Personal Finance

Cost of Living (Toronto or Calgary)

  • Last Updated:
  • Jul 1st, 2013 7:37 pm
Tags:
None
[OP]
Member
User avatar
Aug 17, 2009
240 posts
5 upvotes

Cost of Living (Toronto or Calgary)

My job situation is changing and am asked to take on a role in Calgary. I am in Toronto currently make in the mid 40's and my wife doesn't work. Its a lateral move. I do not have a problem with moving but am wondering would moving laterally make survival difficult in Calgary as i am not sure about the cost of living there ?

Its me, my 2 year old and my wife and we did plan to buy a house here in London Ontario but now ofcourse it isnt possible as the job is changing. Here is what i was looking to find.

1. Is Calgary as good or a better city than Toronto
2. Is Calgary more expensive than Toronto (generally utilities, car insurance etc)
3. Is weather in Calgary too rough
4. Should i ask for a pay hike if the cost of living is considerably higher in Calgary than Toronto?

Any other pointers or help is much appreciated.

Thanks in advance
17 replies
Sr. Member
User avatar
Aug 18, 2002
986 posts
64 upvotes
Calgary
Hate to say it but mid 40's in Calgary is going to be rough.....but I will try to answer your specific questions (for background, I have moved between Calgary and Ontario couple of times in the past 8 years).

1. This is opinion only so don't flame me, but you couldn't pay me enough to live in Toronto. If you like outdoors and are active, Calgary beats TO hands down.
2. Taxes are better in Calgary (income/sales/property). Utilities are about the same. Services tend to cost more (ie - car repairs/service) because hourly wages are higher. Groceries are a little more expensive, but other stuff is about the same. School fees are high here....might be an issue in a couple of years with a 2 year old.
3. Winter is longer and colder but chinooks really help. And its usually sunnier here. I prefer the drier cold here vs damp cold of Ontario. But yes, it will hit -35 or so at some point during the year....

IMO, overall, Calgary is cheaper cost of living when you factor in housing and the savings on taxes.

Job opportunities in Calgary are much better. Makes it easier to find a better paying job once you are here. Or, if your wife wants to work at some point, should be easy to find part-time work for decent wage.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Dec 11, 2006
546 posts
2 upvotes
Vancouver
40k/year is a very low salary in Calgary. You'll make more answering the phone at a call centre in this city.

Winters aren't that different. I would actually say that Calgary has more mild winters. Between the dry cold making it less biting and Chinooks melting the snow every few weeks, I found winter in Calgary easier to deal with. Top it off with the mountains a short drive away, you actually have some great ways to enjoy the winter months.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jul 29, 2004
507 posts
27 upvotes
Calgary
inassod wrote:
Nov 9th, 2012 3:41 pm
My job situation is changing and am asked to take on a role in Calgary. I am in Toronto currently make in the mid 40's and my wife doesn't work. Its a lateral move. I do not have a problem with moving but am wondering would moving laterally make survival difficult in Calgary as i am not sure about the cost of living there ?

Its me, my 2 year old and my wife and we did plan to buy a house here in London Ontario but now ofcourse it isnt possible as the job is changing. Here is what i was looking to find

Any other pointers or help is much appreciated.

Thanks in advance
I moved from Toronto (Scarborough) to Calgary earlier this year so I can chime in on some of your Q's:
1. Is Calgary as good or a better city than Toronto
1) "is it a better city?" is a very subjective question and everyone will have their own opinions based on their personal preferences.
Toronto - big city items: nightlife, restaurants, sports teams, bars, artsy events, more diverse and ethic cultures

Calgary - smaller version of Toronto in each of the above categories. *but* nearby (60-100km west of the city) are the mountains which allow for various outdoors-y activities. and there is really no substitute for this as it's pretty flat around southern ontario.
2. Is Calgary more expensive than Toronto (generally utilities, car insurance etc)
2) Cost of Living Factors:

Sales Tax:
5% in AB vs 13% HST in ON. So you get an instant 8% discount on everything!

Income Tax:
10% in AB (no brackets) vs. 5% on the first 39,000 and 9% on the next $39,000 in Ontario
(source: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/fq/txrts-eng.html)

so based on your income of 40K, you might end up paying more income tax in AB :\
But i'm not an accountant and there may be other benefits/credits due to the province change .. shrug

Property Tax:
I'm renting atm (including utilities) so I can't say.

Goods and Services:
What the others have said so far in this thread seems to be pretty accurate.
I'll add that gas (for your car) is cheaper here.
3. Is weather in Calgary too rough
3) The Summer's in Calgary are not as hot as in Toronto. Most people in their homes don't have air conditioning. This past summer I remember it being 30deg C+ for 2 given weeks.

The trade off are the winters. Obviously they are longer and colder than in Toronto. But the occasional Chinook will bring the temperature to above freezing for a few days and melt all the snow away.

Oh and air is very dry here. I notice it in my skin being dry more often than not. I've invested in a humidifier for my place.
4. Should i ask for a pay hike if the cost of living is considerably higher in Calgary than Toronto?
4) You should always ask for a raise. Or at the very least some money for moving you and your family across the country. The worst that they can say is no :)
Member
Mar 4, 2007
292 posts
8 upvotes
Calgary
supergenius wrote:
Nov 9th, 2012 5:12 pm
Hate to say it but mid 40's in Calgary is going to be rough.....but I will try to answer your specific questions (for background, I have moved between Calgary and Ontario couple of times in the past 8 years).

1. This is opinion only so don't flame me, but you couldn't pay me enough to live in Toronto. If you like outdoors and are active, Calgary beats TO hands down.
2. Taxes are better in Calgary (income/sales/property). Utilities are about the same. Services tend to cost more (ie - car repairs/service) because hourly wages are higher. Groceries are a little more expensive, but other stuff is about the same. School fees are high here....might be an issue in a couple of years with a 2 year old.
3. Winter is longer and colder but chinooks really help. And its usually sunnier here. I prefer the drier cold here vs damp cold of Ontario. But yes, it will hit -35 or so at some point during the year....

IMO, overall, Calgary is cheaper cost of living when you factor in housing and the savings on taxes.

Job opportunities in Calgary are much better. Makes it easier to find a better paying job once you are here. Or, if your wife wants to work at some point, should be easy to find part-time work for decent wage.
I have to agree with SG. Mid 40's is very low and with a non working wife and a 2 year old it's going to be very difficult on your family. You should ask for a raise or once you move here look for a different opportunity after a few months have passed. Not sure what field you are in otherwise we can tell you what kind of opportunities there are.

I travel quite a bit to Toronto for work and was actually offered to move there for a job but declined. Also my fiance is from TO and resides there so I went through the whole which city is better to reside in and it was an easy decision but mind you I grew up in Calgary and have a house here so it's not a fair comparison. Factored in a lot of reasons like housing, safety, commute and job opportunities, which was probably the strongest factor

Also clothes, groceries, service like SG said cost more but insurance and taxes are lower. Gas is cheaper but used cars cost more.

I also can't stand the 'wet' cold weather in TO. -10 feels like -30 to me when I'm there but maybe it'll be the opposite for you here as its more of a dry cold.

Also, people are nicer here, generally. :)
Deal Addict
Dec 24, 2005
4884 posts
545 upvotes
i dont know how you could raise a family in toronto on 40k either
[OP]
Member
User avatar
Aug 17, 2009
240 posts
5 upvotes
Thank You all, there are some very educative comments in this post for me who knows nothing about Calgary. My wife was working and making almost as much as me so we were surviving just fine in Toronto but since we had our little one, we decided to spend more time on his upbringing, care taking etc - She might start working in the future but i cant count that in at this point as i do not know when would that happen.

How is the general cost of real estate there ? We saved a good amount of $$ for DP here in Onatrio and am wondering if people make more $$ there and there are good jobs out there, real estate would be on fire ? and so would be the rental market ? I will certainly see what raise i can negotiate as going there and moving up the job with another employer wont be a bad idea either ?

Thanks to all again.
Member
Mar 4, 2007
292 posts
8 upvotes
Calgary
inassod wrote:
Nov 10th, 2012 6:57 am
Thank You all, there are some very educative comments in this post for me who knows nothing about Calgary. My wife was working and making almost as much as me so we were surviving just fine in Toronto but since we had our little one, we decided to spend more time on his upbringing, care taking etc - She might start working in the future but i cant count that in at this point as i do not know when would that happen.

How is the general cost of real estate there ? We saved a good amount of $$ for DP here in Onatrio and am wondering if people make more $$ there and there are good jobs out there, real estate would be on fire ? and so would be the rental market ? I will certainly see what raise i can negotiate as going there and moving up the job with another employer wont be a bad idea either ?

Thanks to all again.
Yes Real Estate is on fire here. Calgary and Edmonton are leading Canada at the moment of houses sold and going against the what rest of the Canada is doing. In Calgary, records are being set for luxury homes and if it wasn't for not enough inventory, I think sales for regular homes would be setting records as well. A typical single family starter detached home will run you around $400-450k, depending on which area you live in. Calgary is broken down into 4 quadrants: NW, NE, SW and SE. The north east is where you can find the cheapest homes generally but its probably the least desirable of the 4. Also, you should see where you will be working and if you plan to stay at the job try to buy a house near there. Also factor in your commute, although Calgary is no Toronto when it comes to traffic there are still places where it can easily take you 45 minutes one way to get to work. Personally, anything over 30 minutes, I can't handle.

Not sure about rentals though. I do know there are lots of people out there renting but can't comment on prices.
Deal Addict
May 25, 2009
1482 posts
152 upvotes
Siralex wrote:
Nov 10th, 2012 7:33 pm
Yes Real Estate is on fire here. Calgary and Edmonton are leading Canada at the moment of houses sold and going against the what rest of the Canada is doing. In Calgary, records are being set for luxury homes and if it wasn't for not enough inventory, I think sales for regular homes would be setting records as well. A typical single family starter detached home will run you around $400-450k, depending on which area you live in. Calgary is broken down into 4 quadrants: NW, NE, SW and SE. The north east is where you can find the cheapest homes generally but its probably the least desirable of the 4. Also, you should see where you will be working and if you plan to stay at the job try to buy a house near there. Also factor in your commute, although Calgary is no Toronto when it comes to traffic there are still places where it can easily take you 45 minutes one way to get to work. Personally, anything over 30 minutes, I can't handle.

Not sure about rentals though. I do know there are lots of people out there renting but can't comment on prices.
Rental homes typically do not stay on the market very long. A standard, single family, starter home (3 bedroom, ~1,500 square feet) in the deep south (which is pretty favourable for families - Evergreen/McKenzie Towne/Bridlewood) will run between $1,400 and $1,800 per month with the majority being around $1,600 (not including utilities.) In the NE a rental home would be a few hundred dollars cheaper (easily do around $1,100 per month.) A 2 bedroom condo or a home in the Inner City (Kensington/Marda Loop/Bankview and area) will easily run $2,000 or more per month.

A good option for a rental home would be the west side (Signal Hill/Rosscarrock/Glendale/Westgate/Stratchcona Park) especially now that the west LRT will be functional in December. Prices are reasonable, the area is nice and the new LRT will make for a short commute to the downtown core (assuming the OP would be working in the core.)
Check out Rent Faster (http://www.rentfaster.ca/calgary.php) for a better idea of rental prices across the city.
Newbie
Jun 26, 2013
1 posts
MONTR
Hello,
I'm wondering weather to move to Toronto or Calgary as well. My husband and brother in law work in renovation and have their own shop which would have to be moved, and I am an Interior Designer. Any advice as to which city would have the better job opportunities? Hope it's not a bother to jump on a thread.
Deal Addict
May 28, 2006
2312 posts
160 upvotes
supergenius wrote:
Nov 9th, 2012 5:12 pm
Hate to say it but mid 40's in Calgary is going to be rough.....but I will try to answer your specific questions (for background, I have moved between Calgary and Ontario couple of times in the past 8 years).

1. This is opinion only so don't flame me, but you couldn't pay me enough to live in Toronto. If you like outdoors and are active, Calgary beats TO hands down.
2. Taxes are better in Calgary (income/sales/property). Utilities are about the same. Services tend to cost more (ie - car repairs/service) because hourly wages are higher. Groceries are a little more expensive, but other stuff is about the same. School fees are high here....might be an issue in a couple of years with a 2 year old.
3. Winter is longer and colder but chinooks really help. And its usually sunnier here. I prefer the drier cold here vs damp cold of Ontario. But yes, it will hit -35 or so at some point during the year....

IMO, overall, Calgary is cheaper cost of living when you factor in housing and the savings on taxes.

Job opportunities in Calgary are much better. Makes it easier to find a better paying job once you are here. Or, if your wife wants to work at some point, should be easy to find part-time work for decent wage.
I lived in both Toronto and currently Calgary as well own houses and cars in both cities. I agree with everything said above. Insurance is also 4 times cheaper. $1600 for basic insurance in Toronto for a 1999 Toyota Corrola while I'm paying $400 for a 1993 Nissan Sentra. My motorbike in Toronto was $450/yr. and I brought it over to Calgary paying $110/year.

House insurance may be a bit higher in Calgary. Not much though. Utilities about the same if you go with Enmax Calgary.

Calgary is way laid back. Folks are way nicer than Toronto folks always in a rush. There's no price for less stress. No one to yell at you because you didn't run the yellow light. People stop at stop signs. Heck they even stop in the middle of the road if they see you jaywalking and smile at you. If you're ever in trouble there's countless people that won't think twice to lend you a helping hand.
Deal Addict
May 28, 2006
2312 posts
160 upvotes
There's many detached 3-bedroom homes for less than $250k. I know because I bought one less than a year ago and just sold it. I'm currently looking to buy a house where I can lease the entire house out.
Member
Feb 25, 2009
466 posts
21 upvotes
JayWang wrote:
Nov 9th, 2012 7:34 pm
Income Tax:
10% in AB (no brackets) vs. 5% on the first 39,000 and 9% on the next $39,000 in Ontario
(source: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/fq/txrts-eng.html)

so based on your income of 40K, you might end up paying more income tax in AB :\
But i'm not an accountant and there may be other benefits/credits due to the province change .. shrug
The basic personal exemption in Alberta is $17,593, far higher than the $9,574 in Ontario.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 26, 2003
1171 posts
135 upvotes
If you're getting by on your salary in Toronto I don't see why it would be a problem in Calgary. And you should ask for a) a raise for your trouble and b) your company to cover your moving expenses
Deal Addict
Apr 4, 2007
2133 posts
116 upvotes
GTA
ssainani wrote:
Nov 10th, 2012 12:38 am
i dont know how you could raise a family in toronto on 40k either
If you live below your means, find affordable ways, it can be done. But of course if you need your 3 series and your trip to Whole Foods every weekday, then it's not possible.
× < >

Top