Yes, it's true.
According to a 2010 study conducted by the Canadian Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS), Toronto is the unhappiest city in Canada. The happiest city is Sherbrooke, Quebec -- but not by much. According to the study, on a scale of 1 to 5, Toronto scored 4.15 and Sherbrooke scored 4.37. So in hindsight, it's not by a large margin, but it's still an interesting fact to explore.
An article in the Toronto star said there could be a number of factors influencing the figures that showed up in the study; but one of the main reasons is because Torontonians generally suffer from “less of a feeling of community because of the large concentration of population and trend towards skyscraper living.”
I kind of believe this. From my experience it seems that unless people live in the core of the city, it's quite difficult to feel part of a community.
A commenter over at Reddit responded to this study by saying it's harder to be happy in the suburbs, because priorities are different. If you're someone who likes going out and meeting new people and you live in the suburbs without constant access to a car, it can be quite easy to fall into a desperate case of the 'blahs'.
That said, it would be interesting to see the survey results sorted by suburb dwellers and urban dwellers.
Toronto is a city that's quite spread out, so it's difficult to just 'go out and do something' without planning well in advance. Especially because transportation options are so bad. I live on the subway line, but quite far east. And if I want to go out and enjoy myself, I feel more inclined to head downtown. But when I do decide to go downtown, I have to plan in advance and figure out what time I need to leave in order to catch the last subway home. It does make me quite upset, and I know a large number of Torontonians share this sentiment.
Another key point brought up in the Toronto Star article focused on Toronto's immigrant population and the state of employment (or the lack of it) in the city.
When people immigrate to Canada they tend to head to bigger cities like Vancouver and Toronto. The idea is that there will be greater opportunities to assimilate within 'multicultural' communities, and find employment. Sadly, this isn't always the case, and the culture-shock leads to greater unhappiness and stress within immigrant communities.
All that aside, I do enjoy living in Toronto. But the results from the study speak for themselves.
I'm not shocked to find out Toronto is the unhappiest city in Canada. It may be a mosaic of many different cultures and it does have a lot going for it, but in my opinion, Toronto definitely doesn't have a sense of community. There's a lot of comfort in smaller communities within the city, but as a whole, there's something missing.
Well, except every time the Leafs lose. Everyone commiserates together then.
Image courtesy of TorontoLife.com