that? 

Post # 11
2503 posts
Sugar bee

I’ve never lived in Toronto and cannot speak to that, but I can speak to the weather part. I moved from a warm climate out west to a Northeast city and years later I don’t think I will ever be used to it. 

There are things I do love about the winters — having a white xmas is lovely, I love watching the snowfall from the warmth of indoors, and fall and spring are beautiful. Once you have proper clothes it is bearable. But for me it’s not just that winter is painfully cold — and I do mean painfully — but also that summer is horrendously humid; dry heat vs. wet heat are vastly different in terms of comfort. (Not to mention the mosquitoes and gnats in muggy places! Ugh.) So basically only fall and spring are pleasant to be outside. On the west coast I grew really accustomed to being outdoors all year round, but with the weather here I find being outside pretty miserable most of the year. That has had a significant effect on my quality of life.

That said, I moved here with the idea of it being short term (~5 years), and I think it will be. My husband and I are hoping to move someplace with milder winters within the next 1-2 years. I moved for an opportunity and it’s been totally worth it in that regard. I have had experiences I never would have had otherwise, I met my husband here, and it’s been a great adventure. I miss my home state, mild weather, and my friends, but I don’t regret the move for a minute. FWIW, I know a few people who live or have lived in Toronto and they all seem to love it.

So, I am not saying not to do it. I’m just saying, as someone who has done a similar move (and probably is not nearly as outdoorsy as you are), be prepared for a serious lifestyle change. 

ETA: I am also someone who gets SAD, and taking 1000iu of vitamin D does help, but I still get really antsy and mildly depressed in winter. I think it’s partly the sunshine but partly also the lack of greenery and being outside that gets to me. Psychologically, it’s just so depressing to be inside for months on end. If you can swing an annual trip west and/or south in the middle of winter that can help, though. 

Post # 12
404 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

I grew up in the GTA and personally only liked to go into TO for day trips because big cities aren’t for me. I have lived a bit of everywhere and can tell you that if you’re going to live in Ontario, the GTA is probably the best place to be in terms of cold. Its not bitter like some other places and generally less snow then where I am now. It will be an adjustment though!

One thing to say is, you will never be bored becuase there is so much to do there. I am a history buff and love the ROM and the fact that TO has a fort right downtown. Plus you are close to the Niagra region which is absolutely beautiful for day trips!

Post # 13
372 posts
Helper bee

I live east of Burlington… but it is beautiful and they have a great waterfront. We don’t really have a huge issue with lack of sunshine. Our winters here do not really lack sunshine. Sunny days happen often, although they tend to be colder days (in the winter). On average we have about 305 days of sunshine a year. Having said that, there might be some grey days in comparison to where you are and supplements may help if you feel as though you are lacking. 

Post # 14
84 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2020

I’m a toronto bee! Toronto is a WONDERFUL city and the biggest in canada, and there’s so much to explore (museums, art galleries, amazing restaurants, etc). There’s also a ton of nature (lots of ravines, boardwalk by the water, etc). If you’ll be located in a suburb, try to get downtown as often as you can.

We have amazing summers that are extremely hot from May – September. But on the flip side we also get pretty bad winters – we usually have a few BIG snows (like 10-20 cm) and the rest of the winter it’s just kinda cold and grey. I would say it’s pretty normal for it to be around -10 to -15 celcius. There are lots of other canadian cities that get it much worse than us tho (like montreal). The only thing that truly sucks is having to scrape your windshield in the morning if you have a car. Sorry in advance about that.

My biggest piece of advice is: just buy an AWESOME really warm parka and a good pair of boots. If you have those, you’ll be 100% fine. It would definitely be an adjustment for you to move from the desert, but it also means lots of opportunities for cosiness, hot chocolate & movie dates. Plus a white christmas!

Also, the free healthcare and nice people helps 😉 

Post # 15
261 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

I am about 40mins from Toronto depending on traffic…I personally LOVE how many festivals and things they have going on throughout the year but mostly summer. If you’re from AZ then cold will definitely be a shock but if you invest in a good winter coat and some nice warm boots you will manage…a remote car starter is also a life saver so you don’t have to physically go outside to start your car before you’re ready to leave (gotta warm it up before you start driving lol). 

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