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Comparing Toronto vs. Montreal Cost of Living & Lifestyle

Written by Jessica Steer
It’s no secret that living in Canada is expensive. However, the cost of living does differ depending on where you live in Canada. This is the case even in a big city like Toronto or Montreal. Even though these cities are relatively close geographically, the cost of living does differ quite drastically.
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    Toronto is actually one of the largest cities in Canada and the fifth largest city in North America, making it one of the most expensive cities to live in Canada. Montreal is the second-largest city in Canada and the tenth-largest North American city. That said, both of these are some of the most famous cities in the country. Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between the two cities. We can also figure out which is the more expensive city to live in. 

    Cost of Living in Toronto and Montreal

    You might not be surprised to learn this, but the cost of living is pretty expensive in both Toronto and Montreal. If we aren’t including rent, the cost of living in Toronto is around $1,532.20 per month. In Montreal, the cost of living without rent is $1,316.90 per month. This means you would need to earn more money to have the same standard of living in Toronto as you would have in Montreal. 

    When it comes to consumer purchases in Toronto, the average prices are 10% higher than those in Montreal. The cost of groceries is over 9% higher. We haven’t even yet considered the cost of housing. This is why many who live in Toronto and want to save a bit of money look for places to live outside of the city.

    Housing Cost and Availability in Both Cities

    When it comes to the cost of living in both cities, we’ve already established that Toronto is the more expensive of the two. That said, we didn’t really go over the housing prices, whether that be purchasing or renting. 

    In Toronto, the average house price is $1,127,000. This is pretty pricey. The average cost of an apartment is around $645,000. These prices are different from those in Montreal. In Montreal, the average house price is $518,600, and the average cost of purchasing an apartment is $391,200.  This makes the cost of purchasing a home in Toronto almost double that of Montreal. 

    In Toronto, the average monthly cost of rent in Toronto is $2,547. This cost is $1,587 in Montreal, almost a thousand dollars higher than that of Toronto. Whether you purchase or buy, there is more affordable housing available in Montreal than in Toronto.

    How Safe is Each City

    An important factor when choosing where to live is the safety of the city. We’ve already discovered that Toronto is more expensive than Montreal, but is it safer? In this case, it actually is. 

    In Canada, each city has a different crime rating on the crime severity index. The crime rating in Toronto is 45.5, while the rating in Montreal is 55.9. While Toronto does rank better than Montreal as the safer city, it isn’t by much. The ratings are actually pretty close together, and neither is considered to be the safest in the country. 

    Different Aspects of Life in Each City

    Depending on where you choose to live, there are plenty of different things to consider. Are there any job opportunities? What does the population look like? Is there any nightlife? What are the average wages, and what do you need to earn in order to make ends meet? What’s the weather like?

    There are so many things to consider when it comes to deciding where to live. Before you jump into a life-altering decision, considering all of these factors is important. Everyone is looking for different things in the city they choose to live in, so it's important to verify that your needs will be met before any decisions are made. 


    Since both Toronto and Montreal are different-sized cities, their populations are very different. As of 2023, the population of Toronto is 6,372,000, with a steady growth rate of 0.93%. This is significantly higher than the population of Montreal is 4,308,000, with a growth rate of 0.72%. 

    It isn’t really surprising to find out that the population in Toronto is so high. Toronto is actually the largest city in Canada. Montreal still has a large population, but it’s still significantly smaller than that of Toronto. Montreal is actually the second-largest city in Canada, so it’s no surprise that the population is still high.

    Job Opportunities

    Since both Toronto and Montreal are some of the largest cities in Canada, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of job opportunities available in each one. That said, the types of job opportunities available in each city do differ. 

    In Toronto, the job opportunities are more geared towards the financial and technology centers. It also happens to be home to some of Canada’s largest corporations and offers plenty of different corporate opportunities. These are very different opportunities than those that Montreal offers. The sectors that offer the most job opportunities in Montreal are manufacturing, aerospace and artificial intelligence. What sector you’re looking for a position in could make a difference in which city you choose to live in.

    Night Life

    With Toronto being such a large city, it’s no surprise that it offers a lot of nightlife. There are restaurants, pubs, clubs and different places that play live music all throughout the city. Some of the best restaurants in Canada are actually located in Toronto and offer a wide variety of different cuisines. 

    Just like Toronto, Montreal offers a wide variety of nightlife throughout the city. They have restaurants, bars, clubs, and lounges. There are plenty of different options depending on the type of nightlife you’re looking for. That said, there are plenty of other options as well for those who don’t particularly enjoy the nightlife. 


    If you’re looking to live in Toronto, one important thing to consider is the weather. They tend to have a continental climate, so they have 4 distinct seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

    In the winters in Toronto, it’s very common to get snow as well as temperatures close to -20 degrees Celsius. That said, during the spring and summer, it’s common to see temperatures around 22 degrees Celsius and as high as 32 degrees Celsius. That said, while Montreal seems to have similar weather conditions to Toronto, Toronto actually has a milder climate than Montreal. 

    The climate specific to Montreal is a humid continental climate. The winters tend to be long and cold, but the summer can have an average of 26 to 27 degrees Celsius. There also tend to be more heat waves than in Toronto. The winters are much colder in Toronto, ranging from -10 to -30 degrees Celsius. They can even see these temperatures until mid-April. That said, their coldest month tends to be January, and the wettest month comes at the end of the summer in August. 

    Average Wages

    With the cost of living constantly increasing no matter where you live, it’s important to know what the average wages are where you choose to move, and how it relates to the overall cost of living. It’s not enough just to know what the wages are. Even though they might seem good, if the cost of living is too high, you may actually end up making less money in the end. 

    While it’s difficult to determine what the exact salaries are per city, we are able to take a look at the averages. The average annual salary in Toronto is around $57,550. If we break this down a little bit further, this is equal to $27.67 per hour. This means the average monthly salary is around $4,795.

    Surprisingly, the average salary in Montreal is higher than that of Toronto. The average annual salary is $59,535, which breaks down to $30.53 per hour. This means the average monthly salary is $4,961. While this isn’t much more than that of Toronto, the cost of living in Toronto is much higher compared to that of Montreal. With a lower cost of living and higher annual wages, Montreal seems to be more affordable than Toronto. 

    Taxes in Montreal and Toronto

    No matter where you live, you’re going to have to pay taxes on the income that you earn and the things that you purchase. You also need to pay property taxes. Even if you’re in the same country, different Canadian provinces charge different tax rates. Here are the different tax rates for both Montreal and Toronto. 


    When it comes to provincial sales tax, Quebec has QST instead of PST. With GST and QST combined, the tax rate on sales tax is 14.975%. When it comes to income taxes in Quebec, the tax rate is based on how much you earn. These income tax rates are:

    • 14.00% on the first $49,275
    • 19.00% on amounts from $49,275 to $98,540
    • 24.00% on amounts from $98,540 to $119,910
    • 25.75% on amounts over $119,910

    Lastly, there are property taxes. In Montreal, the property tax rate is 0.653400%. This would make the final tax rate 0.750700%. The exact amount that you’ll end up paying is based on the assessed value of your property. 


    When it comes to sales taxes in Toronto, Ontario uses HST, also known as the harmonized sales tax. The HST rate in Toronto is 13%. Income tax rates in Ontario are based on what you earn annually. These tax rates are:

    • 5.05% on the first $49, 231
    • 9.15% on amounts from $49,231 to $98,463
    • 11.16% on amounts from $98,463 to $150,000
    • 12.16% on amounts from $150,000 to $220,000
    • 13.16% on amounts over $220,000

    As you can see, the income tax rates in Ontario are lower than those in Quebec; with that said, the property tax rate in Toronto for residential property taxes is 0.666274%, which is also lower than the rates in Montreal. Toronto costs less in taxes, allowing you to save money, while the cost of living in general is higher in Toronto. 

    Cleanliness in Both Cities

    In Canada, both Montreal and Toronto are relatively clean places. That said, Toronto is known to have lower emissions and cleaner sidewalks than Montreal. This doesn’t mean that Montreal isn’t clean; it just means that Toronto has more of a focus on reducing emissions and more strategies in place to increase cleanliness. This may have something to do with the fact that Toronto is a much bigger city. That said, Montreal is still considered to be a clean city in Canada.

    Moving From Montreal to Toronto

    If you’re considering moving from Montreal to Toronto, there are plenty of things to keep in mind. First, Toronto has a higher cost of living compared to Montreal. They also have a lower salary average. That said, there are plenty of great reasons why people choose to move to Toronto. It offers more of an urban lifestyle and a wide variety of different job opportunities. It also has a much larger population than Montreal. That said, though, the average unemployment rate is lower in Toronto than it is in Montreal. The rate in Toronto is 6.5%, while it sits at 7.7% in Montreal.

    Advantages of Living in Toronto

    While Toronto can be a lot more expensive than other parts of Canada, there are plenty of reasons that people choose to live in this great city. They’re known for having great healthcare and education systems. They also offer a lot of job opportunities. For those who want to use public transportation, they have a great system in place by the Toronto Transit Commission. It’s an advantage to living in a big metropolitan city. It’s also a great place for entrepreneurs to start out. 

    As a cosmopolitan city, Toronto offers a great downtown core. They offer plenty for those who like nightlife as well as those who prefer other methods of entertainment. It’s a modern city with high-rise buildings, the CN Tower, mid-range restaurants, and high-end restaurants. That said, Toronto lies close to Lake Ontario, offering some beautiful views. The area you choose to live in, Toronto, will make a big difference in what you’re close to. 

    On the eastern side of Toronto, there’s East York. There’s also King West, North York, and many other neighbourhoods. The living costs of each will vary, and each offers its own unique features. This is a very different feel from Montreal. 

    Advantages of Living in Montreal

    While the cost of living is lower in Montreal, even though it’s another major city in Canada, it has a much different feel than that of Toronto. Montreal has a very European feel to it, and most who live in Montreal speak French. Throughout downtown Montreal, you can feel the European influences with the cobbled streets. Along with the charming cobblestone streets, especially in old Montreal, there are plenty of nature parks and outdoor things to do.

    Just like Toronto, Montreal has a few different neighbourhoods. Ville Marie is one of them, located in greater Montreal. There are some areas that are cheaper to live in. That’s not the only great thing about this city, though. It’s home to the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, and even though Montreal costs more for personal taxes, the cost of a one-bedroom apartment is much cheaper. 


    When it comes to deciding where to live, Montreal Vs, Toronto, there are plenty of great features about both. That said, they are two very different cities. Toronto is popular with young professionals and has a vibrant entertainment district with vibrant nightlife. It also offers a diverse culture and plenty of art galleries. It’s also the capital city of Ontario and the largest city in the country. However, it also happens to be one of the most expensive cities in the country as well. 

    Montreal is a unique city as well as a very bilingual city. It also has a large population, but along with its European feel, it offers hiking trails and other outdoor features. There are plenty of things to love about Montreal and its city centre, but it isn’t for everyone. This is why the cost of living shouldn’t be the defining factor when deciding what the best city to live in is. There are plenty of other things that should factor into that decision as well. 

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