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What Is the Cost of Living in Toronto?

by Staff

Are you hoping to move to Toronto?

Toronto attracts people and businesses from all over the world, and for a good reason. If you’re looking for new work opportunities and polite neighbors, Toronto is the place to be.

Toronto has often been called the most expensive city in Canada. While there’s more to the story, it’s an apt title when you only look at averages. Most of this comes from a higher flat rental cost, which outpaces many other cities.

Fortunately, this is offset by comparable numbers elsewhere. For example, food, transportation, and utilities in Toronto are as affordable as anywhere else in Canada. So, what should you expect regarding the cost of living in Canada?

For a quick and informative guide on the current living cost in Toronto, read on.

Make Sure You Have Realistic Expectations

Before we get going, it’s important to address the elephant in the room: Toronto has the highest cost of living in Canada. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering it’s the foremost economic heart of the country.

Most major tech companies and big-name corporations have their main offices or regional HQs in the city. Toronto also has a large and vibrant population and is almost always expanding. There are plenty of opportunities to find but also some costs, and if you’re looking for reasons to move there, view here for more.

That said, it’s important to put things into perspective. You’re often better off in Toronto than New York or San Francisco when you convert the currency. So with that out of the way, time to dive into some specifics.

Rent, Utilities, and Housing Costs

You can’t do a cost of living guide without talking about rent and housing costs. When it comes to the average cost of living per year in Canada, this is the number that varies the most. For a family of 3, housing costs go from roughly $1,136 a month in Quebec City to $2,745 in Toronto.

These numbers are considering rent and utilities like phone, internet, and electricity. In Toronto, flat rent tends to hover around $2,400. It is, of course, possible to find cheaper places in Toronto, but it isn’t easy.

If you move here, you can expect fierce competition to land a two-bedroom for under $2,300 anywhere near the city core. Utilities tend to sit at around the national average. In Toronto, it’s $133 a month for electricity and $168 for a decent phone and high-speed internet plan.

The national averages are $130 and $166, respectively. Thus, when it comes to the cost of living in Toronto, the rent itself hurts your bank balance.

Food, Restaurants, and Grocery Costs

One of the good things about living in Canada is that food costs tend to be quite stable. The average monthly grocery bill for a Toronto family of 3 might sit in the neighborhood of $1,185. This ends up being $395 per person, compared to the national average of $348.

The cost of a meal at McDonald’s will be about $12 Canadian. A meal at a typical bistro will be around $20, while a three-course meal for two at an average place will run $100 with drinks. For groceries, you can expect $3.37 for 1L of milk, $3.17 for a loaf of bread, and $1.87 for 1.5L of water.

Rice is $3.89 per kg, eggs are $3.72 a dozen, and 1kg of cheese or chicken will run you $14.86 and $15.08. It’s worth pointing out you can always find groceries for less if you avoid big brands.

Let’s compare Toronto with another popular hub like Vancouver. In Vancouver, most of the costs associated with eating out match Toronto. The exception is coffee, soda, and water, which are more expensive in Vancouver across the board.

Bread is 2.3% more expensive in Vancouver. Rice is over 19% more, eggs are 23%, with cheese and chicken at 7% and 8% more. Water is 44% more expensive than in Toronto, and there are other comparisons.

The bottom line is that although Toronto has a few more expensive food items, on average, it’s in line with the national average.

Transportation, Gas, and Getting Around

Living in Toronto is going to necessitate transportation. As such, it’s worth getting a handle on what you might spend in an average month on getting around. A local bus ticket comes in at $3.25, while a monthly pass without any discounts (like student or senior) is $156.

A taxi will charge you $1.75 per km, while gas is currently $1.91 per liter. If you own a car and plan to drive everywhere, it’s hard to estimate what distances you’ll be driving. A decent monthly average not to get surprised by would be around $380-$400 on gas.

To bring Vancouver up as a comparison again, gas is $2.08 per liter there, and a Taxi will end up 10-12% more expensive. The monthly bus pass is cheaper, however, at $120, while the difference in 1-way tickets is only 20 cents.

It’s worth noting that Toronto has a pretty robust transit system, though. It’s a strong contender combined with cheaper gas prices and the other benefits in this guide. The monthly bus pass could still save you a ton when you consider how large Toronto is as well.

The Real Scoop on the Cost of Living in Toronto

The cost of living in Toronto is higher than elsewhere in Canada when you consider flat rent. It’s an unfortunate reality, but Toronto is the economic heart of the country. It attracts businesses and young professionals, which can squeeze the housing market.

To make up for that, Toronto has competitive food, transportation, and utility costs. If you look at Toronto in comparison to cities like Vancouver, it comes out looking pretty fair.

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