Categories > Guides and Tips

Montreal vs Toronto Which city is better to live in

Montreal vs Toronto: Which city is better to live in?

Montreal and Toronto are two of Canada’s most vibrant and diverse cities, each with its own unique character and appeal. While both cities have much to offer, deciding which is better to live in between the two can be a difficult decision.

Montreal is better to live in than Toronto since it has an affordable cost of living and strong community spirit, making it an attractive option for those seeking a high quality of life. 

While both cities have seen an increase in housing prices, the average price of a home in Montreal is 30% lower than in Toronto.

In addition, you would need around 7,621 CAD in Toronto to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 6,000 CAD in Montreal.

So read on as we delve deeper into the factors that may influence your decision on which city to call home. 

Montreal vs Toronto: Cost of Living

Montreal vs Toronto Cost of Living

The cost of living in Toronto is much more expensive than Montreal in terms of rental, food and transportation costs.

These factors are important to take into consideration when trying to move to another city to know if it best fits your preferences.

1. Rental Costs

Rental Costs' Homepage

When looking for affordable rental options, you will find Montreal to be a more budget-friendly choice compared to Toronto.

Apartment Costs of Toronto vs. Montreal
1 bedroom apartment (Monthly Rent) in City Centre2,446.95 CAD1,452.80 CAD
3 bedrooms apartment (Monthly Rent) in City Centre3,934.33 CAD2,536.53 CAD
Units for Sale in City Centre (Per Square Metre)12,653.21 CAD8,376.03  CAD
Data sourced from: Numbeo

According to Numbeo, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Montreal ranges from CAD 1,000 to CAD 1,400, while in Toronto it can range from CAD 1,500 to CAD 2,500. 

However, prices can vary depending on the location and the type of apartment. Downtown Montreal tends to be more expensive than the suburbs, but even then, prices are still lower than in downtown Toronto.

2. Food Costs

Food Costs' Homepage

When it comes to food costs, Montreal can be more affordable than Toronto. While both cities offer a range of dining options, Montreal is renowned for its excellent food scene and affordable prices. 

Food Costs in Toronto vs. Montreal
1 litre of regular Milk3.67 CAD2.90 CAD
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)3.47 CAD3.88 CAD
Beef Round (1kg) 18.08 CAD17.22 CAD
Banana (1kg)1.68 CAD2.07 CAD
Chicken Filets (1kg)16.03 CAD15.85 CAD
Data sourced from: Numbeo

In Montreal, you can expect to pay about $1 USD for a loaf of bread at most major grocery stores like Metro or IGA. In Toronto, you’ll pay closer to $2 USD for the same thing–a 50% increase in price! 

However, there are many smaller independent bakeries where you can find artisanal loaves at affordable prices (around $0.50-$1). These bakeries tend to be more prevalent in Montreal than Toronto because they’re part of its culture. 

3. Transportation Costs

Transportation Costs' Homepage

Toronto and Montreal both offer reliable and comprehensive public transit systems, but Montreal’s system is more affordable for frequent users.

Transportation Costs in Toronto vs. Montreal
Local One-way Ticket3.25 CAD3.50 CAD
Monthly Pass Cost156 CAD94 CAD
Normal Tariff of 1km(Taxi)1.75 CAD1.75 CAD
Data sourced from: Numbeo

In Toronto and Montreal, both cities have excellent public transit options that are reliable and affordable. However, there are other factors to consider when comparing these two cities’ transportation systems.

In Montreal, a single trip on the metro or bus costs $3.50, while a 1-day pass is $10. Alternatively, in Toronto, a single fare on the subway, bus, or streetcar is $3.25, with a day pass costing $13.50. 

Monthly passes in Montreal cost $94, compared to $156 in Toronto. Both cities have extensive networks of buses, streetcars/trams and subways that cover most areas of town so it’s easy to get around without driving yourself (unless you want to). 

The bus lines run 24 hours a day while many subway stations close at night but remain open until early morning hours on weekends only.

Montreal vs Toronto: Quality of Life

Montreal vs Toronto Quality of Life

Montreal is a great choice for those seeking a rich cultural experience, a lower cost of living, and a bilingual environment. In contrast, Toronto is a great choice for those seeking diverse job opportunities, a cosmopolitan lifestyle, and a milder climate.

When comparing Montreal and Toronto’s quality of life, it is important to know the differences of each city in terms of diversity, healthcare and education systems as well as climate. 

1. Culture and Arts Scene

Culture and Arts Scene's Homepage

Both Montreal and Toronto have their own unique cultural attractions that make them great places to live for those who enjoy the arts. 

Montreal’s rich culture and vibrant arts scene make the city a great place to live for those who love arts. The city boasts a large number of museums, galleries and theatres, as well as an impressive number of festivals throughout the year.

Toronto also has its own cultural attractions including some world-class museums like the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) or Gardiner Museum that feature exhibits on everything from dinosaurs to modern art to ancient Egypt. 

2. Healthcare and Education Systems

Healthcare and Education Systems' Homepage

Both Montreal and Toronto are great places to live for those looking for high-quality education and healthcare services.

In fact, both cities are consistently ranked among the top ten best places to live in Canada because of their high quality of life. 

The healthcare system in Quebec is considered one of the best in North America. This is especially true when it comes to preventive care and public health initiatives like vaccination programs for children under five years old.

There are also many specialised institutions such as hospitals, clinics and research centres that offer specialised services such as cancer treatment or rehabilitation therapies such as physiotherapy or occupational therapy.

3. Climate

Climate's Homepage

While both cities are known for their cold winters, Montreal’s climate is harsher than Toronto’s. 

The average temperature in January is -10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) in Montreal and -5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit) in Toronto. 

While you’ll need to bundle up when visiting Montreal during the winter months, you can enjoy milder temperatures in Toronto during this time of year.

Montreal vs Toronto: Job Opportunities

Montreal vs Toronto Job Opportunities

In terms of job opportunities, Toronto offers more job opportunities than Montreal due to its position as Canada’s financial hub. 

The city is home to the Toronto Stock Exchange and major multinational corporations, providing a wealth of job opportunities in the banking, finance, and insurance sectors. 

Additionally, Toronto has a highly diversified economy that includes healthcare, education, and technology sectors. The city attracts a large number of skilled immigrants and international students, further contributing to its job market growth.

Meanwhile, Montreal’s economy is centred on aerospace, technology, and creative industries, which may not offer as many job opportunities as Toronto’s broad-based economy.

Montreal vs Toronto: Population

Montreal vs Toronto Population

In 2022, Toronto has a population of 6.6 million people while Montreal has 4.4 million based on Statistica. This means that Toronto has over twice as many people living in it than Montreal does!

In terms of population growth, Toronto has been experiencing significant growth in recent years, with an average annual growth rate of 1.8% between 2016 and 2020. In contrast, Montreal has experienced a modest growth rate of 0.8% over the same period. 

This growth can be attributed in part to Toronto’s status as Canada’s economic hub, attracting immigrants and job seekers from around the world. 

Despite the difference in population size and growth, both Montreal and Toronto are diverse and multicultural cities, with significant populations of immigrants and minorities. 

Both cities also offer a wide variety of cultural and entertainment options, making them popular destinations for tourists and residents alike.

Montreal vs Toronto: Immigration Process

Montreal vs Toronto Immigration Process

While both Toronto and Montreal follow the same federal immigration laws and regulations, Toronto may be particularly appealing to immigrants looking for job opportunities and social support networks.

These immigration laws include the Express Entry system for skilled workers and the Provincial Nominee Program for those who want to settle in a specific province or territory. 

However, some factors may make the immigration process easier in one city over the other. For example, Toronto’s status as Canada’s economic capital and largest city may attract more job opportunities and make it easier for immigrants to find employment. 

Additionally, Toronto’s diverse population and multiculturalism may make it easier for immigrants to integrate into the community and find social support networks. 

On the other hand, Montreal’s unique cultural identity and strong emphasis on French language and culture may make it more attractive to francophone immigrants and those looking to improve their French language skills. 

Montreal vs Toronto: Taxes

Montreal vs Toronto Taxes

When it comes to taxes, Montreal generally has higher taxes than Toronto, considering income, sales, and property taxes.

Tax Bracket in Toronto vs Montreal
2022 Taxable IncomeTax Rates2022 Taxable IncomeTax Rates
First $50,197 of taxable income15%$46,295 or less15%
$50,197.01 up to $100,39220%More than $46,295 up to $92,58020%
$100,392.01 up to $155,62526%More than $92,580 up to $112,65524%
$155,625.01 up to $221,70829%Over $112,65525.75%
Over $221,70833%

Montreal and Toronto, as major cities in their respective provinces, have different tax structures in place due to provincial tax policies. Comparing the overall tax burden in these cities requires examining income taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes.

Montreal vs Toronto: Taxes
Income TaxIn Quebec, combined federal and provincial income tax rates can range from 27.53% to 53.31%. In Ontario, the range is from 20.05% to 53.53% depending on the income level. 
Sales TaxQuebec has a higher combined sales tax rate (14.975%) than Ontario (13%). 
Montreal residents pay a 9.975% provincial sales tax (QST) and a 5% federal Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Toronto residents only pay a combined 13% Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).
Property TaxIn 2021, the residential property tax rate in Montreal was 0.7535% of the property’s assessed value.The residential property tax rate in Toronto was 0.5997%.

In Montreal, property taxes are generally higher than in Toronto, although the exact rates can vary depending on the neighbourhood and type of property. 

The city also charges a number of additional taxes and fees, including a hotel tax, a water tax, and a waste management fee.

In Toronto, property taxes are generally lower than in Montreal, although they have been increasing in recent years due to budgetary pressures. 

Montreal vs Toronto: Pros and Cons

Montreal vs Toronto Pros and Cons

Montreal and Toronto are both vibrant and dynamic cities with their own unique advantages and challenges. Some pros and cons of living in each city include:

• Toronto offers diverse job opportunities across various industries.
• Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world.
• Toronto is home to major sports teams and entertainment venues, offering a wide range of events and activities.
• Toronto boasts top universities and educational institutions.
• Toronto has an extensive public transit system and is well-connected to domestic and international destinations via air, rail, and road.

• Toronto has a higher cost of living, particularly in terms of housing prices and rent.
• Toronto experiences significant traffic congestion.
• As Toronto continues to grow, urban sprawl has become a concern, leading to longer commutes and less green space.
• While Toronto offers diverse job opportunities, the job market can be highly competitive, making it harder for newcomers to secure employment.
• Montreal has a unique blend of European and North American influences, making it a vibrant and diverse city with a rich history.
• Montreal is a bilingual city, with French and English widely spoken, offering an opportunity to immerse oneself in both languages.
• Housing and general living expenses in Montreal are lower than in Toronto.
• Montreal is known for its numerous festivals, including the Just for Laughs comedy festival, the Montreal World Film Festival, and the Montreal Jazz Festival.
• Montreal has a thriving food scene, with a wide variety of restaurants and world-renowned dishes.

• Montreal residents generally face higher income, sales, and property taxes compared to Toronto.
• For non-French speakers, living in Montreal can be challenging due to the predominance of French language in daily life.
• Montreal experiences colder and snowier winters than Toronto.
• Montreal has a smaller job market compared to Toronto.

Ultimately, the decision to live in Montreal or Toronto will depend on individual priorities and circumstances. 

Both cities offer unique opportunities and challenges, and it is important to carefully consider factors such as cost of living, job opportunities, and cultural fit when making a decision.

FAQs about Which city is better to live in, Montreal or Toronto?

Related topics