Cost Of Living In Montreal Vs Toronto: Which One Is Cheaper?
Wondering which city you can afford to live in between Toronto and Montreal? Or you simply want ideas about the cost of living in Montreal vs Toronto? Then there are a couple of things for you to consider.
Just a few years back, both Montreal and Toronto were ranked as the world’s two best places to live in, with the cost of living as one of the contributing factors. But what happens when the battle narrows down to just the two of them?
Well, you’ve probably encountered recent reports, like Reader’s Digest, that rank Toronto as the second most expensive city in the country behind Vancouver, a fact that makes moving to Toronto intimating. But before you make the decision to opt for Montreal, have a look at how the two perform in relation to the factors below.
Toronto’s housing is one of the most expensive, compared with not just Montreal but the rest of the cities in Canada.
According to the data released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) (June 2018), the average home price in Toronto was US$772,400 while in Montreal, it was only US$343,800.
The same pattern can be seen when it comes to renting. Here’s a breakdown, according to latest figures from Numbeo (July 2018).
Toronto (Apartments rates /month)
- 1 bedroom (city center) – C$1,812
- 1 bedroom (outside city center) – C$1,420
- 3 bedrooms (city center) – C$3,130
- 3 bedrooms (outside city center) – C$2,2286
Montreal (Apartments rates /month)
- 1 bedroom ( city center) – C$1,061
- 1 bedroom (outside city center) – C$704
- 3 bedrooms (city center) – C$1,909
- 3 bedrooms (outside city center) – C$1,212
If you plan to save on rental costs and get a relatively cheaper home, Montreal is clearly the better option. However, that may not really translate to the rest of the factors we are about to look at.
In both cities, owning a personal car can be quite a hassle, bearing in mind gas, insurance, maintenance costs, and city parking fees.
But if you are interested in owning one, note that in Montreal, a Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (or equivalent new car) or a Toyota Corolla 1.6l 97kW Comfort (or equivalent new car) will cost you anywhere between 0.24% – 5% more on top of what you would pay in Toronto.
Thankfully, both cities have plenty of mass transit options, including buses, rail, and subway lines, which make the cost of transport relatively cheaper compared to using a personal car.
A monthly pass in Toronto costs C$146 for adults and $116 for seniors (over 65 years), while in Montreal, it goes for just C$83 for the former and $51 for the latter. Also, taking a taxi trip in Montreal is way cheaper as it only costs C$18 per 8 km (5 miles); in Toronto, it’s C$30 for the same distance.
Even though both are bike-friendly, Montreal ranks among the most bike-friendly cities in the world, with hundreds of kilometers of dedicated bike lanes. The city even has a public bike system named BIXI, which allows a person to pick up a bike when they need one and then leave it at any of the 400 stations around the city once they arrive at their destination.
All of these factors combined make getting around in Montreal less expensive and better compared to Toronto.
When analyzing the cost of living in Montreal vs Toronto, pay special attention to taxes, especially if you are planning to move to either of these two cities as a business person.
Administration of tax in Toronto is done by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) while in Montreal, the same is done by Revenue Québec. In both cities, one has to pay both the federal tax and the provincial taxes.
In Ontario, where Toronto is based, the taxes begin at 15% (federal) and 5% (provincial) for the lowest-income residents. As expected, higher-income residents pay more than low-income residents. Those who earn more than C$202,000 per annum (the top income category) pay a provincial tax of 13%.
In Québec, which is the home province for Montreal, the federal tax and the provincial rate for low-income residents is the same as that of Toronto. However, there’s a noticeable difference as you go up. For example, the rate for those who earn more than C$104,765 per annum (the top income category) is relatively higher at 25.75%.
That partly explains why in the past years, like in 2016, Quebecers paid the most taxes in Canada.
Food & Eating Out
Restaurant prices and grocery prices are almost the same in both of these two cities. Based on recent data from Numbeo and Expartisan, a meal in an inexpensive restaurant, bread, and bottled water all costs the same in both cities.
When it comes to things like whole fat milk, eggs, apples, potatoes, local cheese, domestic beer, wine, fruits, imported beers,, or a cup of cappuccino, the prices only differ by a few cents or at most C$3- C$4.
If you’d like to know the minimum cost of eating healthy in Toronto, use the Nutritious Food Basket Calculator, a tool developed by the city of Toronto website to show you your ability to meet your basic needs.
When examining Toronto vs Montreal living, minor expenses, like utilities, really matter. You may pay a total of around C$100-C$150 monthly for all utilities; i.e., electricity, water, heating, cooling, natural gas, and garbage in both cities. Some, like heating, will vary based on the time of the year.
For mobile and internet, you may pay between C$50-C$70 a month for each, depending on the plan and the service provider you pick. The internet rates are the same, regardless of the city. TekSavvy, EBOX, and Radioactif are some of the top internet service providers (ISPs) in both cities.
The four major national mobile providers include Rogers, Bell, Telus, and Freedom. They have subsidiaries, resellers, and Mobile virtual network operator (MVNOs) like Chatr, Fido, Koddo, Petro-Canada, PhoneBox, Virgin Mobile, just to name but a few.
A plan comprising 300 local minutes, 1GB data, and unlimited texts nationwide costs between C$70-C$75 at Rogers, Bell, and Telus.
With the exception of the slight differences in the cost of food and utilities, the cost of living in Toronto is clearly quite higher than in Montreal if you have to factor in housing and transportation costs. As a higher-income individual, Montreal is a city you may want to avoid due to the high provincial taxes, but considering that you will have to part with huge rental and transport costs in Toronto, the savings you will make from the lower tax might be absorbed by the higher cost of living.
If the cost of living in Toronto vs Montreal is your only or top consideration, then Montreal is a city you may want to consider first. But if there are other factors to consider alongside that, like economic opportunity or multicultural diversity, Toronto can easily be a suitable option.