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

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

Toronto is the most populated city in Canada, while Vancouver is the third most populated city. Both are big cities experiencing exponential growth due to their vibrant economies, exciting activities, and gorgeous scenery. However, choosing between these two cities may be challenging since they are so different. For example, Toronto has a cosmopolitan air that many people associate with New York City. On the other hand, Vancouver has a distinctively Western vibe, similar to cities like San Francisco or Seattle.

Let’s see how these two cities compare and which one you should choose as your new home. Since there are many aspects that you need to think about before you make a decision, our comparison guide will help you choose between living in Vancouver vs. Toronto.

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Public Transit in Vancouver vs. Toronto

The first and most crucial point to consider is transportation within the cities. In Vancouver, it’s TransLink, whereas in Toronto, it’s the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC)

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

Translink Fare Prices

TransLink is the regional authority for transportation in Metro Vancouver, overseeing a public transit system that includes buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus, and West Coast Express commuter train service. 

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

Bus and Metro fares in Vancouver 

Type of fare

Rate

Single ticket (1-Zone)

$3.15

Single ticket (2-Zone)

$4.55

Single ticket (3-Zone)

$6.20

Daily pass (All Zones)

$11.25

Monthly Pass (1-Zone)

$104.90

Translink (Sept 2023)

What Are the Public Transit Opening Hours in Vancouver?
The SkyTrain operates from 5 am to 1 am on weekdays, from 6 am to 1 am on Saturdays, and from 7 am to 1 am on Sundays. The exact schedule may vary by train.

 

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.

 

So we can say that one significant difference between the two is that TransLink operates zone-wise and offers a compass card along with concessions. Thus making it cheaper than TTC.

 

Cost of Groceries in Vancouver vs. Toronto

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

 

Groceries costs

Vancouver

Toronto

Milk (regular), (1 gallon)

$12.34

$14.39

Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb)

$3.88

$3.25

Rice (white) (1 lb)

$2.48

$2.07

Eggs (regular) (12)

$6.01

$4.55

Local Cheese (1 lb)

$8.05

$7.33

Chicken Fillets (1 lb)

$8.32

$7.75

Beef Round (1 lb)

$8.78

$9.14

Apples (1 lb)

$2.45

$2.53

Banana (1 lb)

$0.86

$0.75

Oranges (1 lb)

$2.26

$2.57

Tomato (1 lb)

$2.58

$2.38

Potato (1 lb)

$2.01

$1.75

Onion (1 lb)

$1.56

$1.80

Lettuce (1 head)

$3.56

$3.44

Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)

$20.00

$18.00

Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)

$4.22

$3.26

Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle)

$4.58

$3.63

Average monthly cost of groceries for 1 person 

$375.76 per month.

$354.36 per month.

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

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

What to Do in Vancouver vs. Toronto

Are you looking for something fun to do in both cities? We have got you covered. 

Entertainment in Vancouver

Do you want to work in a metropolis and spend every night or weekend outdoors? Then Vancouver is the best option for you. Outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, running, skiing, paddling, and diving, are available near the city center. You can also drive up the Sea-to-Sky Highway, hike the Grouse Grind, cycle around Stanley Park, and kayak in Deep Cove. There are plenty of activities for you to experience nature firsthand. However, the city also offers numerous indoor activities, such as excellent restaurants, exciting festivals, and art galleries.

Entertainment in Toronto

Toronto is ideal for people who enjoy living in big cities, offering everything a city dweller desires and more. However, if you’re a nature lover, Toronto might not be your top choice. Yet, the beautiful Toronto Music Garden provides a serene place to experience the purest form of nature. Excursions along the Humber River and dining on its picturesque banks are also beloved activities among Toronto residents. 

Art lovers can enjoy a stroll through the Art Gallery of Ontario. Also, as the largest city in Canada, it hosts different festivals throughout the year, including the Toronto International Film Festival, Ashkenaz Festival of Yiddish Culture, and Toronto Caribbean Carnival, ensuring there’s always something to keep you entertained.

Cost of Entertainment in Vancouver vs. Toronto

Entertainment costs

Vancouver

Toronto

Mid-range restaurant meal

$50.00

$55.00

Taxi 1h

$40.00

$33.00

1 cinema ticket

$18.00

$16.00

Total

$108.00

$104.00

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

The cost of entertainment in Vancouver and Toronto is approximately the same. However, it is a little bit less expensive in Toronto. 

 

Housing in Vancouver vs. Toronto

Vancouver presents a competitive housing and real estate market, with average home prices exceeding the national average. Consequently, it ranks among Canada’s most expensive cities to purchase a home, alongside Toronto.

Cost of Housing in Vancouver 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 Vancouver vs. Toronto.

Cost of rent in Vancouver vs. Toronto

Area/Neighborhood

1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Vancouver (Outside of Center)

$2,240.70

$3,791.40

Toronto (Outside of Center)

$2,280.60

$3,434.43

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

Cost of buying a property in Vancouver vs. Toronto

Area/Neighborhood

Average home price 

Vancouver

$1,208,400

Greater Toronto

$1,141,400

CREA (Aug 2023)

How much is a house in Vancouver and Toronto?
The average price of a house in Vancouver is $1,208,400, while in Toronto it is $1,141,400.

 

Job Opportunities in Vancouver vs. Toronto

The economy of British Columbia is known for its diversity and strength. In Vancouver, people work in various roles such as software development, accounting, marketing, and across different businesses. Outside the city, there are plenty of outdoor employment options available for individuals with varying skill levels. Within Canada, the province has one of the most robust and diverse economies. On the other hand, Toronto’s job market is heavily focused on banks and financial institutions. While this is great for those in the financial sector, Vancouver often provides better opportunities for those seeking employment in other industries.

Salary Comparison Vancouver vs. Toronto

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

 

Professions

Average salary in

Vancouver

Average salary in

Toronto

Software Engineer

$110,240

$109,990.40

Data Scientist/Analyst

$95,409.6

$100,630.40

Registered nurses/ psychiatric nurses

$87,360

$79,040

Financial advisors

$78,000

$74,672

Audio and video recording technicians

$71,136

$63,440

Government of Canada Job Bank (Nov 2023)

 

Cost of Living in Vancouver vs. Toronto

Thinking about how a new place feels is important, but it’s also crucial to think about how much money you’ll need to live comfortably there. When you look at the table below, you’ll see that the cost of living in Toronto is higher. This is because it’s a bigger city, so things like housing, utilities, and transportation are more expensive. However, living costs in Vancouver are pretty similar to Toronto.

Category

Monthly cost in Vancouver

Monthly cost in Toronto

1 bed apt rent outside city center

$2,240.70

$2,280.60

Numbeo’s monthly grocery expenses

$375.76

 $354.36

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

$144.08

 $208.67

Internet with 60 Mbps

$85.50

$76.09

Transit pass

$104.90

$156.00

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

$108.00

$104.00

Gym membership 

$60.94

$72.73

Total

$3,119.88

$3,252.45

 

FAQ- The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Vancouver and Toronto

What Is the Biggest Difference Between Vancouver and Toronto?

Here are the significant differences between the two: 

  • Toronto is in Ontario, while Vancouver is in British Columbia.
  • Toronto sits on Lake Ontario, whereas Vancouver is an island city.
  • Toronto is a global financial center, while Vancouver depends on forestry and tourism.
  • The climates vary significantly between the two cities.
  • Both cities offers diverse populations and cultural offerings.

Where to Live in Vancouver?

Lifestyle

Neighborhood

Outdoor recreation

Coquitlam

Families and Young Couples

White Rock, North Vancouver

Accessible

Abbotsford

Urban Lifestyle

West Vancouver

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 Vancouver vs. Toronto?

Income tax rates in Vancouver (British Columbia)

Applicable tax on the taxable income includes:

  • 5.05% from $0 to $47,937 of annual taxable income.
  • 7.70% on the next $47,937.01 up to $95,875.
  • 10.50% on the next $95,875.01 up to $110,076.
  • 12.29% on the next $110,076.01 up to $133,664.
  • 14.70% on the next $133,664.01 up to $181,232.
  • 16.80% on the next $181,232.01 up to $252,752.
  • 20.50% on the amount over $252,752.

Canada Revenu Agency (Feb 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 Vancouver 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 rates Vancouver vs. Toronto

In Canada, there are three types of sales taxes that vary by province. In British Columbia, there are two separate taxes: the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which are set at approximately 7% and 5%, respectively. When combined, they total 12% and apply to purchases of goods and services. In Ontario, the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is used, which is equivalent to 13% and applies to purchases of goods and services.

Government of Canada (Sept 2023)

Conclusion

Both are major cities in Canada, and therefore, they offer plenty of opportunities and activities. Even though both cities are expensive, the cost of living in Vancouver is slightly lower compared to that in Toronto. However, Vancouver might be a better choice for you if you are a nature lover. It all depends on your preferences. If you are planning to move soon, check out the best moving companies in Vancouver 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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