30 Cheapest Places to Live in Canada

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Are you curious about the cheapest places to live in Canada? Everyone wants to save money, so how do we do that? Well, there are a number of ways, but a big place to start is considering where you live. Not all cities are equal when it comes to the cost of living. So, if you are looking to move and wondering where the cheapest places to live in Canada are, read on. 

The cheapest places to live in Canada

The cost of living in Canada varies drastically across the county, from province to province and city to city. Things that play a role in the cost of living include location, size of the city where you are living, infrastructure etc. It also includes not only the cost of living but also groceries, healthcare, transportation, energy, clothing and more.

Big cities like Toronto and Vancouver are known for being some of the most expensive cities. But costs in these metropolises do not reflect the cost of living across the entire country. There are a number of large cities that are much more affordable. You don’t need to move into the middle of nowhere to find a cheaper place to live in Canada.

That said, before we get to the list, remember that the cost of living is relative to the location. Along with the prices of homes, average incomes also vary across the county. So yes, it will cost more to live in Toronto than it will in small town Ontario. However, your salary in Toronto will also be higher than for the same job in small town Ontario.

With that in mind, here are some of the most affordable cities to live in Canada using data found from livingcost.org. Note the average rent and utilities and average food costs are based on a single individual. Prices are in CAD.

Saguenay, Quebec 

  • Population – 145,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4307.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $508.00 
  • Average food costs – $649.00 

Saguenay isn’t one of the most well-known cities in Canada by any means. In fact, chances are some of your reading this article have never heard of it. However, if you are a nature lover then it’s a good place to consider. 

Not only is it considered one of the most affordable places to live in Canada, but its has plenty to offer outdoor enthusiasts year-round given its location by a spectacular fjord. From snowmobiling and ice fishing in the winter to canoeing and even surfing in the summer, this place is built for outdoor adventurists.

Located about two hours outside of Quebec City, the cost of living in Saguenay is nearly $1000 per month less than what people pay to live in Montreal. 

Sherbrooke, Quebec

  • Population – 173,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4290.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $655.00 
  • Average food costs – $625.00 

Only a couple of hours from Vermont, Sherbrooke is considered to be the heart of the Eastern townships of Quebec. The city has a small, local feel to it with an emphasis on food, family, sports, and culture. It’s a family friendly-destination that can save you $800+/month on living costs in comparison to nearby Montreal making it a good option when it comes to the cheapest places to live in Canada.

Quebec City

  • Population – 549,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4799.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $756.00
  • Average food costs – $613.00

With tons of history and a beautiful old Town, Quebec City is often considered to be a little piece of Europe in Canada. A popular tourist destination year-round, there’s always something going on here to keep things busy and exciting. However, even though it is a popular spot for a Canadian vacation, it’s also considered to be one of the cheapest places to live in Canada. 

Not only is it nearly $1500 cheaper to live in Quebec City than Montreal, the other major city in Quebec. But the average monthly salary after tax in Quebec City is cheaper as well. So, if you are looking for an affordable place to live in a major city in Quebec, then this might be the place to go.

Saint John, New Brunswick

  • Population – 67,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $7204.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $937.00 
  • Average food costs – $726.00 

Located on the shores of the Bay of Fundy, Saint John is a popular stop for tourists who come to see the Reversing Rapids (a natural phenomenon caused by the bay tides clashing with the Saint John River) and the hiking trails on the peninsula nearby. On top of natural beauty, Saint John also comes with a long history dating back to early settlers in Canada.

New Brunswick is often skipped over in favour of other Canadian provinces but it’s actually one of the cheapest places to live in Canada. The average salary in the province itself is $5176 which is 2.5 months’ worth of living expenses. 

Halifax, Nova Scotia

  • Population – 403,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4599.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1520.00 
  • Average food costs – $790.00 

Probably the best-known Maritime city is Halifax. With its seafood, live music, friendly reputation, and tourist attractions it’s a destination well-loved by visitors and locals alike. So, if you are up for living on the coast then it could be a great pick. You get all the benefits of bigger city living at half the cost as you would living on the west coast in Vancouver. 

Regina, Saskatchewan

  • Population – 215,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $3465.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $866.00 
  • Average food costs – $456.00 

The second largest city in Saskatchewan, Regina, is one of the fastest growing cities in the country thanks to its reputation of being a well-paying city with a low cost of living. While some may scoff at the idea of living in the prairies, low taxes and a strong economy contribute to the allure, especially with younger people, since there is plenty of opportunity for professional growth.

St. John’s Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Population – 109,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4719.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1179.00
  • Average food costs -$620.00

Not only is St. John’s Newfoundland one of the most affordable places to live in Canada thanks to affordable housing. But it also has a great economy, plenty of nearby natural beauty, and a slower-paced lifestyle. While St. John’s might be a big city for the province, it’s small-town compared to Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Ottawa.

Things move at a more relaxed place which many residents really appreciate. So, if you are sick of the grind and the go-go-go mentality, then it might be a good option to consider. Women and families especially will want to take note that St. John’s is also considered to be a very safe place to live in Canada.

Prince Albert, Saskatchewan

  • Population – 35,900
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4326.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1277.00
  • Average food costs – $573.00

A lot of this list features slightly larger cities but for those Canadians who are looking for smaller towns then consider Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. There’s good money to be made here when it comes to gold and uranium mining as well as oil extraction, woodworking, pulp and paper milling, and food packaging.

While these might not be the most glamorous jobs, the pay is good and the cost of living is low meaning it’s a great place to be able to work and save. Only an hour away is the Prince Albert National park, which is considered to be the most beautiful spot in the province.  

Surrey, British Colombia

  • Population – 518,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $5091.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1589.00
  • Average food costs – $717.00

About an hour outside of Vancouver, Surrey offers British Colombia residents the opportunity to be close to the big city without having to worry about the costs of living there. In fact, many residents of Surrey actually work in Vancouver and choose to commute daily to avoid the high living costs.

While being close to Vancouver is a perk, Surrey itself has plenty to offer as well. A mild climate, forests, beaches, and plenty of golf courses are part of the draw. Residents of Surrey tend to enjoy higher incomes and the city itself is considered to be very safe.

Kitchener, Ontario

  • Population – 233,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4459.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1376.00
  • Average food costs – $668.00

About 90 minutes from Toronto, Kitchener allows for easy access to one of Canada’s biggest cities while allowing for a much more affordable lifestyle. The cost of living in Kitchener is about 2/3 of what it costs to live in Toronto, and there isn’t a big difference between the average monthly salaries.

Kitchener provides plenty of opportunities for families, students, new professionals, and retirees alike. The city is known for festivals, shopping, cultural events, and more. 

Barrie, Ontario

  • Population – 197,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4289.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1071.00
  • Average food costs – $624.00

Another Ontario city only about an hour outside of Toronto is Barrie. In fact, there is a line from Barrie to Toronto on the Go Train making it easy for Barrie residents to get in and out of the city, without having to worry about Toronto’s high cost of living. Like Kitchener, the cost of living in Barrie is about 2/3 of the cost of living in Toronto.

Barrie isn’t as large or culturally diverse as Toronto is, however, it is also a growing city. The expanding job market, safe community, and location that offers outdoor activities year-round make it a great choice for those looking at the cheapest places to live in Canada.

Oshawa, Ontario

  • Population – 159,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $7412.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1412.00
  • Average food costs – $576.00

Oshawa is considered to be part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), but residents who choose to live here rather than in Toronto proper can save themselves quite a bit of money in rent, food costs, and especially transportation.

It’s close enough to the big city to have access to all that Toronto offers, but it is also a good mix of metropolitan living and nature in its own right. The Oshawa area is home to plenty of nice beaches which makes it a great place to be during the summer months especially. On top of being much cheaper than Toronto, Oshawa is also considerably safer.

Greater Sudbury, Ontario

  • Population – 162,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $6682.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1104.00
  • Average food costs – $621.00 

With some of the lowest property taxes in the province of Ontario, Sudbury is definitely worth considering when looking at the cheapest places to live in Canada. While much smaller than some of the other cities in the province, Sudbury is a thriving community with a reputation for strong education and healthcare systems. 

Additionally, it’s a great pick for anyone who enjoys nature and the outdoors- you’ll have so much right at your doorstep. There are over 300 lakes within the city limits, plenty of hiking trails, and several conservation areas to keep you active year-round.

Abbotsford, British Columbia

  • Population – 141,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $3822.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1273.00
  • Average food costs – $663.00

Abbotsford is located east of Vancouver and while considered to be a rural city, it’s growing thanks to a strong economy and employment opportunities. In fact, at the time of writing this article, Abbotsford has an unemployment rate of only 4.4%- one of the lowest when it comes to Canadian cities. The low cost of living and job prospects make it a popular place for young people who are looking to get started in life.

Kingston, Ontario

  • Population – 124,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4490.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1300.00
  • Average food costs – $654.00

Kingston may be small compared to other major Ontario cities but its close proximity to Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa make it an ideal location. You have easy access to three major Canadian cities but only pay a fraction of the cost of living in one of them. Not a bad deal!

Kingston is considered to be a university town thanks to Queens University. But it’s also a great place to raise a family or even retire. It’s clean, safe, friendly, and surrounded by some of the prettiest parts of the province which is great for outdoor adventures.

St. Catharines, Ontario

  • Population – 133,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $5013.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1574.00
  • Average food costs – $650.00

St. Catharines is the largest city in the Niagara region of southern Ontario, close to the American border. It’s nicknamed the garden city with plenty of green space, hiking trails, and parks. The economy here is actively growing and the cost of living is significantly cheaper than in Toronto. The city is also known to be very welcoming and diverse and has a dedicated program for new immigrants making a home in the community. 

Kelowna, British Columbia 

  • Population – 127,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4837.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1475.00
  • Average food costs – $692.00

Kelowna is a pretty popular city in British Columbia so you might be surprised to see it on this list of the cheapest places to live in Canada. However, there is a pretty hefty difference between the cost of living in Kelowna compared to Vancouver and Kelowna has so much to offer.

From wine country to ski slopes, beautiful landscapes and an excellent education system, Kelowna is considered to be a great place for Canadians to live. Some may consider it small, but being such a popular tourist hub means it stays pretty busy. 

Coquitlam, British Columbia 

  • Population – 139,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4355.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1810.00
  • Average food costs – $725.00

Less than an hour from Vancouver, Coquitlam offers many of the same advantages at a much lower cost. It’s a vibrant city, especially popular with younger people looking for work opportunities in a more affordable city and a safe and friendly place to raise a family. Like Vancouver, there is also the added benefit of being on nature’s doorstep. Hiking, biking, fishing, and other similar leisure activities are all easily accessible to Coquitlam.

Laval, Quebec

  • Population – 438,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4205.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $952.00
  • Average food costs – $637.00

Sometimes considered to be a suburb of Montreal, Laval is a great place to live with easy access to the city and the Laurentian region. The cost of living in Laval is significantly cheaper than Montreal. Plus ,Laval has a higher average monthly income as well. 

Laval is primarily French but the cultural diversity of this city is growing. Other benefits, aside from affordability, include the nearby nature, and the food scene. Laval is a big player when it comes to agritourism and is known for its excellent local food products.

Edmonton, Alberta

  • Population – 933,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4860.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1198.00
  • Average food costs – $723.00

Edmonton is one of the highest-paying cities in the country. Pair that with a lower cost of living in comparison to some of the other high-paying or large cities in Canada and lower taxes and you have yourself a great place to save money.

The disposable income is a huge draw to living in Edmonton and why it makes the list as one of the cheapest places to live in Canada. But it also has a great job market, diverse culture, lots of greenery, and a fun nightlife filled with lots of annual festivals. Winters might be cold, but this Canadian city has a lot going for it. 

Thunder Bay, Ontario

  • Population – 108,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4513.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1284.00
  • Average food costs – $622.00

Considered to be the capital of Northwestern Ontario, Thunder Bay is a great place to work and play. The city is constantly growing and has plenty of work opportunities, especially in the areas of biotechnology and molecular medicine. Other major fields include education, transportation, mining, manufacturing, and forestry. 

Affordability is a huge draw for Thunder Bay, especially when it comes to rental prices. It’s also a great spot to enjoy nature and the outdoors thanks to parks, conservation areas, and trails with options for year-round activities. 

Red Deer, Alberta

  • Population – 101,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4339.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1233.00
  • Average food costs – $658.00

Considered to be one of the top 5 places to live in Alberta, Red Deer is also considered to be one of the cheapest places to live in Canada. It has a diverse economy with key industries including health care, construction, mining, quarrying, oil and gas, food services, education, retail trade, and manufacturing. 

Moncton, New Brunswick

  • Population – 71,900
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $3560.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1011.00
  • Average food costs – $693.00

Nicknamed ‘hub’ city thanks to its central location and history as a transportation hub for the Maritimes, Moncton is considered to be not only one of the cheapest places to live in Canada but also one of the best living cities in the country.

Affordability, easy commutes, and a friendly community are all major attributes of this community. Paired with the proximity to natural parks and beaches and you have a great place to call home, especially if you are looking to raise a family.

Medicine Hat, Alberta

  • Population – 63,300
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4238.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1097.00
  • Average food costs – $614.00

Medicine Hat may be a smaller-scale city, but when it comes to perks and advantages of living here, there are plenty. To start with, affordability is a key advantage to living in Medicine Hat. The cost of food, transportation, and rent are all quite competitive given the average monthly salary. 

The city has a reputation for being clean, friendly, and safe. There are plenty of small local restaurants and breweries, and more than 115km of trails perfect for walking, hiking, and biking. Sun-seekers should also know that Medicine Hate has more sunny days than any other Canadian city with an average of 2,544 hours of sunshine annually.

Grand Prairie, Alberta 

  • Population – 64,100
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4823
  • Average rent & utilities – $1282.00
  • Average food costs – $830.00 

The cost of living in Grand Prairie is higher than other places in the province of Alberta. However, when you consider the cost of living against the average monthly salary, there is still a lot of disposable income which is why it makes it on this list of the cheapest places to live in Canada.

While saving money is a definite advantage to living here, it’s also an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and is known for being friendly, having great schools, a thriving art culture and plenty of festivals to keep things fun and entertaining year-round. 

Windsor, Ontario

  • Population – 217,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4398
  • Average rent & utilities – $1467
  • Average food costs – $669

Located on the Canadian, American border only 10 minutes from Detroit, United States, Windsor is another popular pick when it comes to the cheapest places to live in Canada. Affordable housing here is a huge draw and added perks include easy travel, good entertainment, and warm weather. Well, warm weather by Ontario standards at least!

While it is considered to be an affordable place to live it’s worth noting that the job market here can be tricky if you don’t already have something set up. 

Gatineau, Quebec

  • Population – 291,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $3470.00
  • Average rent & utilities – 1051.00
  • Average food costs – $691.00

Located in the province of Quebec but across the river from Ottawa, Gatineau is a popular choice for individuals who want to be close to the nation’s capital but keep costs down. This city offers significantly lower rent and housing prices than the neighbouring capital city of Canada, but is so close that you can literally walk over a bridge between them. 

Living in Gatineau means access to plenty of big city perks (both in Gatineau itself and Ottawa) but people who live here also have access to incredible nature right in their backyard. Ski hills, hiking trails, lakes and rivers for canoeing, swimming and more are pretty much right on Gatineau’s doorstep.   

Lethbridge, Alberta

  • Population – 98,400
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $3450.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1245.00
  • Average food costs – $776.00

Another pick for the cheapest places to live in Canada is Lethbridge, Alberta, which is located right by the Rocky Mountains. Despite its proximity to the mountains, Lethbridge enjoys warm summers and relatively mild winters- at least by Alberta standards! The city is affordable, safe, and popular, especially with families.

Nanaimo, British Columbia

  • Population – 90,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4253.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1685.00
  • Average food costs – $784.00

Aside from being the birthplace of one of Canada’s best desserts, Nanaimo is making a name for itself as one of the best places to live in British Colombia. Many consider it to be a mini Vancouver, just without the price tag. Like Vancouver, Nanaimo boasts a mild climate, access to plenty of beautiful nature, and a good education system. Residents of Nanaimo enjoy the quality of life that they have here which includes an affordable lifestyle and the ability to save. 

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 

  • Population – 246,000
  • Average monthly salary after tax – $4472.00
  • Average rent & utilities – $1100.00
  • Average food costs – $682.00

Finally, on this list of the cheapest places to live in Canada is Saskatoon. Despite being a major city, Saskatchewan has one of the lowest costs of living in the country. The housing market here especially is much more affordable which means individuals with the average monthly salary rarely experience financial strain due to the cost of living.

The city also boasts plenty of green space, a large multicultural community, and plenty of opportunities for both work and education.

Median Income in Canada by Province

Province and territoryAverage salary in 2019
Newfoundland and Labrador$109,294
Prince Edward Island$64,030
Nova Scotia$74,603
New Brunswick$73,061
Quebec$78,267
Ontario$85,798
Manitoba$86,561
Saskatchewan$99,611
Alberta $120,762
British Columbia$92,795
Yukon$110,705
Northwest Territories$168,801
Nunavut$118,046

Final thoughts 

This roundup of the cheapest places to live in Canada keeps in mind the average cost of living as well as the average salary. As in every location, there are pros and cons of each of these places but overall, this list of 30 cities is a good place to start your research when looking for the most affordable places to live in the country.

About Hannah Logan

Hannah Logan is a freelance writer based in Ottawa, Canada. She specializes in finance and travel writing and has bylines at Fodor's Travel, O Magazine, and more. She also runs two travel blogs, Eat Sleep Breathe Travel and Ireland Stole My Heart. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @hannahlogan21.

1 Comment

  1. Almeid Mageta on April 26, 2023 at 3:48 PM

    Your Kelowna rent and utilities is too low; currently the average for a one bedroom suite is much higher than this, let alone a 2 bedroom. I’ve been searching for quite a few months as it looks like I’ll be transferring there soon.

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