“Let’s meet at the local.” It’s a common expression, and one that could mean pretty much anything, depending on the neighbourhood. To someone in Cabbagetown, it’s probably the House on Parliament (which locals refer to as “the HOP”). For someone in Dufferin Grove, it’s probably The Emmet Ray or the Caledonian. For someone in Rosedale, it’s probably the Rebel House or Terroni. You get the point: different neighbourhoods have different places that are special to their residents. That’s one of the reasons the notion of up and moving to another ‘hood can be daunting for many home buyers and sellers. Leaving everything you’re used to for something foreign (even within the same city) can be a tough road, but for those willing to take it, there are exciting opportunities that come with change. New locals to discover, new friends to make, new school districts and more are waiting for those who want to make that jump. Here are our top tips for adjusting to a new neighbourhood.
Ask the Locals
Do you have any friends that live in your new community? Find out from them what’s going on in your new neighbourhood. That includes obvious questions like what their favourite restaurants and bars are to less obvious ones, like where they get groceries, gas and alcohol, or even what their favourite all night convenience store is. Other questions to consider asking your friends: what are their favourite running routes, how do they use the TTC to get to work (is there a specific bus to avoid?), and do they have any recommendations for local babysitters?
Get to Know the Neighbours
Depending on how gregarious you’d rate yourself, this could mean different things to different people. Some suggestions on getting to know the neighbours might be:
Another great way to interact with the community is to get online. Many neighbourhoods have vibrant social communities online, with tons of tips and local insider tidbits. The website Tango.to (Toronto Atlas of Neighbourhood Groups and Organizations), https://tango.to/ lists the residents associations for many Toronto neighbourhoods.
One great way to connect with your new community is through exercise. Look up gyms or groups in your area to meet like minded new neighbourhood friends. The opportunities are endless, like Cross Fit gyms, group cycling classes, local running groups, boot camps and more. One word of caution: anyone you see that is beet red and drenched in sweat may not be feeling particularly chatty. And if you’re more into Netflix marathons than running marathons, local craft groups like pottery classes, weaving classes or scrapbooking classes might be for you.
Do some research and find the top three ranked local restaurants that specialize in your favourite cuisine. Take a few weeks and try each plenty of dishes at each one (don’t be afraid to let the servers know you’re new to the neighbourhood, either!) to see which your preference is. Soon, you’ll be the ones giving the recommendations to your inquisitive friends.
Moving neighbourhoods can be a fun and exciting time for your family. It can often accompany big life changes, like welcoming a new baby to your family, a child getting older and needing more space, or seeing your kids go off to school. Much like those changes, a move can be scary, but if you go in with an open mind, you may find you love your new home (and neighbourhood haunts) even more than your last.