Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Where to live?

Dear Gang,

Where to live? from Paul S.I love Mr. Florida’s site! I just bought his recent book and am still trying to decide where to live. I have lived in over 7 other cities in 5 countries and traveled to 20 others. I also have lived in over 11 cities in the United States. I am an instructor, motivational and teacher trainer, musician, songwriter, traveler, and adventurer. I have also assisted personal motivators through a friend of mine who runs a seminar company in Detroit. I am leaning towards Toronto, San Francisco Area (where I lived), L.A. (never lived), San Diego (my parents live there currently), or Miami/ Ft. Lauderdale. My current employment with several universities dictates that I reside within the U.S. Where would you go if you wanted great beaches, easy access to major attractions, lots of bars, clubs, and venues to play in a band, wonderful multicultural communities, artsy communities, coffeehouses, etc.? I also love Holland’s Interest Inventory because using it can help in addition to r reading Mr. Florida’s work ;) I love Cincinnati because it has a low cost-of-living. It is not very ethnically-diverse and the music scene is not very vibrant. I am hearing from a lot of people that it okay to live wherever and post your music on the internet, but maybe I’m old-fashioned, I want it all! Any advice? I see that Mr. Florida loves Toronto and I hear that there was a new man-made beach that was created on one of the lakeshores recently… San Francisco is gorgeous but does it have a major music scene? Also, isn’t the high-cost of living and real-estate astronomical? Any advice? Just let me know!!! I would love to hear from you! Thanks, S. Paul

Sent in by Paul S. from Cincinnati

7 Responses to “Where to live?”

  1. Rana Says:

    Toronto – Miami is a great combo. Quick easy direct flights, 6 months of weather bliss in each city. The two disctinct personalities play off each other well!

  2. Eiryn Says:

    Lived in Toronto all my life and love it with all my heart. Drawbacks: if you want to live anywhere near the city centre you’re looking at $1400/m for a 1 bedroom (if you are lucky). However, you’re within walking distance of EVERYTHING. I actually had a two bdrm 7 minute subway ride north of the city centre for $1400/m.

    The beaches are lovely, beach volleyball courts, boardwalks… but don’t you dare step foot in the water. It’s a funny sight to go to the beach and see everyone on the shores and not a soul in the water. The water is disgusting. However, you are about 1.5 hours from the largest fresh water beach in the world (Wasaga Beach) which is beautiful. I lived in Hawaii for five years and I almost prefer Wasaga to it. You can walk out for miles and the water is soooo fresh, sand sooo fine. Toronto is also very close to loads of other beaches (Turkey Point where I’ve known people to surf).

    Toronto is also a micro-climate. 40 minutes north it could be seven degrees colder and snowing buckets.

    Smog. You might not love it.

    Very multi-cultural city, very young and thriving, VERY inviting. It’s claimed to be the most snobbish of Canadian cities (it’s the most corporate) but I hear it lauded by Americans for it’s hospitality.

    Music scene is fabulous. Many a night I’ve been torn between four different venues, and all relatively inexpensive.

    When it comes to flying into Canada, Toronto is your cheapest airport, however I usually fly out of Buffalo (two hours away) for half the price. Actually, here’s the comparison. Weekend round trip to DC from Toronto = $500, from Buffalo = $150

    Well, hope this helps, let me know if you want to know anything else.

  3. Francesca Says:

    Hi Paul!

    It’s a pity that your job keeps you in the States, because reading through your words… Barcelona (Spain), would be THE city.

    Well, you’ll always have time to step by in the future, and taste it for a while..

    Good luck with your search.

  4. kate Says:

    I would definitley try for Toronto..it sounds like you know the states pretty well so why not try a change in environment. Toronto pretty much has everything you’re looking for and you will notice a positive difference in a canadian city as opposed to an american one, it would be worth the experience. good luck!

  5. S. Paul Says:

    Rana, Eirn, Francesca, and Kate, I really loved your replies, thanks. Shoot me an email at musicalmotivator@yahoo.com if anyone else has a suggestion.


    S. Paul

  6. Kiki Says:

    Hi Paul, I’ve just moved from Toronto to Seattle for a year of study after 8 years there. I’m in my mid 20’s, an artist/musician and reading the comments about the ‘Tdot’ posted above, i wanted to add a little less upscale note to the overall impression they might give. Now that i’ve moved away, i have i think a better appreciation for what i loved about living there.

    Toronto is expensive, but its manageable. A VERY nice 1 Bedroom might be in the range of 1200-1600./mo but that’s in a condo situation. If you’re not interested in the (many) pristine high rise offerings, there are indeed apartments in the downtown core (think streetcars not subways) which can start around 800.00. My Bachelor in Roncesvalles Villiage (WONDERFUL NEIGHBORHOOD 20 minutes from downtown!!! ) was about 720.00/incl. last year.

    If you don’t mind waiting (indefinately sometimes) in a cold streetcar shelter 5 months a year, check out leslieville, parkdale, st. clair west, dupont west, dundas west or gerrard/broadview areas. Its a little grittier, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t great venues, pubs and coffee shops around. The diversity that makes toronto so flavourful is better represented in these areas where the ‘mix’ is rather than the ’sort’ anyhow. Plus, you make good friends whilst waiting forever for the TTC to get its act together, its about the only time that people get emmotional/bored enough to talk to strangers! We’re not a super social city, it can be hard to ‘break in’ to the scene if you’re not especially gregarious but toronto really does appreciate and embrace positivity and outgoingness (maybe because its a bit rare?)!

    Also, its not a ‘beachy’ town, but there are great urban getaways in the city and i would contend that the water is swimmable (and wonderfully refreshing) if you take the 15 minute ferry ride out to Toronto Island on a hot day. The ‘away’ side of the waterfront especially in the ‘middle’ part of the islands is wild, serene and beautiful. I’ve spent many an afternoon basking in the glory of the city only to dash back to mainland and grab dinner at an upscale restaurant with my parents.

    There are a whole lot of other great parks in the city including High Park, the whole don valley watershed, christie pits and the newly landscaped harborfront area walking path parks.

    Seattle is worth mentioning too i suppose, the cost of living is pretty high here too but there is an amazing music scene and lots of urban neighborhoods in pockets all over. I take transit which (because the weather is more predictable here?) seems more reliable. Its also a much more ‘fit’ place and i’m considering taking up some kind of sport or hiking more often than i ever did in toronto. A zillion people own boats here and many people live in boat’houses’ much more like houses than boats in my opinion which is a pretty neat thing!
    I just wish it got HOTTER here. I’m tired of being damp. :{

    So if its mobility, music and waterfront you’re interested in, seattle’s pretty amazing on those fronts. I would say the people are slightly less tunnelvisioned than in toronto, but the ethnic/cultural devide seems a little bigger.

    Hope that’s helpful. I too am trying to figure out my next move, good luck on your journey!


  7. Mike Says:

    I live in Toronto and pay $635! (Now granted, I don’t live in a high rise and economize A LOT on space- but on the other hand I live in the Annex only twelve houses from the subway, so neighborhood quality I did NOT economize on!) Just go on Craigslist.

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