Reasons I love Toronto

It was announced last week by YoutfulCities that Toronto is the ‘most youthful’ city to live in the world. That mean’s us twenty-somethings have access to more opportunity, entertainment and 78 other indicators that attract those in the 15-29 demographic. This is quite a major accomplishment for out city, who beat Berlin and New York City in the top 3; two cities which are considerably larger than outs.

Here are 5 reasons why I LOVE living in Toronto:

  1. Accessibility – As much flack as many of us give the TTC, it’s actually fairly accessible to use in the downtown core. I have rarely had to wait an extended period time for a subway, streetcar or bus; that is, since I moved away from the suburbs. Living steps away from Wellesley Station doesn’t hurt either.
  2. Loyalty – Toronto is home to a terrible soccer team, a terrible baseball team, a terrible football team and a terrible hockey team. Just by writing that last sentence I expect to be faced with a collection of “OMG, HOW COULD YOU SAY THAT” comments, but let me finish. We may not have any league-winning teams, but we love them just the same. Torontonians are so proud of where they’re from and what we’re all about. FACT: Once while out of province someone legitimately walked away from me mid-conversation once I mentioned I was from Toronto. Obviously I didn’t care, because I am from the best city in the world.
  3. Diversity – Living in the ‘gaybourhood’ I am basically living in the mecca or diversity; everyone is accepted. Inside and outside of my neighbourhood, Toronto is filled with people of all different shapes, sizes, colours and beliefs. We are so welcoming and supportive of everyone; until they become our leader and are caught smoking crack.
  4. Educational Opportunity – Toronto is the home to four universities and four colleges. The combination of these eight institutions on an undergrad, post-grad and continuing education level offer a wide variety of interesting courses; there is something for everyone.
  5. Job Opportunity – There is so much opportunity for career building in Toronto. Many of my friends searched high and low for job opportunities in their home towns, but the majority of them have now found their careers in Toronto.
  6. Variety – Toronto literally has something for everyone. I could eat at a restaurant for each meal for the rest of my life and probably wouldn’t have to visit the same place twice. There are neighbourhoods to fit everyone’s personality and interests. Everyday I discover something new about this great city.

What are your favourite things about living in Toronto?

For more information about YouthfulCities, visit: http://www.youthfulcities.com/

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Surviving Decembrrrs.

In just over 48 hours it will be December 1st, or as I like to call it, ‘Decembrrr’.

Although it’s not official until December 21st (also my birthday), winter seems to have arrived. What does that mean for Torontonians? As children we play in it, as teens we’re out shoveling it and by our thirties many of us are back out there (with children) playing in it. But what about us twenty-somethings? Well, most of us are trying to make the most of it.

Decembrrr – the last month of the year, a month of extended shopping hours, holiday craziness and the beginning of hibernation.

Here are five suggested ways to avoid the Decembrrrs:

1. Skating at Nathan Phillips Square

Honestly, this is something I’ve never done, but it’s at the top of my to-do list for my first winter as an official Torontonian. In the heart of the city, this seems to be a pretty popular destination in Toronto. I’ve checked it out a bit online and it looks like it’s now open for business 9:00 am – 10:00 pm everyday (weather permitting) until March. They even offer reasonably priced rentals.

2. Visit the Christmas Market

Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District is officially open for business November 29th (tomorrow). Just like the markets in Europe, this Christmas Market has all the tree trimmings. Be sure to check out the vendors for some one of a kind gifts, listen to the carolers, and finish the afternoon with a nice hot cocoa.

3. Have a wild night in

Beat the lines by not leaving your home.  Have a group of friends over for dinner, perhaps suggest a potluck (friend disclaimer – I promise not to critique your food on my blog). Maybe have a games night; Cards Against Humanity is always a good time. Movie nights are also a win.

4. Take a mini-vacation

Sometimes it’s good to just get away.You could be like my roommate and take off to Miami as soon as it snows, but there are also a variety in-province mini-vacations to have. Time for a sublist, here are a few options:

[a] Head to the cottage – find a friend who has one or look into renting one, cottage country is BEAUTIFUL in the winter (but make sure you head up in an SUV).
[b] Blue Mountain – ski the slops, head to Scandinave for a massage, or just hang out in the outdoor pool at the Westin (don’t worry, it’s heated); there is something for everyone.
[c] Go home to visit  Mom and Dad (and hang out by the fire – most apartments do not have these).

5. Help those less fortunate.

During the holidays it’s important to remember those less fortunate. While fighting the crowds at the mall, don’t forget to stop by Salvation Army. Perhaps gather some friends and head to the nearest food bank, soup kitchen or shelter to lend a helping hand. A good deed goes a long way and you’ll feel great about doing it.

I plan to be partaking in all of the above during the month of Decembrrr and throughout the impending winter. Don’t be surprised if I blog about an experience or two (definitely numbers 1 & 2).

What are you doing to fight the Decembrrrs?

6 Months

Six months ago I made a decision that was going to change my life. Six months ago I took a leap of faith and made the decision that it was time to try something new. Six months ago I stepped out of my comfort zone. Six months ago I moved to Toronto.

Wow, I can’t believe I’ve already been here for half of a year. It seems like yesterday I was sitting in my kitchen trying to convince my Dad that I am a grownup and that Toronto is a ‘safe place’.

Over the past six months I’ve learnt a lot about the city, but I’ve also learnt a lot about myself.

10 things I’ve learnt in the last six months:

  1. Always try the sketchy looking restaurants; the food there is likely amazing. But always check with DineSafe first.
  2. Act on a whim, nothing new and exciting ever happened living life on a strict schedule.
  3. Don’t take the TTC if you don’t have to; getting lost on adventures allows you to discover new things.
  4. Speaking of the TTC, always have tokens in your change purse; they’re cheaper in bulk and you’ll often need a ride when you have no loonies or toonies.
  5. NEVER make eye contact with the homeless and/or preachers at Dundas Square; you will never be able to shake them.
  6. Kensington might look like a complete dump, but there are lots of hidden treasures.
  7. Never go east of Jarvis alone, even if it’s still light out.
  8. Make a serious effort to stay in and have dinner with your roommate; with crazy schedules these are key to catch up with each other. It helps to have a BBQ and a wicked patio.
  9. Almost all twenty-somethings living in the city are living on a budget, but doing what they need to get by while still having fun.
  10. Cleaning and cooking sucks, but I’m slowly starting to get good at it.

Moving downtown has really been a new experience for me. Sometimes I ponder if I made the right decision; maybe I should move home, save money and eventually get my own place. But then I remember my old suburbia life versus my new and exciting downtown life; I definitely don’t want to play tradsies on that.

Here’s to the next six months!

Where, with who, and how to live in TO

As a twenty-something who’s looking to move out, it’s important to focus on where, with who, and how to live in the city. For me, these items were heavy on my mind for a considerable amount of time before I swapped my lifelong family roommates for someone new.

First, think about where you would like to live. It’s important to move to a neighbourhood and living environment that you’re comfortable with and is convenient for your lifestyle. For me, I knew I needed to live in an apartment because I needed parking (while most houses will say they have access to parking in their online posting, most property managers will later tell you to just get a street permit) – this meant I likely wasn’t living in the Annex or Ossington. I also knew I wanted to downtown versus midtown or somewhere too east or west along the Bloor line.

Second, it’s important to seriously consider who you would like to live with. As much as I love my best friends, there are some of them I know I absolutely could never live with. Some people know they want to live alone, but I knew I’d get lonely without a roommate. When I was first planning to move to the city I intended to live with one of my girlfriends from school, but it didn’t work out and I ended up living with an acquaintance. Although Mike and I didn’t know each other very well, before we made the final decision to move in together, we had a serious and honest conversation. We provided our expectations of each other, lifestyle choices and regular routines. So far, so good. Communication is important.

Lastly, it’s important to plan how to live. When I first moved out on my own, I quickly discovered that I could not live the same way I did when living with Mom & Dad. The reality is rent eats a significant portion of my paycheck, and most twenty-somethings have a similar experience. I definitely had to cut down my spending, but it gets easier and easier each month. A few tips:

  • walk as much as possible, take the TTC when needed, but try to avoid cabs at all costs;
  • while it’s okay to eat out every now and then, go grocery shopping and pack lunches;
  • visit the sale rack; and
  • always ask yourself, “Do I really need this?”

Believe me, your wallet will thank you.

Do you have any tips for adjusting to moving out of the nest? Please share 🙂

Get in touch, with Uniiverse.

Hi Blogisphere 🙂

I hope that everyone had a fantastic weekend!!

My friend Kelsey recently shared the link to a new hybrid social-networking/events site known as Uniiverse and I thought I’d share it with my friends of the world wide web. The two i’s are not a typo; they represent two people coming together, which is what the site is all about.

Uniiverse is a networking platform which allows you to ‘discover’ and ‘create’ a variety of social gatherings to share which are posted online and attended in person. Upon first visiting the site, there were a variety of events – from cooking classes, comedy shows, professional mixers and more! The site also shows where the venue is, how far it is from your current location and how many people have signed up through Uniiverse so far.

The site also automatically logged into my Facebook account (which is automatically logged onto my laptop), this way I can see which events my friends are attending.

Like most things in life, the majority of these events are not free. However, for the most part, the events I saw were less than $50 and some were even free. Not only that, but you can safely pay online with your credit card. Extremely convenient.

There are so many options to choose from, I’m not sure what I want to attend first!! But rest assured, although currently indecisive, I will ultimately choose something to attend and be sure to share it here on #twentiesTO.

(Courtesy of  collaborativeliving)

Have you used Uniiverse before? I’d love to hear your feedback 🙂

For more information on Uniiverse, visit: http://www.uniiverse.com/

Jumpin’ Around

As I continue further and further into my twenties, I’ve come to the realization that going to the clubs every weekend isn’t as fun as it used to be – and my friends have noticed this too. As we’ve gotten older, we’ve started looking for new and unique ways to celebrate our birthdays, many trying as hard as possible to avoid the clubs on King Street. It seems that our ‘new and unique’ search has more or less resulted in us celebrating in ways we missed out on as kids, or even just reliving them.

This past weekend, my cousin Rob celebrated his 27th birthday. For this very special occasion, we ditched the club and headed to Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park. It was awesome. I joined Rob and 18 of his closest friends to bounce around for an hour of fun, followed by a party room with pizza, unlimited fountain drinks and a very special The Nightmare Before Christmas (Rob’s favourite movie)-themed cake!

And this wasn’t your average trampoline fun, there was a twist! Not only did we bounce around for the hour, but we played dodge ball while doing it. Although we continued to rotate our teams, trampoline dodge ball ended up becoming quite competitive – with people leaving the court dripping in sweat.

Preparing for Dodge Ball fun!

Preparing for Dodge Ball fun!

Overall, a great time was had by all. If you’re looking for something fun and active for an upcoming event, perhaps even a team builder, I would strongly recommend this venue.

Following trampoline dodge ball a few of us headed to a friends condo to catch up and play Cards Against Humanity. A successful night, without the post-birthday hangover.

The Group!

The Group!

Have any other ‘non clubbing’ birthday ideas? Let me know, perhaps you’ll see your idea in a future birthday blog post!

Today is Rob’s actually birthday – HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROBERT!!

Rob's Awesome Birthday Cake!

Rob’s Awesome Birthday Cake!

For more information on Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline park, visit: http://www.skyzone.com/toronto

This week, on TwentiesTO

Hi Blogisphere,

My apologies for  being MIA the past few weeks – I’ve been away dealing with a personal matter, but do not fear!! Look forward to awesome upcoming posts for twenty-somethings featuring:

  • Booby U, Toga Style;
  • Jumpin’ Jumpin’ Birthdays – playing like a kid, but not being one; and
  • MORE!!

Hope everyone is having an excellent Sunday Funday 🙂 Let me know if you’ve checked out anything awesome over the weekend.