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27 Cheapest Places to Live in Canada in 2023

Looking for the cheapest places to live in Canada? This guide lists the cheapest cities in Canada to live or rent and the cost of living in these areas.

Canada isn’t the cheapest place to live, but it’s certainly not the most expensive. A world data index based on the average cost of living has Canada sitting at number 18 out of 108 countries.

Canada comprises provinces and territories, with each having different taxes and costs.

The cost of living in Canada is quite high compared to the rest of the world. However, some provinces cost much less. For example, the overall cost of living in Vancouver is higher than in Toronto and many other cities.

The most expensive place to live in Canada varies on what report you look at. Things are ever-changing, but generally, the most expensive cities tend to be in BC and Ontario. This is mainly based on housing costs.

There are different costs in each city within the provinces, but Vancouver and Toronto are by far the most expensive.

Using data for the cost of living in Canada, we have found some cheap places to live in BC, like Surrey, and Ontario, like Kingston.

The prairie and maritime provinces such as Nova Scotia are also some of the best places to live in Canada in terms of cost.

What is the Cost of Living in Canada?

As per Numbeo, Canada sits as the 17th most expensive country. Compared to the United States, the cost of living in Canada is lower, as shown below.

Consumer prices in the United States are 1.66% higher than in Canada (without rent)
Consumer prices, Including Rent in the United States, are 11.77% higher than in Canada
Rent prices in the United States are 33.66% higher than in Canada
Restaurant prices in the United States are 2.29% higher than in Canada
Groceries prices in the United States are 2.88% higher than in Canada
Local purchasing power in the United States is 1.76% lower than in Canada

On average, in Canada, you can expect to spend $1,197.20 per month as a single person and approximately $4,311.32 as a family of four. These costs do not include rent.

How To Choose an Affordable City in Canada

You should first understand the cost of living in Canada by province. If you can move wherever you want, consider the cheapest places in Canada to live.

Even if you choose the cheapest places in Canada to buy a house, it may not be cheap for groceries and other everyday expenses.

Also, provincial taxes should be a consideration, especially if you’re looking for the cheapest places to retire.

This extensive list covers the cheapest places to live in Canada based on various parameters.

Cheapest Places to Live in Canada

Cheapest Cities To Live in Canada

You can compare some of the cheapest places to live in Canada below and look at what it costs for a single person, as well as the average home prices and the median income.

The cost of living data is sourced from Numbeo.

1. Sherbrooke, Quebec

  • Population: 176,222
  • Highlights: Nature, heritage sights
  • Main employment drivers: Electronic parts, clothing, textile, education
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,022.64, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $249,000
  • Annual median income: $107,000

Sherbrooke is the cheapest city to live in and is part of southern Quebec. It is 12.80% cheaper to live here than in Montreal, and on average, the rent is 45.27% lower than in Montreal, according to Numbeo.

The cost of living is 13% lower than in Montreal, making it truly one of the cheapest cities to live in Canada.

2. Quebec City, QC

  • Population: 727,980
  • Highlights: Fort City dating back to 1608, quaint cobblestone street, bistros, boutiques, on the Saint Lawrence River, UNESCO world heritage sites.
  • Main employment drivers: defence, services, public administration, and tourism.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,082.87, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $459,955
  • Annual median income: $40,229

This safe, quaint city is full of interesting sites dating back hundreds of years. It has a European feel with the towering Château Frontenac Hotel and imposing Citadelle of Québec at the center of the old city.

Thanks to some of the cheapest places to rent in a downtown core anywhere in Canada, it’s a fantastic place to be right in the middle of the action.

For all its attributes, it’s hard to believe it’s so cheap to live here. It’s 5.50% lower than the cost of living in Montreal and 34.76% cheaper for rent.

3. Saint John, New Brunswick

  • Population: 71,541
  • Highlights: Historical, Bay of Fundy
  • Main employment drivers: One of the oldest and largest shipbuilding industries, IT, education.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $702, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $276,437
  • Annual median income: $79,586

Saint John has a higher cost of living than Toronto, by around 2.24%, but the rent is a whopping 60.32% lower than Toronto. It’s one of the cheapest places to live in Canada and also one of the most exciting.

It is a city located on the Bay of Fundy, which has the fastest tide change in the world. There’s a lot of history here, and you can enjoy the farmer’s market located in a heritage building dating back to 1876.

4. Laval, QC

  • Population: 48,805
  • Highlights: Suburb of Montreal, set on Île Jésus, Nature Center, Saint-Vincent-de-Paul historic district
  • Main employment drivers: Retail, industrial, pharmaceutical, technology.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,015.72, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $567,500
  • Annual median income: $70,216

Laval is part of the Greater Montreal Area and is set on Île Jésus on the Prairies River. There are waterfront trails and a Nature Center with gardens, ponds, and farm animals.

The historical district has neoclassical buildings and cafes. Employees include SAP, Intact, and the University of Montreal.

As one of the cheapest places to live in Canada, it’s 12.17% less than Montreal for the cost of living and 26.65% lower for rent.

5. Halifax, NS

  • Population: 417,000
  • Highlights: 11th best university in Canada, Dalhousie University. Port City.
  • Main employment drivers: Port, agriculture, fishing, and forestry.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,243.33, not including rent.
  • Average home costs: $567,671
  • Annual median income: $124,000

As the capital of Nova Scotia, this university city is a major economic center in eastern Canada. There are great government services and private businesses servicing people that live here.

It’s cheap to eat out, but groceries are more expensive. Still, it’s far less expensive than Toronto, according to Numbeo.

Halifax is 0.83% more expensive than Toronto for the cost of living but is 34.62% lower when it comes to housing.

Related: Best Places To Visit in Nova Scotia.

6. Montreal, QC

  • Population: 1.8 million
  • Highlights: European feel, largest underground complex in the world, second-largest economy.
  • Main employment drivers: Electronic goods, aerospace, pharmaceutical, and telecom.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,146.80, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $576,760
  • Annual median income: $53,721

Montreal is the most populated city in Quebec, and many people living here have European roots. It boasts an “indoor city” and is the entertainment and media center of the province.

It has the fifth-best University, the University of Montreal. Five big banks have their corporate headquarters here.

There’s a lot to do here, with plenty of entertainment venues, art, and culture. For young people, it’s one of the best places to live in Canada.

Montreal is approximately 7.61% cheaper than Toronto for the cost of living and 35.03% less for rent.

7. Lethbridge, AB

  • Population: 104,524
  • Highlights: 130 parks, Lethbridge Viaduct, longest, highest steel trestle bridge in N. America.
  • Main employment drivers: Agriculture, hospitality, retail, education, healthcare.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,335.82, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $383,067
  • Annual median income: $74,084

In many ways, Alberta is the cheapest province to live in Canada and Lethbridge is one of the cheapest cities to live in within the province.

It has very cold winters and hot summers in a dry climate. The main employment sector is agriculture, but it is also a leader in the transportation, industrial, and financial sectors.

There is a lot of green space with over 130 parks. The cost of living in Lethbridge is 9.75% more than in Montreal but is 20.32% cheaper for rental costs.

8. Abbotsford, BC

  • Population: 168,773
  • Highlights: Close to US border, farm country
  • Main employment drivers: Agriculture
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,113.70 (not including rent)
  • Average home costs: $804,833
  • Annual median income: $72,511

Abbotsford is close to Vancouver and is the cheapest and largest city in BC. It is 17% less when it comes to the cost of living.

The rent is 35.45% lower than in Toronto. It has the same kind of moderate temperature and is one of the warmest places to live in Canada on this list.

9. Regina, SK

  • Population: 245,734
  • Highlights: Parks, Wascana Lake, Saskatchewan Science Center.
  • Main employment drivers: Potash, oil, and natural gas.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,120.16
  • Average home costs: $307,900
  • Annual median income: $81,832

Regina is the capital city of Saskatchewan, with some great Canadian cultural exhibits, including The Royal Saskatchewan Museum and the MacKenzie Art Gallery. The RCMP Heritage Center celebrates the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

According to Numbeo, Regina is 7.59% cheaper than Montreal in terms of cost of living, and rent is an average of 28.02% lower than Montreal.

While it’s on our list as one of the cheapest places in Canada to live, it may not necessarily be the best, as it’s been dubbed the most dangerous city in Canada for the crime rate.

10. Edmonton, AB

  • Population: 1,519,000
  • Highlights: Capital of Alberta, University of Alberta, festival city of Canada.
  • Main employment drivers: Oil and gas, petrochemical, financial.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,270.14, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $403,400
  • Annual median income: $121,630

Alberta is up there for the cheapest province to live in Canada. You can make quite a lot of money in Edmonton with plenty of opportunities in oil and gas, the University, and its regional financial center.

It’s where many of the most prominent employers are based in the petrochemical industry. The entertainment scene here is alive with multiple heritage and cultural festivals.

According to Numbeo, Edmonton has a cost of living that is 4.83% more than Montreal and rent prices that are 13.05% lower than Montreal.

11. Nanaimo, BC

  • Population: 104,836
  • Highlights: Harbor city, Vancouver Island University campus.
  • Main employment drivers: Coal, forestry, government.
  • Cost of living: $1,271.88, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $881,800
  • Annual median income: $54,429

Nanaimo is right on the water on the east coast of Vancouver Island and is one of the cheaper cities for international students in Canada.

There’s a great climate here, and while it’s a bit more expensive than the cost of living in Montreal, the rent is 18.85% higher, according to Numbeo.

12. Kitchener, ON

  • Population: 470,000
  • Highlights: German heritage, 8th best university in Canada, University of Waterloo, KOI Festival.
  • Main employment drivers: Manufacturing
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,197.01, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $938,500
  • Annual median income: $70,774

Kitchener is a twin city of Waterloo and includes major employees like Research In Motion, Toyota Manufacturing, Manulife, and Sunlife Financial.

Kitchener is 0.81% cheaper than Montreal for the cost of living, with rent being 14.39% more than in Montreal.

13. Windsor, ON

  • Population: 340,000
  • Highlights: Waterfront, vibrant
  • Main employment drivers: Casino, engine plants for Ford
  • Cost of living: $1,178.53, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $542,000
  • Annual median income: $55,450

As per Numbeo, Windsor is 4.20% less expensive than Montreal regarding living costs. The rent is 2.23% more than in Montreal.

Windsor is famous for producing engine parts for Ford and is right across the water from Detroit city. There is plenty of waterfront with monuments dedicated to the armed forces at Dieppe Garden.

It is the third most populated city in southern Ontario. Although Windsor house prices have risen recently, it’s still one of the cheapest places in Canada to buy a house.

14. Charlottetown, PEI

  • Population: 38,809
  • Highlights: Historical, coastal, Victoria row, Confederation Centre of the Arts, Gothic Revival St. Dunstan’s Basilica
  • Main employment drivers: Agriculture, fisheries and tourism, aerospace, bioscience, information technology, and renewable energy.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,288.07, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $319,000
  • Annual median income: $78,220

Charlottetown is home to Anne of Green Gables, which is a magical show about a girl growing up simply. Victoria Row offers shops and restaurants.

This historic city has a variety of stunning old buildings and green rolling hills. It’s got the feeling of living on an island but enough to sustain you with a city vibe.

Regarding friendliness and hospitality, PEI is one of the best places to live in Canada.

Related: Best Things To Do in PEI.

15. Winnipeg, MB

  • Population: 833,000
  • Highlights: Historic intersection of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, plenty of green space, festivals in the summer. Longest skating rink in the world.
  • Main employment drivers: Aerospace, advanced manufacturing, ICT, and agribusiness
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,163.05, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $401,047
  • Annual median income: $68,402

Winnipeg is the most expensive city in Manitoba, but it’s still one of the cheapest places in Canada to live.

It is the 7th largest city in Canada and gets a lot of snow in winter, but has hot summers. Employment opportunities include trade, manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, and education.

According to Numbeo, Winnipeg is 1.78% cheaper than Montreal in terms of cost of living and 16.78% cheaper for rent than Montreal.

16. Red Deer, AB

  • Population: 108,564
  • Highlights: Alberta Sports Hall of Fame & Museum, Bower Ponds, Red Deer College.
  • Main employment drivers: Oil, cattle, agriculture.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,153.68, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $381,209
  • Annual median income: $95,630

Red Deer is halfway between Calgary and Edmonton. It’s got some great outdoor attractions like Bower Ponds near the Red Deer River, where you can paddle a boat in the summer and ice skate in the winter.

Most of the population is in urban areas of the city, but there’s a lot of agriculture on the outskirts.

17. Prince George, BC

  • Population: 84,809
  • Highlights: Art galleries, Eskers Provincial Park, Fort George Canyon Provincial Park.
  • Main employment drivers: Forestry, Central BC Railway.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,205.58, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $526,000
  • Annual median income: $75,690

Prince George is in the interior of BC on the mighty Fraser River and the Nechako River. There are quite a few museums here, and Prince George is truly the hub of the Cariboo Country.

There are plenty of natural attractions, including the Fort George Canyon Provincial Park, with its dramatic whirlpools.

The University of Northern British Columbia is located here and is another one of the cheapest cities for international students in Canada.

It’s also one of the cheapest places to rent in Canada. According to Numbeo, it’s 3.70% more than Montreal for the cost of living and 11.13% higher for rent.

18. Surrey, BC

  • Population: 568,322
  • Highlights: Rural and urban, diverse ethnicity, plenty of jobs.
  • Main employment drivers: Advanced Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Clean Energy, and Healthcare
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,217.75, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $1,059,706
  • Annual median income: $77,494

On our list, this is one of the warmest places to live in Canada. While it’s certainly not the cheapest, it’s very close to the highly expensive city of Vancouver.

It’s an urban area with a mix of agriculture and rural area. It’s also the industrial hub of BC, so there are plenty of jobs here.

You’ll also enjoy a variety of ethnic foods as the area is largely made up of different ethnic Asian minorities.

As per Numbeo, Surrey is 0.10% cheaper than Montreal in the cost of living and 27.31% higher for rent.

19. Moncton, NB

  • Population: 82,743
  • Highlights: Transportation Discovery Center, Capitol Theatre, Magnetic Hill.
  • Main employment drivers: Wholesale, retail, tourism.
  • Cost of living: $1,225.42, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $340,300
  • Annual median income: $56,062

Moncton is a vibrant maritime city close to the Atlantic Ocean. Tourists visit Magnetic Hill, the Bay of Fundy Tidal Bore, and the RCMP Memorial.

There are many outdoor attractions, and it’s one of the cheapest places to rent in Canada, with a great retirement community.

According to Numbeo, Moncton is 7.56% more expensive than Montreal for the cost of living but 19.59% lower for rentals.

20. St. Catharines, ON

  • Population: 421,000
  • Highlights: Niagara Region, the sixth-largest urban area in Ontario.
  • Main employment drivers: Shipbuilding, mills.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,101.55, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $439,600
  • Annual median income: $59,256

Known as the “Garden City” of Canada, this city gives you a peaceful feeling and doesn’t feel overcrowded.

Close to Toronto and Hamilton, it also has a multicultural community and is one of the cheapest places to live in Ontario while still being central.

St. Catharines is a growing community, and house prices continue to rise. The stats show that it’s 5.31% cheaper than Montreal for the cost of living and 3.75% higher for rent.

21. Niagara Falls, ON

  • Population: 82,184
  • Highlights: Wine country, famous waterfall attraction.
  • Main employment drivers: Tourism, gambling, hydroelectric power.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,211.39, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $533,198
  • Annual median income: $60,727

The Regional Municipality of Niagara is on the west side of the Niagara River. Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are both nearby. There are plenty of vineyards nearby as well.

It’s one of the most touristy spots on our list and much cheaper than Toronto. Niagara is about 2.19% lower in the cost of living and 40.79% cheaper for rent than Toronto.

22. London, ON

  • Population: 515,000
  • Highlights: Close to the US border, home to the University of Western Ontario, museums, parks, and Thames River.
  • Main employment drivers: Healthcare, finance, education.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,186.65, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $648,500
  • Annual median income: $62,011

This university city is north of Lake Erie and close to the US border. There are a variety of museums, many parks, and greenways to be enjoyed.

It’s the regional center of healthcare and education, with the main employers being Western University and TD Canada Trust bank.

London is also one of the cheapest places to live in Ontario and is 1.03% cheaper than Montreal in the cost of living. The rent is 26.89% lower than in Toronto.

23. Kingston, ON

  • Population: 594,531
  • Highlights: Limestone city, on Lake Ontario, military history.
  • Main employment drivers: Healthcare, public education, government, tourism.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,128.05, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $626,834
  • Annual median income: $67,485

Kingston is a beautiful city with many old buildings. It’s a great spot to live if you’re looking for quality healthcare solutions.

It’s much cheaper than Toronto when it comes to transportation, dining out, and leisure activities. While it boasts cheap places to rent, childcare and utilities are more expensive.

However, Numbeo reveals the cost of living is 3.97% lower than in Montreal, but rent is 12.90% higher.

24. Thunder Bay, ON

  • Population: 113,216
  • Highlights: Lake Superior, historic Mount McKay, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.
  • Main employment drivers: transportation, manufacturing, education, mining, and forestry.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,238.00, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $301,500
  • Annual median income: $66,163

Thunder Bay has plenty of lakefronts and boasts many outdoor attractions. You can take the trail up to the summit of Mount McKay for amazing views.

There is also the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, with trails and a chance to glimpse moose and wolves. This is a great place for nature lovers looking for the cheapest rent in Canada.

It’s 2.22% more than the cost of living in Toronto, but rent is 46.92% cheaper, according to Numbeo.

25. Weyburn, SK

  • Population: 10,870
  • Highlights: On the Souris River, the largest inland grain gathering point.
  • Main employment drivers: Oil and gas, grain.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $968.43, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $301,846
  • Annual median income: $78,592

Weyburn is located on the Souris River and is a quaint little prairie town.

The cost of living is on par with other areas in Saskatchewan and is 7% lower than the national average. For housing, Weyburn is 63% cheaper than the national average.

26. Quesnel, BC

  • Population: 23,146
  • Highlights: On the Fraser River, friendly, and quaint.
  • Main employment drivers: Education, healthcare, forestry.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $710.23, not including rent
  • Average home costs: $228,687
  • Annual median income: $59,088

Quesnel is in the Cariboo Region, and outdoor lovers have plenty of access to lakes and rivers for hiking or fishing. It’s a quiet town but has everything you need. It’s close to Prince George, which is the hub of the area.

Groceries and dining out is more expensive as Quesnel is quite out of the way from the main areas of BC. However, as one of the cheapest places for rent in Canada or buying a home, it evens out.

27. Barrie, ON

  • Population: 158,896
  • Highlights: Kempenfelt Bay, Urban.
  • Main employment drivers: agriculture and natural resources, manufacturing, and retail.
  • Cost of living for a single person: $1,293.88 (not including rent)
  • Average home costs: $887,011
  • Annual median income: $77,904

Barrie is special in that it’s a politically independent single-tier municipality.

It is part of the extended urban area known as the Greater Golden Horseshoe. In terms of the cost of living, it’s 12.28% lower than in Toronto, and rent is 23.45% cheaper.

Cheapest Places to Live in Ontario

When it comes to the cheapest places to live in Ontario, there are quite a few, including:

  • Thunder Bay
  • Windsor
  • Barrie
  • Kingston

Cheapest Cities to Live in BC

While BC can be expensive in terms of taxes, these are some of the cheapest cities to live in BC:

  • Surrey
  • Prince George
  • Abbotsford
  • Quesnel

Warmest and Cheapest Places to Live in Canada

When it comes to the warmest places to live in Canada that are still cheap, this includes Hope, just outside of Vancouver. Abbotsford is another option.

They are both in BC near the west coast, which boasts the warmest temperatures on average throughout the year. They’re not cold in the winter, and it’s not too hot in the summer.

If you’re looking for super hot summers with cold winters, you can enjoy places like Rimouski, Quebec, or Brockville, Ontario.

Cheapest Places To Rent in Canada

The cities that boast the cheapest places to rent include:

  • Quebec City, Quebec
  • Laval, Quebec
  • St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Regina, Saskatchewan
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba

Cheapest Provinces to Live in Canada

Manitoba

When looking at the cost of living in Canada by province, Manitoba is one of the cheapest. You can find some of the cheapest places to live in the country here, and the economy is strong and stable. Manitoba has more than 1.3 million residents.

New Brunswick

New Brunswick is an Atlantic province, with the cost of living being 6 percent lower than the national average. It is one of the cheapest places in Canada to buy a house with an ocean view. The main city is Moncton.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador is the most eastern province of Canada and is 16 percent cheaper in terms of cost of living when compared to the city of Toronto. While it is probably the cheapest province to live in Canada, there is a lack of jobs. However, it works well as one of the best cheapest places to retire in Canada.

Nova Scotia

When it comes to the best places to live in Canada for less, Nova Scotia fits the bill. The cost of living is 6 percent less than the national average, making it one of the cheapest places to live in Canada.

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Author

Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. He has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, CBC News, Financial Post, Toronto Star, CTV News, Canadian Securities Exchange, Credit Canada, National Post, and many other personal finance publications. You can learn more about him on the About Page.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

4 thoughts on “27 Cheapest Places to Live in Canada in 2023”

  1. Gravatar for Vasile

    Excellent article. Thank you.

  2. Gravatar for Michael James

    I like this newsletter a lot. I no longer live in Canada but look fwd. to reading this each time is posted. have learned a lot, more than when we lived there. Thanks a bunch! Michael/Ling.

  3. Gravatar for gagan

    very informative.. but i feel some of the statistics have vastly changed in just last 2 years due to housing bubble

  4. Gravatar for Diane

    Very good information for retirees looking to relocate. Nova Scotia here i come!

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