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Toronto vs. Montreal: What You Need to Know Before Moving Long Distance

July 05, 2024

Toronto vs. Montreal: What You Need to Know Before Moving Long Distance

Moving from Toronto to Montreal is an exciting opportunity to experience a new city with its own unique charm and culture. However, it's essential to understand the key differences between the two cities to ensure a smooth transition. This guide compares the cost of living, lifestyle, and job market in Toronto and Montreal, providing valuable insights to help new residents adjust.

Cost of Living: Toronto vs. Montreal

Housing: Finding Your New Home

When it comes to housing, Montreal generally offers more affordable options compared to Toronto. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Montreal is around CAD 1,200, while in Toronto, it can be over CAD 2,000. Similarly, purchasing property is less expensive in Montreal, with more affordable condos and single-family homes available.

For more detailed information on housing costs, visit Numbeo's Cost of Living Comparison.

Utilities and Groceries: Everyday Expenses

Utilities in Montreal are generally cheaper than in Toronto. Expect to pay about CAD 150 per month for basic utilities in Montreal compared to CAD 200 in Toronto. Groceries also tend to be slightly more affordable in Montreal, though the difference isn't as pronounced as in housing costs.

Check out Expatistan's Cost of Living Comparison for more details on utilities and grocery prices.

Transportation: Getting Around the City

Montreal's public transportation system, the STM, is efficient and affordable, with a monthly pass costing around CAD 90. In contrast, Toronto's TTC monthly pass costs about CAD 156. Both cities have extensive public transit networks, but Montreal's lower costs can be a significant benefit.

For more on public transportation, visit the STM website and the TTC website.

Lifestyle: Embracing Your New Environment

Cultural Scene: Arts, Dining, and Entertainment

Montreal is renowned for its vibrant cultural scene, boasting numerous festivals, such as the Montreal International Jazz Festival and Just for Laughs. The city's dining options are diverse and abundant, offering everything from fine dining to iconic local dishes like poutine.

Toronto also has a rich cultural scene with events like the Toronto International Film Festival and a wide variety of world-class restaurants. However, Montreal's European charm and artistic vibe often stand out to newcomers.

Learn more about Montreal's cultural scene at Tourisme Montreal.

Outdoor Activities: Parks and Recreation

Both cities offer excellent outdoor activities, but Montreal's Mont Royal Park provides a central green space that's hard to beat. The city's bike-friendly infrastructure and numerous parks make it ideal for outdoor enthusiasts.

Toronto has its own share of outdoor attractions, including the Toronto Islands and High Park, but Montreal's emphasis on outdoor living is often more pronounced.While Toronto boasts outdoor attractions like the Toronto Islands and High Park, Montreal stands out for its pronounced emphasis on embracing outdoor living experiences.

Discover Montreal's outdoor activities on Montreal's official tourism website.

Community and Neighborhoods: Finding Your Place

Montreal's neighborhoods each have their unique charm, from the historic Old Montreal to the trendy Plateau Mont-Royal. The city's sense of community and friendly atmosphere can make settling in easier.

Toronto's neighborhoods are equally diverse, offering various options for different lifestyles. However, the cost of living can make finding an affordable and desirable neighborhood more challenging compared to Montreal.

For a detailed neighborhood guide, check out Living in Canada.

Job Market: Opportunities and Work Culture

Employment Opportunities: Comparing Job Markets

Montreal's job market is diverse, with strong industries in aerospace, technology, and healthcare. While the unemployment rate is slightly higher than in Toronto, opportunities are abundant for bilingual professionals.

Toronto, as Canada's financial hub, offers vast opportunities in finance, technology, and media. The job market is highly competitive but provides higher salaries on average.

For more on job markets, visit Job Bank Canada.

Work Culture: Balancing Life and Work

Montreal is known for its relaxed work culture, emphasizing work-life balance. The city's European influence is evident in its leisurely approach to life and work.

Toronto's work culture is more fast-paced and competitive, reflecting its status as a major financial center. Professionals moving from Toronto to Montreal might find the slower pace refreshing.

Language Requirements: Navigating Bilingualism

French is the official language of Quebec, making it essential for newcomers to learn or improve their French skills. While many Montrealers are bilingual, proficiency in French can significantly enhance job prospects and integration into the community.

For language learning resources, visit Bonjour Québec.

Adjusting to the Differences

Language and Communication: Embracing Bilingualism

Non-French speakers moving to Montreal should consider taking French classes to ease the transition. Numerous language schools and community programs are available to help.

Making Connections: Building a New Social Circle

Joining local clubs, attending community events, and participating in social activities can help newcomers make friends and build a support network. Montreal's friendly and diverse community makes it easier to connect with others.

Practical Tips: Settling into Montreal Life

Adjusting to a new city can be challenging, but practical steps like exploring local markets, understanding public transit, and getting involved in the community can make the transition smoother.


Moving from Toronto to Montreal offers an exciting opportunity to experience a new lifestyle, culture, and community. While there are differences in the cost of living, lifestyle, and job market, the vibrant life in Montreal is well worth the transition.

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