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Living in Toronto

The Cost of Living in Toronto

When relocating to Toronto, you have to consider the average cost of living as part of your planning. You ask: is it expensive to live in the Toronto? It is. In fact, rent prices here are among the highest in Canada. Other monthly expenses, such as mobile phone plans, groceries and transport, are also high. The good news is that wages in Toronto are very good across all fields of work.

Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.

At a Glance

  • The price for accommodation depends on the area where you live. In the downtown area, rental prices are a lot higher. To cut costs, you could easily live in the suburbs as Toronto has a good public transportation system that connects the entire city.
  • The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is the main public transportation provider in the city. It operates a subway system, streetcar lines, and bus routes, which cover the city and its suburbs. You need a token that costs around 3.25 CAD (2.45 USD) for a single journey. Alternatively, you can purchase passes that allow for unlimited rides on all three modes of transportation. The daily pass costs 13.25 CAD (10.00 USD) and the monthly one 156 CAD (117 USD).
  • As of September 2020, the average rental price for a 1-bedroom apartment in Toronto’s city center is 2,200 CAD (1,650 USD). An apartment the same size outside the city center averages at 1,800 CAD (1,350 USD).
  • The Toronto healthcare system is publicly funded. It covers all residents of the Ontario province at a low monthly premium, which is deducted from your wages. This provides coverage for all doctors and specialists, and even surgery. The co-payments are very low. Bear in mind that you are only eligible if you have a residence permit; otherwise, you will need private health insurance.
  • Another important expense to factor in is groceries. According to the City of Toronto’s Nutritious Food Basket Calculator, a single man between the age of 31 and 50 spends on average 300 CAD (225 USD) per month on groceries. A single woman of the same age spends 260 CAD (195 USD) a month on average.

Average Cost of Living in Toronto

What is the average cost of living in Toronto? Overall, the cost of living in Toronto is high. However, highly skilled expats have access to career opportunities with higher salaries that can provide a very comfortable lifestyle. For instance, the average yearly salary in Toronto is around 64,000 CAD (48,100 USD).  To put it in perspective, the average monthly cost (not including rent) of living in Toronto for a single person is estimated at around 1,250 CAD (940 USD), while the average for a family of four comes to about 4,500 CAD (3,385 USD).

Is it Expensive to Live in Toronto?

Regardless of the high price tag, Toronto is popular among expats because it has a lot to offer. Its impressive infrastructure includes a network of underground pedestrian tunnels (also known as PATH), a sprawling transport system, and a high-quality public health service (provided via the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, also known as OHIP).

All in all, is it expensive to live in the Toronto? The answer is: Yes, it is. The cost of living in Toronto is rather high, but as wages tend to be high, how comfortably you live will depend on your lifestyle and expectations. This said, a main concern for anyone who plans to relocate to Toronto will be the housing market and its increasingly high rent prices, which we discuss below.

What are the Rent Prices like in Toronto?

Finding the perfect home in Toronto may prove difficult. Bear in mind the vacancy rate hovers at around 1%. This means that there is much more demand than there is available apartments.

The average rent prices for apartments in Toronto are as follows:

Apartment type Average rent (CAD) Average rent (USD)
1-bedroom 1,900 1,430
2-bedroom 2,350 1,770
3-bedroom 2,450 1,845

When you move to a city like Toronto with a competitive housing market, finding a place where you feel at home is hard. The market is full of misleading ads and estate agents who take advantage of your situation. We understand your worry—no one wants to end up in the wrong house or neighborhood. Our local home finding advisors help you secure your ideal home. Contact our Home Finding team today to learn how.

Cost of Living in Toronto

As part of your living expenses in the Toronto, aside from your monthly rent, you must also consider travel and transportation costs, grocery prices, utility costs (e.g. electricity, internet, gas, water), cost of education and healthcare, and even restaurant costs, if eating out is part of your routine. The amount you end up spending every month will vary depending on your lifestyle. If you are more of a homebody your monthly expenses will be much lower than if you like dining out regularly. We compiled some averages for you, so you have a reference point.

The overall average (without rent) for a single person versus a family of four are as follows:

  • Family of four estimated monthly costs: 4,500 CAD (3,385 USD).
  • Single person estimated monthly costs:  1,250 GBP (940 USD).

Average Grocery Prices in Toronto

Toronto is overall an expensive city to live in. The City of Toronto has a Food Basket Calculator, which estimates that a single person between the age of 31 and 50 spends an average of 280 CAD (210 USD) per month on groceries.

There are plenty of large supermarkets, including chains such as Walmart. You can cut down on your grocery expenses by choosing a farmer’s market instead of supermarkets.

Toronto Food & Alcohol Prices CAD USD
Meal inexpensive restaurant per person 20.00 15.00
Dining out for two People, mid-range restaurant, three-course meal per person 50.00 38.00
1 kg (2 lb.) chicken fillets 13.00 9.80
1 liter (1/4 gallon) of milk 3.10 2.35
12 eggs 3.50 2.65
1 kg (2 lb.) of tomatoes 3.50 2.65
0.5 kg (16 oz.) of cheese 8.60 6.50
1 kg (2 lb.) of apples 3.85 2.90
1 bottle of beer 7.00 5.30
1 bottle of red wine (mid-range) 17.00 12.80
0.5 kg (1 lb.) of bread 2.50 1.90

Estimated Utility Costs in Toronto

Average Utility Costs in Toronto per month  CAD USD
Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage for 85m2 Apartment 155 116
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)
70 53

The Most Expensive and Cheapest Neighborhoods in the Toronto

The most expensive neighborhoods are in downtown Toronto. Moreover, prices are generally higher near subway stations.

The most expensive places to rent are near Bay, Bloor-Yonge, Rosedale, and Summer Hill stations. Some of the cheapest rent prices are in the far east of the city, near Coxwell, Woodbine, Main Street, and Victoria Park stations.

In the most expensive areas, expect to pay around 30% more for the same type and size of accommodation than you would pay in the cheaper areas.

For more information about Living in Toronto, visit our Comprehensive Guide about Living Well in Toronto.

Cost of Education in Toronto

If you are relocating with your children, you need to factor in the cost of education in Toronto. Expat children are entitled to free education within the public system. The standard of the public system is high, and the system offers assistance to children who are not fluent in the local languages (English and French).

Should you decide to enroll your children in the private education system or at an international school, bear in mind that private schooling in Toronto comes with a hefty price tag. Fees range from 18,000 CAD (13,550 USD) to 60,000 CAD (45,150 USD), annually.

For more in-depth information on Canadian Education, visit our Comprehensive Guide About the Education System and International Schools.

Toronto Healthcare Cost

The Toronto healthcare system is publicly funded by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) and covers all residents. You pay a low premium that is deducted from your wages. This provides cover for all doctors and specialists’ appointments, and even for surgery. The co-payments are very low, sometimes almost non-existent. You are only eligible for the OHIP if you have a residence permit. Otherwise, you will need private health insurance.

For detailed information on this topic, visit our section Health Insurance and the Healthcare System of the Canada Explained.

Updated on: September 28, 2020
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