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Toronto vs Edmonton Which City is Cheaper to Live in

Toronto vs Edmonton: Which City is Cheaper to Live in?

Edmonton is cheaper to live in because it has a lower cost of living overall than Toronto. Food, utilities, and transportation are more affordable in the Albertan capital, allowing more chances to add to your savings.

Both are capitals in their respective provinces. But remember that living in Ontario vs in Alberta will have a wide gap in terms of living expenses!

It’s also good to know that the cost of living will vary depending on the lifestyle. But overall, Edmonton is definitely cheaper than Toronto.

But why exactly? 

According to Mercer’s 2022 Cost of Living Survey, Toronto is Canada’s most expensive city. It ranks 89th in the world!

Just slightly behind is Vancouver – Canada’s bustling seaport – at 108th worldwide. Meanwhile, Alberta only has Calgary on the list, ranking at 141st.

In fact, according to the data gathered by Numbeo, rent prices in Edmonton are lower than in Toronto at 46.99%. That’s a high percentage, especially for something you need to pay for every month.

We’ve made a table to quickly see the comparison between both cities and with the categories we’ve compiled.

FoodEdmontonOn top of low food prices, Alberta pays a lower tax rate.
TransportationEdmontonToronto has one of the most expensive public transit services.
HealthcareTiedBoth cities have good healthcare systems. But both also need supplemental insurance.
EducationEdmontonToronto has a more expensive international student tuition.
HousingEdmontonThe housing costs in Toronto are double or triple the price in Edmonton.
Basic UtilitiesTorontoOntario has a more forgiving climate than Alberta.
Average SalaryEdmontonAlberta has one of the highest average salaries in Canada.

If you plan on moving and want to know the details, stick around!

1. Food prices in Toronto vs Edmonton.

Food prices in Toronto vs Edmonton

Toronto is known as a foodie city because of the wide variety of multicultural dishes. It even has a signature dish that most locals will want you to try: the peameal bacon sandwich!

But with that title comes high prices too. You see, Toronto is a famous tourist spot in Canada, and unfortunately, it also means an increased cost in many sightseeing places.

Even though you’re a local, living near areas where tourists usually gather will put a dent in your wallet when you go out for a meal.

To give you a better look, here’s the gathered data by Numbeo to compare the average restaurant food prices in Toronto and Edmonton:

Meal for 2*$115$90
McDonald Combo Meal$13$12
Cappuccino (regular)$4.84$5.11
Imported Beer$8.58$8.00
Water (0.33 liter)$2.06$2.32

*at a mid-range restaurant, ordering a three-course meal

As you can see, Edmonton is just slightly lower in most categories. But even with a small gap, the cost will pile up for people who love going to restaurants.

But not everyone loves to dine out, and no matter where you live, you will need to do weekly grocery shopping. Now, let’s compare the market prices in both cities for the necessary food we need in our fridge using the data according to Numbeo.

Regular milk (1 liter)$3.40$2.66
Loaf of fresh white bread (500g)$3.41$2.99
Eggs (1 dozen, regular)$4.02$3.63
White rice (1 kg)$3.96$4.11
Chicken fillet (1 kg)$15.99$15.03
Beef round (1 kg)$17.73$18.04
Local Cheese (1 kg)$15.49$14.51
Apples (1 kg)$4.32$5.11
Potato (1 kg)$3.68$2.71
Onion (1 kg)$3.33$2.38
Lettuce (1 head)$3.11$3.23

Gathered data as of December 2022

On paper, the price difference doesn’t seem a bit much at first. But once you do your weekly food shopping, you’ll notice the huge difference if you decide to move from Toronto to Edmonton.

Almost every item on the list is pricier in Toronto food markets. It’s something definitely worth looking into if you have a big family.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like food prices will drop anytime soon. According to Canada’s 2022 Food Price Report, there’s an expected 5% to 7% of price increase in 2023. 

Most of the effect will be seen in the vegetables, dairy, and meat aisles. Additionally, there’s a prediction that an average family of four will spend around $16,288.41 yearly on food alone (a $1,065.60 increase compared to 2022).

A family in Calgary have even reduced their meat intake to stay within their regular budget. In addition, they regularly need to check discounted items to save some money.

Aside from inflation, these are also due to rising transportation costs, which include fuel and fertilizers for food crops.

Because of that, expect an increase in restaurants as well. Businesses will see a struggle due to rising rent fees on top of food and transportation expenses.

These increased prices are expected to impact all Canadian provinces. And if you live in an already expensive city, let’s say Toronto, you may find yourself needing to rearrange your monthly budget.

Not only that, but Alberta doesn’t pay a provincial sales tax. What this entails for Albertans is they only pay the Goods and Sales Tax (GST).

Meanwhile, Toronto’s residents pay a combination of GST and Provincial Sales Tax (PST), called the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

ProvinceGSTPSTHSTTotal Tax

Here, Edmontonians win the tax round because without the PST, and they pay an incredibly low total tax rate.

2. Transportation Costs in Toronto vs Edmonton

Transportation Costs in Toronto vs Edmonton

Generally, Edmonton has lower transportation costs compared to Toronto. According to Numbeo, the monthly pass in Toronto is 35.90% higher than in the Albertan capital (that’s incredibly high!).

As a matter of fact, Toronto ranked as the 8th most expensive city in the world for public transport in 2019. Back then, it was $107.50 for an average monthly ticket.

In March 2020, Toronto’s monthly pass increased to $117.49, according to Picodi’s data. That’s spending around 4.5% of the year’s average salary just to get to work.

But now, the cost skyrocketed to $156.00! That’s an extremely wide gap in just two years.

To see it better, here’s a comparison table of Toronto and Edmonton’s differences in public transportation fares with the data from Numbeo.

Monthly pass (regular price)$156.00$100.00
Taxi start (normal tariff)$4.47$3.70
Taxi 1 km (normal tariff)$1.75$1.65
Taxi 1 hour waiting (normal tariff)$31.00$30.00
Gasoline (1 liter)$1.93$1.69

Gathered data as of December 2022

I’m sure we all know the relationship of Torontonians with the TTC – a large public transit service that serves the Greater Toronto Area. It’s like a sibling you love and hate at the same time.

After all, the TTC takes around 1.7 million commuters on a daily basis. On top of the expensive fare, we all need to worry about unexpected delays, subway shutdowns, and packed buses and trains.

That’s a headache waiting to happen – on a daily.

Clearly, there’s a vast difference between Toronto and Edmonton in terms of public transportation. So, what if you decide to purchase your own vehicle instead?

Well, that’s going to cost you a lot, too, if you live in Toronto. With Numbeo’s data, it’s about $30,000 to buy a Volkswagen Golf (1.4 90 KW Trendline) in Toronto, which is 6.67% higher than purchasing in Edmonton at $28,000.

Aside from that, you have to worry about rising fuel prices.

With the CAA’s data as of December 6, 2022, the average gas price in Alberta is 134.6/L. Meanwhile, Ontario is at 143.1/L.

Undoubtedly, Edmonton wins in transportation costs. You also won’t have to worry too much about traffic.

Why’s that? Edmonton spends only around 12 minutes each day in traffic, according to Kijiji Autos. As for Torontonians, they spend 19.14 minutes daily. 

3. Healthcare in Toronto vs Edmonton

Healthcare in Toronto vs Edmonton

One of the most vital factors when choosing a city to live in is the healthcare system. It’s a good thing that Toronto and Edmonton have good health insurance plans.

Toronto’s Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) provides the province’s residents with basic healthcare services. At the same time, Edmonton has the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP).

For both plans, you will get coverage as long as you are eligible and your application is accepted.

Here’s a list of some medical procedures and whether the OHIP and AHCIP provide coverage.

Medical ServiceTorontoEdmonton
Hospital visits*Full coverageFull coverage
Diagnostic services*Full coverageFull coverage
In-patient medicationsFull coverageFull coverage
Hospital accommodation and meals**Full coverage for standard levelFull coverage for standard level
Ambulance servicesFull or partial coverage depending on the circumstancesFull coverage only for inter-facility transfers in Alberta
Cosmetic proceduresNot coveredNot covered
Dental surgeries***Full or partial coverageFull or partial coverage
Optometry servicesFull or partial coverage depending on the circumstance and ageFull or partial coverage depending on the service and age

*As long as they’re medically necessary

**Private rooms not covered

***Procedures performed in hospitals only

Our thoughts? Both cities have good healthcare insurance plans, so they’re tied for this one. 

But some basic eye and dental procedures will need your own health insurance, like teeth cleanings and fillings.

That’s why it’s important to know that supplemental insurance is highly recommended for medical services not covered by your primary healthcare plan. 

4. Education Costs in Toronto vs Edmonton.

Education Costs in Toronto vs Edmonton.

If you want to move, one of the things to consider is the education system. 

It’s highly essential if you have young children because you have to choose a public or private school that offers quality education.

The good thing is it’s no secret that Canada has one of the best education systems in the world.

Statistics Canada reported that during the school year 2019/2020, 91.8% of Canadian students enrolled in public schools. That leaves the remaining 7.6% that attended private or independent schools. 

So, what about the tuition fees? Just how much do you need to save to pay for your child’s university?

Ontario’s average tuition is about $7,920 from September 2022 to April 2023 according to Statistics Canada. Meanwhile, at $7,221, Alberta saw an increase of around 10% since last year’s term.

Despite Alberta’s rise in tuition, Ontario still has higher fees. To add to that, Ontario has one of the most expensive costs for international students at $25,749 yearly.

Evidently, moving to Toronto will cost you a tonne if you have children. On a good note, it has many choices of schools and universities.

Actually, the University of Toronto ranked 25th best in the world in 2021. You know what that also means? It’s the best in Canada.

5. Housing Costs in Toronto vs Edmonton

Housing Costs in Toronto vs Edmonton

If you plan on moving from Edmonton to Toronto, expect lower housing expenses when renting or purchasing a property. It’s because the province of Alberta offers more affordable housing than Ontario.

Numbeo’s data points out that Edmonton’s rent prices are 46.27% lower than Toronto’s. That’s a gap of almost 50%!

Alberta even created a campaign called “Alberta is Calling,” which hopes that more Canadians will move to the western side. It mainly speaks about affordability, low taxes, and high wages.

In fact, a detached home in Edmonton will cost about $490,000. But it’ll take you back around 1.4 million in Toronto!

Shockingly, that’s triple the price! And on top of high living expenses, Toronto will definitely drain your bank account.

Additionally, an average condo in Edmonton will only cost about $210,000. That’s a far cry from Toronto’s prices at around $740,000.

Combine that with mortgage payments, utilities, and necessary home repairs, and you’ll probably need a salary raise.

The verdict? Edmonton has a more affordable housing market than Toronto, even with rising rent costs.

6. Cost of Basic Utilities in Toronto vs Edmonton.

Cost of Basic Utilities in Toronto vs Edmonton.

The pricing for monthly utilities will normally depend on the location, economy, lifestyle, and providers. 

Toronto trumps Edmonton when it comes to the costs of basic utilities. Keep in mind that Alberta’s still on the affordable side in Canada.

Here’s a closer look at Numbeo’s data on the monthly utilities between Toronto and Edmonton.

Basic (for a 82 square meter apartment)*$172.65$255.54
Prepaid mobile tariff local (1 minute)$0.44$0.35
Internet (60 Mbps, unlimited data)$73.75$79.73

*includes electricity, water, heating, cooling, and garbage

Being a business and financial hub, Toronto will have overall costly expenses. But the climate in the city is more forgiving than Alberta’s, so expect high utility rates in Edmonton during harsh weather.

7. Average Salary in Toronto vs Edmonton

Average Salary in Toronto vs Edmonton

When it comes to salaries, it will vary on the experience and industry. But another factor is the employment opportunities per area.

Edmonton has an employment rate of 64.4%, slightly higher than Toronto’s at 62%. As a matter of fact, Alberta has a lot of job opportunities in many industries, including energy, agriculture, and skilled trades.

But the question is, how much will you earn from your chosen job?

CityAverage monthly net salary (after tax)

Gathered data by Numbeo as of December 2022

This data shows that Edmonton beats Toronto when it comes to the average salary. Additionally, Statistics Canada shows Alberta had the highest median after-tax income in 2019.

ProvinceMedian after-tax income, 2019

There’s no question that Edmonton, or the whole province of Alberta, will let you earn more money for your retirement.

Our Final Thoughts

Both cities offer a tonne of opportunities, but when moving for the long-term, factor in the high wages, low cost of living, affordable housing, and job opportunities. In the end, you’ll find that Edmonton is cheaper to live in than Toronto.

On the other hand, you might lean towards Toronto if you really want a warmer climate.

FAQ about Toronto and Edmonton’s Living Comparison

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