Toronto is Canada's largest city and its centre of media and culture, but with cultures from all across the globe calling this metropolis of 5.5 million people home, its praises are sung by most that visit this vibrant alpha world city.
Being such a desirable place to live also means that the T Dot (as it is called by many locals) is not the cheapest spot in the world to visit. If you are prepared to shoulder the financial responsibilities of living here, the information contained below will help you sort out your budget so you can thrive in Canada's answer to New York City.
How much does housing in Toronto cost for one month
- Hostels: $660 - $1320 per month
- While Toronto has a reputation as being an expensive city, it does have a half decent supply of backpacker hostels within city limits, making it a great place to start your search for a longer term home in this vibrant city. The cheapest digs cost $22 per night at The Only Backpacker's Inn, which resides in the Danforth, one of Toronto's most multicultural neighborhoods. While the dorm rooms are basic, they are clean and the amenities downstairs, which include a free waffle breakfast and a pub with over 200 beers in stock, deliver incredible value per dollar spent.
- Hotels: $1200 - $21,000 per month
- If you'd prefer the privacy of a hotel during your stay in Toronto, there are a wide variety of price points to choose from, from $700 per night in the executive suite at the Cambridge Suites Toronto (ideal for well-heeled entrepreneurs and businesspeople) to $40 per night at inns like the Oakridge Drive Guest House.
- In the latter case, this accommodation combines budget but homely private rooms with shared kitchen facilities to allow those looking for a long term stay a stable place to establish themselves while they conduct their business here or search for a more permanent housing arrangement.
- Airbnbs: $660 - $22,000 per month
- Those that find hostels too juvenile or hotels too impersonal will find many options on Airbnb for housing during their time in Toronto. While those that are making it rain can shell out as much as $22,000 a month for a 4000 square foot penthouse in the Four Seasons Private Residences, killer views of the city, ornate furnishings and all, there are tons of cute, character infused apartments and houses at the other end of the scale.
They range from well-kept basement apartments with everything you need for those on a shoestring budget, to smartly decorated condos with key touches such as BBQ grills where you can enjoy a fabulous Toronto summer day from the 24th floor while cooking dinner. Spaces such as these start from $660 a month.
How much does food cost in Toronto for one month
Inexpensive sit-down restaurants: $10 - $15 a meal
With citizens from almost every nation on Earth living in Toronto, the array of dining options at the budget end of the market will have you exploring the city until the day you leave – and you still will have barely made a dent in what's available.
Brisket and Beans (929 Queen St E) offers amazing American Southern BBQ, while Faley (42 Rexdale Blvd) boasts Indian-Chinese fusion that will have your tastebuds doing a double take at the flavors they are experiencing.
Those that dine out five times per week can expect to spend just under $300 a month on these eats, while those that do so as a treat (2 times per week) will have to budget about $115 a month to account for this.
Mid-range restaurants: $50 - $80 a meal
Some of Toronto's best culinary experiences come with a hefty price tag, but if you want to understand part of reason why many laud Toronto for being one of the world's alpha cities, dining out a couple times per month at places like Richmond Station (1 Richmond Street W) or Campagnolo (832 Dundas Street W) will hint at the answer. Visitors adhering to this dining schedule at expect to spend $130 a month on this worthwhile indulgence.
The price of a cart of groceries
As fun as it can be to dine out in Toronto, those not wanting to blow out their budget should commit to buying groceries on a weekly basis so they can cook for themselves. This will not only keep your bank account in shape, but your body as well.
While the sample cart of groceries listed below is based on what you can find at local supermarkets such as Loblaws, going to farmer's markets like the year round St. Lawrence Market will put you in touch with local food producers.
Southern Ontario is one of Canada's most fertile regions, so the selection of fresh meats, fruits and vegetables will provide you with an excellent supplement of local and organic food at a price that isn't far out of line with the cost of standard groceries.
4 carts of groceries (1 litre of milk, loaf of bread, 1 kg bag of rice, 12 eggs, 1 kg cheese, 1 kg chicken breast, 1 kg of apples, 1 kg of oranges, 1 kg of tomatoes, 1 kg of potatoes, 1 head of lettuce, and a bottle of wine): $236 per month
The cost of getting around Toronto for one month
Toronto and its suburbs sprawl over the flat land that extends from Lake Ontario, making for lenghty commutes for those living further out from the center. If you live in or near downtown though, Toronto's extensive bus, streetcar and subway system can move you about the CBD and the core neighborhoods with ease.
If you choose to buy a monthly transit pass, it will set you back $133 per month for unlimited trips on TTC infrastructure. If you own a car, costs will vary according to the fuel mileage of your ride and the size of your tank, but with four fill-ups of 45 litres at an assumed summer peak of 97.9 cents per litre, you can expect to spend $176 per month on gas in Toronto in 2015.
Sick or injured? What you can expect for health care costs
If you are a Canadian citizen already, the answer is simple: you pay at least $60 per year through your income taxes if you make less than $21,000 per year, and as much as $900 per year if you make more than $200,000 per year.
If you are a foreign resident, you should apply for public health coverage through the Ontario
government as soon as possible (free to apply, but your costs will be the same as above once approved), but while you wait, apply for private insurance to cover yourself in the interim.
If you are in your thirties, want basic coverage and are okay with being placed in a public hospital ward, you can expect to pay $61 per month, while those wanting enhanced coverage with an option for a private hospital room and dental coverage should be prepared to shell out $171 per month to be protected under this robust plan.
Entertaining yourself without going broke
There are many ways to entertain yourself in Toronto, but they can tend to be on the expensive side. If your idea of an exciting weekend includes a night out at the movies and having four pints of draft beer at the local pub with friends, you can expect to spend about $138 per month on entertainment on average.
Those with finer tastes that love to indulge in tickets to the theatre and have four cocktails at trendy nightclubs with their compatriots every weekend will have have to pony up more money, as this lifestyle will cost about $372 per month to maintain.
Studying abroad in Toronto? Here's what you can expect to pay
Those hoping to spend a semester abroad at the University of Toronto, the city's leading post-secondary institution will need to bring their checkbook, as tuition for foreigners without a scholarship is not cheap.
Depending on the program, foreigners can expect to pay $11,160 to $40,000 per session, which usually runs from September to December, or January to April. Books can cost north of $1,000 per semester as well, so be sure your future loan burden can handle this ½ year abroad before applying.