Vancouver vs Toronto: Which city is better to live in (2020)

Vancouver vs Toronto: Which city is better to live in (2020)

It depends largely on your field of work. The most beautiful place on earth is pretty miserable if you can’t get meaningful employment.

Beyond that, I’d say, Vancouver is far prettier, has a nicer lifestyle; while it is wet and grey in the winter, it is also far warmer.

The biggest downside to Vancouver: it is more expensive, by far than Toronto (and Toronto’s rather expensive).

Housing prices in both cities are quite high, but in Vancouver, it is becoming almost impossible for most of society to own a detached home.

Edit: as of April 2017, Toronto’s housing prices have surged ridiculously (while Vancouver’s high prices have plateaued).

Toronto housing is now near or equal to Vancouver’s levels, with no end to the price increases insight.

Each city has so many great things going for them that it is hard to say which is better.

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Vancouver vs Toronto
Vancouver vs Toronto

Toronto has a much wider cultural diversity representing cultures from many parts of the world. It was fun to drive through the Brazilian community many years ago after their country won some soccer cup.

Vancouver has beauty going for it – nestled in the mountains, next to many islands and near the Ocean. The weather is temperate and I have enjoyed playing soccer outside in the winter, something not possible in Toronto.

Toronto has a vibrant bookbinding community (much bigger than Vancouver) of course this is a very narrow field, but as a hobby bookbinder, I’ve taken courses there and enjoyed that large-for-bookbinding community.

Vancouver is very progressive socially and sustainability. There are surprisingly large numbers of companies that are for-profit and non-profit that mix social/environmental values.

Which city is better to live in Vancouver vs Toronto 2020

Vancouver is considered the “greenest” city in Canada, birthplace (for mostly good, some evil) of Greenpeace, the birth of safe injection sites, various city halls banning oil pipelines, and storage facilities in the face of (hopefully former) Federal Government pushing.

Toronto has cheaper and better flight access to the world. I’m always jealous of the prices to visit exotic places that Toronto has compared to Vancouver.

Vancouver has great access to world-class skiing. 🙂 Toronto has access to that snow right in the city!

Both are great cities! My family had to decide between these two cities back in the 90s when they decided to immigrate to Canada. Here are some points about both cities.

Vancouver

  • The weather is pretty steady all year round. You can definitely feel the effect of all four seasons (fall, winter, spring, and summer) but the winters are nowhere as cold as they would be if you are living in Toronto. Vancouver also gets a lot less snow than Toronto as well so you don’t have to worry about driving in terrible weather or having to shovel the snow if you are living in a house.
  • The pace of life is more relaxed. I had a colleague who moved from Vancouver to Toronto saying that life is much more hectic and busy in Toronto. This is because in general Vancouver does not have nearly have as many businesses operating out of there as Toronto. I also know some young people who found Vancouver a bit boring because the pace of life is much slower.
  • It’s beautiful. There are mountains, parks and you are just living off the coast of the Pacific Ocean. If you like the outdoors you can easily go somewhere close to surf in the summer or ski/snowboard in the winter. Many people say that Vancouver is the most beautiful among the large cities in Canada.
  • If you want to travel to Asia or Australia, Vancouver is the closest distance to those places. If you live in Toronto and want to go to Japan it takes 13 hours, however, if you want to go to Japan from Vancouver it only takes 9 hours or so.
  • The cost of living there is the highest among all Canadian cities. You are looking at, at least 1M+ for any type of property on the west coast.

Toronto

  • Busiest and most populated city in Canada. If you are in downtown Toronto during rush hour you will see hundreds and thousands of people walking on the sidewalks at any time of the year. Some even say that Toronto is a city that doesn’t fully sleep. Office building lights downtown are some times still turned on at 2 or 3 in the morning.
  • This is the city that has the most jobs available out of all major Canadian cities right now as of 2018. So if you are looking to come to Canada to work Toronto is probably the city you would like to move to. Their area also studies that say that Toronto’s salaries are the highest in the country.
  • The city is full of diversity. I have met people in Toronto from all different backgrounds which have been amazing!
  • The cost of living is still high but not as high as Vancouver. You can probably get a condo for around 500k+.
  • Close to major business hubs in the US, such as NYC, Boston, and Chicago. It only takes at most 1.5 hours to get there by flying.
  • It can get quite cold in the winter. You will definitely see a lot of snow. Most people like it when they first see snow when they move to Canada but then they get sick of it.

Vancouver vs Toronto

Which city is better? For me, because I am a working professional Toronto is my choice. However for someone like my father who is retired he prefers the relaxed lifestyle of Vancouver much better.

Conclusion:

Pros of Toronto:

Toronto is a fun city with a lot of opportunities (more jobs, higher pay, and way more people). It’s vibrant, diverse, and fun. Although it’s cold, there is a way to get around without ever having step outside due to the subway.

There’s way more restaurants, bars, cool little areas, and activities in general. If you’re an extrovert and you like to keep yourself entertained, it’s a great city for that. It’s close to NYC, Montreal, and some of the best parts of Mexico!

Cons of Toronto:

It’s either way too cold, or way too hot. There’s rarely any in-between. Because of all of the activities, you end up spending a lot more money. You don’t generally stay in, as there’s always something going on.
Toronto is also very dirty in comparison to Vancouver. The alleys are filled with garbage. Oh, and the cab drivers are so awful (sorry but it’s true)!

Pros of Vancouver:

There’s great cuisine here, just not as many options as in Toronto. It’s a really great place to live if you like outdoor activities like biking, hiking, and boating. We have some amazing beaches that you can enjoy all year round.

The weather is amazing. I know a lot of people say it rains a lot, but it’s really not that bad. We have a lot of sunshine as well! Especially in Downtown. North Vancouver may be a different story.

Cons of Vancouver:

It’s extremely small so you tend to run into familiar faces all over (which can be good and bad!). There’s not much nightlife either (a few main spots and that’s it).

I also find it’s not as diverse as in Toronto, the people are all very similar and lead very much the same type of lifestyle. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just different. Think LA vs. NYC lifestyles.

Another negative is you cannot afford to buy a decent place for under 1 million. The housing prices here are INSANE.

So I would say overall, it really depends on the type of person you are, and at what stage in life you’re in. I personally loved Toronto at the age of 18–24.

As soon as I finished university, I knew I had to get out of Toronto. I missed the greenery, the slower pace, the beautiful skyline, the cleanliness, and most of all, the ocean and the mountains!

You can go skiing for one hour and the boat next. You can go to Victoria, Sechelt, Osoyoos, Vegas, California all in under 2 hours.

It’s been rated as one of the best and more beautiful cities in the world time and time again. If you can afford it, I’d vote Vancouver 100X over.

That is all of Vancouver vs Toronto

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