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

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

Calgary, ranked as one of the most livable cities 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, especially for individuals with transferable skills in the oil sector. 

On the other hand, Toronto is renowned for its numerous skyscrapers and high-rise structures, including the CN Tower, the world’s highest freestanding building. The sights and culture in Toronto are diverse, with its skyline, breathtaking islands, and Rogers Centre making it one of the most vibrant and fascinating cities in Canada. It is also conveniently located close to Quebec, the nation’s capital Ottawa, and the United States, not to mention Niagara Falls.

Moving to a new city can be one of the hardest decisions of your life. Our comparison guide will help you make the right choice for you between living in Calgary vs. Toronto.

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. While the C-train provides rapid transit, 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.

Calgary is divided into four quadrants, each served by Calgary Transit, with about 50% of the workforce relying on it daily. An impressive 87% customer satisfaction underscores residents’ trust in the service. One-way cash fares are offered, with discounts for children and students. Conveniently, day passes and monthly passes can be purchased and loaded onto a monthly pass card via the My Fare app.

Public transit fares in Calgary

Type of fare


Single ticket


10 Tickets


Daily pass


Monthly pass


Calgary Transit (Sept 2023)

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

The TTC operates four subway lines in Toronto, and there are two main lines — Line 1, which runs north/south, and Line 2, which runs east/west. Two additional shorter lines cover Scarborough and Don Mills.

Buses are equipped to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers. Upon boarding the bus, passengers pay their fare at the machine next to the driver. To travel to other GTA municipalities, commuters can take the commuter GO train from Union Station, Toronto’s top transport hub.

Public transit fares in Toronto

Type of fare


Single ticket (PRESTO one-ride ticket)


Daily pass

(PRESTO day pass ticket)


Fair pass Transit Discount


Monthly Pass


Toronto Transit Commission (Sept 2023)

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


Cost of groceries in Calgary vs. Toronto

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


Groceries costs



Milk (regular), (1 gallon)



Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb)



Rice (white) (1 lb)



Eggs (regular) (12)



Local Cheese (1 lb)



Chicken Fillets (1 lb)



Beef Round (1 lb)



Apples (1 lb)



Banana (1 lb)



Oranges (1 lb)



Tomato (1 lb)



Potato (1 lb)



Onion (1 lb)



Lettuce (1 head)



Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)



Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)



Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle)



Average monthly cost of groceries for 1 person 

$331.52 per month.

$354.36 per month.

Numbeo-Calgary (Sept 2023) & Numbeo-Toronto (Sept 2023)


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.

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, popular for mountain biking, skiing (downhill or cross-country), and horse riding are some common sports. 

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

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. Moreover, 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. The bars in King West, Queen West, and Ossington let you enjoy the nightlife to its fullest.

Cost of Entertainment in Calgary vs. Toronto

In Calgary, a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant costs only $50, compared to about $55 in Toronto. In Calgary, an adult must pay $76.78 a month for a fitness club, whereas in Toronto, that cost is $72.73. The price of a movie ticket for an international release in Calgary is $17.00, compared with $16.00 in Toronto. 

Entertainment costs



Mid-range restaurant meal



Taxi 1h



1 cinema ticket






Numbeo-Calgary (Sept 2023) & Numbeo-Toronto (Sept 2023)


Cost of housing in Calgary vs. Toronto

Calgary’s housing market can be competitive due to its appeal, with many drawn to its unique qualities, job opportunities, proximity to the Rocky Mountains, and strong economy, making it one of the best places to live in Alberta. On the other hand, Toronto has a very competitive housing market, and the average home prices are much higher than the national average, making it one of the most expensive cities in Canada to buy a home.

Cost of Housing in Calgary vs. Toronto

In the tables below, you’ll find two charts that display the average cost of renting an apartment, including two apartment types, and the average home price in Calgary vs. Toronto.

Cost of rent in Calgary vs. Toronto


1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Calgary (Outside of Center)



Toronto (Outside of Center)



Numbeo-Calgary (Sept 2023) & Numbeo-Toronto(Sept 2023)

Cost of buying a property in Calgary vs. Toronto


Average home price 





CREA (Aug 2023)

How much is a house in Calgary and Toronto?
The average price of a house in Calgary is $553,800, while in Toronto it is $1,141,400.


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 jobseekers. 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. In Calgary, healthcare professionals, trade managers, computer programmers, information system analysts and consultants have the most demand for employment.

While Toronto’s job market is robust in technology, healthcare, and finance, these 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.

CanadaWiz (Jan 2024)

Salary Comparison in Calgary vs. Toronto

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

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



Average salary in


Average salary in


Software Developer/Engineer



Registered Nurse



Financial auditors and accountants



Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians 



Assessors, business valuators and appraisers



Government of Canada Job Bank (Nov 2023)


Cost of living in Calgary vs. Toronto

Average monthly costs to live in Calgary vs. Toronto

In terms of living expenses, the cost of living in Calgary is more affordable than the cost of living in Toronto. The table below compares the cost of living in both cities, considering accommodation, groceries, transportation, and utility costs:



Monthly cost in Calgary

Monthly cost in Toronto

1 bed apt rent outside city center



Numbeo’s monthly grocery expenses




Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage



Internet with 60 Mbps



Transit pass




Meal, taxi, movie



Gym membership 






Numbeo-Calgary (Sept 2023) & Numbeo-Toronto(Sept 2023)


FAQ – The most frequently asked questions about Calgary and Toronto

What is the biggest difference between Calgary and Toronto?

Obviously, there’s a significant gap between the cost of living and the housing market, with Calgary being cheaper. However, Toronto boasts a very diverse population and culture, offering more options for activities. Additionally, Calgary and Toronto are situated in different geographic positions in Canada, with Calgary in the northern part and Toronto closer to the French-speaking part and its US neighbors.

Where to Live in Calgary?



Outdoor recreation 

Mission, Sunnyside

Families and Students

Edgemont, Varsity


Mount Pleasant, Killarney/Glengarry

Urban Lifestyle


Where to Live in Toronto?



Outdoor recreation

High Park – Swansea, Oshwa, Whitby


Steeles, Kingsway South


Humber Heights- Westmount

Urban Lifestyle

Yonge & St. Clair

Is tax cheaper in Calgary vs. Toronto?

Income tax rates in Alberta

Applicable tax on the taxable income includes:

  • 10% from $0.00 to $142,292 of annual taxable income.
  • 12% on the next $142,292.01 up to $170,751.
  • 13% on the next $170,751.01 up to $227,668.
  • 14% on the next $227,668.01 up to $341,502.
  • 15% on the amount over $341,502.01.

Personal Income Tax (Dec 2023)

Income tax rates in Toronto (Ontario)

Applicable tax on the taxable income includes

  • 5.05% from $0.00 to $51,446 of annual taxable income.
  • 9.15% on the next $51,446 up to $102,894.
  • 11.16% on the next $102,894 up to $150,000.
  • 12.16% on the next $150,000 up to $220,000.
  • 13.16 % on the amount over $220,000.

Canada Revenue Agency (Feb 2024)

Federal tax rates Calgary vs. Toronto

The federal tax rate is the same in Calgary and in Toronto. Applicable tax on the annual taxable income includes:

  • 15% on annual taxable income from $0.00 to $55,867.
  • 20.5% on the annual taxable income from $55,867 up to $111,733.
  • 26% on the annual taxable income from $111,733 up to $173,205.
  • 29% on the annual taxable income from $173,205 up to $246,752. 
  • 33% on the annual taxable income over $246,752.

Canada Revenue Agency (Jan 2024)

Sales tax in Calgary vs. Toronto

In Canada, there are three types of sales taxes: the federal GST (5%), the provincial sales taxes PST (varies depending on the province), and the HST, which is a combination of the two. In Alberta, there’s the GST only, set at about 5%, which applies to purchases of goods and services. Meanwhile, in Ontario, the HST is applied at a rate of 13% to purchases of goods and services.

 Government of Canada (Sept 2023)


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


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Ann Nacario

The author

Meet Ann – our head writer with a knack for making moving and city living a breeze. From the many details of moving to picking the perfect moving company, she’s your guide. Ann has a friendly yet detailed approach to ensure your move goes off without a hitch. When she’s not writing about relocation, it will always be on her mind, but you’ll catch her spending time with her three furry friends.

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