TTC praised by New Zealander who just moved to Toronto: 'Transit transforms cities'

John Nottage moved to the city from New Zealand earlier this month, after spending weeks exploring the rest of the country

Locals have their fair share of horror stories aboard the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), but a new Torontonian is helping residents see the service with fresh eyes.

John Nottage moved to the city from New Zealand earlier this month, after spending weeks exploring the rest of the country.

"I love Toronto, and I love Canada. It's a melting pot of incredible cultures and different histories, which in turn, I think, makes it even more quintessentially Canadian," he told Yahoo Canada.

After his first official week in Toronto, Nottage reviewed the TTC with a series of posts on X, formerly known as Twitter. He was impressed by the short wait times and that can you transfer onto another route within a two-hour window using the same fare.

"I think TTC and Metrolinx get a bit of a bad rap sometimes," he told Yahoo Canada. "I worked in transit back in New Zealand and would have dreamed of the situation Toronto and the GTA have. Sure, it's not perfect, but I think the level of surface on the subway lines is very impressive, the buses are a great and expansive service, and GO Trains are incredible. We don't have that level of service in New Zealand, and I don't think we ever will."

Nottage, a communications advisor who is in Canada on a two-year International Experience visa, commutes daily to Etobicoke from Toronto's downtown.

"Transit transforms cities and becomes the lifeline for many. I'm excited to be in a place that this continues to see growth," he added. "Of course, it's never perfect, but it's worth advocating for bigger and better things."

Of course, a Toronto story wouldn't be complete without an ordeal to find housing.

In Toronto, average rents hit $2,898 in August, an increase of 8.7 per cent compared to 2022.

"Most agencies or landlords would like to see proof of credit, but that's hard when you've only been in the country for a few months," he said. "Takes a little bit of convincing to potential places that you'll be a good fit."

"Obviously, starting out in a new place too, trying to understand where a fun part of the city is to live in, close to work or activities you want to do."

Nottage notes that New Zealand doesn't have IKEA, which quickly became a staple in furnishing his new apartment.

Although the weather has been comparable to New Zealand, he says, he's excited to experience a real fall.

"New Zealand doesn't really seem to get that. We go straight into a winter of constant rain," he explained.

So far, Nottage says that one of the major differences he's benefited from since his move are the endless opportunities.

"The GTA population is larger than all of New Zealand, so there's a lot going on, which is great. In the space of a few weeks, I've seen shows and musical acts that would never think of coming to New Zealand."

"There seems to be a lot more opportunity career-wise, with far many more industries," he added.

But Nottage laments the cost of tech services and the "old school" banking system.

"I'm not sure why Canadians pay so much for mobile and internet plans," Nottage wondered.

"Also, cheques are not used in New Zealand and haven't been since 2017, so this was a shock to me when that's how our rent was to be paid."