Calgary vs Toronto Where should you live

Living in Calgary vs. Toronto: Where Should You Live?

Calgary, the third most livable city in the world, holds the title of being the Canadian city with the most sprawling architecture. It’s a small city with a strong economy, particularly if you have transferable skills for businesses in the oil sector. 

On the other hand, Toronto is renowned for its many skyscrapers and high-rise structures, including the CN Tower, the world’s highest free-standing building. The sights and culture in Toronto are diverse. Toronto skyline, breathtaking islands, and Rogers Centre make it one of the most vibrant and fascinating cities in Canada. It is close to Quebec, the nation’s capital Ottawa, and the United States — how can we forget Niagara Falls?

According to WOWA, the average home sold price in the GTA was $1,212,806 for May 2022 and $532,200 in Calgary. The housing market in Toronto is extremely expensive. Housing costs in Calgary are considerably less expensive than in Toronto, where even an older property may frequently cost more than $1 million.

Our guide on Living in Calgary vs. Toronto explains the pros and cons of planning a move between each city, with reference to public transit, cost of groceries, entertainment, housing, and the job market.

Calgary vs. Toronto

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Public transit in Calgary vs. Toronto

Public transit in Calgary

Calgary Transit is Calgary’s primary public transportation provider. The My Fare app for contactless payments, one of Calgary’s most recent transit innovations, makes the city’s transit system advanced and convenient. Community shuttles, shared rides, and door-to-door transport services are also available. 

Calgary operates more than 160 bus routes, giving commuters access to every corner of the city.  

The C-train provides rapid transit in Calgary, with two lines traveling the whole city. The Blue Line travels east-west from Saddletown to 69 Street, while the Red Line travels north-south from Crowfoot to Somerset-Bridlewood. C-train lines and additions to already existing ones are planned.

The city is divided into four quadrants: NW, NE, SW, and SE. Calgary Transit connects all four city quadrants. About 50% of Calgary’s workforce uses public transit to travel to work every day. A whopping 87% customer satisfaction indicates residents trust Calgary Transit for everyday travel.

One-way cash fares are also available. Children and students receive savings off the $3.60 CAD adult cost. You can buy and load day passes and monthly passes onto a monthly pass card using the My Fare app.

Public transit fares in Calgary

 

One-time-use

Day Pass

Monthly Pass

Adults (18 years or older)

$3.60

$11.25

$112.00

Youth (6-17 years)

$2.45

$8.25

$79.00

Children (0-5 years)

Free

Free

Free

(*Calgary Transit, Life in Calgary, ArriveIn)

How much is a Calgary transit monthly pass?

The cost for a Calgary monthly transit pass is $112.

Public transit in Toronto

The regional transit organization of Toronto is Toronto Transit Commission, the third-largest transport system in all of North America. TTC covers The Greater Toronto Area, including Toronto and the nearby municipalities (GTA). 

TTC consists of two main subway lines — Line 1 goes north/south, and Line 2 goes east/west. Two additional shorter lines cover Scarborough and Don Mills.

Buses can accommodate wheelchairs and strollers. As soon as you get on the bus, you pay your fare at the machine next to the driver. TTC runs four subway lines in Toronto. 

Electric lines run overhead in Toronto to power the city’s streetcars. The streetcar experience is comparable to taking the bus. To get to other GTA municipalities, you can take the commuter GO train from Union Station, Toronto’s top transport hub.

Public transit fares in Toronto

 

Regular route

Day pass

Monthly pass

Adults 

$3.25

$13.50

$156.00

Youth  (13-19)

$2.30

$13.50

$128.15

Seniors (65+)

$2.30

$13.50

$128.15

(*ArrriveIn & Toronto Transit Commission)

How much is a monthly pass in Toronto?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The TTC cost of a monthly pass in Toronto is $156.

If you’re comparing Calgary to Edmonton, remember to consider fares as well. Both cities are well-served by low-cost transit. The light rail (LRT) system in Edmonton expands and improves the city’s bus services. At the same time, Calgary’s CTrain covers a length of more than 118 kilometers.

Cost of groceries in Calgary vs. Toronto

The following table illustrates the cost of Groceries in Calgary vs. Toronto:

The average cost of groceries (Items X kg)

Calgary 

Toronto

Milk (1 liter) 

$2.34

$3.21

Loaf of fresh white bread (500g)

$2.88

$3.17

Rice (white), (1 kg) 

$3.10

$3.75

Eggs (12)

$3.69

$3.71

Local cheese (1 kg) 

$14.73

$14.89

Chicken fillets (1 kg) 

$13.69

$16.47

Beef round (1 kg) 

$19.18

$17.12

Apples (1 kg)

$5.28

$4.26

Bananas (1 kg)

$1.95

$1.68

Oranges (1 kg)

$4.86

$4.10

Tomato (1 kg)

$5.05

$4.44

Potato (1 kg)

$2.87

$3.31

Onion (1 kg)

$2.99

$2.97

Lettuce (1 head)

$3.16

$2.83

Water (1.5-liter bottle)

$2.23

$1.89

Bottle of wine (Mid-range)

$15.00

$15.00

Domestic Beer (0.5 liters)

$3.70

$3.17

Imported Beer (0.33 liter)

$4.19

$3.76

The total cost of groceries for one person

$110.89

$109.73

The cost of groceries in Toronto is 0.37% lower than Calgary. 

(*Numbeo)

Living in ottawa vs. toronto where should you live

What to do in Calgary vs. Toronto

It would take a little time for you to grasp what to do in Calgary and Toronto. And it’s helpful to have a wide variety of leisure activities available in these two cities.

Entertainment in Calgary

There is less nightlife in Calgary because it is less populated than Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal, but there are more parks and open areas where you may spend time with your family. In addition to the many parks and malls in downtown Calgary, the area near Chinook Mall, Stephen Avenue, and 17th Avenue also has some top-notch restaurants.

Beautiful summer events are held in the city in the Calgary Zoo, Telus Spark Science Center, Glenbow Museum, Bow Habitat, Fish Hatchery, Prince’s Island Park, and Nose Hill Park.

The Bow River Weir was transformed into a rapid system for rafters in 2021. Calgary is also home to the greatest pedestrian path network in North America. 

An hour west of Calgary is the country’s first provincial park, Banff Provincial Park, home to stunning rocky mountains and lakes. Kananaskis Country is known for its numerous mountain peaks, and hiking, mountain biking, skiing (downhill or cross-country), and horse riding are some common sports. 

The Calgary Stampede, the Spruce Meadows Derby, the Flames, and the Stampeders are just a few of the events that make Calgary the City of Festivals. 

(*Tripadvisor)

Entertainment in Toronto

The main lure of the area which people consider moving to Toronto is its natural beauty coupled with its bustling city life. Picturesque views of the lake from the tops of the cliffs, the charm of Toronto Island, and Rouge National Urban Park — what’s not to love? The most popular activity is hiking; you can drive up or choose to walk the 300-foot cliffs. Bluffer’s Park also has a sandy beach with picnic spaces.

The city’s architecture is permeated with arts, culture, and entertainment, and world-famous festivals, galleries, museums, and stages are constantly alive with sound and color.

Toronto is multicultural — more than 200 languages are spoken here. You will get to meet people from cultures and ethnicities you haven’t even heard of. 

The downtown area is packed with skyscrapers, exotic restaurants, and several other attractions. The Sky Pod in CN Tower is one of Toronto’s most thrilling experiences. You can even see Niagara Falls and New York State from up there. Moreover, the bars in King West, Queen West, and Ossington let you enjoy the nightlife to its fullest.

(*Tripadvisor)

Cost of entertainment - Calgary vs. Toronto

In Calgary, a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costs only $82, compared to about $100 in Toronto. In Calgary, an adult must pay $81.19 a month for a fitness club, whereas in Toronto, that cost is $64.24. The price of a movie ticket for an international release in Calgary is $16.00, compared with $15.00 in Toronto. 

Cost of housing in Calgary vs. Toronto

Neighborhood

Studio 

1 bedroom

2 bedroom

3 bedroom

Beltline

$1178/month

$1490/month

$1737/month

$3500/month

Calgary Downtown

$1130/month

$1344/month

$1817/month

$2294/month

Mission

$985/month

$1205/month

$1480/month

No Data

Bankview

$1075/month

$1075/month

$1350/month

$2145/month

Mount Royal

$950/month

$1201/month

$1326/month

$2430/month

Bridgeland

$975/month

$1395/month

$1865/month

C$2650/month

South Calgary

$950/month

$1050/month

$1150/month

No Data

Willow Park

$929/month

$999/month

$1149/month

No Data

Lakeview

$913/month

$1209/month

$1359/month

$1659/month

Cost of rent in Calgary

Rents in Calgary vary according to the location and size of apartments. The table below lists some common neighborhoods and the cost of apartments of different sizes in each:

Neighborhood

Studio 

1 bedroom

2 bedroom

3 bedroom

Beltline

$1178/month

$1490/month

$1737/month

$3500/month

Calgary Downtown

$1130/month

$1344/month

$1817/month

$2294/month

Mission

$985/month

$1205/month

$1480/month

No Data

Bankview

$1075/month

$1075/month

$1350/month

$2145/month

Mount Royal

$950/month

$1201/month

$1326/month

$2430/month

Bridgeland

$975/month

$1395/month

$1865/month

C$2650/month

South Calgary

$950/month

$1050/month

$1150/month

No Data

Willow Park

$929/month

$999/month

$1149/month

No Data

Lakeview

$913/month

$1209/month

$1359/month

$1659/month

(*Zumper & Wowa – Calgary)

How much is rent in Calgary?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Calgary is $1,395.

Cost of rent in Toronto

Rents in Toronto have skyrocketed over the past years. Here’s a table depicting the cost of rent in Toronto:

Neighborhood

Studio 

1 bedroom

2 bedroom

3 bedroom

North Toronto 

$1500/month

$2097/month

$2600/month

$3651/month

Entertainment District 

$1799/month

$2288/month

$3200/month

$4100/month

Park Dale 

$1425/month

$1683/month

$2279/month

$2600/month

Stone Gate Queens way 

$1575/month

$2150/month

$3000/month

$3500/month

The Annex

$1600/month

$2050/month

$3000/month

$3700/month

Bay Street Corridor 

$1850/month

$2200/month

$3200/month

$4698/month

The Village 

$1650/month

$2050/month

$3000/month

$4300/month

Garden District 

$1700/month

$2098/month

$2700/month

$3500/month

Saint James Town 

$1363/month

$1571/month

$1950/month

$2750/month

Fashion district 

$1950/month

$2050/month

$3182/month

$4784/month

Forest Hill 

$1500/month

$1798/month

$2200/month

$4199/month

Willowdale

$1950/month

$2100/month

$2650/month

$3364/month

High Park 

$1435/month

$1750/month

$2700/month

$3250/month

(*Zumper & Wowa – Toronto)

How much is rent in Toronto?

The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Toronto is $2,100.

Job opportunities in Calgary vs. Toronto

Calgary and Toronto are respectively the two most active job markets in Canada, with a hiring percentage of 8.6% and 7.2% respectively. Calgary’s economy is concentrated by oil and gas companies, while Toronto has a diverse economy. 

According to the list of 100 best cities to find a job, Calgary is among the world’s top three cities for job seekers. Several variables were taken into account in producing the list, including the economy’s strength, the level of life, and the employment prospects for young people, women, and foreigners. 

Calgary is renowned for using digital technology to address contemporary problems. Healthcare professionals, trade managers, computer programmers, and information system analysts and consultants have the most demand for employment.

If you have talents, Toronto’s job market is robust. Technology, healthcare, and finance are a few industries that are always improving. Toronto’s economy is extremely diversified and is the global leader in biotechnology and bioengineering. The most highly paid occupations are web developers, HR managers, electrical engineers, financial advisors, and healthcare officers.

(*Workopolis, CandaWiz, Life in Calgary, Alberta.ca)

Salary Comparison in Calgary vs. Toronto

The table below compares the average salary of common professions in Toronto and Calgary:

Job title

The average salary in Calgary (CAD)

The average salary in Toronto (CAD)

Dentist

$164762

$106906

Physician

$179261

$115025

Pharmacist

$107319

$83568

Business developer

$105698

$79093

Hardware engineer

$91854

$80635

Chemical engineer

$85097

$64582

Product manager

$87858

$69956

Finance manager

$87699

$88475

IT manager

$99974

$86109

Mobile developer

$59907

$68657

Sales manager

$71969

$76730

Operations manager

$70486

$71183

Software engineer

$72205

$107187

Architect

$72017

$61528

Financial analyst

$66550

$67123

Research scientist

$70732

$65768

UX designer

$69931

$67215

Teacher

$62936

$52133

Interior designer

$47690

$56985

Chef

$45531

$41214

Customer support agent

$41246

$38388

The average salaries are higher in Calgary for most of the professions than in Toronto. Software engineers, interior designers, financial analysts, and managers are paid higher in Toronto. 

(*Teleport – Toronto & Teleport – Calgary)

girl on bike

Cost of living in Calgary vs. Toronto

In comparison to Toronto, Calgary has a 19% lower cost of living. Both these cities are listed as the 1876th (Calgary) and 253rd (Toronto) in the list of most expensive cities in the world.

Toronto’s consumer prices are 0.40 percent cheaper than Calgary’s (without rent) but 12.81 percent more expensive than Calgary’s with rent. The rent costs of Toronto are 45.15 percent more expensive than Calgary’s rent costs. Restaurant prices in Toronto are 7.52 percent higher than those in Calgary, but the cost of groceries is 0.37 percent lower in Toronto.

City

Cost Of Living Index

Calgary

73.45

Toronto

73.16

(*Numbeo)

Average monthly living costs in Calgary and Toronto

The following table sums up the average monthly expenses in Calgary and Toronto:

Category

*For 1 person

Calgary

Toronto 

Average house price 

$520,000

$1,212,806

Average monthly rent price (1 bedroom in City Centre)

$1360.03

$2,120.57

Public transit (One-way ticket)

$3.60

$3.25

Groceries

$277,23

$274,33

Utilities (electricity + internet) 

$326.81

$226.08

Cell phone plan

$80, unlimited talk, text, and data included

$80, unlimited talk, text, and data included

Gym membership (monthly)

$81.19

$64.24

Clothing and shoes (1 pair each)

$235.45

$257.23

Total

$2505

$3135

*Cost of groceries for one person is multiplied by 2,5 for a monthly average

(*Numbeo)

FAQ - The most frequently asked questions about Calgary and Toronto

What is the biggest difference between Calgary and Toronto?

Obviously the large gap between the cost of living and the housing market where Calgary is cheaper. However Toronto has a very diverse population and culture and offers more options for activities. Also, Calgary and Toronto are on different geographic positions in Canada where Calgary is in the northern part and Toronto is close to the French part and its US neighbours. 

Where to Live in Calgary?

Lifestyle

Neighborhood

Young Professionals 

Beltline and Downtown Calgary

Families

Chinatown, Bridgeland and Inglewood

Students

St. Andrews Heights and Sunnyside

Where to live in Toronto?

Lifestyle

Neighborhood

Young professionals 

Yonge-Eglinton, Liberty Village and King West

Families

Chinatown, Bridgeland and Inglewood

Students

Harbourfront, Cabbagetown and Church-Wellesley

Is tax cheaper in Calgary vs. Toronto?

In the province of Alberta, they have GST which is set at about 5%. They do not have a provincial tax. 

Income tax rates in Alberta

Applicable tax on the taxable income includes:

  • 10% on the first $131,220 of taxable income, +.
  • 12% on the next $26,244, +.
  • 13% on the next $52,488, +.
  • 14% on the next $104,976, +.
  • 15% on the amount over $314,928

For Toronto , they have the standard GST set at 5% and the PST set at 8% as a provincial sales tax. 

Income tax rates in Toronto

Applicable tax on the taxable income includes:

  • 5.05% on the first $45,142 of taxable income.
  • 9.15% on the next $45,145 and over.
  • 11.16% on the next $59,713 and over.
  • 12.16% on the next $70,000 and over.
  • 13.16 % on the amount over $220,000.

Federal tax rates

The federal tax rate is the same in both cities. Applicable tax on the taxable income includes:

  • 15% on the first $50,197 of taxable income, plus
  • 20.5% on the next $50,195 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over 50,197 up to $100,392), plus
  • 26% on the next $55,233 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $100,392 up to $155,625), plus
  • 29% on the next $66,083 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over 155,625 up to $221,708), plus
  • 33% of taxable income over $221,708

(*Alberta.ca, Canada.ca)

Conclusion

Calgary is significantly less expensive to live in than Toronto and if you’re looking to move into a house, the average housing is also much more affordable. It can also offer the advantage of a big city but on a smaller scale compared to Toronto which is the most populated city in Canada. Toronto also has a background that is more diversified than Calgary and can answer your needs to feel like you’re in a top modern city!  If you are planning to move soon, check out the 5 best moving companies in Calgary and the 5 best moving companies in Toronto

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