Curious about how prices differ in Toronto vs. Vancouver? Or Ottawa vs Montreal? This fun infographic shows the prices of various basic living expenses in 5 of the most popular cities in Canada. Whether you’re looking to move to the land of Maple Syrup or just vacation there, you’ll need to have at least a couple of these costs covered before you start looking for cool things to do or fun attractions to check out.

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Rent – 1 Bedroom Apartment

Vancouver – City Centre: C$1,960.30 Suburbs: C$1,545.21

Toronto –City Centre: C$2,047.56 Suburbs: C$1,615.77

Montreal – City Centre: C$1,099.99 Suburbs: C$748.46

Calgary City – Centre: C$1,267.55 Suburbs: C$992.77

Ottawa –City Centre: C$1,281.60 Suburbs: C$1,013.65

Rent across the five cities vary significantly, with Montreal offering the cheapest rent at approximately C$748.46 per month in the suburbs and C$1,099.99 in the city centre for a 1 bedroom apartment.

If you wanted to move from Montreal to Toronto which is the most expensive city rent wise, you can expect to pay 46 – 50% more for a 1 bedroom apartment. However, if you were looking to move from Vancouver to Calgary, you can expect to pay 35% less in rent than you may have been accustomed to.

To rank these 5 cities from most expensive rent wise to least expensive:

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  1. Toronto $$$$$
  2. Vancouver $$$$
  3. Ottawa $$$
  4. Calgary $$
  5. Montreal $

Utilities (Electricity, heating, air condition, garbage and water) – 85m2 apartment

Vancouver: C$76.65

Toronto: C$158.21

Montreal: C$101.37

Calgary: C$190.48

Ottawa: C$165.08

Utilities are an absolute essential; after all, you wouldn’t be able to last long in the winter without heat! Surprisingly, you’ll pay the lowest for utilities in Vancouver! Calgary is the most expensive, with Toronto in the middle.

Gas – 1 Litre

Vancouver: C$1.49

Toronto: C$1.17

Montreal: C$1.27

Calgary: C$1.17

Ottawa: C$1.12

There isn’t too much variance in how much you’ll pay for gas across these 5 cities, but every penny counts especially if you drive a lot. The Natural Resources Canada, Office of Energy Resources states that the average Canadian drives about 15,200 km per year.  So, if you intend to spend a lot of time on the road, it will cost you the least in Ottawa and the most in Vancouver.

Taxi – 5 Km Distance

Vancouver: C$12.95

Toronto: C$12.75

Montreal: C$12.25

Calgary: C$11.30

Ottawa: C$12.43

If you need to hail a taxi, it’s the most expensive to do so in Vancouver and the cheapest in Calgary.



Vancouver: C$2.96

Toronto: C$3.20

Montreal: C$3.21

Calgary: C$2.76

Ottawa: C$2.68

Chicken (1 kg of boneless breast)

Vancouver: C$14.97

Toronto: C$17.31

Montreal: C$13.36

Calgary: C$12.51

Ottawa: C$13.63

Beef (1kg of beef round or back leg)

Vancouver: C$14.91

Toronto: C$23.01

Montreal: C$15.40

Calgary: C$14.04

Ottawa: C$15.70


Vancouver: C$8.00 (226 grams)

Toronto: C$5.00 (150 grams)

Montreal: C$3.15 (200 grams)

Calgary: C$3.00 (per bunch)

Ottawa: C$5.00 (150 grams)

Food is essential to life and this infographic on basic living costs wouldn’t be complete without it. Of course, we couldn’t cover every food item available, but just a few basics – bread, meat and vegetables.

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The price of bread was relatively consistent between the 5 cities, varying between C$2 – C$3 with Toronto and Montreal crossing over C$3. There was a bit more variance in the price of chicken breasts with Calgary being the cheapest (C$12.51) and Toronto the most expensive (C$17.31).

This trend continued for beef where it costs C$23.01 for a kg of beef in Toronto and between C$14 – C$15 in the other cities. The cost for spinach is relatively stable between all the cities but it’s the cheapest in Montreal.


Water (1.5 litre bottle)

Vancouver: C$2.37

Toronto: C$2.72

Montreal: C$2.00

Calgary: C$2.24

Ottawa: C$1.79


Vancouver: C$4.37

Toronto: C$4.27

Montreal: C$3.62

Calgary: C$4.61

Ottawa: C$4.09

The human body can go weeks without food, but will die within 2 – 3 days without water. Thankfully, buying water isn’t expensive and it’s the cheapest in Ottawa at C$1.79 for a 1.5 litre bottle.

Even though cappuccino is not an absolutely necessary living expense, most coffee lovers would indicate that’s untrue! The price is relatively stable across the 5 cities between $3 – $5 and the cheapest cup is in Montreal and the most expensive in Calgary.

Fitness Club/Gym (per month)

Vancouver: C$52.18

Toronto: C$54.71

Montreal: C$36.80

Calgary: C$62.96

Ottawa: C$53.83

Staying physically fit will not only improve your quality of life but also lengthen your life-span. Exercise has so many benefits that it absolutely belongs on this list, even if you’re only planning to stay in a particular city for a short period.

The monthly cost of going to a fitness club/gym significantly varies from one city to the next. You can find the cheapest gym facilities in Montreal (C$36.80 p/m) and the most expensive in Calgary (C$62.96 p/m).

Education (undergraduate, average annual fee)

Vancouver: University of British Columbia

Domestic Students: C$2,680.10 – C$5,360

International Students: C$25,978 – C$37,521

Toronto: University of Toronto

Domestic Students: C$5,360 – C$8,040

International Students: C$42,881 – C$49,800

Montreal: McGill University

Domestic Students: C$2,456 – C$8,040

International Students: C$16,080 – C$18,760

Calgary: University of Calgary

Domestic Students: C$5,360 – C$8,040

International Students: C$18,760 – C$21,440

Ottawa: University of Ottawa

Domestic Students: C$5,360 – C$8,040

International Students: C$24,120 – C$31,444

Many people move to a city to attend a particular University, whether they be international or domestic students. The good news for home grown Canadians is that the average undergraduate fees are mostly the same in Toronto, Calgary and Ottawa: C$5,360 – C$8,040.

If you’re looking to get an education for cheaper, then Vancouver (University of British Columbia) and Montreal’s (McGill University) undergraduate fees start from C$2,456.

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Unfortunately, international students pay much more than citizens and the cheapest city to get an degree is Montreal and the most expensive is Toronto.

Of course, the cost of a degree depends heavily on the type of degree you want to get. For example if you’re an international student and want to get a Bachelor of Social Work, then consider that it’ll cost you C$38,051.70 per year in the University of British Columbia or C$16,815.60 per year in McGill University.

There is a smaller variance in the costs for citizens, but again, it all depends on what you want to study. For example, a citizen that wants the same degree will need to pay C$5,399.10 per year in the University of British Columbia or C$7,631.70 (non Quebec Canadian)/C$2,455.50 (Quebec) in McGill University.

Childcare (Monthly cost of full day, private pre-school)

Vancouver: C$1,264.29

Toronto: C$1,505.76

Montreal: C$696.74

Calgary: C$1,033.33

Ottawa: C$1,101.43

Lastly, the final living cost that we’ll look at is childcare for one 2 – 5 year old (pre-school) kid. This is particularly important if you plan on starting a family or have already started one.

The cheapest place to live when it comes to childcare cost is Montreal – approximately C$696.74 per month, which is the only city where childcare costs under C$1,000.