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

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

Suppose you’re considering relocating to a cosmopolitan city on the eastern side of Canada. In that case, the only one question that must have popped into your mind is: Living in Montreal vs. Toronto: Where Should You Live? 

The brief answer is that, when it comes to making money, Toronto, with a population of 2,731,571, is the finest city. Montreal, on the other hand, with a population of 1,704,694, is the largest francophone metropolis in North America and is more laid-back and relaxing, with a distinctly European feel thanks to the tremendous cultural influence in the city. 

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 Montreal vs. Toronto.

Statistics Canada Montreal (2021) & Statistics Canada Toronto (2021)

 

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Public Transit in Montreal vs. Toronto

The public transit in Montreal is known as the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), whereas public transit in Toronto is known as the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). If you heavily rely on public transit for your daily commute, it’s important that you know the cost of public transit in Montreal versus the cost of public transit in Toronto.

Keep scrolling to see all you need to know about these transits and their fares.

STM Fare Prices

The Société de transport de Montréal is a government-owned corporation that operates transit bus and rapid transit services in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The metro has been expanded to include four lines with 68 stations, more than 186 bus routes, and 23-night services. It is the most critical urban mass transit system in Canada and one of the largest rapid transit networks in North America. 

Here are all the essential fares that you can consider while traveling within Montreal. 

Bus and Metro fares in Montreal

Type of fare

Rate

Single ticket

$3.75

Daily pass

$11.00

Weekly pass

$30.00

Monthly pass

$97.00

747 Trudeau Airport/Downtown

$11.00

STM (Sept 2023)

What Are the Metro Opening Hours in Montreal?

The metro operates daily from 5:30 am to 1:00 am. On Saturdays, it operates until 1:30 am. Operating hours vary by line (green, blue, yellow, and orange).

 

TTC Fare Prices

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) operates three modes: subway, streetcars, and buses. The subway system is served by two major lines: the Yellow Line (from northern Yonge Street to Union Station and back north again), and the Green Line (beginning in the Etobicoke neighborhood and running through Central Toronto to the Scarborough district).

Refer to the table below to find the average cost of public transportation in Toronto.

Bus and Metro fares in Toronto

Type of fare

Rate

Single ticket (PRESTO one-ride ticket)

$3.35

Daily pass

(PRESTO day pass ticket)

$13.50

Fair pass Transit Discount

$2.10

Monthly Pass

$156.00

Toronto Transit Commission (Sept 2023)

What Are the Subway Opening Hours in Toronto?
The metro operates daily between 6 am to 2 am, Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, the metro operates between 8 am to 2 am. The exact time varies by station.

 

Montreal provides more affordable public transit than Toronto, with an efficient network managed by the STM. Residents aged 65 and over enjoy free rides within Zone A through the Free 65+ fare, while children aged 11 and under travel for free when accompanied by a supervising individual aged 14 or older. In contrast, the TTC in Toronto offers a different fare for seniors aged 65 and older, and children 12 or younger are eligible for a free ride.

 

Cost of Groceries in Montreal vs. Toronto

Groceries include items such as fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, milk, and others. Here is the average weekly cost of groceries in Montreal and Toronto for a few items.

 

Groceries costs

Montreal

Toronto

Milk (regular), (1 gallon)

$10.86

$14.39

Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb)

$3.69

$3.25

Rice (white) (1 lb)

$1.96

$2.07

Eggs (regular) (12)

$4.28

$4.55

Local Cheese (1 lb)

$7.32

$7.33

Chicken Filets (1 lb)

$7.28

$7.75

Beef Round (1 lb)

$7.94

$9.14

Apples (1 lb)

$1.98

$2.53

Banana (1 lb)

$0.88

$0.75

Oranges (1 lb)

$2.19

$2.57

Tomato (1 lb)

$2.43

$2.38

Potato (1 lb)

$1.23

$1.75

Onion (1 lb)

$1.43

$1.80

Lettuce (1 head)

$3.17

$3.44

Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)

$18.00

$18.00

Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)

$3.69

$3.26

Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle)

$4.31

$3.63

Average monthly cost of groceries for 1 person 

$330.56 per month.

$354.36 per month.

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

As a result, the monthly cost of groceries for one person living in Montreal is lower than that for one person living in Toronto.

 

What to do in Montreal vs. Toronto

When it comes to entertainment in Montreal versus Toronto, each city offers its fair share of amusements for residents. So, let’s review them one by one:

Entertainment in Montreal

Montreal is a city rich in history, with cobbled streets, historical monuments, and French cafés scattered throughout the Old Port. The city hosts numerous street fairs throughout the year, offering music, food, and drink. For nature enthusiasts, there are several hiking trails and nature parks beyond the city, with Mount-Royal in the center making it easier to hike during the day. Montreal Biodome is a beautiful indoor zoo and aquarium that offers a unique experience of the tropical rainforest in winter. Overall, Montreal offers a rich and diverse experience for visitors.

Entertainment in Toronto

Toronto is renowned for its high-rise buildings and skyscrapers, offering numerous walking tours and breathtaking sights. The CN Tower is a popular attraction, and visitors can enjoy fine dining and excursions along the Humber River. The largest city in Canada is also a hub for various festivals, such as the Toronto International Film Festival, Ashkenaz Festival of Yiddish Culture, and Toronto Caribbean Carnival, offering a diverse array of amenities for its residents.

Cost of Entertainment in Montreal vs. Toronto

Entertainment costs

Montreal

Toronto

Mid-range restaurant meal

$57.50

$55.00

Taxi 1h

$44.25

$33.00

1 cinema ticket

$15.00

$16.00

Total

$116.75

$104.00

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

Overall, the total entertainment expenses in Montreal slightly exceeded those in Toronto.

 

Housing in Montreal vs. Toronto

Montreal is generally considered more affordable than Toronto for homebuyers and renters. However, housing in Montreal can still be expensive, especially in certain neighborhoods and property types, primarily consisting of hundreds of thousands of prewar triplexes and walk-up apartment buildings.

While Toronto’s housing market is highly competitive, with average prices exceeding the national average. As you stroll through much of the city of Toronto, you’ll notice a suburban streetscape with two- and three-story detached homes converted into small apartments. This landscape is marked by gray concrete high-rises and glass luxury condo towers that are out of reach for most people to afford living in.

Cost of Housing in Montreal 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 Montreal vs. Toronto.

Cost of rent in Montreal vs. Toronto

Area/Neighborhood

1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Montreal (Outside of Center)

$1,221.81

$1,979.26

Toronto (Outside of Center)

$2,280.60

$3,434.43

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

Cost of buying a property in Montreal vs. Toronto

Area/Neighborhood

Average home price 

Montreal

$521,600

Greater Toronto

$1,141,400

CREA (Aug 2023)

How much is a house in Montreal and Toronto?
The average price of a house in Montreal is $521,600, while in Toronto it is $1,141,400.

 

Job Opportunities in Montreal vs. Toronto

Montreal and Toronto offer the same number of opportunities. Both cities are home to high-tech (particularly cybersecurity and AI), financial services/fintech, live sciences/healthcare technologies, and fashion/retail businesses.

In the field of artificial intelligence, Montreal is comparable to Toronto, as both cities host many software and fintech firms. For example, Facebook AI Research (FAIR), Google Brain, Microsoft Research, and DeepMind all have labs in Montreal.

Salary Comparison Montreal vs. Toronto

Here is a list of all the top professions and their average salary. 

 

Professions

Average salary in

Montreal

Average salary in

Toronto

Software Engineer

$102,398.40

$109,990.40

Data Scientist/Analyst

$92,040

$100,630.40

Registered nurses/ psychiatric nurses

$74,880

$79,040

Financial advisors

$72,800

$74,672

Audio and video recording technicians

$62,400

$63,440

Government of Canada Job Bank (Nov 2023)

 

Cost of Living in Montreal vs. Toronto

Looking at the table below, it becomes evident that the cost of living in Toronto is higher, as it is the largest city in Canada. Housing, grocery, utilities, transportation, and Internet costs all surpass the cost of living in Montreal. However, Montreal imposes higher provincial taxes because of additional services offered by the provincial government to its residents. 

 

Category

Monthly cost in Montreal

Monthly cost in Toronto

1 bed apt rent outside city center

$1,221.81

$2,280.60

Numbeo’s monthly grocery expenses

$330.56

$354.36

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

$110.21

$208.67

Internet with 60 Mbps

$59.54

$76.09

Transit pass

$97.00

$156.00

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

$116.75

$104.00

Gym membership 

$41.14

$72.73

Total

$1,977.01

$3,252.45

 

FAQ – The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Montreal and Toronto

What Is the Biggest Difference Between Montreal and Toronto?

In people’s minds, the biggest difference between the two cities is that they evoke very different images. While living in Toronto is modern and appeals to Americans, living in Montreal is considered more traditional, cultural, and European in nature. Moreover, the first language spoken in Montreal and in the province of Quebec is French. However, they are both cosmopolitan and dynamic cities to live in.

Where to Live in Montreal

Lifestyle

Neighborhood

Outdoor recreation

Verdun, Anjou

Families and Young Couples

LaSalle, Kirkland, Rosemont, Lachine

Accessible

Verdun, Lachine

Urban Lifestyle

Outremont

Where to Live in Toronto?

Lifestyle

Neighborhood

Outdoor recreation

High Park – Swanse, Oshwa, Whitby

Families and Young Couples

Steeles, Kingsway South

Accessible

Humber Heights- Westmount

Urban Lifestyle

Yonge & St. Clair

Is Tax Cheaper in Montreal vs. Toronto?

Income tax rates in Montreal (Quebec)

Applicable tax on the taxable income includes:

  • 14% on annual taxable income of $51,780 or less.
  • 19% on the next $51,780 up to $103,545.
  • 24% on the next $103,545 up to $126,000.
  • 25.75% on the amount over $126,000

Revenu Quebec (Jan 2024)

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

The federal tax rate is the same in Montreal 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 Montreal 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 Québec, there’s the PST (5%) and the GST, which is 9.975%, totaling a sales tax of 14.975%. Meanwhile, in Ontario, the HST is applied at a rate of 13% to purchases of goods and services.

Government of Canada (Sept 2023)

Conclusion

Toronto is all about towering skyscrapers and the fast-paced vibe of a big city, while Montreal takes things a bit slower with its European charm. Being Canada’s largest city, Toronto tends to be pricier than Montreal. It all depends on your preferences, as both cities offer fantastic opportunities to grow, and provide a wealth of exciting things to do and experiences to enjoy. However, there’s a notable difference in living costs and lifestyles between the two. 

If you are planning to move soon to either of these cities in Canada, check out the best moving companies in Toronto and the best moving companies in Montreal.

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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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