Edmonton versus Toronto: Where Should You Choose to Live?

February 16, 2023


Are you considering either Edmonton or Toronto as your new city? If so, you’ll find that these two areas offer a lot of contrasts between each other. When trying to decide where to live in Canada, many Canadians make the choice between these two locations. These two places give a different experience to residents of these major Canadian cities. And both have made numerous lists as one of the best cities to live in (in Canada)! From the weather and geography to the culture and lifestyle, there are many factors to consider when deciding between Edmonton versus Toronto and which city is right for you.

Edmonton Versus Toronto: A Quick Overview

Edmonton Toronto
Geographic Location Alberta (west) Ontario (east)
Population 1.01 million 6.4 million
Average House Price $366,600 $1,081,400
Average temperature 4.4°C 9.4°C

Geographic Location: Different Provinces Means Different Landscapes

Edmonton sits in the north section of the western province of Alberta, while Toronto lies in Ontario on Canada’s east coast. Edmonton has a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters; this makes it an ideal spot for those who enjoy seasonal activities. In contrast, Toronto enjoys more moderate temperatures throughout the year with milder winters than Edmonton, making it perfect for outdoor activities all year round.

The landscapes also differ greatly – Edmonton is surrounded by prairie grasslands with the North Saskatchewan River running through the city, and is only a couple hours’ drive from Jasper National Park, while Toronto boasts lush forests and plenty of nearby bodies of water such as Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay, not to mention the close proximity to Niagara Falls. Both cities have their own unique charms – from professional sports teams to vibrant cultural scenes – but ultimately it comes down to personal preference when choosing which one is right for you!

niagara falls

Ontario vs. Alberta

Toronto may have a larger international presence mainly because of its location, situated near Niagara Falls and the United States. Torontonians can drive to this world-famous natural landmark and even take day trips to the US. The most populous province of Canada, Ontario is Canada’s economic centre and is home to spectacular parks and forests, including four of the five Great Lakes.

Nevertheless, Alberta has extensive mountains and pastures available and is renowned as an oil-producing country with abundant farmland.  Edmonton is the provincial capital of Alberta and it’s an important hub for communications, education, health care, and financial services. Edmonton offers easy access to the Rocky Mountains with skiing and snowboarding opportunities in winter as well as hiking trails in summer.

Cultural Experiences: Different Cuisines, Different Attractions

As the biggest city in Canada, Toronto is home to over 6 million people from all over the world, with a vibrant cultural scene that is unmatched. The city offers numerous opportunities to try new cuisines as well as explore its many attractions such as the CN Tower and Royal Ontario Museum. With an international airport, there are endless possibilities for travelling – both domestically and internationally. And being such a short distance from Niagara Falls means residents can enjoy the beautiful sight of nature easily.

edmonton street festival

Edmonton also has a diverse population, although when compared to Toronto it will definitely feel smaller. Just over 1.5 million people live in the capital city, and there’s a wide variety of cultural experiences to enjoy, such as West Edmonton Mall and the Alberta Legislature Building. With its own international airport, Edmonton is well-connected for those who are looking for quick getaways or weekend trips. The city also offers outdoor activities like skiing and snowshoeing in winter, as well as being known as the Festival City, with live music and art events, plus much more!

Look at the Weather: Long Winters, Mild Summers

Toronto generally has a milder cold season than Edmonton but there are still cold days that can be expected from late November to early April. The months after that tend to be hot and humid with occasional thunderstorms. Spring and fall offer a moderate climate which is ideal for outdoor activities such as camping or biking in the city’s many parks. Toronto is located along Lake Ontario and the weather in the city changes constantly. As a result, Lake Ontario makes winters more pleasant and summers hotter than anticipated. Winters in Toronto have snow from December to March, with snow accumulating more than a centimetre each.

Edmonton experiences more extreme temperatures with hot summers and cold winters. The city gets an average of 22 days below -25°C in winter which can make outdoor activities challenging at times.  Edmonton typically receives snowfall from November to April, with temperatures averaging -10°C in the winter and a high of nearly 30°C in summer. However, the summer months are quite enjoyable as temperatures rise above 20°C on most days making it ideal for those who want to experience the outdoors.

Cost of Living: A Balance Between Affordability and Quality

Toronto is known as one of the most expensive cities in Canada and it’s true, rent and property prices in Toronto can be quite high. However, Toronto also offers an excellent quality of life. The city is full of opportunities for those who are looking to start or advance their career and offers a diverse range of amenities.

Edmonton is considered to be one of the best cities to live in Canada when it comes to housing affordability. There is no provincial tax in Alberta and the costs of living are significantly lower than other major Canadian metropolises. The city also provides good job opportunities and has an excellent education system as well as excellent health care services. All these factors together make Edmonton a great place to live and work.

While Toronto offers a more expensive cost of living, Edmonton is overall more inexpensive. This is the same for living expenses in Edmonton vs Toronto as well. The average rent for a one-bedroom in Edmonton is about $925 compared to $1,500 in Toronto. However, the average monthly salary in Toronto is almost $3,800 whereas in Edmonton it’s just over $3,300.

Overall, both Toronto and Edmonton have their own unique advantages depending on the lifestyle an individual chooses. Both offer opportunities for professionals seeking career advancement as well as those who want to explore different cultural experiences.

Resource: Cost of Living Calculator

Edmonton vs Toronto – Cost of Living Breakdown

edmonton toronto infographic

Jobs & The Economy: Booming Markets in Both Cities

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, and with an unemployment rate of 6.3%,  it’s no surprise that the job market has been booming there. The city offers plenty of employment prospects across sectors such as finance, healthcare, and tech. Toronto also provides a great opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses.

Edmonton’s economy is currently one of the strongest in Canada and offers numerous opportunities in sectors such as oil and gas, technology, manufacturing, and healthcare. The city has seen a large influx of new jobs over the past few years thanks to its lower unemployment rate (7.6%) and rising wages.

Real Estate Market: Making a Smart Investment

Toronto’s real estate market is the most active in Canada, with prices continuing to rise year after year. The city offers an abundant selection of property types ranging from high-end condos, townhomes and houses to more affordable options such as starter homes. Despite its steep price tags, Toronto remains attractive for buyers and investors alike, because of its excellent infrastructure, transportation system and quality of life.

Edmonton’s housing market is more reasonable than Toronto’s (actually one of the cheaper places in Canada) but it still offers a range of options for buyers. Houses here are generally much less expensive than those in Toronto, while condos offer a great option for those who are looking for a more affordable entry into the market. Edmonton is also known for its strong rental market, with rental yields that can be quite attractive to investors.

Related article: Moving to Alberta: The Checklist to Buying a Home in Alberta

As of December 2022 according to CREA, the average price for a home in the greater Toronto area was $1,081,400 and coming in at a much lower cost, Edmonton’s average home price for the same time period was $366,600.

Amenities: Access to World-Class Entertainment in Both Cities

Both of these areas offer a great quality of life, with tons of amenities and so much to do. There is a wide range of activities and experiences that cater to every taste.

toronto city hall

Toronto is renowned for its diverse culture, offering world-class entertainment such as theatre shows, music festivals, art galleries and museums. Other amenities include:

Edmonton has a vibrant cultural scene as well, with an eclectic range of art galleries, museums and music venues. Other amenities in the capital include:

Transportation, Traffic & Commuting: A Breezy Trip to Work in Both Cities

Toronto is notoriously known for its traffic congestion, with commuters often facing long journeys and delays. The city has one of the longest commute times in Canada, averaging at around 80 minutes each way. However, the recently launched SmartTrack plan promises to reduce journey times significantly.

Edmonton has a much lower traffic congestion rate than Toronto, making it an ideal option for those who want to avoid rush hour. There are new communities all around Anthony Henday Drive, so you can live close to where you work or have an easy commute wherever you need to go.

The city also offers excellent public transit options such as the Light Rail Transit (LRT), which makes getting around town much easier. Commuters living in Edmonton can expect to spend about 40 minutes travelling each way if they’re working in downtown Edmonton.

Overall, both cities have a lot to offer. From cultural attractions to nightlife and world-class entertainment, there is something for everyone. Both Toronto and Edmonton are great places to live, work, and invest in.

Thanks to their robust infrastructure, both cities have excellent public transportation systems that offer comfortable and reliable commutes. They also boast strong networks of bike paths and walkways, making them ideal for those who want to explore the city on foot or by bike. In addition, Edmonton and Toronto both have a variety of safe neighbourhoods with great amenities that families want, making them both worth considering when deciding where to live.

Whether you are looking for an urban experience or a more relaxed pace of life, Toronto and Edmonton have something to offer everyone. With Edmonton compared to Toronto, it’s a big choice! Both cities offer amazing housing opportunities in wonderful neighbourhoods, top-notch amenities, and more. Ultimately, the decision of which one to call home is a personal one and should be based on the lifestyle and goals that you have. Good luck!

Related article: Edmonton versus Calgary: Where Should You Choose to Live?

Originally published Jan 6, 2022; updated Feb 16, 2023

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About the Author:

At Sterling Homes, our mission is to provide the opportunity for affordable homeownership without compromise. Over the last 70 years, Sterling Edmonton has quickly become one of Edmonton’s most popular builders. We bring more than seven decades worth of exceptional customer service, superior design and unparalleled craftsmanship to the greater Edmonton area. As a member of the Qualico Group, Sterling Homes focuses on greater Edmonton’s finest family communities, while being able to offer some of the region’s most family friendly prices thanks to volume purchasing power for materials, trades and land. This has not only made Sterling one of Edmonton’s bestselling, move-up builders, but also one of the industry’s most respected home providers. It is through our uncompromising commitment to our customers that we proudly deliver the Sterling Advantage – that’s why each and every home we build includes a 10-year home warranty, a completion guarantee and new home warranty excellence rating. Our Advantage is our pledge that, when you build your dream home with Sterling, we will deliver a timely, well-built home you’re sure to enjoy for years to come.

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