Montreal or Toronto: Which city offers a better standard of living?

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To get the best quality of life, it may be difficult to choose between the two Canadian cities — Montreal and Toronto. Each city has its own perks and complexities that might make the choice hard. On the one hand, Toronto has a modern atmosphere with good employment opportunities and a rich cultural experience. Movers and packers in Toronto are the service providers to contact for the move. However, Montreal has a more diverse culture and an overall cheaper cost of living. To get the full picture, we’ll share some insights into housing, healthcare, education, employment, and lifestyle that these two cities offer to assist you in your final choice — Montreal or Toronto, which one will it be?

Cost of Living: Is It Cheaper in Montreal or Toronto?

Montreal offers a more budget-friendly lifestyle compared to Toronto. The overall cost of living in Montreal is 7.2% lower than in Toronto, excluding rent. This includes costs of items such as:

  • Groceries,
  • Transportation, and
  • Daily expenses.

With rent included, Montreal’s cost of living becomes even more appealing, being 18.6% lower than Toronto’s.

Rent prices significantly contribute to these differences. In Montreal, renting a place costs 36.6% less than in Toronto, which is considerably more attractive if you’re looking to save on housing. Even dining out is slightly cheaper, with restaurant prices in Montreal being 1.1% lower than in Toronto. Grocery shopping also shows savings, with prices 3.6% less in Montreal.

man in black beanie hat calculating expenses
For those on a budget, Montreal offers a more cost-effective lifestyle than Toronto.

However, it’s important to consider the local purchasing power, which is slightly lower in Montreal — by about 1.0%. This means that goods and services are less expensive, but Montreal’s relative income might not stretch as far as it does in Toronto.

For anyone considering moving from Toronto to Montreal, these figures suggest substantial savings in the cost of living, especially significant for those managing on a moderate income. You’ll have a more comfortable lifestyle where your dollar goes further in covering essential needs.

Employment Opportunities

Deciding between Montreal or Toronto? Job opportunities might be the key factor.

Job Market in Toronto

Toronto is the financial center of Canada, offering diverse job opportunities across many sectors. The city’s economy is blossoming, making it a prime destination for skilled individuals seeking career growth.

Key industries in Toronto include finance, technology, and business. These sectors provide a wide range of roles, from entry-level positions to executive roles, catering to various skill sets and career stages. The tech industry, in particular, has seen significant growth, with numerous startups and established companies setting up operations in the city. For those in finance and business, Toronto’s status as a financial center offers unmatched opportunities and potential for advancement.

man thinking about whether to move to Montreal or Toronto
Toronto offers a diverse job market, especially in the finance, technology, and business sectors.

Job Market in Montreal

Montreal, on the other hand, offers a more diverse and specialized job market compared to Toronto.

Key industries in Montreal include:

  • Aerospace,
  • Gaming, and
  • Multimedia.

These sectors offer unique job opportunities that may not be as prevalent in Toronto. Montreal’s aerospace industry is a global leader, with numerous companies and research institutions based in the city. The gaming industry is also booming, with several major game development studios located in Montreal. Also, if you’re looking for a job in multimedia and/or creative industries, Montreal is the place to find it. While Montreal may not match the breadth of opportunities found in Toronto, it offers great and enticing options for niche industries and creative professionals.

Cultural and Social Life

For those considering a move, understanding the distinct cultural and social atmospheres of Montreal and Toronto is crucial. Both cities offer exciting cultural lives, but the choice depends on whether you prefer Montreal’s European charm or Toronto’s cosmopolitan diversity.

Cultural Scene in Montreal

Montreal is renowned for its European charm and cultural scene. The city’s bilingual culture adds a characteristic flair, with French and English influences that blend almost unnoticeably. Montreal is famous for its lively festivals, such as the Montreal International Jazz Festival and Just for Laughs, which attract visitors from around the world. The city’s historic architecture, art galleries, and museums offer a rich cultural experience. Montreal’s diverse neighborhoods, each with its own character, provide endless exploration opportunities. For those who appreciate a mix of old-world charm and modern vibrancy, Montreal is the perfect destination.

Cultural Scene in Toronto

Toronto, on the other hand, is more cosmopolitan and diverse. The city offers a number of cultural experiences, versatile cuisines, and entertainment options. International moving companies in Toronto often highlight the city’s rich multiculturalism as a significant draw for newcomers. Toronto’s cultural scene is marked by numerous theaters, music venues, and festivals. The city’s diverse culinary landscape offers everything, from high-end dining to unique international cuisine. Toronto’s arts scene, including the Toronto International Film Festival, provides many opportunities for cultural enrichment.

Public Services and Infrastructure

Toronto has a well-developed public transit system that includes subways and buses. The city’s transit network effectively connects various neighborhoods, making commuting relatively easy.

In contrast, Montreal’s public transit system, comprising metro and bus services, is also highly reliable. However, Montreal stands out for its extensive network of bike paths and pedestrian-friendly areas, particularly in neighborhoods like Plateau Mont-Royal and Old Montreal. This could be a game-changer for everyone who prefers cycling or walking. Both cities offer quality public services, but Toronto’s transit system provides more coverage, while Montreal’s infrastructure supports a more bike-friendly and walkable lifestyle.

an elderly woman with a bicycle on a bike path
Montreal is known for its extensive bike paths and walkable neighborhoods.


Montreal experiences colder winters with heavier snowfall, which might be something to consider for those sensitive to harsh weather. The city’s winters are long and can be quite severe, thus affecting daily activities and transportation.

On the other hand, Toronto has milder winters but can become quite humid in the summer, leading to hot and sticky conditions during the warmer months. Both cities have distinct seasonal changes, which can impact daily life and comfort depending on personal preferences. Montreal’s snow is a plus for those who enjoy winter sports, while Toronto’s milder climate may appeal to those who prefer less extreme cold.

Making Your Choice

Choosing between Montreal and Toronto for a better standard of living depends on personal priorities and lifestyle preferences. Montreal offers a lower cost of living and rich cultural experiences, while Toronto, being the financial center, provides diverse job opportunities, a cosmopolitan atmosphere, and extensive public transit. For those considering relocation, understanding these differences is crucial. Long distance movers in Toronto can assist with the transition and give proper advice on the ultimate question — Montreal or Toronto. Ultimately, the decision hinges on what aspects of living are most important to you, whether it’s cost, job opportunities, cultural experiences, or climate. Both cities have much to offer, each with its distinct advantages.

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