Montreal, the second-most populous city in Canada and the largest city in Quebec, is a cultural and economic hub. While Vancouver, British Columbia’s booming west coast seaport, is one of the country’s most ethnically diverse cities. Both cities are known for their breathtaking scenic beauty, rich culture, and unique activities. Deciding where to move is a difficult decision that requires considering living costs and much more.
The housing market in both cities has been booming for the past few years, reaching record-breaking prices. For the first time, Montreal reached $600,000 as the benchmark home selling price in April 2022. Meanwhile, Vancouver sees a continuous increase in housing prices for 13 consecutive months.
To help you decide where to move, let’s compare Montreal and Vancouver’s housing, groceries, transport, entertainment opportunities, and job industry. The cost comparison and statistics will help you decide where you should live.
Without further ado, here’s our guide on Living in Montreal vs. Vancouver.
Compare multiple moving quotes calculated across the same metrics
The STM metro (subway) system dominates the public transit network of Montreal. 4 long lines connect the downtown center to notable tourist attractions, train stations, and bus stops. The metro service is available from 5:30 am to 12:30 am on weeknights and until 1:30 am on weekends.
Besides STM, several other transit options are available in Montreal. The 747 Shuttle Airport system takes people directly from the airport to downtown. The BIXI bike-share service has 6000+ bikes available, which you can rent at a minimal price. The Exotrain is a good option for exploring the suburbs of the city.
Here’s a quick summary of transport costs in Montreal:
747 Shuttle Airport System
Free for children under 11
1$ unlock fee
(includes unlimited 45 mins and under)
What are the public transit opening hours in Montreal?
The STM metro system operates between 5 am to 12:30 am and until 1 am on Saturday.
Vancouver’s public transit is easily accessible, connecting major tourist sites. Rapid Transit SkyTrain is an automated system of trains running over and underground. Vancouver’s regional transport authority is Translink, with a coordinated network of buses and shuttles.
A door-to-door ride share service, HandyDart serves only people with physical and cognitive disabilities. SeaBus is a passenger-only ferry connecting DownTown Waterfront Station to Mission. Skytrain and SeaBus fares are divided according to the three-fare zones, while the bus charges a flat one-zone rate. Compass cards and concessions for children and the elderly are available.
The table lists fares for public transport in Vancouver.
Translink Day Pass
What are the public transit opening hours in Vancouver?
The Translink Skytrain system operates between 5 am to 1:30 am.
Both Vancouver and Montreal have an extensively laid out transit system. The cost of a one-time use of the transit system in Vancouver is less than in Montreal. But for everyday riders, Montreal offers multiple packages, such as the full-day fare, weekend fare, and evening fare, that can be cost-effective. Besides, the subway system in Montreal is significantly convenient and is expanding at a successful rate.
The table below compares the cost of groceries for one person living in Montreal vs. Vancouver.
Average cost of groceries (Items X kg)
Milk (1 litre)
Loaf of fresh white bread (500g)
Rice (white), (1 kg)
Local cheese (1 kg)
Chicken fillets (1 kg)
Beef round (1 kg)
Apples (1 kg)
Bananas (1 kg)
Oranges (1 kg)
Tomato (1 kg)
Potato (1 kg)
Onion (1 kg)
Lettuce (1 head)
Water (1.5-liter bottle)
Bottle of wine (Mid-range)
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter)
Imported Beer (0.33 liter)
The total cost of groceries for one person
When it comes to entertainment in Montreal vs. Vancouver, each has its fair share of amusements for its inhabitants. So, let’s review it one by one:
Montreal is full of culture, delicious food, and beautiful old architecture. It is recognized for its bustling nightlife, including jazz festivals, and its residents are known for being laid-back and appreciative of life. No other Canadian city, including Vancouver, could compete with Montreal’s well-known art, especially considering Montreal dedicates a whole neighbhorhood called Place-des-arts to it where you can experience many festivals, museums and activities!
Montreal’s annual comedy festival “Just for Laughs” occurs in June. There are several free live events, and comedy shows that you can attend all across the city — especially in the downtown area. Summers are especially fun with musical and cultural activities, while winters are harsh, there are plenty of outdoor and indoor activities to do. Besides, there are over 40 museums to visit in the city, including a historical center, the Old Port of Montreal.
Vancouver blows you away with its natural beauty, mountains, beaches like San Francisco and Los Angeles, and the ocean. Moving to Vancouver is perfect for biking, skiing, and sailing. The trip up to Whistler (the sea-to-sky corridor) is breathtakingly gorgeous. Even if you don’t want to hike, ski, or snowboard, there are plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy, such as the gondola up to Grouse Mountain or the restaurants and walkways along the seafront.
Both the cities are strikingly different but incredible, and there is a lot you can do in both Montreal and Vancouver. Living in Montreal offers greater ethnic diversity, vibrant nightlife, amazing food, and rich art, whereas Vancouver boasts scenic beauty, more outdoor activities, and pleasant weather.
Leisure activities like sports clubs and cinemas are abundantly present in both cities. The monthly fee for a fitness club in Montreal for one person is $46.37, 20% less than in Vancouver. 1-hour rent of a tennis court on weekends costs $21.50 compared to $14.23 in Vancouver, and the cost of an international release cinema seat is nearly similar in both cities. A three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two people costs $90 in Montreal compared with $100 in Vancouver.
The cost of entertainment is relatively less expensive in Montreal.
Montreal’s housing prices are consistently increasing, with an average crossing $600,000 for the first time in April 2022. Over the last few years, the real estate sector in Vancouver has been flourishing, with the number of agents and transactions reaching record levels. The housing market experienced 13 consecutive months of all-time high home prices.
In the table below, you’ll find a chart that displays the average cost of housing in Montreal, including various apartment types, as well as their rents and expenditures in three critical zones of Montreal.
Quarter Ville Marie
How much is a house in Montreal?
The average cost of a house in Montreal is $607,000
You can find rental costs of different types of apartments in multiple neighborhoods of Vancouver in the following table:
University Endowment Lands
Kesington Cedar Cottage
West Point Grey
The cost of living in Montreal is cheaper than in Vancouver in terms of housing costs and rent.
How much is a house in Vancouver?
The average cost of a house in Vancouver is $1,261,100
Montreal is suffering from an acute labor shortage. The manufacturing industry of Quebec has faced a loss of $1.8 billion in the last two years because of a lack of skilled workers. There will be an estimated 1.2 million job vacancies in the next decade and an influx of workers moving to Montreal. In-demand job titles include computer network technicians, engineers, teachers, health workers and programmers.
According to the labor force survey conducted by Statistics Canada, the professional, technical, and scientific services industry is booming in Canada post-pandemic. The West Coast, including Vancouver, has Canada’s lowest unemployment rates. The most in-demand jobs include the healthcare department, teachers, chefs and cooks, developers, and sales specialists.
Take a look at what average salaries look like for the most in-demand professions in Montreal and Vancouver:
Average salary in Montreal
Average salary in Vancouver
For the same professions, salaries are comparatively higher in Vancouver than in Montreal.
The list of the most expensive cities in the world ranks Montreal and Vancouver as the 2347th and 263rd, respectively.
Vancouver’s consumer prices are 6.28% higher than Montreal’s (without rent) and 19.55% higher, including rent. The cost of renting in Montreal is 41% less than in Vancouver.
Montreal’s restaurant prices are 13.67 percent lower than Vancouver’s. The cost of groceries in Montreal is 9.48 percent less than in Vancouver. To maintain the same level of living in Montreal as you would expect in Vancouver in 7,300.00C$, you’d need roughly 5,790.57C$ — assuming you rent in both cities.
Cost of living index
The cost of living in Montreal and Vancouver is compared in the table, considering accommodation, groceries, traveling, and utility costs:
*For 1 person
Average house price
Average monthly rent price (1 bedroom in City Centre)
Public transit (One-way ticket)
Utilities (electricity + internet)
Cell phone plan
$80, unlimited talk, text, and data included
$80, unlimited talk, text, and data included
Gym membership (monthly)
Clothing and shoes (1 pair each)
*Groceries for one person is multiplied by 2,5 for a monthly average
In short, moving to Montreal is 26% less expensive than to Vancouver.
Montreal is one of the lesser expensive cities in Canada while still being the second-most populous. One of the biggest differences between Montreal and Vancouver would be the culture, where Montreal is host to many French-Canadians while offering a more European feeling. Also, another stark difference is the weather where Vancouver’s weather is milder.
Young Professionals and Singles
Ville-Marie, Old Montreal, Outremont and Rosemont
Griffintown, Villeray & NDG
Plateau Mont-Royal and Milton Park
Gastown and Yaletown
Main street and Olympic village
In the province of Quebec, they have GST which is set at about 5% and their own provincial tax (TVQ) set at 9,975%.
Income tax rates in Quebec
Applicable tax on the taxable income includes:
For Vancouver, they have the standard GST set at 5% and the PST set at 7% as a provincial sales tax.
Income tax rates in Vancouver
Federal tax rates
The federal tax rate is the same in both cities. Applicable tax on the taxable income includes:
Both cities offer a very diverse community and a plethora of activities that’ll keep their citizens entertained all year round. However, Montreal offers a significantly lower cost of living than Vancouver, being the cheapest of the big cities in Canada. Also, Montreal being in Québec, it offers a perfect haven for french speakers all over the world and that makes it stand out from all the other cities in North America. Vancouver offers slightly better salaries and a more modern ambiance than the historic Montreal. If you are planning to move soon, check out the 5 best moving companies in Montreal and the 5 best moving companies in Vancouver.
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