Are you moving up north on a tight budget? Then you’re probably looking for the cheapest place to live in Canada. Don’t worry, our northern neighbor has a handful of those. All you need to know is where to look and what to look for when moving to Canada.
Some things you should consider when browsing the towns and cities of Canada include the monthly rent, public transit pass price, average household income, the price of basic groceries, and the price of schooling if you’re moving with kids. Let’s take a look at some of the places that had the best scores according to these criteria.
Where to Live in Quebec Without Breaking the Bank
Quebec is the second-most populous Canadian province. It has over 8 million people, many of whom are immigrants. Although most of the population speaks English at least to an extent, the official language of the province in French, so you might find our tips for learning a new language useful. Here are some inexpensive cities and towns you should consider if this is the province you want to move to:
- Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. It is located on the banks of the Richelieu River. Overall, it is 3% less expensive than the national median, according to SalaryExpert. The median home price is around CAD$250,000 (around 188,000 USD).
- Levis. Located on the other side of the river from Quebec City, Levis has around 150,000 residents. The average home here sells for a little over CAD$300,000 (225,000 USD). The economy mostly relies on shipbuilding and other manufacturing industries.
- Longueuil. If you’d rather move to a big community, perhaps you can take a look at some of the neighborhoods in Montreal. Longueuil is one of the largest suburbs of Montreal, and the real estate prices here revolve around CAD$320,000 (240,000 USD).
How Much Is Life in British Columbia Worth
Most expats who move to British Columbia do it because they want to work in Vancouver. However, the cost of living in a place as big as that one can get quite high. Luckily, there are other locations in this province where you could consider putting down roots. Here are some suggestions:
- Prince George. With around 75,000 people, Prince George offers lots of amenities at reasonable prices. Buying a home here will cost you under $225,000, while the monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment shouldn’t exceed $750, according to Numbeo.
- Quesnel. This is easily one of the most affordable communities in the country, not just in the province. Real estate prices are much lower than the national median – you can buy an average home for $150,000. What’s more, this place has super low taxes.
- Surrey. While not as cheap as Prince George or Quesnel, Surrey is still much more affordable than Vancouver. You will be able to find a one-bedroom apartment in the downtown area for the monthly rent of $1,000.
Ontario – Sault Ste. Marie and Other Hidden Gems
If you’ve done any research on the city, you already know that the cost of living in Toronto is far from affordable. Luckily, this isn’t necessarily true for the rest of the province. There is a handful of places where you could move without making a dent in your savings account. Here are our top picks:
- Cornwall. Moving to Cornwall almost isn’t an international moving process – the city lies on the American-Canadian border. Public transit, housing, and healthcare are all quite affordable here. The only thing you would have to spend some more money on is grocery shopping.
- Timmins. This mining community has over 40,000 residents. One of the best things about Timmins, according to costof.live is the fact that the average income exceeds monthly expenses by far.
- Sault Ste. Marie. The primary industries in Sault Ste. Marie include renewable energy and tourism. The average home sells for around $180,000, while the monthly one-bedroom apartment rent tends to stay below $750.
What Does Alberta Have to Offer
Alberta is a province with over 600 lakes. It offers excellent options for outdoor enthusiasts, especially those who prefer colder weather. Unfortunately, this comes at a price in the form of disproportionate taxation for medium-income individuals. However, there are many places here where you can live quite comfortably. Here are some of them:
- Wetaskiwin. This town has a developed agricultural and tourism-based economy and a population of over 12,000 residents. The town’s strongest point, in terms of cost of living, is housing – you can buy a place here for around $188,000.
- Fort McMurray. According to the Calgary Herald, this municipality is the cheapest one to live in Alberta. If you would rather rent, expect to pay around $1,000 for a one-bedroom apartment in the center.
- Cold Lake. A one-bedroom apartment in this city rents out for a little under $900. The average household makes around $75,800. The usual grocery bill for a three-person family is usually between $490 and $650.
Other Provinces and Their Affordability
There is more to Canada than just Quebec, British Columbia, Ontario, and Alberta. This country is comprised of ten distinct provinces – including Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Let’s take a look at what they have to offer.
New Brunswick – Quebec’s Neighbor
Located east of Quebec (and most other provinces), New Brunswick has less than a million people. Both English and French are spoken here, and the capital city is Fredericton. Since it is a capital, it isn’t exactly cheap, but Fredericton is still significantly more affordable than Toronto, for example. This is especially true when it comes to accommodation – rent in Toronto is more than double the amount in Fredericton.
Other cities and towns you should check out include Saint John, one of the safest places in this part of Canada, Bathurst, a multicultural community rich in natural resources, and Quispamsis, where the average household income exceeds $100,000.
To the West From Ontario Lies Manitoba
If you don’t really feel like learning French, consider moving to Manitoba. English is the only official language here. The population of the province is a little over 1.3 million. Manitoba ranks as 6th of all the Canadian provinces and territories by its GDP, which is expected to grow by 1.3% in 2020. If this sounds like the location for you, we suggest researching Thompson, a highly economically-stable city, Winnipeg, the capital, and Brandon, one of the best places to live in the country, with a good balance of income and expenses.
How Much Money Will You Need in Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan has a population of a little over a million people, and it ranks slightly higher than Manitoba by its GDP. The economy of Saskatchewan is based on mining, oil and gas production, education, and retail. If this is where you would like to live, we strongly suggest that you consider moving to Weyburn. The median household price here is around $225,000, and there are 11,000 residents. Other communities you should look into include North Battleford, Swift Current, and Lloydminster.
Expense-Related Estimates for Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia’s capital, Halifax, is home to almost half of the population of the province. It should come as no surprise, then, that the expenses are somewhat higher than in the rest of Nova Scotia. Keep in mind, however, that Halifax is still significantly cheaper than Toronto or Vancouver. If you are seriously considering moving to Nova Scotia, consider these locations: Truro, Antigonish, Amherst, and Sydney. All these cities and towns are quite attractive to prospective expats.
Prince Edward Island
You will likely find the red-sand beaches of Prince Edward Island quite charming. If so, you’ll be happy to hear that the weather here is mild enough for sunbathing and swimming during the summer months. The Island has around 150,000 residents, and its economy mostly relies on agriculture, tourism, and fishing. The Island spans over 2,000 square miles, which means you won’t be able to pick and choose too much. Charlottetown is the capital and the largest city. The rent for an 85m2 (900 square feet) apartment is between $750 and $1,100, according to Expatistan.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Only around 500,000 people live in NL, and the population density is around 3.5/sq mi. Over 7,000 islands belong to the province, including the eponymous Newfoundland. The capital and the largest city is St. John. Housing in St. John is relatively expensive, usually exceeding $1,100. As you move away from urban areas, however, the cost of living drops significantly. For example, in the town of St. Anthony, you can easily find a 4200 sq ft residence for around $150,000.
Look for a Home in Canada’s Three Territories
Do none of these provinces seem like what you’re looking for? Don’t worry, Canada has three more territories to offer: Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories. Although these areas experience much more severe weather conditions and their populations are low, they just might prove to be what you’ve been searching for. As a bonus, the cost of living in rural areas in these territories is much lower than anywhere else in the country.