Cost of Living in The Greatest Canadian Cities
By Elli Davis, July 5, 2012
Toronto Skyline by John Vetterli
Canada is without a doubt one of the greatest countries in the world. Living here is truly fantastic and I would not want to move anywhere else. I would, however, like to know how my city, Toronto, compares to other amazing Canadian cities when it comes to cost of living. Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Ottawa will be compared and I am expecting the results to be pretty interesting. At the time of writing the introduction to this article, I have not summarized my research yet, so I am quite excited about the conclusion too. Let's find out now!
According to the newly released 2012 Mercer cost of living survey, which has assessed the cost of living in 214 cities based on 200 criteria such as housing, food, transit, and entertainment, Canada is actually not overly expensive. The most expensive city in Canada is Toronto (due to high rent costs, I would guess), which may not sound great, but in comparison it is actually the 61st most expensive city in the world. Toronto is closely followed by Vancouver, the 63rd most costly city in the world. Montreal and Calgary are a little less expensive, ranking 87th and 92nd respectively. Ottawa is the least costly Canadian city that made the list, as it was the 115th.
A different report published by The Economist Intelligence Unit offers a slightly divergent view on the most expensive cities to live in. According to this research considering 400 items in 131 cities, Vancouver is the priciest city in Canada and the 37th most expensive in the world. Toronto, the most expensive city according to the Mercer survey, was the 50th, 13 places below Vancouver.
Vancouver Skyline by Heydrienne
It is safe to say that Canadian cities are not cheap, but they do not rank among the highly expensive cities such as Tokyo (Japan), Zurich (Switzerland), and Oslo (Norway). Within our own country let's compare the price of a few items in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Ottawa, as provided by this amazing website.
Coffee, whether it is good or bad for our health (there is no consensus on this issue), remains one of the most popular drinks. Many people meet over a cup of coffee, so it is important to know how much it costs. For this article, I chose cappuccino, as I believe that could appeal to both men and women. Which of the five cities we are discussing offers the most expensive and cheapest cappuccino? Quite surprisingly, the average price for a cappuccino is the highest in Calgary, where it costs $4.11. In both Vancouver and Ottawa you will pay about $3.70 for this beverage, and its average price in Toronto is $3.51. Montreal is the least expensive in this aspect, as a cup of cappuccino will only cost you $3.01.
Unlimited 6 Mbps Internet
Many of us cannot imagine life without the Internet. Luckily, we do not have to if we pay our bills on time. Does Internet cost the same in each of the five cities? No, it does not. Internet is the costliest in Toronto, where you can expect your monthly bill to be around $50.75. In Calgary, you are going to pay approximately $48.50 a month, whereas in Vancouver, it will be closer to $45.83. Montreal is a bit less expensive at $45.41 per month and the best deal is in Ottawa, where monthly Internet service will only cost you as much as $37.78.
Montreal Skyline by Martin aka Maha
Watching movies at home is certainly enjoyable, but there is something special about going to the cinema. It is worth watching a good film on the big screen from time to time. How much would a cinema date cost you in our five cities? Cinema tickets are priced roughly the same all over Canada. Of our five analyzed cities, a movie date would cost you the most in Toronto; where for two cinema tickets, you will pay $27.78. In Vancouver, a lovely evening out will cost you $27.18, and $27.04 in Calgary. Next is Montreal, at $25.44 for two tickets, and finally Ottawa, where the price for a cinema date is approximately $22.74.
Monthly Transit Pass
The monthly cost of public transit is one of the most important indicators of the cost of living in a city. Just as I expected, the transit pass is the most expensive in our city. Torontonians have to pay $126 each month. The second most expensive is Vancouver, with monthly transit pass prices of $90.97. The next is Calgary with $83.78, closely followed by Ottawa and its pass at a cost of $83.31. You can buy the least expensive monthly pass in Montreal, where it costs only $75.19.
It is impossible to make a list of living costs in a city if we do not take home prices into consideration; that is where real differences between cities is apparent. To be as up-to-date possible, I decided to use the Canadian Real Estate Board data from May 2012. Vancouver does not seem to have much competition in this category; the average home in Vancouver city is A LOT (really a lot) more expensive than in the rest of the discussed cities. Be ready to pay as much as $732,736 for your new Vancouver home. The average home price in the next priciest city is Toronto, at "only" $516,787, which is significantly lower. Calgary with an average price of $429,459 is next. Both of the least costly cities offer homes for less than $400,000. In Ottawa, the average price for a home is $363,502, and it is $329,282 in Montreal.