Ottawa vs. Toronto Where should you live

Living in Ottawa vs Toronto: Where Should You Live?

Ottawa, the capital of Canada, has a diverse and multicultural population. The city is surrounded by natural beauty, unpolluted air, land, and water. World-class beautiful locales include Parliament Hill and the Ottawa River.

Toronto is well known for its skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, notably the CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the world. Toronto has a wide variety of attractions and cultures. Quebec, stunning lakes, and Ottawa, the nation’s capital, are nearby.

Compared to Toronto, Ottawa offers far cheaper homes to move in. An average one-bedroom apartment in Toronto costs $2,230, whereas you can get one in Ottawa for $1,270.

Our guide on Living in Ottawa vs. Toronto explains the pros and cons of living in each city regarding public transit, cost of groceries, entertainment, housing, and the job market.


Ottawa vs. Toronto

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Public transit in Ottawa vs. Toronto

The city of Ottawa two city transportation systems:

On the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, the Société de Transport de l’Outaouais, generally known as STO, dominates public transit. You can pay with cash on the bus while purchasing tickets and day passes (Occasional Multi-pass) at service points and recharge stations at specific pharmacies, convenience stores, and malls. Young children under five travel for free.

On the Ontario side of the Ottawa River, OC Transpo runs buses, and the O-Railway, Ottawa’s light rail train. You can buy tickets and day passes with cash on the bus, with a credit card, or cash at any O-Train stop, some pharmacies, grocery stores, and the CF Rideau Centre. Children under the age of seven can travel for free.


Public transit Fares in Ottawa

The fares for OC Transpo service are as follows.



Day Pass

Monthly Pass

Adults (20-64 years)




Youth (12-19 years)




Children (0-7 years)




Kids (8-12 years)




Seniors (65 years+)




(*OC Transpo: Fares & Our Services)

The fares of the STO is as follows: 



Day Pass

Monthly Pass

Adults (20-64 years)







$64.50 or

$224 per semester

Kids (6-11 years)



Seniors (65 years+)




How much is a transit monthly pass in Ottawa?


The cost of a public transit monthly pass in Ottawa is either $125.50 or $101 depending on if you are in the Quebec or Ontario side.

Public transit in Toronto

Toronto Transit Commission, the third-largest transportation system in North America, is the city’s regional transit agency. The Greater Toronto Area, which consists of Toronto and the adjacent municipalities, is covered by TTC (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 arrive often and have wheelchair- and stroller-accessible exits. You pay your fare at the machine adjacent to the bus driver as soon as you board. In Toronto, TTC manages four subway lines.

The streetcars in Toronto are powered by electricity from overhead power lines. Taking the streetcar is similar to taking the bus. You can take the commuter GO train from Union Station, Toronto’s primary transportation center, to other GTA municipalities.


Public transit fares in Toronto


Regular route

Day pass

Monthly pass





Youth  (13-19)




Seniors (65+)




(*ArrriveIn, Toronto Transit Commission)

How much is a transit monthly pass in Toronto?


The cost of a public transit monthly pass in Toronto is $156

Cost of groceries in Ottawa vs. Toronto

The cost of groceries in Ottawa vs Toronto is compared below:

The average cost of groceries (Items X kg)



Milk (1 liter) 



Loaf of fresh white bread (500g)



Rice (white), (1 kg) 



Eggs (12)



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)




What is the average cost of groceries for 1 person in Ottawa?


The average cost of groceries for 1 person in Ottawa is $263.68

*Groceries for one person are multiplied by 2.5 for a monthly average. 

What is the average cost of groceries for 1 person in Toronto?


The average cost of groceries for 1 person in Toronto is $274.33

*Groceries for one person are multiplied by 2.5 for a monthly average.

Living in ottawa vs. toronto where should you live

What to do in Ottawa vs. Toronto

Entertainment in Ottawa

Here’s what you can do in Ottawa:

  • You can visit Parliament Hill or take a stroll along the Rideau Canal. Visit the National Gallery of Canada if you enjoy the arts and museums.
  • Shop and eat at the ByWard Market — a venerable farmer’s market and a favorite hangout for bars and restaurants. 
  • Try whitewater rafting, kayaking, and bungee jumping on the Ottawa River.
  • Join the festivities at Ottawa’s various festivals. Experience Canada Day, the nation’s largest party. During the Canadian Tulip Festival, ogle over a million tulips. 
  • Join the host for a party at the RBC Bluffest, Ottawa Chamberfest, and Ottawa Jazz Festival.

There’s unlimited activities to choose from!

The culinary landscape in Ottawa is constantly being raised to tastier new heights by talented chefs. You’ll always have a highly rated restaurant nearby.

The museums in the Ottawa region regularly include unique exhibits, with the Museum of Nature particularly noteworthy for its displays of stuffed animals, dinosaurs, and minerals.

(*Ottawa Tourism & The planet D)

Entertainment in Toronto

Toronto is known for its natural beauty, which includes magnificent lake vistas from the tops of the cliffs. Hiking is the most popular activity, and you can either drive up or hike the 300-foot cliffs. Additionally, Bluffer’s Park has a sandy beach with areas for picnics.

The incredible library system and accessibility to a plethora of community centres with greatly subsidized activities like yoga, swimming lessons, painting, and learning to code are just a few of the attractions. There are also museums, galleries, film festivals, live music venues, opera, ballet, musicals, and theater productions of all sizes.

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.


Cost of entertainment - Ottawa vs. Toronto

Compared to roughly $100 in Toronto, a three-course supper for two at a mid-range restaurant costs only $80 in Ottawa. In Toronto, a health club membership costs $59.4 compared to $70.05 in Ottawa for an adult. An international release movie ticket costs $15.50 in Ottawa, while it costs $15.00 in Toronto.


Cost of housing in Ottawa vs. Toronto

The average price of a property sold in Ottawa’s housing market fell to $719,940 in May 2022, down from the $757,230 mark in March 2022 by 4.9 percent. From May 2021, that represents an increase of 7.5 percent annually. In comparison to last year, fewer homes have been sold. Despite a 46 percent spike in average prices over the past two years, Toronto’s real estate market continues to command much higher property prices.

In May 2022, the average home sold price in Toronto fell month over month for the third straight month as the city’s housing market declined. The GTA’s typical sales price for May 2022 was $1,212,806. Fewer sales occurred in the Toronto housing market in May 2022.

(*Wowa – Ottawa & Wowa – Toronto

How much is a house in Ottawa?


The average cost of a house in Ottawa is $719,940

How much is a house in Toronto?


The average cost of a house in Toronto is $1,212,806

Cost of rent in Ottawa

Rent in Ottawa varies 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:



1 bedroom

2 bedroom

3 bedroom

Sandy Hill





Centre Town





Lower Town





Centretown West















Downtown Ottawa









Blossom Park





Michelle Heights














Hunt Club Estate






How much is rent in Ottawa?


The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Ottawa is $1,600.

Cost of rent in Toronto

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



1 bedroom

2 bedroom

3 bedroom

North Toronto 





Entertainment District 





Park Dale 





Stone Gate Queens way 





The Annex





Bay Street Corridor 





The Village 





Garden District 





Saint James Town 





Fashion district 





Forest Hill 










High Park 





(*Zumper & Wowa – Toronto)

How much is rent in Toronto?


The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Toronto is $1,915.

Ottawa vs. Toronto Where should you live

Job opportunities in Ottawa vs. Toronto

For many years, Ottawa has led the world in telecommunications innovation. The capital of Canada is currently one of North America’s most vibrant and varied innovation centers. 

Companies worldwide are drawn to Ottawa by its high concentration of technology expertise, affordable business costs, and high standard of living. It is Canada’s Silicon Valley with a high concentration of engineering talent. Given that Ottawa is the nation’s capital, the federal government is the largest employment sector.

If you have talent, Toronto’s job market is robust. Technology, healthcare, and finance are a few industries that are always booming. 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, CanadaWiz & Ottawa Business Journal)

Salary comparison in Ottawa vs. Toronto

The table below compares the average salaries of common professions in Toronto and Ottawa:

Job title

The average salary in Ottawa

The average salary in Toronto










Business Development



Hardware Engineer



Chemical Engineer



Product Manager



Finance Manager



IT Manager



Mobile Developer



Sales Manager



Operations Manager



Software Engineer






Financial Analyst



Research Scientist



UX designer






Interior Designer






Customer Support



(*Teleport – Toronto & Teleport – Ottawa)

girl on bike

Cost of living in Ottawa vs. Toronto

Ottawa and Toronto rank 1949th and 253rd on the list of the world’s most expensive cities, respectively. Compared to Toronto, Ottawa has a 20% lower cost of living. 

Without rent, Ottawa’s consumer prices are 3.01 percent lower than Toronto’s, while with rent, they are 10.19 percent less expensive. Compared to Toronto, Ottawa’s rent costs are 22.37 percent less expensive. Restaurant costs in Ottawa are 0.84 percent more than those in Toronto, whereas the cost of groceries is 7.12 percent lower in Ottawa.


Cost of living Index





(* & Numbeo)


Average monthly living costs in Ottawa and Toronto

The following table sums up the average monthly expenditures of living in Ottawa and Toronto. 


*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

C$80, unlimited talk, text, and data included

C$80, unlimited talk, text, and data included

Gym membership (monthly)



Clothing and shoes (1 pair each)






(*Numbeo &

FAQ - The most frequently asked questions about Ottawa and Toronto

What is the biggest difference between Ottawa and Toronto?

Ottawa is the capital city of Canada. The city is smaller than Toronto and offers a slightly less expensive cost of living. One of Ottawa’s biggest advantages is its housing market being much cheaper than Toronto’s. Nevertheless, Toronto can hold better job opportunities and diversity. 

Where to Live in Ottawa?



Young professionals 

Center town/Lower town and the Glebe


The Orleans and Kanata


Vanier and Sandy Hill

Where to live in Toronto?



Young professionals 

Yonge-Eglinton, Liberty Village and King West


Chinatown, Bridgeland and Inglewood


Harbourfront, Cabbagetown and Church-Wellesley

Is tax cheaper in Ottawa vs. Toronto?

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:

  • 15% for $45,105 or less.
  • 20% between $45,105 and $90,200
  • 24% between $90,200 to $109,755
  • 25,75% on the next $109,755, +.

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

(*Revenu Québec,,,


Toronto can offer its citizens an eventful everyday life with its bustling nightlife and opportunities. However if you’re interested in a calmer and less dense city, Ottawa is a perfect place while still having all the most important advantages of Toronto like outdoors activities and services. If you are planning to move soon, check out the 5 best moving companies in Ottawa and the 5 best moving companies in Toronto.

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