Between these two cities, one is a top Ontario city most often mistaken for the capital of Canada, while the other is well-known as a prosperous Alberta city and home to one of the world-famous Stampede. Calgary is more or less a young city and home to the financial and administrative headquarters of Canada’s petroleum industry.
The city sits where the Bow River and Elbow River meet in the southern province of Alberta. Bustling with over one million people, Calgary remains the most populous city in Alberta, but it does not have as many people as Toronto.
Toronto, the capital city of Ontario, is home to at least six million residents and it is the most populous in Canada. The city is a well-known global city, and the international hub for finance, business, arts, and culture. Choosing between both cities shouldn’t be too difficult as there are differences between the two.
Just as it was noted above, Calgary remains the largest city in the province of Alberta, Canada. Economic activity in Calgary is heavily dependent on the petroleum industry, agriculture, and tourism. A good number of petroleum companies in Canada have their headquarters in Calgary, and this has contributed to making Calgary one of Canada’s wealthiest cities.
In addition, note that one-in-three people living in Calgary were born outside Canada, therefore the city is very diverse with a population that consists of immigrants from outside Canada, with large Filipino, Indian, and Chinese communities. Just over one-third of the population is a visible minority.
Table of Contents
Pros and Cons of Living in Calgary
Yes, there are notable advantages and disadvantages of living in Calgary, and they include;
- Plenty of Sunny days
- Calgary Stampede
- No sales tax
- Good healthcare
- Low cost of living
- Clean city
- Great Location
- Crime rates have risen
- Traffic problems
- Schools are overcrowded
This city is renowned as the largest city in Canada. It boasts of being highly modern and always ranks as one of the most livable cities in the world. According to reports, almost everything you need to survive is available in Toronto. It is a very special city and is home to a powerful economy, vast green spaces, and a vibe that comes from having hundreds of cultures on its streets.
According to reports, over 140 languages and dialects are spoken in the city, and almost half the population of Toronto was born outside Canada. While it is not the capital city of the country, Toronto is, without doubt, the hub of many of Canada’s industries, and therefore makes available plentiful economic opportunities to new arrivals.
Pros and Cons of Living in Toronto
Just as with Calgary, there are numerous benefits and disadvantages of living in Toronto, and they include;
- Low crime rate
- Broad schooling options
- Wide range of neighborhoods
- Strong job market
- Eclectic food scene
- Incredible arts and culture
- Publicly funded healthcare
- A range of fun activities
- Challenging weather
- The OHIP only covers residents
- The city is expensive
- Traffic congestion
- Rent is expensive
Living in Calgary Vs Toronto
While they are both happening cities, there are several differences between Calgary and Toronto. Nonetheless, here are key comparisons to note;
Cost of Living
According to reports, the cost of living in Calgary is 23% less expensive than Toronto. Have it in mind that both cities are ranked 2014th and 266th ($1685 vs. $2197) in the list of the most expensive cities in the world and ranked 35th and 3rd in Canada.
Experts note that the average after-tax salary is adequate to cover living expenses for 2.3 months in Calgary compared to 1.7 months in Toronto. They are also both ranked 5th vs. 3rd best cities to live in Canada, and 41st vs. 25th among the best cities to live in the world.
Calgary more or less falls into the middle-ground in terms of cost of living calculations, especially when compared to Toronto and Vancouver. Toronto is a more expensive place to live, especially when it comes to housing, but the cost of living in Calgary isn’t all that far behind when it comes to these rankings.
Living in Toronto, particularly anywhere near downtown, can be very exorbitant. Rents are among the highest in Canada, and other standard monthly expenses such as phone plans, groceries, and transit are not cheap either. Calgary’s cost of living is cheaper compared to Toronto. Aside from having no provincial taxes, some neighborhoods can provide affordable housing options owing to a competitive housing market
Ideally, salaries in Toronto tend to be quite good across the spectrum. Reports have it that the Ontario minimum wage is $14.25 per hour as of October 2021, with slightly lower minimum wages in place for students and liquor servers.
Meanwhile, in Calgary, the living wage is $18.60 per hour, a 10% decrease from the 2020 living wage of $20.69, and a difference of 24% from Alberta’s minimum wage of $15 per hour. According to reports, a person working in Calgary will more or less earn around 126,000 CAD per year.
Note that salaries in Calgary can range from 31,900 CAD (lowest average) to 563,000 CAD (highest average, the actual maximum salary is higher). However, a person working in Toronto will make around 134,000 CAD per year. Also note that salaries in Toronto range from 33,900 CAD (lowest average) to 599,000 CAD (highest average, the actual maximum salary is higher).
Just as it was noted above, rents are among the highest in Canada, and other standard monthly expenses such as phone plans, groceries, and transit are also quite exorbitant. To get by in Toronto, note that a person needs to be earning a salary of $40,583 (before tax) to meet the living costs of the city.
However, if you are looking for a reasonably affordable city, then consider Calgary since its rents are affordable. Notably, now is a good time to rent or buy houses in Calgary with prices at relatively low levels. Studio apartments cost anywhere between $750-1,000.
A three-bed rental property in the city averages at around $1,200 – $1,800, while average house prices are generally between $420,000-470,000, and there’s little or no house price growth at the moment. While the living cost in Calgary especially in terms of housing is more expensive than in most Canadian cities, note that it is cheaper compared to Toronto and Vancouver.
Having a car in Calgary is often regarded as an asset since the public transport system isn’t as adequate as other major Canadian cities, and this can add to your overall living expenses in the city. However, living without a car is advisable for many people living in Toronto, as most people can get by without owning a vehicle.
Public transit, run by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), is substantial enough and can take you just about everywhere you need to go in Toronto. Note that a monthly pass costs $156 and gives you unlimited travel on the TTC for a calendar month. A single fare costs $3.25; therefore you’ll need to be making 45 trips per month, or 12 per week, for it to be cost-effective.
Meanwhile, in Calgary, an individual bus or train fare sets you back $3.30 per journey, but the C-Train is free to use between downtown stops. Running a car in Calgary can be relatively cheap, and a liter of gas costs around $1.25. The city is well served with Uber and taxi services, while you should also consider Car2Go if you want to drive but don’t feel like buying a car.
Calgary is a breath of fresh air from the overly crowded city of Toronto. Note that Calgary offers you a low cost of living and lets you increase your savings. Also, note that the city’s cost of living is cheaper compared to Toronto. According to reports, you would need around 6,606.63C$ in Toronto to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 5,700.00C$ in Calgary.