How To Reduce Electricity and Heating Costs During the Brutal Toronto Winters

One of the biggest shocks after moving to Toronto was realizing how expensive utilities were here, especially during winters which are significantly colder than winters in Amsterdam.  Last winter was especially cold in Toronto, which caused my heating bills to skyrocket.

The average temperature in Amsterdam during January is 38 F, while in Toronto it’s 25  F.  That means its 13 F warmer on average during January in Amsterdam.  This winter in Toronto was especially brutal with average temperature of 9 F during February!  No wonder my heating bill was through the roof.

It’s currently summer in Toronto, but it’s never to early to prepare for the upcoming winter to make sure your heating bills are kept low without sacrificing comfort.

electrician toronto

1. Turn Down the Heat During Night

You don’t exactly need the room to be 68 F during the night.  Instead, bundle up under your blankets to keep yourself warm and turn your heat down to around 55 F.  Don’t bother wearing boxers and no shirt during winter.  Wear a nice comfy sweater, thick pajamas, and warm socks.  Then when you wake up you can increase the heat again to 68 F.  This little trick saves an enormous amount in heating bills.

2.  Make Sure The Heat is Always Off in Unused Rooms

It’s crazy how many people leave the heat on in rooms that they’re not using.  Always turn off the heat in unused rooms, and make sure you close their doors tight to minimize heat loss.  Make sure your indoor doors aren’t leaving too much space for heat to escape.

3.  Make Your Furnace is Working Properly, and Replace It if It Isn’t

Hire an electrician to ensure that your furnace is working 100%.  A furnace that’s malfunctioning can drastically drive up heating bills or make or your life miserable if its stop working.   Its important to perform regular maintenance on it.   If your furnace is having issues and needs to be replaced, I recommend hiring a licensed Toronto electrician and having them take care of the issue.

Winter in Toronto

4.  Make Sure Your Doors and Windows Aren’t Leaking Heat

Most Doors that open to the outdoors usually consist of two doors in parallel to protect the home from the cold.  The rule is that if you can see daylight underneath your door, it’ll leak heat.  In that case you’ll need to get a contractor to modify the door to make sure it doesn’t leak heat.  For your windows you always want to make sure that you have a double layered window, and that both windows are layered shut.

Safety in Toronto: Why You Shouldn’t Worry But Here Are Some Precautions Anyways

Many North American cities have the reputation of being unsafe.   However, this mostly applies to American cities.  Canadian cities are far less dangerous than most American cities, for a variety of sociopolitical reasons.  While I’m not going into that, Toronto is in general far safer than let’s say Chicago, or any of those cities.   It’s one of the reasons why we are considered the best city to live in in the world. If you end up going through certain parts of Chicago or New York City, chances are you could get robbed quite easily.  There are neighborhoods in LA that even the cops are wary of entering.  This does not exist in Toronto.  Yes, there are certain parts of Toronto that are shady, but they don’t approach anywhere near the level of danger present in many American ghettos and downtown areas.

jane and finch

The two areas most known for shady criminal activities are the areas of and around Sherbourne and Dundas, and Jane and Finch.  Those areas are known for their high crime rates.  Other shady areas are Malvern, Rexdale, Parkdale, Moss Park, and Regent Park.   In fact, the whole Sherbourne strip from Gerrard to Queen is shady.  If you do live in those areas, its not the end of the world, but you want to make sure your doors are locked and that you’re not taking lonely strolls at 3 AM in the night.  If you’re a man, you’re probably safe drunkely walking home from bars, but if you’re nervous I would just take a cab.  I have many female friends who walk alone through those areas and feel fine.

locksmith mississauga

If you are anywhere else in Toronto, you should be fine.  I personally have very rarely felt in danger in Toronto.  You do hear about the occasional knifepoint robbery in a nice neighborhood but in all my years living in Toronto, I’ve only heard one story of that happening.  You should obviously make sure you follow basic precautions such as hiring a high quality locksmith.  I personally used a well known locksmith in Mississauga since I actually live on the border of Mississauga and Toronto.  He installed a robust security system that includes a hidden camera near the door that is automatically linked to my cell phone and sends a notification any time there’s movement.  This gets a bit annoying when it’s a cat, but I still think the system is excellent in case a robber decides to rob my place.

Architectural and Design Differences between Toronto and Amsterdam

One may sum up the difference between Toronto and Amsterdam architecture in that the former is more modern and the latter is classically attuned. But there’s a lot more to it than that if you read below.

Toronto Architecture

Toronto’s architecture is heavily influenced by the United States and Europe, but through the years, a more localized and individual style has emerged. Today the city is widely recognized as one of the world’s centers of modern and heritage architecture featuring the works of Diamond & Schmitt, Will Alsop and Daniel Libeskind.

Among the most interesting architectural structures in the city are the Annex style houses and the bay and gable house, and other notable architectural buildings here are the TD Canada Trust Tower and a wide array of museums and houses of worship.

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The majority of the buildings and structures here are in the modern style, and Toronto being Canada’s financial capital, this isn’t surprising at all. However, there’s also plenty here for those who are into history, sports or looking for something eclectic.

Amsterdam Architecture

Amsterdam is one of the great architectural centers of Europe due to its historical buildings. Since this isn’t a large city it’s very easy to go through the various architectural structures around you. While there are a lot of striking new buildings in the city, the ones that grab attention are definitely the old ones, which have remained major tourist attractions to this day.

amsterdam canal houses

Amsterdam of course, is best known for its canal houses, but it’s also popular for the windmills, the het Houten Huys (the oldest building in the city) as well as the Westerkerk, which boasts of the highest steeple in the city.

So Which is Better?

Both cities are great, and the fact that they’re so different makes them so fun to explore. I’ve spent quite a bit of time exploring both, and the contrast between them is very striking. I know some will prefer one over the other, but I like them both. Of all the buildings in Toronto, I particularly like the Robert Brown House, as well as the 19th century buildings in the Distillery District.

While there are major differences between the two, what they do share in common is quality interior decoration and painting. Having lived in Toronto for a while now, I can tell you that home painting services are very good here, in particular Painters GTA who are a well known Toronto and Mississauga, ON painting company, who did such a splendid job with my house.

Where to Buy Dutch Products and Foods in Toronto

Finding Dutch foods and products here in Toronto can be difficult because they’re sold only in select stores and they’re kind of all around the place. But no need to worry as I’ve picked out the best of the best, so if you’re in the mood for some Dutch treats you know where to turn to.

Gardenview Convenience

This isn’t the fanciest store around, but I’ll put it here simply because it’s convenient. If you’re longing for some good old stroopwofel, just go downtown and you can get some of that here. Their stock is directly imported from the Netherlands by the way, so it’s the real thing.

Grumble’s

Located on Main St., this deli and café specializes in lots of Austrian and German delicacies, but they do serve up quite a number of delicious Dutch treats that you’re bound to enjoy. There are a lot of treats to choose from, but the most popular are speculaas, stroopwafel and an assortment of Dutch chocolates and products.

Holland store

Holland Store

The aptly named Holland store off Weston Road sells a wide range of Dutch products and items including cold cuts, horse meat, cheese and other deli essentials. In addition, the Holland Store also sells soccer jerseys, trinkets, knickknacks, wood shoes and stocks up on dry goods too.

Niemeyer Imports

This store is a bit difficult to reach so if you’re planning to visit, make sure to stock on the supplies and other stuff you plan to buy. While it does take time to get here, Niemeyer Imports has plenty of drop licorice, Rusk bread, Droste chocolates and a bevy of cheeses as well.

Dutch Dreams

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This St. Clair and Vaughan ice cream parlor has become a favorite here in Toronto owing to its rich selection of treats like pannekoek (ice cream with Dutch baby pancake toppings), hagelslag and more.

BorrelTO

Last but not the least is BorrelTO. This isn’t really a store but more like a Dutch dining series that takes place every few weeks or so, and what you get here are plenty of Dutch treats such as boerenkool, bitterballen, poffertjes and more.