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TORONTO

Toronto, home to 2.5 million people and 5.5 million in the surrounding Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is Canada's largest city.

Ethnically diverse, over 100 languages are spoken in this city that's a destination for people all over the world. With weather moderated by Lake Ontario, Toronto is actually a pretty mild place to live.

We experience four seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter where the temperature can range from 30°C in summer to -10°C in winter.

Toronto is a thriving metropolis, with an extraordinary array of cultural activities including brilliant museums, galleries, festivals, concerts and ethnic celebrations of all manner.

If you love sports then you're in luck, because Toronto is home to professional hockey, baseball, soccer, basketball, football and lacrosse, as well as boasting amateur and recreational leagues for everything from cricket to ping-pong.

Some of the cities most popular tourist attractions include: the CN TowerRoyal Ontario Museum (ROM)Ontario Science CentreToronto Zoo and much more. Toronto is located just 1.5 hours from Niagara Falls — a must-see for visitors to Canada.

Fast Facts

Interesting Facts about Toronto

  • Yonge Street is the longest street in the world
  • Toronto is the fifth largest city in North American and one of its most important financial centres.
  • Toronto is considered “Hollywood North” and is second only to New York for live theatre.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs, the most popular sports franchise in the country, have not won a championship since 1967.
  • Casa Loma is the only real castle in North America

Ontario Public Holidays

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Family Day (third Monday in February)
  • Good Friday (March or April)
  • Victoria Day (Monday before May 25)
  • Canada Day (July 1)
  • Labour Day (First Monday in September)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Second Monday in October)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)
  • Boxing Day (December 26)

Legal Facts you Should Know

As a newcomer to Canada, it's essential that you know some of the basic laws.

  • You must be 16 years old to drive; it is illegal to drive without a proper license, car registration and insurance. You must wear a seat belt at all times.
  • You must be 19 years old to purchase tobacco products. Smoking is not a cultural norm and is prohibited in workplaces, public spaces and wherever "No Smoking" signs are posted.
  • To purchase or drink liquor, wine or beer products, you must be 19 years of age.
  • In Canada it is a criminal offence to drink alcohol and drive.

Getting Around The Greater Toronto Area

The core public transit system in the city is the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), which connects commuters to Brampton, Markham, Mississauga, Richmond Hill and Vaughan transit companies.

If you are a student who lives outside of the TTC service area, you will be required to pay an additional fee to use the transit system. Please consult the Regional Transit Guide for route information, ticket purchases and other related information.

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) - 416.393.4636

The TTC consists of a network of buses, streetcars, subway and a light rapid transit system. It's pretty easy to understand because it's laid out on a north, south, east, west grid and you can find the routes, maps, schedules and fares on the TTC web site. 
 
The TTC drivers do not provide change, so you will need exact change, a token or a metropass, which allows you unlimited use of the transit system. The Humber Bookstore carries tokens as well as a limited number of metropasses discounted for students. 

Routes servicing the North campus are 96 Wilson, 36 Finch West and the 191 Highway 27 Rocket. The Lakeshore campus is serviced by 501 Queen St. - Long Branch or the 44 Kipling South bus departing from the Kipling subway station.

Other City Transit Companies that service Humber are:

GO Transit - 416.869.3200

GO Transit is a provincially operated bus and rail commuter service that connects the outlying cities to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The rate varies according to the distance traveled. Either call the transit office or check their webpage for further information on routes, schedules and fares.

Taxis

Click here for a complete listing of the taxi companies under the heading Taxis.

In Etobicoke, Kingsboro Taxi is a popular company. They can be reached at 416.232.2222 and a fare estimate can be viewed at the TaxiWiz.

VIA Rail - 1.888.842.7245

The Canadian passenger rail service is operated by VIA Rail while all destinations to the United States are serviced by the American Amtrak system. VIA's main depot is Union Station, located at the corner of Front and Bay streets. You can buy tickets at this station, at travel agencies, by phone or over the Internet. Student rates are available upon presentation of an International Student Identity Card (ISIC). For further detail either call VIA Rail or search their on-line site.

Toronto Coach Terminal - 416.393.7911

Bus destinations outside of the Metro Toronto Area are handled through the downtown terminal located at the corner of Bay and Dundas streets. For more information on schedules, fares and other questions, please call them directly. Reservations are not accepted, so it's wise to arrive at least 45 minutes before your departure time in order to buy a ticket. However, if the bus is full and there aren't enough passengers to fill a second one, you will be made to wait for the next scheduled departure, so it's definitely worth it to get there early. For more information call the Toronto Coach Terminal or visit the Greyhound Canada website.

Lester B. Pearson International Airport

Over 65 airlines fly out of this huge airport. To book an airline ticket you can deal directly with the airline by telephone, on-line or through a travel agent. You can find a list of travel agents at YellowPages.ca or by looking through the local community papers. For more information, you can check the Greater Toronto Airports Authority website.

To book an airline ticket you can deal directly with the air carrier by telephone, on-line or make arrangements through a travel agent. For certain countries there are travel agencies that deal exclusively with bookings for that particular country. For a list of travel agencies you can check the YellowPages.ca or the local community papers.

Discounted Travel

Students who have an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) receive savings on travel, accommodations, entertainment and much more. For more information on these savings, visit the International Student Travel Confederation.

Driving in Ontario - 416.235.4686

If you drive you must possess a valid Ontario driver's license. To obtain further information contact the Ministry of Transportation.

Getting Connected

Land-based Telephones

The two primary service providers are Bell Canada and Rogers with Cogeco servicing part of the Greater Toronto Area. Students have to pay for the cost of installing a telephone line in addition to a monthly charge which includes 911 (emergency) access calls. Extra features such as: call display and others are sold at an extra cost in "bundle" packages.

Depending on the features you select you may require a specific type of phone, and it's almost always less expensive to buy it from an electronics or department store than from the service provider. As the phone company assumes international students will make a lot of long distance calls, they usually ask for refundable deposit to ensure that funds are available to cover these costs.

Wireless Telephones (Cell Phone)

There's a wide variety of service providers, such as:

Before signing a contract with a specific company make sure you do a thorough comparison of all the options and expenses (this can be complicated) so that you get the best deal for your needs.

Local Calls

To place a call in the Greater Toronto Area you must include the area code when dialling the number. There are two area codes for Metropolitan Toronto, "416" or "647". The area code for the outlying cities in the Greater Toronto Area, places like Brampton, Mississauga or Markham are either “905” or “289”. Depending on where you are calling from long distance charges may apply and you will be prompted to redial the number with “1” in front of the area code.

Long Distance Calls

Long distance can be really expensive, but don't despair because there are a couple of ways you can reduce the cost.

  • Purchase a pre-paid long distance card
  • Use a discounted air time provider
  • Pay phones

Pay phones are located throughout the city in public places likes shopping centres, street corners and restaurants and it costs $.50 to make a local call. You can often bill the charge to a calling card or a credit card, however an extra $1.00 will be added to the final cost.

Internet

There are a number of labs located in the college that students can use to access the Internet and their e-mail accounts.

If you have your own computer and want an Internet connection, the major telephone companies provide for it, or you can look through one of the free computer magazines to find a listing of providers.

Television

If you choose to install cable, the service provider bundles various packages of channels for you to choose from. 

The primary carriers are Rogers Cable and Bell Canada. For cable you will require a line going into your room or apartment and may require a converter box unless one is already built into your television set.

Facsimile (Fax) Service

The Inplex Copy Store found on campus provides a fax service. For services outside the college check the yellow pages.

The cost varies according to the number of pages transmitted and whether it's a long distance call.

Taxes will be added to the price.

Postal Service

For a first class letter, the postage rate is $.61 inside Canada, $1.05 to the U.S. and $1.80 for overseas, with tax added to the cost. Stamps can be purchased at the Humber Bookstore. Oversized letters and parcels are priced according to their weight, delivery time and destination and you will have to take these items to a postal outlet to determine the correct amount of postage.

Other services provided at postal outlets include registered mail, money orders, priority courier, xpresspost, and fax service.

You should know that all Canadian addresses have a postal code, which is a six digit series of alpha and numeric characters. This code must be included in the mailing address and you can find postal code directories at all postal outlets or find the information on-line at Canada Post.

There is also a specific format for addressing an envelope, a sample of which can be found on the Canada Post website where you could go for all information regarding mail delivery.

Newspapers

There are four major newspapers in Toronto: The Toronto Star, the National Post, The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Sun. Community papers are also available, too.

Radio Stations

Humber has its own radio station, check it out. For a list of local AM/FM stations go here.

Additional Savings

The primary telephone companies offer telephone, Internet and cable services and when you "bundle" services together you could receive an additional savings on your monthly expenses.

Financial Matters

Banking System

The Canadian banking system is a mixture of banks and credit unionsTD Canada Trust a major bank, is open late and on weekends and is close to all three Humber campuses.

Find Out the Exchange Rate

Use this handy online exchange convertor to determine your funds in Canadian dollars.

Opening a Bank Account

To open a bank account you will need (1) your passport, (2) study permit, and (3) proof that you are studying at Humber. 

Some banks ask for a social insurance number (SIN), but international students aren't eligible for this card unless they have a work permit or a campus job. If the bank won't let you open an account because you don't have a SIN card, ask to speak with the manager so that they know your situation. Often, they'll show some flexibility in these matters, and if not, just go to another bank, and remember, always ask for the lower service rate offered to students.

There are a number of different bank accounts including Savings and Chequing. You will need to deposit some money, be it in the form of cash, bank drafts, cheques or other forms, in order to open an account, and generally, if you deposit a cheque a hold will be placed on it until the bank is sure that it has cleared.

Once you have the branch and transit information, money can also be wired into your account. For ongoing banking you can manage your accounts in person, via telephone or through the Internet.

Make sure to get a Debit/ATM card when you open your account. Most people use these cards instead of cash, although having some cash on you is always a good idea. To activate and access this card you will need a numeric password called a PIN that you should not share with anybody else.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) can be very expensive. A chart of approximate costs can found at
http://humber.ca/study-at-humber/application-process/fees.html

Unfortunately there are not enough jobs on-campus for all students who wish to work therefore it is important that you create a budget so that you can manage your money. Most banks have budget sheets on their websites; otherwise you can find sample forms at
http://financialplan.about.com/od/moneyandcollegestudents/l/blcollbudget.htm

Health & Wellness

Your physical, mental and personal health are huge contributors in your success as a student and at Humber we have all sorts of services to address these needs. You have community-based options, too, and you can find some of them at settlement.org.

Physical Health — Health Care

Insurance is included in the tuition fee for full-time students. You don't have to register separately as you're automatically enrolled in both the International Student Medical Plan (ISMP) and the Humber Students' Federation (HSF) extended health plan. Also important to note is that coverage is for full-time students only. It does not include or cover spouses or children. If you have a spouse and/or dependents, you may wish to pay a supplemental fee in order to cover them. Payment for adding family members must be made within the first 30 days of when you are added to the plan. You can e-mail International Student Services before you arrive at Humber for a quote on the cost for a supplemental plan.

If you drop to part-time status you will automatically be charged for the cost of the CHIP insurance. Only under extenuating circumstances are students allowed to move from full to part-time status, while your CHIP will continue. Contact HSF about the availability of the extended health plan for part-time students.

Under the basic plan you are insured for: doctor visits, hospital services, ambulance service, diagnostic laboratory and x-ray tests, a vision test, one annual health examination, paramedical services and other services as outlined in the CHIP basic plan booklet. More information about your policy can be found at www.c-hip.ca. Your insurance package should be available after the 4th week of classes.  Remember that although you have medical insurance, in most cases you'll still have to pay for your visit and then claim the money back.

Important Period of Coverage

You are enrolled in the CHIP on an academic basis. For example if you are in a regular program studying in the Fall 2014 semester you will be insured from September 1 to August 31.

Where to go for Medical Help

Humber Health Centre

The Health Centres, located in Room A107 (North) and Room H206 (Lakeshore), are staffed by qualified nurses and doctors who can be seen by appointment. Both offices are opened Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

The Health Centres will bill the insurance company directly for your visit. Further information or a list of medical services close to each campus can be obtained at Humber Student Services.

After Hours Help 

Walk-in Clinics Search the online Yellow Pages under "medical clinics" for a facility near your home. Patients are seen on a "first-come, first-served" basis.

When you pay for your visit ask for a receipt to claim back your money. The average cost of your visit is $40.

Not sure if you need to see a doctor? Call or visit online Telehealth Ontario 1.866.797.0000.

Hospital Emergency

Hospital emergency departments should only be used when absolutely necessary. Each patient is assessed on the basis of the urgency of their condition and if you're considered a low priority then you can wait for a very long, very frustrating time. The average cost of a typical assessment is $320.

Did you know?

By law all physicians must be licensed; therefore, you should receive equal quality care in walk-in clinics which cost a fraction of a hospital emergency visit and typically have a much lesser wait time.

Bringing Your Family Members to Canada

If you plan to bring your family members with you to Canada; you need to start organizing their travel documents at least 2-3 months before they depart for Canada.

Visas

If your spouse, common-law partner or any dependents are accompanying you to Canada then they should be included in your study permit application. However if they plan to join you at a later date then they will have to complete a separate application. For more information read: Applying for a study permit outside Canada (IMM 5269).

Immigration requires that you have proof indicating that you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses, as well as money to support your family.

Work Permit for Spouse or Common-law Partner

It's possible that your spouse or common-law partner could get an open work permit. For more information on applying for this permit view: Studying in Canada: Work permits for students - Work available to your spouse or common-law partner.

Housing

Humber's campus housing is designed for single students, so if you're bringing your spouse or family you'll have to look for accommodation off-campus. You can check some on-line resources like Ontario Student Housingplaces4students, or Viewit.

Click here for a great overview of what to consider when you are selecting your housing.

Schooling for your Dependents

If your children are of school age then they will need to be enrolled in school. You want to look into all the procedures and requirements for registering your child as soon as possible, hopefully before you even arrive in Canada. Unless you're paying for a private school, students will be enrolled in the public system, and if the school board for your region is not listed here then you will have to turn to Google for help.

Child Care

Child care can be surprisingly expensive in Toronto. If you are enrolled at the North Campus there are two child care facilities on-site; for details please go to Child-care and Development Centres at Humber for off-site child care listings go to the City of Toronto Child Care.

Health Insurance

The plan covers you for doctors' visits, hospital care, x-rays, etc. If you wish to enrol a spouse or dependent in the Humber health insurance plan, there's an additional cost. For more details please contact International Student Advisor, Dalyce Newby, at 416.675.6622, ext. 4349 for more details.

For more information on how to obtain extended health insurance (dental and drugs benefits) for your family members please contact HSF service provider directly Humber Students Federation (student government). There is a cost to adding family members. It costs more to do this and the extended care fee schedule on the HSF website is under the link for "family opt-in".

Please note that the rates quoted are subject to change.

Canadian Culture

Toronto isn't just the largest city in Canada but it's also one of the most culturally diverse places on the planet. You will no doubt see much that is familiar, but there will be lots of differences, too. Some of the things going on will be confusing, disorienting and maybe even annoying, but this is an expected part of any process of “cultural adaptation”. Toronto is not only the largest city in Canada but also one of the most culturally diverse.

Although you might find some things similar to what you are accustomed to, you may notice some differences e.g. climate, foods, social relationships, etc.

Any time you immerse yourself in a new environment it is not uncommon to be anxious and confused while you are trying to figure out what to do, how things are done or what is appropriate or inappropriate.

This process is called "cultural adaptation".

The three stages of cultural adaptation are:

  1. The "honeymoon stage" where everything is new and exciting.
  2. The "cultural shock" stage where the excitement and invigoration of your new environment may start to wear off leaving you feeling out of place and not quite yourself.
  3. And finally, "cultural adaptation" where you start to understand and feel part of your new environment.

What are Canadians Like?

  • Canadians have been described as: friendly, polite, modest, peaceful, but some cultures might find them reserved and even a little distant. Tolerance, fairness and equal opportunity are very highly regarded, as is an acceptance of diversity in all its' forms.
  • There are two official languages: English and French.
  • Free speech, civic responsibility and democratic governance are the bedrock upon which Canadian society is built.
  • We talk a lot about the weather, hockey and how we're different from Americans.

Social Customs & Relationships
All cultures have their own set of values, beliefs and assumptions so you have to expect to encounter differences during your adjustment period. For instance, you're expected to be on time for all appointments and being late is considered rude. You will learn all these little nuances as you go, but one thing that's very important to keep in mind is that Canada, Toronto in particular, is very open in accepting people of different sexual orientation and presumes complete equality between genders.

What can you do to aid in your adjustment?

  • Expect some things to be different
  • Keep pictures or items of sentimental value close to you
  • Maintain contact with your family and friends from back home
  • Be active, participate in the opportunities around you, even if they seem very different.
  • Make friends.
  • Have realistic expectations.
  • Maintain contact with your cultural/ethnic community in your new home.
  • Work on your English if necessary
  • Be patient and use the services that are available to you, as each campus offers counselling to support students who are having difficulty adjusting.