Canadian Cities Compared

Here is a succinct, side-by-side review of some of Canada’s largest cities.

Canada’s Cities Compared

City Toronto Montreal Vancouver Calgary Edmonton Ottawa Winnipeg Halifax
6.5 million 4.3 million 2.7 million 1.5 million 1.4 million 1.4 million 0.8 million 0.4 million
Born Overseas 47% 34% 41% 29% 24% 20% 24% 9%
Mother Tongue English 51% 11% 54% 68% 71% 46% 69% 88%
Average House Price
Mid 2020
$870 K $435 K $1036 K $410 K $316 K $479 K $277 K $331 K
Median Total Income Per Household in 2018 $76,700 $62,300 $71,400 $83,500 $86,500 $80,500 $69,100 $58,600*
Average Income
Per Family Household (2018)
$100,400 $81,800 $94,200 $108,600 $105,100 $105,400 $86,700 $75,500*
Unemployment Rate
January 2020
5.5% 6.0% 4.5% 7.2% 8.2% 4.3% 5.2% 6.4%
Violent Crime Rate per 100,000 people (2018) 818 933 972 999 1,189 858 1,358 1,373
Crime Severity Index
(2018) **
53.6 58.3 84.3 88.1 114.9 54.9 119.4 67.3

* Novia Scotia figures.
** Takes into account the seriousness of crimes reported to the police.

Percentage of people in Canada’s provinces who have a job in 2013

Employment rates for Canadian provinces 2013

The economies of Canada’s cities and their provinces are closely related.

You can see from the chart (left) that:

›› the percentage of people in work is much higher in the Prairie Provinces than elsewhere in Canada.
›› a lower proportion of people in Atlantic Canada have a job than elsewhere.
›› the large population provinces of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia sit between the two ends of Canada’s employment spectrum.

Canada’s Top 18 Largest Cities By Population

The metropolitan populations of Canada’s largest cities are #:

Toronto, Ontario: 6.5 million
Montreal, Quebec: 4.3 million
Vancouver, British Columbia: 2.7 million
Calgary, Alberta: 1.5 million
Ottawa, Ontario: 1.4 million
Edmonton, Alberta: 1.4 million
Winnipeg, Manitoba: 0.8 million
Quebec City, Quebec: 0.8 million
Hamilton, Ontario: 0.8 million
Kitchener, Ontario: 0.6 million
London, Ontario: 0.5 million
Halifax, Nova Scotia: 0.4 million
St. Catharines-Niagara, Ontario: 0.4 million
Oshawa, Ontario: 0.4 million
Victoria, British Columbia: 0.38 million
Windsor, Ontario: 0.35 million
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: 0.33 million
Regina, Saskatchewan: 0.26 million

# These figures are 2019 estimates based on the numbers recorded in the 2016 census.

Compare Canada with Australia:
Canada vs Australia

Data Courtesy of:
Statistics Canada
The Canadian Real Estate Association

10 thoughts on “Canadian Cities Compared”

  1. Hello, me and my boyfriend are looking to live and work in Canada in about 2 years.after we have saved up. But a bit confused to where is best for Salary and cost of living. We dont want to be spending what we earn on just rent, bills and food.
    i am a Hairdresser and have been a fully qualified level 3 Stylist for 8 years now and my boyfriend is a level 3 Snowboard Instructor.
    Does anyone have ideas to where is best for us?

  2. I’m considering moving to Canada next year and the 1st city that comes to mind Van. But after all the reviews, comment, observations etc, from people that stayed, left and still living about Van. I got confused city i’d stay/ live.
    Some people ve mentioned cities like Calgary, Burnaby, kelowna, Richmond etc.
    well i’ll want a city that not too xpensiv and lots of job i’m a video editor…Any ideas?

    1. Therrie — video editor? Come to Toronto. It’s big, but there are relatively inexpensive places to live (as well as crazily expensive places too). There are lots of new-media jobs here. Ideally, find a job then a place to live that’s a close commute by transit (since traffic is really bad). The city is clean and the population very diverse. You mention Vancouver and it is nice but it’s quite expensive.

  3. I currently live in Winnipeg (2014) and can give my opinion about this city. Winnipeg is a smaller city with alot of green space, old and new architecture, very good arts culture and a variety of culture. It also has very poor infrastructure which will take decade’s to fix if at all possible, lots of low paying jobs, moderate to expensive rental property, moderate to expensive homes for sale depending on area and house/condo, very large immigrant population, horrible provincial government and a corrupt city council, and best of all… only two seasons. Construction and winter. Winnipeg is a current city of the past but is growing and modernizing itself to be as attractive as other big cities. More and more shops, restaurants and businesses are opening here which is good for competition. Crime is high but improving, taxes suck but they suck everywhere, provincial and national parks within a couple hours drive, some of the best fishing in the country, mosquitos, mosquitos and more mosquitos. New suburbs within 20 minutes, potholes that will swallow your car, festivals almost every weekend, did I mention mosquitos, -40 to +40, no earthquakes, very few tornadoes, no hurricanes, no mountains but we can see trouble coming days away, neighbors who say hi to each other, average school systems and average private school systems, no choice for auto insurance or liquor, 7 eleven and tim hortons on dam near every corner (most are non english), we have the NHL, CFL and minor league baseball, NFL and MLB within in hours. Winnipeg has almost everything to offer and if it doesn’t, a short drive and you can get it. Within the next decade, Winnipeg will be were Calgary is now.

    1. I was born in Winnipeg but at 5 year old my parents split and my mum moved us to white Rock B.C. I was devastated and would travel back and forth to Winnipeg and B.C. all through my growing years going to school in Winnipeg and B.C. At fourteen I permanently moved back with my dad in Winnipeg I felt like that was my home. I graduated from Sisler high school got a job and lived on my own downtown. I quickly new that I wanted to move back to Vancouver as it had so much more to offer but I stayed and had one child and visited my mum with my daughter and always wanted to move back. I did not fall through with my plans and stayed and had twins and a good job and lived as a single mum in Charleswood were I found a nice co op. I loved it but then Winter came and I though life sucked. All the days driving to work in the cold, kids and there snow suits, having not much to do. At thirty tears old said that’s it were moving to Vancouver and we did. Now I’m not much of a good writer but had to write this as I miss winnipeg re roundly. Maybe it’s because I did not come at the write time. The school systems here or on strike, my van got keyed, and I quit my job. It to me is fare more expensive then Winnipeg and I find it hard. Yes the view is beautiful everywhere and there is no snow but Winnipeg I miss you. The people, my family, the stores and the great schools.

  4. Here in Calgary there are not plenty of jobs available, many profesional people use to commute to Fort McMurry, live for families is very good though. Houses are a bit expensive but it’s a goog investment considering that there are several billion dollars projects waiting for Keyston or West pipeline approval but consider that jobs site will be North Alberta and people from here trying to get a better salary will have to commute which people from the East (Ontario, Quebec, and Maritimes provinces) are already doing now. This province is not the wild west that many people has in mind when I talk to them. I would suggest to visit this place and make a small research about jobs and facilities available.

  5. Kelowna, Fort McMurray, Regina, and St. John’s ought to be included here as many young people have been moving to these regions to work and/or study over the past 7 years especially.

  6. Vancouver – highest cost of living and one of the lowest median household incomes. If you have a pretty “ordinary” career, you will likely be struggling to make ends meet in or around Vancouver. Folks here under 33 who are living relatively easily have help from very rich parents overseas. Cost of living indicates that renting here is less expensive, but it is still quite overpriced and the quality of rentals are not good at all. Especially when compared to other centres.
    On a more positive note, while this site has indicated higher crime rates, if you aren’t involved in the drug trade, you wouldn’t really notice it. At least that has been the case for me living in the burbs of Burnaby and Coquitlam. Although due to crime I believe, people tend to be distrustful. Despite Vancouver’s multi-ethnic population, there is some noticable xenophobia.

  7. For anyone thinking to move to Montreal here are some good and bad points.
    Diversity is plentiful, you can be in any part of the city and always find a variety of foods in restaurants, caf├ęs, super markets and more.
    Most people here are pretty friendly.
    There are so many languages your almost certain to find someone speaking your language.
    Cost of living is average compared to other major cities.
    The crime is a little high, but still not to bad.
    The apartments are pretty dirty and run down so if you are looking to move here make sure to get something newer.
    There are several areas that have bug issues either cockroaches, ants, or spiders. Most cockroaches infestations are near the metro stations. The spiders and ants are closer to the water or wooded areas.
    Finding work can be very difficult if you don’t speak French and don’t have a diploma of some sort.
    Schools are plentiful in English, French and other languages.
    The weather can be pretty cold in the winter and humid in the summer, fall and spring can vary from wet and cold to mild.
    In my opinion if you don’t speak French don’t move here, unless it’s just for studies.

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