The Greenhouse
by Pine

Toronto vs. Calgary: Where Should You Live?

Toronto's bustling city life contrasts with Calgary's blend of urban development and natural beauty, offering distinct lifestyle choices.

Toronto vs. Calgary: Navigating Your Canadian City Choice

Choosing between Toronto and Calgary for your home is more than just a decision of location; it's a lifestyle choice. This guide delves into the heart of both cities, comparing their unique urban charms, natural wonders, and vibrant cultural scenes to help you find your ideal Canadian haven.

Calgary: A Blend of Urban and Natural Beauty

Calgary, known for its proximity to the Canadian Rockies, presents a different allure. Nestled against the backdrop of the majestic mountains, Calgary boasts a myriad of outdoor recreational opportunities, from hiking and skiing in the winter to hiking and biking in the summer. Its skyline, though not as towering as some metropolises, still sparkles with modern architectural gems. It offers a balance of urban development and natural beauty, making it appealing for those seeking a city life intertwined with outdoor adventures.

Toronto: Canada's Urban Powerhouse

Toronto, in contrast, is a big city with a famous skyline featuring the CN Tower, a symbol of Canada's modern architecture. It's the largest city in Canada and very diverse, with almost half of its people coming from different countries. This mix of cultures shows up in the food, neighbourhoods, and languages you hear on the streets. Toronto has lots of job opportunities and a good quality of life, which attracts professionals from all over the world. Plus, it's near natural spots like the Toronto Islands where you can escape the city. And for sports fans, Toronto has exciting hockey rivalries, especially with Montreal, making Canadian city comparisons lively.

Entertainment Excursions - Toronto vs. Calgary

Toronto’s Festive Tapestry

Toronto's entertainment scene matches its diverse population. The city is home to famous events like the Toronto International Film Festival and the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, which showcase its multicultural character. Aside from these festivals, you can explore places like the Royal Ontario Museum and art galleries by Lake Ontario to discover Toronto's rich history and artistry.

Calgary's Blending Urban Thrills

In contrast, Calgary blends urban entertainment with access to outdoor activities. Home to the famous Calgary Stampede, the city offers a unique Western flair. Calgary's proximity to the Rockies allows residents to easily transition from city-based entertainment like the EPCOR Centre for Performing Arts to outdoor adventures like hiking and skiing.

Safety Score - Toronto vs. Calgary

Calgary's Safety Data

  • Level of crime: 40.13 (Moderate)
  • Crime increase over the past 3 years: 68.62 (High)
  • Worries of home burglary: 34.30 (Low)
  • Drug abuse issue: 55.46 (Moderate)

Toronto's Safety Data

  • Level of crime: 47.33 (Moderate)
  • Crime increase over the past 3 years: 67.96 (High)
  • Worries of home burglary: 36.15 (Low)
  • Drug abuse issue: 55.58 (Moderate)

Transit Tales - Calgary vs. Toronto

Toronto: A Hub of Diverse Transit Options

Toronto's transit system, the TTC, is known for its extensive coverage, including buses, streetcars, and subways. The average fare is about $3.35, offering affordable access across the city. Toronto's transit network is crucial for navigating its bustling urban landscape.

Calgary's Transit Landscape

Calgary Transit provides buses and a light rail system, the CTrain, with an average fare of $3.60. While not as extensive as Toronto's, it efficiently serves key areas, making it a reliable option for daily commutes.

Job Jungle - Calgary vs. Toronto

Calgary's Economic Canvas

Calgary, the heart of Canada’s energy sector, stands as a beacon of opportunities, especially in oil and energy industries. It’s a hub attracting professionals in energy, environmental engineering, and related fields. The city, with its growing economy, offers a variety of career paths, not limited to the traditional energy sector. Calgary's bustling downtown and emerging tech scene are testaments to its diverse economic landscape, beckoning those seeking a blend of traditional and innovative career opportunities.

Toronto’s Occupational Oasis

Toronto, Canada's largest city and a significant North American hub, stands as a thriving center for finance, technology, and media sectors. It exerts a magnetic pull on professionals aiming to excel in diverse industries, notably the esteemed financial services and home insurance sectors, which collectively employ a workforce exceeding 3,855,500 individuals. Exploring Toronto's bustling downtown reveals a world of promising career prospects, making it an inviting destination for those seeking professional growth and opportunities.

Housing Costs - Calgary vs. Toronto

Toronto vs. Calgary Housing Tale

Exploring the real estate landscape of Toronto and Calgary offers a study in contrasts. Toronto, with its vibrant economic activity, sees average home prices at a steep $1,043,000, reflecting its high-demand urban market. In comparison, Calgary presents a more approachable market, with average home prices around $485,000, offering relative affordability.

Urban Rentals

The rental scenario differs significantly between the two cities. In Calgary, a two-bedroom apartment in the city center averages around $1,350 per month, while in Toronto, similar accommodation would cost approximately $1,900.

Investor's Perspective

From an investment viewpoint, Toronto's real estate market shows robust growth and high demand, making it an attractive but expensive option. Calgary, with its steady growth and more affordable entry point, offers appealing opportunities for investors seeking a balance of stability and potential.

Cost of Living - Toronto vs. Calgary

Housing Affordability

  • Toronto: High housing market, with average rent for a two-bedroom apartment around $1,900 and home prices averaging $1,043,000.
  • Calgary: More affordable, with average rent for similar apartments about $1,350 and average home price around $485,000.

Groceries and Dining Out

  • Toronto: Higher grocery bills and dining costs, with an average meal costing about $90, which is more compared to Calgary.
  • Calgary: More budget-friendly for groceries and eating out.


  • Toronto: Public transport (TTC) costs $3.35 per ride; residents often rely on public transport or cars.
  • Calgary: Public transport (Calgary Transit) slightly cheaper; the city also offers good routes for cycling.

Utilities and Miscellaneous

Tax Talk: Toronto vs. Calgary

Income Tax

  • Toronto: In Toronto, Ontario's progressive tax system means that the rate increases with income. The provincial tax rates range from 5.05% to 13.16% on top of federal tax rates. This structure can result in higher taxes for those with higher incomes.
  • Calgary: Alberta offers more favourable income tax rates, with a less steep progression. The provincial tax rates start at 10% and go up to 15% for the highest income brackets. This makes Calgary particularly attractive for those looking for a lower tax burden across all income ranges.

Sales Tax

  • Toronto: Toronto has a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) of 13%, which combines both federal and provincial taxes.
  • Calgary: In contrast, Alberta only has the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) at 5%, as it does not impose a provincial sales tax. This lower sales tax can make everyday purchases and services more affordable in Calgary.

Property Tax

  • Toronto: Property tax rates in Toronto are around 0.666274% of the property's assessed value, making it relatively attractive for homeowners.
  • Calgary: Calgary's property tax rate is slightly higher, at around 0.804700%. This can impact the overall affordability of homeownership, especially for first-time buyers.

Tax Benefits and Credits

Both Toronto and Calgary offer various tax credits and benefits to reduce the financial burden on residents, including federal and provincial initiatives.

Retirement Savings

Residents in both cities can take advantage of Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), where contributions are tax-deductible, aiding in long-term financial security.

Charting Your Urban Adventure

The choice between setting roots in Toronto or Calgary reveals a diverse spectrum of urban living in Canada. Each city is a microcosm of distinct cultural flavors, economic environments, and lifestyle choices. As you deliberate on your ideal urban setting, key financial factors like mortgage rates and property financing become crucial in this life-altering decision.

At Pine, we understand the importance of these financial aspects in your journey. Our direct mortgage services are tailored to assist you, whether you're captivated by the dynamic energy of Toronto or the unique blend of urban and natural allure in Calgary. With Pine, embarking on your urban adventure in either of these captivating Canadian cities becomes a streamlined experience.

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