50 ways to leave Toronto (for Montréal)

It’s for real, this time: your relationship with Toronto is over. You’re done with the insane house prices. You’re done with the daily traffic jams on the Gardiner Expressway. You’re done with the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses culture. You used to be in love with Toronto, but the relationship these days is as constipated as Bloor-Yonge station at rush hour. You need out.

Let’s face it: You need to stop being so responsible all the time. You need to do something for you. You need to abscond with an edgier, sexier, dirtier city.

In short, you need Montréal.

But, despite the excitement roused by all that franco-sophistication, that joie de vivre, that smoked-meat poutine, you still want a bit of familiarity in your new life. I mean, sure, you had to end things with Toronto, but it’s not like the relationship was all bad. You liked your home, your neighbours, your neighbourhood. Maybe there’s a world where you can keep all the good things from the past relationship and just get rid of the bad?

Never fear! At Local Logic, our data scientists have been hard at work to ensure that your torrid affair with Montréal goes smoothly. Regardless of which neighbourhood you once called home in Hogtown, we have the cold, hard data to show you which neighbourhood in the City of Saints is most like it, based on a wide range of features, such as transit, restaurants, and housing.

Below, we match three of the most popular neighbourhoods in Toronto, based on what proportion of their housing units are on the market, to their most similar counterparts in Montréal. So leave your regrets in Ontario, pack your bags for Québec, and promise not to go crawling back to Toronto just because the hiver froze your toes off, the roads have more potholes than asphalt, and you can’t speak the language.

Distillery District, Old Toronto = Griffintown, Le Sud-Ouest

The similarities between the Distillery District and Griffintown are striking. Both are historic districts dating back to the early 1800s. Both are located just outside of downtown. Both have undergone major redevelopment this century and are now among the hottest neighbourhoods in their respective cities.

In both neighbourhoods, high-rise living is basically the only option, with 97% and 95% of residents living there; by contrast, there isn’t a single detached home to be found in either. Food options are great for both: the Distillery District is home to the Toronto Christmas Market, and Griffintown’s main street, Rue Notre Dame, has a plethora of great dining options, including the renowned Joe Beef. And for those looking for frequent weekend escapes, the freeway is barely a minute away.

Differences are few. The Distillery District has better entertainment options (9.9 entertainment score vs 7.9), Griffintown has better rapid-transit (7.6 on our scale vs 6.0), and Griffintown has substantially more of its original housing stock (7.7% built pre-1960 vs 0.6%). Considering all factors that we assessed, the two districts are 75% similar.

Parkview Hills, East York = West Park, Dollard-des-Ormeaux

Parkview Hills is one of the most popular suburban neighbourhoods in Toronto. Like its twin in Montréal, West Park, it’s well away from the clamour of downtown.

Parkview Hills is a fairly affluent community, with home values in the top 20% of the metro area (versus the top 21% for West Park) and household incomes in the top 16% of the metro area (versus the top 20% for West Park). Both neighbourhoods are great for drivers (8.4 and 8.6 / 10 on our car-friendly score), and both are right next door to large commercial districts with a wide variety of shopping and employment opportunities.

There are some noteworthy differences between them: West Park has basically no mass-transit options, while Parkview Hills has some. Parkview Hills is a much older neighbourhood, with almost 70% of its home built before the 60s, compared with just 5% for West Park. And the Toronto neighbourhood has only 11% of its residents living in apartments versus nearly 30% for West Park. Across all characteristics measured, the two are 79% similar.

Old Mill, York = Connaught Park, Mount Royal

Old Mill, situated in the former municipality of York, has far more than a passing resemblance to Connaught Park, in the Town of Mount Royal. All factors considered, they are 86% similar, which is by far the greatest similarity between any of the most popular Toronto neighbourhoods and a Montréal neighbourhood.

Old Mill is one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA); only 6% of neighbourhoods have higher household incomes. Connaught Park is slightly wealthier, by Montréal standards, with only 3% of Greater Montréal neighbourhoods having a higher income. Despite their wealth, they are not, as some might expect, completely inaccessible without a car; both have a subway/metro station, and are moderately well served by bike lanes (6.2 / 10 each for cycling-friendly), and are overall quite walkable (8.0 and 7.9 / 10 on our pedestrian-friendly scale).

They have some differences, of course: Old Mill, despite its name, has a greater proportion of newer housing; it also has more detached houses and better bus service. Connaught Park, by contrast, is closer to a highway and has better access to specialty grocery stores, thanks to its proximity to Parc-Extension, the most multicultural neighbourhood in Montréal.

Thinking of breaking things off with your current city? Fantasizing about a life with a new metropolis? Tell us all the juicy details in the comments and we might just be able to set the two of you up.


Colin Stewart

January 05, 2021 | 5 minutes read