Forget the struggle of Toronto life, let’s all move to Waterloo

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A new Ryerson study found that students are being priced out of TO. Nathaniel Crouch looks into what’s so great about their future home.

It’s no secret that Toronto’s housing market has been hot for a while, making it tough for younger people to find affordable spaces to live. It’s gotten to such an outrageous point here that millennials are leaving the city in droves—almost a thousand a year. This is according to a new study by Ryerson’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development, that looked at where millennials move when they leave their parental homes and enter the housing and rental marketplaces.

Places to rent in Waterloo averaged at $1,042 in 2017, according to a report from TheRecord.com, an online news site out of Kitchener-Waterloo. Along with Ottawa and Simcoe County, Waterloo is one of the top-ranking cities for millennials to move to as per the study. 

The study also found that over the past year more than 5,000 millennials have left for greener pastures. Financially greener that is, according to PadMapper, an online rental blog that tracks the median rent prices of large Canadian cities. Toronto’s average rent prices in February 2020 for a one-bedroom apartment was $2,300, according to the site. 

So if students are going to be heading out to good ‘ole Waterloo, The Eye wanted to make a comprehensive list of reasons to live there. Because as much as we love to say Toronto is the best place to live, there some important things you can’t find in our city. 

Greenery. Actual GREENery

Sunshine walks and Toronto parkettes are great places to pretend you’re in a clean environment, but if you look around, you’ll see about 2,000 cigarette buds, more rats than people and a weird purple cloud hovering over parks that scientists call “smog.” 

Waterloo is out in the middle of nowhere, which means 3,000 acres of parks, six conservation areas and enough space to get lost in a park without hearing a streetcar honk at a dumpster truck for driving past it with its doors open. Someone will ask you to go for a walk or a bike ride and you won’t even have to get anxious about having a near-death experience biking downtown.

What if you had a good job?

There is no shame in working a minimum-wage job, but if you want to use that fancy four-year degree you got at the Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM)—head north. 

The growing branch of tech companies makes Waterloo a Silicon Valley North. With offices for Google, Communitech and more, Waterloo has become one of Canada’s technology hot spots. It boasts some of the highest success rates in the country for the tech companies that are based here. Jobs like those fill up quickly here in TO but in Waterloo the companies are trying their hardest to grab the attention of any would-be employees. 

City design can have a purpose

On  Sep. 25, 2019, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) say a 63-year-old man suffered “life-threatening injuries” after his vehicle was hit by “flying” concrete on the Toronto-bound Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW). 

In a social media post, OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said an excavator arm on a flatbed truck was “too high to fit” but attempted to travel under a bridge on the QEW, smashing into an overpass and sending concrete onto the roadway.

After hours of research and investigations, The Eye can say that Waterloo had zero incidents of life-threatening flying concrete. The city is undergoing something Toronto may not see for a while—construction with a purpose. 

According to TheRecord.com, as of July 2019, Ontario invested up to $60.7 million in infrastructure projects in the Waterloo Region. These projects include upgrades to about 90 bus stops, almost 60 new and replacement transit vehicles and a new bus maintenance facility.

If nothing else, we can all buy one house in Waterloo and watch from a distance as the Toronto housing market refuses to cool down. 

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