Home to over 14 million people, Ontario is one of the most expensive provinces to live in Canada, but it is known for its high quality of life and is a beautiful place with many cities to choose from.
If you’re thinking about moving to Ontario, you need to consider the cities and towns that align with your budget and lifestyle. If you want to start a family, the smaller, more urban places might work for you.
On the other hand, if you want to be in the bustling city center with lots of opportunities, Toronto is a top spot.
In this article, we cover the top 10 best places to live in Ontario this year, including the best neighbourhoods in Toronto and the cheapest places to live in the province.
Best Places to Live in Ontario
The province of Ontario is a top pick for newcomers to Canada due to the many opportunities, quality of life, and things to do. Here is our list of the top 10 best places to live in Ontario.
Average rent cost: $2,356 for a one-bedroom apartment
Average cost of buying a house: $1,078,900
Cost of living: $1,416 (single person, without rent)
Although Toronto has one of the highest housing markets and cost of living in all of Canada and the world, there are a lot of opportunities.
It is the largest and one of the best cities to live in Ontario due to the stable economy, many employment and education opportunities, and things to do.
Toronto is a very diverse city, with lots of immigrants and international students coming from all over the world to work and study. It is a great city for families and is very multicultural.
There is no shortage of things to do and see in Toronto; however, you need to ensure you can keep up with the cost of living as it is very high.
Average rent cost: $1,735 for a one-bedroom apartment
Average cost of buying a house: $622,568
Cost of living: $1,337.50 (single person, without rent)
As the capital city of Canada, Ottawa has a population of 1.4 million. It is an urban environment with many employment opportunities across a diverse range of sectors. There are always activities, attractions, and many shops to check out.
Ottawa has a warm and friendly atmosphere and is favourable in all seasons. It boasts a high quality of life for a relatively low cost of living. It is very pedestrian and transit-friendly and was ranked the number one best place to live in Ontario by MoneySense.
Many students choose Ottawa as their destination for post-secondary school, with highly regarded universities such as the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.
Average rent cost: $2,400 for a one-bedroom apartment
Average cost of buying a house: $1,500,000
Cost of living: $1,223.49 (single person, without rent)
Oakville is a suburban city within the Halton region and is quite close to Toronto. It is a prime destination for those who work in Toronto but want a better quality of living or lower rent prices and can make the commute every day.
It is a perfect city for families and those who want to have a life away from bustling Toronto. Oakville is known for its cleanliness, safety, and many green spaces and parks.
In the summer, residents love to spend the day in the park and walk or bike the numerous trails. It is prosperous, affordable, and easy to get around.
Average rent cost: $2,180 for a one-bedroom apartment
Average cost of buying a house: $1,081,097
Cost of living: $1,188.10 (single person, without rent)
Just a 45 to 60-minute drive from Toronto, Burlington is a great city to live in Ontario. It is a superb location with quiet neighbourhoods and greenery, perfect for those raising a family.
Like Oakville, Burlington is a good city to live in if you want to access Toronto’s employment opportunities, amenities, and activities but enjoy living somewhere quieter.
Crime rates are lower compared to the bigger cities. There are a lot of parklands to explore, as well as a bustling downtown core with all the amenities you would need.
Average rent cost: $1,749 for a one-bedroom apartment
Average cost of buying a house: $795,796
Cost of living: $1,308.10 (single person, without rent)
As one of Canada’s top industrial centers, Hamilton is a great city to live in Ontario, with many natural landscapes, waterfalls, lookouts, and trails. It is conveniently located near many highways, making it an easy commute to other major cities.
Hamilton is considered a financial hub and is transitioning toward the service sector. There are many employment opportunities in those industries, and it is a relatively safe city to live in.
Like Toronto, Hamilton is a diverse city with access to affordable housing, top-notch healthcare, and a great culinary scene.
Average rent cost: $1,684 for a one-bedroom apartment
Average cost of buying a house: $603,135
Cost of living: $1,275.50 (single person, without rent)
Located in eastern Ontario, Kingston is a small town with the characteristics of a big city. Known as the Limestone City, it is very family-friendly and was recognized as a top city for raising a family by Today’s Parent.
Kingston has a vibrant cultural community with much interest in music, arts, and theatre. The city is surrounded by stunning views of the northeast shore of Lake Ontario. There are many city parks, walking trails, and restaurant patios.
Kingston also has a great food scene with several farmers’ markets, craft breweries, and wineries. Each of Kingston’s neighbourhoods has a variety of housing options – you can live downtown, in an urban area, or the surrounding countryside.
Average rent cost: $1,875 for a one-bedroom apartment
Average cost of buying a house: $751,983
Cost of living: $1,435.6 (single person, without rent)
Just one hour away from Toronto, Barrie is one of the safest places to live in Ontario. In fact, it has been named the safest city in Canada several times. It is a small city but has all the amenities you need.
There is a craft beer market, a few restaurants, concerts that happen during the warmer months and opportunities to ski on local hills in the winter. There is an abundance of nature, sports, and year-round activities.
Barrie is quite affordable for the Ontario housing market, is centrally located, and has access to reliable healthcare.
Average rent cost: $1,979 for a one-bedroom apartment
Average cost of buying a house: $779,056
Cost of living: $1,257.90 (single person, without rent)
Known as the Royal City, Guelph is located in the southwestern part of Ontario. It is close to Toronto and Waterloo, making it a prime destination for those who want to be centrally located but not live in a bustling city.
Even with a small population of 150,392, Guelph has a low unemployment rate and quite an affordable cost of living. This city also boasts a low crime rate, diverse population, and many options for outdoor activities.
Guelph is one of Canada’s fastest-growing cities with a high standard of living, making it one of the best places to live in Ontario for many.
9. Thunder Bay
Average rent cost: $1,455 for a one-bedroom apartment
Average cost of buying a house: $275,900
Cost of living: $624 (single person, without rent)
Thunder Bay is by far one of the most affordable cities in Ontario and the least expensive on our list. You can rent a one-bedroom apartment for just under $1,000 and spend less than $2,000 total per month to live there.
Thunder Bay has a high crime rate but many amenities, outdoor activities, and nature to explore. If you like adventure and green spaces, this city will be perfect for you.
Thunder Bay topped the list of the best places to live in Canada, as it has a high employment level, low housing costs, access to great healthcare, and ease of transportation.
Average rent cost: $1,700 for a one-bedroom apartment
Average cost of buying a house: $640,570
Cost of living: $1,259.40 (single person, without rent)
Called the “Forest City” because of the abundance of greenspace and pathways throughout, London is one of the best and largest cities in Ontario.
London is a great place for higher education, technology, manufacturing, and medical research. It is situated in a central location, near other cities, the US-Canada border, and Lake Huron and Lake Erie.
It is a prime city for young professionals, families, and those who want to retire. London isn’t the biggest city but has a tight-knit, reliable, and friendly community. Despite its prime location, London is one of the cities with relatively cheap rent in Ontario.
Best Places To Live in Toronto
Like any big city, there are many smaller neighbourhoods in Toronto, ranging from the bustling downtown core with tons of entertainment and nightlife to the more family-friendly suburbs.
These are the best 5 neighbourhoods in Toronto.
1. The Annex
This neighbourhood is home to many young professionals and creatives. The main University of Toronto campus is in the Annex, and there are many pubs, eateries, and new businesses around the area.
2. The Junction
In Toronto’s west end, the Junction is growing in popularity and undergoing huge improvements. It is a comfortable place to live, perfect for families and young professionals alike. Downtown is easily accessible by a 20-minute subway ride.
Commonly called “Roncy,” this neighbourhood is a bit cheaper than other places in Toronto, but it still has the charm and high quality of life. It is mostly residential, but there are a few bars, restaurants, and cafes on the commercial strip.
One of the oldest and most famous neighbourhoods in Toronto, Kensington Market is an iconic small part of the city with thrift shops, restaurants, cafes, art stores, and so much more. It is a unique neighbourhood with a lot of culture and spirit.
5. Queen West
Queen West has been ranked one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world by Vogue just a few years ago. In this neighbourhood, you’ll find everything you need and more, from Trinity Bellwoods Park to trendy restaurants and small boutique shops.
Cheapest Places To Live in Ontario
Ontario is one of the most expensive provinces in Canada, but there are some cities and towns with a relatively low cost of living, renting, and buying a house.
These top 5 places are the cheapest in all of Ontario, in order of the cost of living:
- Rainy River: 37% lower cost of living than the Ontario average
- Deep River: 27% lower cost of living than the national average
- Peterborough: $1,021 average cost of living
- Sault Ste. Marie: $1,147.80 average cost of living
- Kingston: $1,275.50 average cost of living
Check out this list of the top 10 cheapest places to live in Ontario for more details.