It's also one flight from Dublin, which is a big plus and makes living away a little easier. It's pretty much a city within a park and the lifestyle we have here with a small child is exceptional. There is a perception that Toronto is the Holy Grail of endless employment and opportunity but that's not necessarily the case. I had spent six months prior to arriving here making contacts and networking, which meant I had secured my current role within three weeks of arriving.
It's not the 'raising kids' part that makes people leave a country -- it's the 'what kind of life you want for them' part that results in you making decisions like emigrating.
For us, the upside of raising Tess in Toronto is the lifestyle -- she sledges, dog sleighs and thinks nothing of playing outside in minus-20 temperatures in the winter and she swims every day at a free city subsidised pool at the end of our street in the summer. Tess also attends programmes run by the city for dance, swimming and gymnastics that cost less than €30 a year and she thinks it's normal to have squirrels and racoons in her yard.
Creches are expensive -- full-time daycare for one child is roughly about $1,600 (€1,250) a month. There are home daycares, but again these can be hard to come by. We have heard of people who are waiting 17 months for a daycare place.
If you are not working, there are lots of free drop-in playgroups run by the city, which are really great and a great way of meeting people.
Going out can be expensive. As an expat with no granny around the corner for free babysitting -- a sitter at $15 (€12) an hour -- and a paid taxi home can make a night out pretty pricey!
It's a big decision to come out here and can be a lonely road with no family support -- for some it's a last resort, so it has to work.
In terms of the visa, if only one of you has a visa, don't think the partner without the visa will pick up work and a visa.
It took almost a year for Rob's visa to come through and only then through sponsorship. That said, it's a great place.