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?
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
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
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
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
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!
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.
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.