Is it better to live in Calgary or Toronto?

Calgary and Toronto are both amazing cities with high standards of living. But there are many differences between the two ranging from size to lifestyle. So, is it better to live in Calgary or Toronto?

There’s no clear answer on which city is better. Toronto trumps Calgary for entertainment, weather conditions, safety, and transit options. But Calgary is better for its laidback lifestyle, outdoor environment, and lower expenses. Both have strong economies with high wages and job opportunities.

Thus, the better city for you will depend on your personal preferences. If you want a laid-back metropolitan area, Calgary might be a great choice with its over a million population. But if you want a fast-paced lifestyle with lots of options, Toronto is the best place. Here, we compare the two cities based on some factors.

1.      Living Expenses

Another place where Calgary beats out Toronto is the affordability. Toronto is great, but you need a lot of money to live here comfortably. Even though Calgary is expensive, it remains more affordable, and the wages here match the cost of living. According to Numbeo, rent prices in Toronto are 51.66% higher than Calgary’s, restaurants are 3.18% more expensive, and consumer prices are 1.79% higher. It’s no wonder that local purchasing power in the Six is also 9.19% higher than what you get in Cowtown.

So, if you’re looking for an affordable yet metropolitan city to live in, consider Calgary to be one of the best options for you. In addition, the oil-rich economy of Alberta has greatly developed Calgary into one of the most desirable places to work in Canada. Wages are quite high, and there are lots of job opportunities. So even though Toronto has a stronger economy with more opportunities, the lower cost of living in Calgary makes it a better choice economically.

2.      Entertainment

No other place in Canada beats Toronto for fun and entertainment. This city of over 8 million residents in the center of arts and culture in the country. Residents have access to hundreds of entertainment options ranging from museums, galleries, restaurants, cinemas and theatres, and more. In addition, the city has eight major league teams. So, if you’re looking for a place to explore, meet new people, and have great nightlife, you should consider Toronto.

On the other hand, Calgary is more of a laid-back city. It’s a rodeo town, and the kind of entertainment options here is what you’ll get in any rodeo town. There are galleries, museums, dance companies, independent theatres, the Philharmonic orchestra, and opera. While it has nightlife, it doesn’t compare to what’s available in Toronto. With Toronto, you’ll get to experience variety.

3.      Outdoor Environment and Activities

Are you someone that enjoys spending time outdoors and enjoying natural wonders? Then, Calgary might be better for you. The city is close to the Rockies, and you get to have several adventures anytime you wish to; camping, hiking, mountain biking, etc., are just a few. In addition, the city itself has parkland of over 100 km² with lots of amazing spots where you can spend time outdoors and enjoy nature.

But Toronto is almost as good. Located near Lake Ontario, this city has lots of natural delights, and it’s close to some of the most beautiful places in the world, including Niagara Falls. Toronto itself is home to more than 1400 parks which means there are many outdoor spots to do what you want. But the lesser population of Calgary and proximity to the Rockies means it takes the crown on this one.

4.      Weather Conditions

Calgary is in the prairie region, and one of its characteristics is the sunlight. It experiences more hours of sunlight than most Canadian cities, but its winters are equally cold, long, and harsh. Temperature can drop to as low as -12 degrees Celsius. However, even the winter here can have sunny afternoons, and the Chinook winds make things a little warm. Thus, the weather in Calgary tends to change randomly and without warning sometimes. This unpredictability and alternating between extremely hot and extremely cold aren’t the best.

However, Toronto’s weather is more stable and milder. The summers here last longer and are warmer, but the city has more rainfall. While winter is also cold, it’s not as cold as Calgary, and you get to enjoy the four distinct seasons more often here. Thus, if you prefer warmer and predictable weather, Toronto is the place for you.

5.      Safety and Family Friendliness

Toronto and Calgary have several family-friendly neighbourhoods and amenities ranging from schools to parks. But when it comes to overall safety, Toronto appears to be the better option. The crime rate in the city is 31% below the national average, with violent crimes being 28% lower. But, of course, Calgary isn’t so bad, with the violent crime rate being 22% less than the national average. But if safety is a non-negotiable thing for you, you may want to consider living in Toronto. However, many residents consider Calgary to be better for overall family friendliness. So, if you’re thinking of raising kids in a city, a laidback one like Calgary might just be your best option.

6.      Transit

Calgary is a fairly car-dependent city even though it has public transport options. There are buses and the C-Train light rail system, but these options aren’t enough compared to what you’ll get in Toronto. With Calgary, it’s always advisable that you have a car for getting around. But you can live in Toronto without owning a car because there are many options for getting around, and none is that costly. The one good thing about moving around in Calgary is that congestion is minimal, so you can get where you’re going fast and easily. So, commute time is on your side in Calgary.

In Conclusion

Both cities are great options for anyone wishing to live in Canada. Toronto is better than Calgary based on some factors, but it’ll eventually come down to personal preference. Residents of Calgary claim to have a better quality of life, and in some ways, this is very true.

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