9 Most Affordable Cities in Canada For Living and Travel

Canada finds itself within the top spots on all sorts of rankings; “the fifth most expensive country in the world”, “one of the most-loved countries in the world”, as well as offering some of the top universities around the globe and the highest life expectancy rate. In other words, Canada is the dream country for a lot of people and for a lot of good reasons: bacon, maple syrup, breathtaking natural scenery, over-the-top-politeness, hockey, and great healthcare. But if you want to move there, you’re probably looking for the most affordable cities in Canada, eh?

banff national park
The most affordable Canadian cities are just a stone’s throw from places like this!

While you won’t find the cheapest rent in Canada in, say, Toronto, with a bit of research and some basic budgeting skills, we dare say that living in Canada can be a lot more affordable than living in cities like New York, Washington, D.C., or Los Angeles.

What makes these the most affordable Canadian cities?

When comparing the cost of countries and cities, there are certain things that you must take note of — like the cost of renting or buying a place and its size, the cost of utilities, groceries, eating out, transportation, and so on.  

Everything needs to be taken into account, so when you actually break it down to specifics, most people would be surprised to find that living in Canada can be quite affordable with an income or some substantial savings.

Once you get outside of the expensive city life of Vancouver and Toronto, you will find that real estate and the cheapest cost of living in Canada is found in places like Quebec, Saskatchewan, Ontario, or British Columbia, and most of these places are within driving distance to the big cities.

These places are affordable even for students on a tight budget. Unlike other places, where food is one of the cheapest things, in Canada, due to its cold climate, most of the food comes from export, which makes groceries pretty expensive.

But, somehow we’ve done it and we’ve made a list of the 9 most affordable cities to live in Canada. Let’s check ‘em out together!

9 cheapest places to live in Canada

1. Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

agawa canyon park
We hope you like your affordable cities with a side of stunning beauty.

Although Ontario is home to some of the most expensive cities in Canada, it’s also home to some of the most affordable cities, such as Sault Ste. Marie. Bring your skills to the third-largest city of Ontario, where there are a significant number of jobs in all industries, and where you can find rent for about $1000 per month.

The favorable work-life balance is a reality and not just a dream in Sault Ste. Marie. Here you can access high-quality education, enjoy renowned, beautiful, and inspiring landscapes (such as the Agawa Canyon), and find out why winter sports are an integral part of the Canadian lifestyle. Experience the best cottage life with roasted marshmallows, hiking, hot saunas, and a swim.

2. Rimouski, Quebec

The residents of Rimouski consider themselves to be the happiest people in Quebec. This may be due to the city’s natural setting and location on the shores of the largest estuary in the world, which offers an exceptional natural environment that can be explored through hiking trails, sea kayaking, bird watching, and marine science.

Rimouski also encourages academic success and work-study balance, and is home to some of the best jobs for women in science and engineering. With a steady monthly income and an affordable rent for about $800 per month, this definitely makes Rimouski one of the most affordable cities in Canada and worth checking it out.

3. Timmins, Ontario

It is very likely that the only thing you know (or should know) about Timmins is that it’s Shania Twains’ hometown. However, it’s also worth knowing that Timmins is also one of the most affordable cities to live in Canada, as well as a dream city to all you nature lovers out there! 

Although most jobs are in mining or foresting, there are also more and more job opportunities in retail, communications, engineering, and IT each year. Timmins is where city meets nature, and Ontario’s hidden natural gem! You can rent an apartment for about $700 per month in the city, and have the great outdoors right at your back porch. Get the best of both worlds!

4. Quesnel, British Columbia

elk near rocky mountain national park
Get front row seats to incredible wildlife.

Quesnel is one of Canada’s smallest cities, as well as one of the most affordable Canadian cities. If you’ve ever dreamed about moving to a quiet city for about $850 per month, close to nature (say, a 10-20 minute walk to a semi-wild outdoor space) where wildlife encounters are common, then you should give Quesnel a chance.

The city offers great schooling opportunities for your future children, as well as job prospects at one of the thriving local businesses or in wood product manufacturing, agriculture, agri-technology, mining, or tourism; talk about a well-rounded lifestyle. Oh, and did we mention that Quesnel also has the lowest tax rate in Canada? Think about that for a minute!

5. St. Catharines, Ontario

If you’re new to Canada and don’t want to struggle with the expensive life of living in Toronto, you could opt for St. Catharines instead, one of the most affordable places to live in Canada that also offers a wide range of job opportunities to choose from. The real estate and rent prices are half of what you’d find in Toronto, and if you ever feel an itch to visit the big city, you’re only an hour away.

St. Catharines has its own attractions and year-round events that will most likely keep you entertained for a while, such as art exhibits, festivals, theatre performances, historical museums, great shopping opportunities, a rapidly growing number of local craft breweries, and some of the most breathtaking natural sights you’ve ever seen. The Garden City, as it’s also nicknamed, truly has it all.

6. Abbotsford, British Columbia

most affordable cities in canada
If you’re seeking the quiet life, the most affordable cities in Canada are made for you!

When we’re talking about the most affordable places to live in Canada, we can’t forget about Abbotsford, the cheapest big city in British Columbia. Job opportunities can be found in various sectors such as trade, construction, aerospace, retail, healthcare, manufacturing, or transportation. Rent prices vary depending if you’re living in the city or not, and can cost you anywhere from $600 to $1200 per month.

Abbotsford is close to the international border and within an hour’s drive to cities like Vancouver or Richmond. It’s hard not to love Abbotsford when you get to sunbathe by the ocean during hot summers and go skiing or hiking during the cold season! You’ll also get to do your grocery shopping at the local farmers’ market and always eat fresh produce, even when you go out to eat. Sounds like a perfect move to us!

7. Lévis, Quebec

Another city in Quebec, Lévis, also finds itself on our list of most affordable Canadian cities. With a low unemployment rate and lots of job opportunities with high income, good access to public transportation, and affordable rent in modern apartment buildings, Lévis seems to be the perfect place for having an outstanding quality of living.

When it comes to attractions and fun activities, the city has it all, from shopping malls, historic sights and bridges, and cultural events to sky hills, ferries, and lively restaurants with diverse cuisine. In Lévis, life is good…and waiting for you!

8. Brockville, Ontario

ducks on a lake in kingston, ontario
If you weren’t an outdoorsperson before, you will be now.

Brockville is not only one of Canada’s oldest cities but also one of the most affordable cities in Canada, with tourism as a major industry due to its picturesque islands with sandy beaches, overnight camp facilities, and the best freshwater shipwreck diving activities in the world. 

Whether you’re searching for a house on the river, or a condo downtown, you can find both at an affordable price. No matter where you live in Brockville, you’re within a short drive to parks, walking trails, schools, restaurants, shopping, or theatres. Imagine what you can do with all that time you’d have, instead of sitting in traffic.

9. Weyburn, Saskatchewan

Weyburn, the Opportunity City, was ranked in the top five best places to live in Canada in 2017, and took the top spot as the best prairie city to live in two consecutive years, 2018 and 2019. What else makes this city so great? The fact that it’s also one of the most affordable cities in Canada!

Even though oil drives most of the economy, other businesses and employment opportunities are blooming. Plus, the cost of living is low and modern homes can be found at an affordable price. Unlike other parts of Canada where you could freeze to death, Weyburn is actually one of the warmest spots in Saskatchewan all year round.

With FMT, everywhere is the cheapest place to live in Canada

When you’re starting life in a new place, it’s always best to make it a smooth start, and that can be done with a good starting budget. So open a fundraising campaign with FundMyTravel early on, before you start the entire moving process!

Friends, family, and internet strangers will have enough time to donate towards your dream, and you can concentrate on the important details, like picking out the cheapest places to live in Canada. FundMyTravel gives you a real chance at making your dreams come true, whatever those dreams may be.

The most affordable Canadian cities are waiting for you!

niagara falls, ontario
The cheapest places to live in Canada might just change your life.

Your dream of moving and living in Canada can now become reality. Start researching the 9 most affordable cities in Canada that we’ve put together for you, and if you still feel like you haven’t found home yet, then research some more!

There are countless other affordable places to live in Canada, and you will most definitely find the most affordable city in Canada that soothes your soul. And just because you can’t live right downtown a big vibrant city, does not mean you can’t enjoy it.

Remember: When you live in an affordable place, it’s easier to save up money for yearly vacations and even some weekend getaways here and there, to keep your traveling heart happy.

Start Your Fundraising Campaign Today!

luciana dinu

This article was written by Lucy Dinu. Lucy is an entrepreneur and world traveler—plus writer by day, and reader by night. Born and raised in Romania, Lucy has lived in three different countries and, together with her husband, has traveled to over 20. She strongly believes in personal development, speaks five languages (with a sixth in progress!), and is passionate about everything that puts a smile on people’s faces. Through her unique traveling stories, Lucy aims to inspire others to get out of their comfort zone and explore the world.

Comments (30)

Thanks, nicely composed ,very helpful.one can realy dream to settle in the most charming places .The dence papulation in Indian cities make life difficult.

Thank you so much for the Interesting information.

Thank you very much! I really appreciate the details.

Thks it opens others mind of development and motivate your inspiration

Hi Lucy
Greetings from India.

A very well researched and a perfect guide for someone planning to move to Canada on a budget and what can be better to base one self in a dream location which offers job /earning opportunities offers,world healthiest lifestyle ,ever so close to the bounty offered by nature and above all at this at an affordable price .

Appreciate your Fundraising campaign Best practice which are very practical .
5 Star to this article, your website and your enthusiasm .

Manoj .K. Kashyap
Can be reached at almostmagic@gmail.com and is a advisor at a premier Immigration Consultancy at Chandigarh India enabling students,job seekers to reach their ‘Dream Destinations’

Muhammad Mazhar Mushtaq

Its a great piece o information for aspirant to live and settle in Canada and also for new immigrants.

Dolores (Dolly) G. Malchow

My sister and I are both retired and living on social security and would like to relocate from the U.S. to Canada. We have two purebred ragdoll cats. What #1 location in Canada is the most affordable for renting an apartment? Any information would be great. Thank you

I would be very careful as healthcare in many affordable places is non existent!!

That’s a great point. I grew up in Quesnel BC, and we did have a hospital and quite a few doctor’s clinics. But if you needed any kind of specialist appointment you had to drive to either Prince George or sometimes Williams Lake, which are about two hours away. Could make things difficult if you didn’t own a vehicle.

Iwant to work and to live in Canada because Canada is beautiful country in the world and It’s my dream to be Canadian in my life and I want to change my life in Canada

Unless you are already a Canadian citizen, the country is not going to let you stay there for more than 6 months at a time and you won’t be able to claim US benefits or draw on Canadian benefits while you are in Canada (you can’t set up a bank account without a legal reason to stay, so you’d have to have savings to support your vacations to Canada). Best advice is to stay where you are or move to a more affordable state.

I am 79 yrs. old and live on s/s, can I afford to live in Canada?

This list makes me kinda of giggle if they think weyburn sask is cheap to live in that they definitely don’t live here!
I do and I can tell you that it’s not cheap to live her jobs are scares,rent is high and groceries are ridiculous(box of cereal average 8 bucks) so yeah it’s not as cheap as one would like to think,just saying🤷🏻‍♀️
Would love to know how they make their decision on what’s cheap and what’s not!

Me too, I’d also love to know where they got their info on housing prices, because they were way off on Abbotsford. I live there and you’d never find anything to rent under $1,000.

That is my question also.
I live on ss in sc and really want to know HOW to move to Canada.
I detest the heat and humidity here.

Do not know where you got all the info but, Dalhousie N.B. rent is 500 a month. That is cheaper than everything you have listed.

Not finding any on that price, any link can provide?

My wife and I would like to relocate to Red Deer, Alberta.Is Red Deer as beautiful as it looks? Is it a nice little city to retire in? I’m 55 and retired.My wife the same.Please let me know.We want to move in November.

Yes, Red Deer is a beautiful city with walking paths along the river and other natural areas. There are well-defined neighbourhoods, and a history of solid city planning. It has grown a lot in the past twenty years, and the city has all of the services and shops you could wish for on a daily basis. But if there is something special you want, you are only an hour or so to Edmonton or Calgary. Red Deer has been the hub of Central Alberta forever, and there is a strong cooperation between the county and the city. The longtime residents are friendly, and Alberta comes with a ‘can do’ “let’s get ‘er done” attitude. On the negative side, Red Deer is like other cities with rapid modern growth—crime has increased as drugs moved into the area.

I would love to visit these places they seem so peaceful and pleasant.

Hi I was wondering if you liked Portugal and if you did what was your favorite place if you wanted to live there

Sault Ste. Marie is not even close to being “the third-largest city of Ontario”. According to the 2016 census, it’s the 27th largest.

Groenewegen-Millard Daniel

As a former resident of Weyburn Saskatchewan, I can assure you that it may have cheap rent and cheaper houses compared to the big cities, but the cost of living isnt cheap. Groceries for one is rediculasly expensive! Spending $100 isnt hard when shopping for basics like milk, bread, cheese and coffee. And when the oil prices drop unemployment there is absolutely TERRIBLE! Good luck finding a job because unless you know everyone then you’re last on the list to get a job. Typical small town Saskatchewan! The rumour mill is one of the only thriving opportunities there! Hahah. Just dont be on the bad side of it!

Great read, but I currently live in Abbotsford and I can tell you you would absolutely never find something to rent for $600 here. $1,000 for a one bedroom apartment is about the cheapest you’ll find. We rent a three bedroom basement suite for $1,550 a month. Just makes me wonder how accurate the other housing prices they list are.

Thanks. If the current idiot president is re-elected, I’ll need all these names.

St.Catharines? Cheap?
Maybe compared to Toronto but on average we’re trying to get outta this area.
Look at what you can get for $500,000 for houses around here and look what you can get for the same in New Brunswick or parts of B.C.
I just shake my head.
I think all of ontario is the most expensive place in Canada.

Good little article, however I should correct you on the cost of living in Timmins. You most certainly cannot find even a 1 bdrm apt for $700 monthly. I’ve lived here all my life, I paid that figure when I was 18, well over 20+ years ago.

This list seems totally arbitrary. What quantitative criteria was used other than a pitching darts at a map?

Abbotsford is in the containment of Vancouver, one of the most expensive cities in Canada. The average house price is $662,000 Can (Oct 2020). If you want rural, most rural place in BC cost less.

If you pick a place like Quesnel or Weyburn, you could pick almost any rural place or small town in Canada. Try Trail, BC where you have a choice of world class ski hills, outdoor eco-adventure, a regional airport airport, lake and river recreation and a large regional hospital. Median price for a single family house is about $180,000 Can with prices starting at about $100,000. Rural place in the Kootenays (southeast British Columbia) are a steal. There just isn’t any work unless you have a government background. If you are retired with some kind of income and a bit of equity, there are many places available. It just depends on your expected lifestyle.

This list of 9 places means nothing without some kind of qualifying criteria explained and some quantifiable analysis…not just subjective ramblings.

Hi Lucy, thank you so much for this write up. It is very helpful

If trump gets re-elected in Nov., my wife and I want to move to Canada. I’m on a fixed income which includes S.S. My wife isn’t old enough yet to retire. She has a Master’s Degree in Adult Education and wants to start her own online business. Are there communities between Ontario and British Columbia where we would be able to start anew? Place/s that are safe, affordable, and environmentally friendly? We’ve looked at various places online but they all seem somewhat confusing and tilted to the best of everything without any reality check on the worst. Any help will be greatly appreciated. We are afraid for the future of America if trump gets re-elected. Please help us make a new start. Thank you. David

Leave a comment