A couple months ago I was at the grocery store. Only after I had put all the items in my cart on the belt, and the cashier had rung them through did I remember that I hadn’t put back the contents of my wallet (drivers licence, credit cards and debit card) into said wallet after my bike ride earlier in the day. So there I am at the grocery store with just the cash I have on hand. As I stood there counting pennies and asking the cashier to remove items, the man behind me offered $20. I didn’t know him. He said not to worry and only to pay it forward.

It’s just the latest example of why, 18 years after I first moved to this special city, I remain in complete awe of living in Toronto.

Now, as far as this blog post goes, I’ll admit it’s not the first time I’ve done something like this on these pages. (See my “Top ten reasons for moving to Toronto” or “Why Toronto Real Estate Is Set To Go On Defying Critics.”

What else can I say?

I LOVEEEE TORONTO (if the copious amount of CN Tower pictures on my instagram account didn’t already give it away) , and am beyond appreciative of the opportunity to live here — and, off the top of my head, I can think of 25 reasons that you should be, too.

1) Toronto is in the midst of a condo boom… 

Okay, okay. Let me get my obvious real estate stuff out of the way quickly: our real estate market is freaking hot. Condo appreciation is up right now around 30% year over year downtown, and the housing market is rebounding again after a summer sales slump.

2) It’s maybe the most diverse city in the world… 

Actually, a 2016 BBC study called us the MOST diverse.

3) We’re at the forefront of inclusiveness… 

Toronto residents represent over 200 countries and regions of origin. Over 140 languages and dialects are spoken here, with over 90 religious groups represented. 53% of the Greater Toronto Area’s seniors live in Toronto. 50% of Toronto’s population was born outside of Canada. Nearly 50% of Toronto residents are visible minorities. Almost 25% of Canada’s new immigrants settle in Toronto. 17% of Toronto’s population lives with a disability. And 10% of Toronto’s population is estimated to be lesbian or gay. Plus, there is a significantly growing Aboriginal population, too.

4) Toronto fights for your rights… 

More specifically, noted human rights lawyers like Sunil Gurmukh do. Believe me, they make ‘The Six’ a better place.

5) A culture of tolerance… 

Some are beginning to disagree, but for me, Toronto still shows great willingness to encourage the existence of different opinions or dissimilar behaviors, even when many are at odds with them.

6) Safety first — Toronto’s crime rates are amazingly low… 

In fact, we’ve got one of the lowest violent crime rates among Canada’s largest cities — our homicide rate of 1.55 is less than the one in St. John’s, Regina, Saskatoon, Halifax, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton.

7) We’re the undisputed financial capital of Canada… 

Our stock exchange is the seventh largest in the world, and Toronto’s banks have been singled out by the World Economic Forum as the soundest on the planet. Moreover, on the topic of banks, we are home to the headquarters of the country’s largest five — three of which rank among the world’s largest 25 banks by market capitalization.

8) Toronto is where economic opportunity abounds… 

Yup, stability and advancement are offered in a variety of fields.

9) A thriving tech industry… 

Toronto’s tech industry is booming right now. Even Google plans to build a high-tech community here.

10) We lay claim to North America’s largest continuous underground pedestrian system… 

According to Guinness World Records, the PATH is also its largest underground shopping complex.

11) The TTC was ranked the top transit provider in North America… 

Sigh, it’s true. How exactly, I have no clue (I am as little a fan as you when sitting on a slow-as-hell-moving streetcar. (And evidently, I’m not alone in thinking the esteemed distinction is a bit of a gag.) It is what it is, I guess!

12) A vibrant food scene, which continues to evolve… 

World-class cuisine and powerhouse restaurateurs and an emerging celebrity chef culture — oh my!

13) We love our indie coffee shops… 

In 2011, Toronto Life chronicled them as a “mini-empire”. The upward trend has only continued since then, to say the least. Take that, Starbucks!

14) In 2016, our film and television production industry surged past $2 billion…

It is the third record-setting year in a row, up from $1.5 billion in 2015. And according to the Toronto Star — based on interviews with producers, studio owners, unions and the city — that figure is on track to be eclipsed.

15) One of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world calls Toronto home… 

The Toronto International Film Festival attracts over 480,000 people annually. And since its founding in 1976, TIFF has grown to become a year-round destination for film culture.

16) The fashion industry is flourishing in Toronto… 

Thanks to a legacy of producing major players, a slew of young designers and new infrastructural support, Canada’s biggest city is well on the way to becoming fashion’s next it scene.

17) We’re a destination for higher education… 

A leader in academia at all levels of learning, Toronto is a progressive, education-focused city. It’s eight publicly funded post-secondary institutions — four universities and four colleges — have an average of 24,000 students enrolled annually.

18) One of Toronto’s unofficial nicknames is “the city of neighbourhoods”… 

Annex, Baby Point, Baldwin Village, Beaches, Bloorcourt, Brockton Village, Cabbagetown, Canary District, Chinatown, Church Wellesley Village, Corktown, Danforth, Distillery District, Don Mills, Dovercourt, Dundas West, Etobicoke, Financial District, Forest Hill, Harbourfront, High Park, Junction, Kensington Market, King West, Koreatown, Leaside, Leslieville, Liberty Village, Little India, Little Italy, Little Portugal, Mississauga, North York, Ossington, Parkdale, Port Lands, Queen West, Regent Park, Riverdale, Roncesvalles, Rosedale, Scarborough, St. Lawrence Market, Stockyards District, Summerhill, Thornhill, Woodbridge, York Mills, Yorkville — shall I continue?

19) An airport conveniently situated in the downtown core… 

Not only that, for the second year in a row, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport was named one of the best airports in the world by the Condé Nast Traveler 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards.

20) Weekend getaways… 

So, so many amazing spots are located within a few hours of Toronto — they include provincial parks, other cities and culinary escapes. Seriously, just check them out!

21) Our secluded islands are within reach… 

Located on Lake Ontario, the Toronto Islands — a group of 15 islands interconnected by pathways and bridges — are a short ferry ride from downtown Toronto. And OMG do they ever have the best views of the city (especially at night).

22) Relatively easy winters — at least by Canadian standards… 

Yes, it gets cold and snowy, but the Greater Toronto Area receives a moderating effect on its temperatures from Lake Ontario, as well as from from the heat island effect.

23) Environmental integration… 

Looking for a beautiful park to take a walk? Or incredible hiking trails in and around the city? Or just great places to get in touch with Mother Nature? We’ve got it all. For such a bustling metropolis, Toronto is as green as it gets.

24) Sports, sports, sports… 

From the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Toronto Blue Jays to the Toronto Raptors, several major league sports call the city home. We also hosted the 2015 Pan American Games, as well as the 2017 Invictus Games. Oh, and Toronto is even a major market for mixed martial arts.

25) Toronto may not be New York, but it does come close to never sleeping… 

If you’ve travelled to other major cities in North America, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Toronto lives, breathes, works, and plays in the core of the city. No matter the night of the week, there is ALWAYS something to do around here.

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