If you are moving to Canada and looking for city life, then living in Montreal vs Toronto may be something you are considering. They are both beautiful cities but have very different vibes and will appeal to different people.
Living in Toronto vs Montreal (An Overview)
Many of the differences between Toronto and Montreal are cultural. Toronto is a very modern and contemporary city; it is sometimes likened to US cities. It is clean, smart, and more work-oriented than Montreal.
On the other hand, Montreal has a very European feel to it. It has beautiful old buildings and a lively but laid-back vibe. It is easier to have a comfortable standard of living in Montreal. Income is higher in Toronto, but the cost of living is higher, and it has some of the highest housing costs in Canada.
Personal income tax is considerably lower in Ontario versus Quebec, but this doesn’t compensate for the higher living costs.
|Population Growth 2019/2020||1.4%||0.7%|
|Ave Cost Real Estate Dec ’21||$1,208,000||$517,500|
|Average Income 2019||$106,100||$85,500|
|Median Income 2019||$80,100||$64,900|
|Provincial Income Tax (1st Band 2022)||5.05%||15%|
|NHL Team||Toronto Maple Leaves||Montreal Canadiens|
|CFL Team||Toronto Argonauts||Montreal Alouettes|
|NBA Team||Toronto Raptors||n/a|
|MBL Team||Toronto Blue Jays||n/a|
Living In Montreal vs Toronto – Weather Comparison
Montreal has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the coldest cities in Canada, with an average January temperature of around minus 9 Deg C. This is 6 degrees colder than Toronto’s average January temperature, and higher precipitation rates mean more snow.
Toronto benefits from being further south than Montreal, and Lake Ontario has a moderating effect on the climate. On the downside, Toronto can be very windy, adding considerable wind chill on some days.
Summer temperatures are similar, and both cities suffer from high humidity, but rainfall levels are higher in Montreal.
|Days Above 0 Deg C||264||205|
|Days Above 20 Deg C||117||117|
|% Daylight Sunshine Hours||44%||44%|
|Ave January Temp (DegC)||-3||-9|
|Ave July Temp (DegC)||21||21|
Toronto vs Montreal Outdoor Activities
Toronto stretches along the shore of Lake Ontario, making it easy to enjoy the outdoors from within the city. It has over 50km of waterfront, offering beaches, parks, and marinas.
Montreal offers Mount Royal, a small mountain in the centre of the city. It has a network of paths for walking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter. It also has a number of historical parks, biking along the canal, and many options for ice-skating in the winter.
Toronto Pearson International Airport handles almost three times the passengers of Montreal Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport and flies directly to more international destinations. As with all large airports, it can be VERY busy if you catch it at the wrong time.
ii) Public Transit
Toronto and Montreal have two of the best transit systems in North America. At the moment, Toronto probably has the edge when it comes to transport within the city.
Toronto has an excellent range of public services which run very regularly and include buses, trains, streetcars, and the subway. Many people rely on public transport and find that they don’t need a car. Public transport does suffer from overcrowding at times, but most find it preferable to battling through the downtown traffic.
Montreal also offers trains, buses, and a subway system (The Metro). The Metro system has a reputation for being very well designed, and many say that Montreal provides a better-integrated transport system. The cost of travel in Montreal is significantly cheaper than in Toronto.
Montreal is in the process of constructing a new rapid light rail system known as REM. It will connect many suburbs to downtown Montreal and provide direct services to the airport. It will be independent of the current Metro system, and once completed (estimated 2026) Montreal will be the best city for transit in Canada.
Do I Need To Speak French To Live In Montreal?
It is possible to get by in Montreal if you don’t speak French. For example, a student living close to one of the universities probably won’t have any issues. However, if you are planning on settling and working in the city, then you will be at a distinct disadvantage if you only speak English.
The majority of jobs will require you to be bilingual, although there are job opportunities for those who only speak English. If you manage to land one of these jobs and live in the right areas of the West End, then you can get by. However, if you don’t learn French, you will miss out considerably on what the city has to offer. Also, there will be people who can’t (or won’t) speak English to you, especially as you travel away from the city.
Entertainment, Nightlife, Arts & Culture
Toronto and Montreal both offer excellent entertainment options.
Toronto is one of the most multicultural and multiracial cities in the world. There is a diverse range of entertainment options and cuisines within the city, and it has a reputation for great fine dining. As the larger city of the two, Toronto is also able to attract bigger-name acts and shows than Montreal.
Montreal is a blend of European and North American culture and philosophy. It has a reputation for amazing nightlife, becoming supercharged after dark. Amongst other things, it offers jazz bars, dance clubs, live music venues, and rooftop bars, all with a very distinctive European feel. The high student numbers in Montreal also add to the energy of the city.
Are You Planning A Move To Canada?
Should I Move To Toronto or Montreal?
If the cost of living is important to you, then living in Montreal vs Toronto may be the better choice. However, generally, the best city for you will be the one that you feel is a better cultural fit. We have summarized the best points of each city below.
Pros of Toronto (versus Montreal)
- The airport has more international (& internal) destinations.
- Warmer winter weather with less snow
- You don’t need to speak French.
- Diverse, multicultural population
- A clean, modern city
- Fast, high-energy pace of life
- It lies on the shore of Lake Ontario.
Pros of Montreal (versus Toronto)
- Housing costs are lower relative to salaries.
- Overall lower cost of living
- It could be an opportunity to learn French.
- The city is more compact.
- Historic buildings, quaint with lots of character
- The more relaxed pace of life
- Amazing night-life
Conclusion: Making The Right Choice Between Montreal And Toronto
Deciding between Montreal and Toronto is a significant choice for newcomers to Canada. Both cities offer unique experiences, but they cater to different lifestyles. Toronto, with its modern, fast-paced environment, is a hub for business and multiculturalism. It offers a warmer climate and a wide range of job opportunities in various sectors. On the other hand, Montreal, with its European charm and more relaxed pace, offers a lower cost of living and a vibrant arts and culture scene.
If you’re looking for a city that feels like a blend of North America and Europe, Montreal may be your best bet. However, if you prefer a bustling, cosmopolitan lifestyle with a plethora of job opportunities, Toronto could be the right fit for you. Ultimately, the best city for you will align with your personal and professional goals, as well as your cultural preferences.
So, are you leaning towards the business-centric vibe of Toronto, or does the cultural richness of Montreal appeal to you more? Your answer to this question will guide you in making the best choice for your new life in Canada.