In Toronto, we develop stubborn loyalties to where we live. We grow familiar with a couple of blocks and identify as west- or east-enders, or as the sort of person who can only live above or below Bloor. We brag that our neighbourhood has the friendliest people, the biggest backyards, the most coveted French immersion school, the greengrocer with the juiciest peaches. But what if we’re wrong? In a city with so many great pockets, and many more improving faster than you can say gentrification, the competition for the title of Number One is cutthroat.
To end the uncertainty, Toronto Life presents the ultimate ranking of the city’s neighbourhoods. We examined 10 factors for each, assigning them a score out of 100: housing (which considers year-over-year appreciation and the ratio of average price to household income), crime, transit, shopping, health and environment, entertainment, community engagement (which factors in voter turnout and beautification projects), diversity, schools and employment.
A team of researchers at U of T’s Martin Prosperity Institute think tank—who have an abiding interest in the growth of cities—helped crunch the data, pulling from a wealth of sources, including Statistics Canada, the city’s exhaustive statistical research, the Toronto Police Service, the Centre for Research on Inner City Health and the Fraser Institute (you can read the Institute’s explanation of their research process here). The goal was to be thoroughly objective, but we also took into account that some factors will always be subjective when measuring the quality of a neighbourhood. To some of us, a truly great neighbourhood has a dozen nightclubs, while to others it has the cheapest houses. We conducted an online poll of Toronto Life readers, who told us what they prioritize when choosing where to live, and adjusted the rankings accordingly: housing is weighted highest, at 15 per cent, crime at 13 per cent, transit and shopping at 11 each, health and entertainment at 10 each, community and diversity at eight each, and schools and employment at seven each.
The results are bound to be controversial. The top 10 are a surprisingly varied group, ranging across the city, from some of the wealthiest neighbourhoods to some of the most modest. What all 10 share is the right combination of covetable qualities. Here are the best places to live in Toronto today.