Cost of Living in Toronto
The cost of living in Toronto in 2020
Disclaimer: These numbers represent an estimate of what it costs to live in Toronto based on LowestRates.ca data, external sources as well as our writers' personal experiences. It’s entirely possible for people to live in the city for much less, while others may need much more to fund the sort of lifestyle they prefer.
According to a December 2019 report from Rentals.ca, the average cost of a one-bedroom unit in Toronto hit $2,314/month last November, and the average cost of a two-bedroom reached $2,966. We’ve decided to calculate things a little differently this year and use only the average rental cost of a one-bedroom unit for our monthly calculations.
If you’re a renter, you may want to purchase renters insurance to protect your belongings. Using our tenant insurance quoter, we ran a test quote for a 30-year-old and their family renting in the Bloorcourt Village area of Toronto and found that tenant insurance would cost them $35.07 a month.
According to the most recent market data from the Toronto Real Estate Board , the average selling price for all home types in the GTA in the 2019 calendar year was $819,319.
In Toronto specifically, the average price was $883,520.
Assuming a down payment of 15% (which means we also need to include mortgage insurance through Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation), that gives us a total mortgage of $772,020.
Going with a 25-year amortization period, and a five-year fixed rate term at an interest rate of 2.94%, monthly mortgage payments for such a home in Toronto would cost $3,630.
Then, of course, buyers must also consider home insurance. While it isn’t mandatory, most lenders won’t give you a mortgage without it. Using our home insurance quoter, we determined that home insurance for a 30-year-old and their family living in the Bloorcourt Village area of Toronto in a four-storey detached home would cost $140.92 a month.
There’s also property tax to take into account, which is determined based on the following factors; Toronto’s municipal tax rate, the education tax rate (determined by each province), the city building fund, and the value of your property. Using the City of Toronto’s Property Tax Calculator, on an $883,520 home, you’d be paying $5,431.62 a year in property tax, which works out to about $452.64 a month. It’s important to know that your property taxes will be based on your MPAC assessment.
Don’t forget about land transfer tax, either — both municipal and provincial. Using the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB)’s Land Transfer Tax Calculator, a home that sells for $883,520 would produce $28,290.80 in land transfer tax, which is paid in a lump sum at the time of the transfer. As such, we haven’t included this in our monthly total.
- Mortgage payments: $3,630 (includes mortgage insurance)
- Home insurance: $140.92
- Property tax: $452.64
That gives us a monthly total of $4,223.56.
With Presto fully implemented now across the TTC, tokens and passes are no longer payment options. The switchover has translated into higher prices pretty well across the board when compared to 2019 fare options.
- Single adult cash fare: $3.25
- Presto adult fare: $3.10
- Presto one-ride ticket: $3.25
- Presto two-ride ticket: $6.50
- Presto day pass: $13.00
- Monthly Presto pass (students): $122.45
- Monthly Presto pass (adults): $151.15
- 12-month Presto Pass (adults): $138.55
- 12-month Presto (students): $122.45
Note: Some TTC fares are increasing on March 1, 2020.
Cabs/Uber/Lyfts: Maybe transit’s not your thing. If that’s the case, there’s an abundance of ride-sharing services to choose from in Toronto. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, Canadians 18 and older spent a collective $241 million on ridesharing services in 2016.
One Uber ride from Midtown to the Yonge-and-Dundas area costs about $30 round trip. Since there are those who never take Uber, and those who take it often, we've gone with four trips a month for our calculations.
Using the 12-month adult Presto Pass ($138.55) as our transit option, in addition to four $30 Uber trips a month (for a total of $120), our average monthly transportation cost works out to $258.55.
The top-selling car in Canada last year was the Honda Civic Sedan.
A 2020 four-door Honda Civic Sedan EX costs around $25,290. On a seven-year 0%-interest finance plan with no money down, that would mean monthly payments of $340.21, according to Scotiabank’s auto loan payment calculator.
Auto insurance is mandatory in Canada, so we ran a test quote on our auto insurance quoter for a 30-year-old male with a clean driving record and G licence, living in downtown Toronto, looking for comprehensive and collision coverage. The lowest rate he could get on our site with the above-mentioned Honda Civic EX was $217.33, which includes discounts for being open to using telematics as well as bundling auto and home/tenant policies with the same provider.
Other costs to consider that aren’t included in the monthly total:
- Licence sticker renewal: $120 a year (this works out to $10 monthly but is paid as an annual lump sum).
- Parking permit: If you own a home, you might have a laneway (congrats!) but if not, you might need to park on the street. For your first residential on-street parking permit, where you have no access to on-site parking, such as a laneway of parking lot, it will cost you $110.58 every six months. (This works out to $18.43 monthly but is paid as a six-month lump sum twice a year.) If you want to park off-street, such as on your front yard or City boulevard, the costs rises significantly.
- Maintenance: This one’s tough, since basic maintenance is usually something that’s done a few times a year. But to offer an example, one of our writers spent $467.98 last year in basic maintenance fees.
The price of groceries for single people has actually decreased by about 11% from last year. This could have something to do with the fact that we’re increasingly relying on food delivery apps for their meals, making visits to the grocery store a less frequent occurrence.
According to the City of Toronto’s Nutritious Food Basket Calculator, a single male between the ages of 19 and 30 now spends $283.52 a month on groceries, and a single woman between the same ages spends $220.39, giving us on average of $251.95.
Food costs have continued to increase for families, however. According to the University of Guelph and Dalhousie University’s annual Canada Food Price Report, the average Canadian family will spend $12,667 a year on groceries (or $1,055 a month) in 2020 — an increase of 2 to 4%, or $487 more a year, from 2019.
Last year, we included the average cost of dining out (whether that’s buying your lunch, getting takeout, going out for dinner, or even buying yourself a latte a couple times a week) under Entertainment but this year we’re lumping it in with the Food category.
- Buying lunch three times a week: $10 each time = $120/month
- Getting takeout for dinner three times a month: $20 each time = $60/month
- Going out for dinner once a month: $70/month
- Buying a latte twice a week: $4 each time, $32/month
Dining out: $282/month
Phone and Internet: $155.96/month
We saw a major shakeup in the Canadian cell phone space last year with the introduction (finally) of unlimited data from our major cell phone providers. The most common plan option available right now from Bell, Rogers, and Telus is 10GB of data at maximum speed, with anything after running at a slower speed. But the good news is you won’t be charged for going over the limit.
The pricing is competitive on this type of plan, with each major provider charging $75 a month. This competition, however, has helped drive the average monthly phone price down by $15 when compared to 2019.
On the high-speed home internet front, however, things have gotten a little pricier. Just like last year, we compared plans from two of the city’s larger providers, Bell and Rogers, and one smaller one, Teksavvy. But this year, to accommodate our streaming habits, we compared mid-size plans from each provider with healthy download speeds of 150 mbps and anywhere from 15 to 150 mbps upload speed. (Note: We don’t include one-time installation fees in our calculations.)
- Bell: $89.95
- Rogers: $89.99
- Teksavvy: $62.95
That gives us an average of $80.96 a month for internet and $75 for phone.
Going out for drinks with friends twice a month: $20 each time, $40/month
Having drinks at home/friends’ house once a month: $50/month
Miscellaneous Outings (movies, events, shows, data, etc): $50/month
Some new players entered the Canadian streaming space last year, including Apple TV+ and Disney+. Of course, there will be people who use other streaming services, such as HBO or Crave, but for our purposes, we’ve gone with Netflix, Apple TV+, and Disney+.
Note: we aren’t averaging the streaming services because it’s highly likely that people are signed up for more than one.
- Netflix subscription (standard): $13.99/month
- Apple TV+: $5.99/month (first year is free if you buy an Apple device)
- Disney+: $8.99/month
- Apple Music/Spotify subscription: $9.99/month
Health and Fitness: $64.75/month
If you want to stay fit using Toronto’s gyms and studios, it will come at a price. Monthly gym memberships in this city range from $15 at Planet Fitness to $59 at the YMCA, to $69.98 for the top membership option at Goodlife Fitness. If you’re more of a yoga or pilates lover, a 12-month commitment at one of the city’s more popular studios runs $115 a month. That gives us an average of $64.75 — a $1 increase from 2019.
This is what it costs to live in Toronto in 2020
- Total: $3,541.24 monthly, or $42,494.88 annually (for renters who commute)
- Total: $3,840.23 monthly, or $46,082.76 annually (for renters who drive)
- Total: $5,415.73 monthly, or $64,988.76 annually (for homeowners who commute)
- Total: $5,714.72 monthly, or $68,576.64 annually (for homeowners who drive)
Based on the current tax rate in Canada and Ontario, renters who commute will need to be making at least $55,500 before tax ($42,584 after tax) to make ends meet in Toronto.
Renters who drive will need to be making $61,000 before tax ($46,376 after tax.)
Homeowners who commute will need to make $88,000 before tax ($65,056 after tax.)
And homeowners who drive will need to make $94,000 before tax ($68,971 after tax.)