Cost of living in Canada

The Canadian educational programs cost around CAD$ 10,000 to 19,000 annually. The cost of the programs depend on the course duration and program structure. To ease the transition, students are advised to build a nest egg prior to their admissions.

Most students prefer to work part-time after their classes and on weekends. A multitude of universities allow students to work off-campus during their summer vacation and spring break. Internship projects and co-op programs have been made mandatory by The Ministry of Education, Canada, to ensure students get an overview of corporate environments. These programs may or may not pay. Hence, it is invariably essential to plan expenses before arriving in Canada.

Students have an option to reside at home-stays, university hostels or privately shared accommodations. The cost of accommodation depends on location.

University hostels are more affordable than privately shared accommodations. On an average, students pay around CAD$ 3,000 to 7,000 for university accommodation and CAD$ 9,000 for privately shared accommodation. Some university accommodations include meals.

An on-campus accommodation or hall of residence is the best option for freshmen. Freshmen can interact with other students, do their laundry and cook together in the common kitchen.


Off-campus accommodations are best suited for sophomores and final year students. As most students take up part-time jobs, they can share a house and split rent. Metropolitan cities like Toronto and Vancouver have a higher cost of living (up to CAD 2,000) compared to Montreal and Edmonton (up to CAD1,500).

The last option are home-stays which cost CAD$ 400-800 per month. While food and accommodation in home-stays are enjoyable, students can benefit by learning a completely new culture through social activities and family occasions.

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTF) offers subway trains, bus routes and streetcar routes which spread across Toronto. Subway trains run from 6:00 am till 1:30 pm on weekdays and Saturdays. Toronto Subway trains are divided into:

  • Yonge–University Line with 38 stations
  • Bloor-Danforth Line with 31 stations
  • Scarborough Line with 6 stations
  • Sheppard line with 5 stations.

Bus routes are classified as regular routes, express routes, downtown routes, Bluenight routes and community routes. Streetcar Routes have dual-bus facilities, traveling Northbound to Southbound and Eastbound to Westbound.

The TTC 12 Month Pass is a yearly pass that allows unlimited travel for students and regular passengers. This pass is a trade for the TTC's Metropass Discount Plan (MDP).

  • 12 Month Pass-$134 every month
  • Monthly pass – CAD$99.75 per month
  • Day pass – CAD$8.50
  • Annual pass – CAD$ 91.50 when purchased per month
  • Single (one trip) – CAD$2.50

In Montreal, a subway network covers the city fairly comfortably.

  • MonthlyPass – CAD$65.00
  • WeeklyPass – CAD$19.00
  • Single (one trip) – CAD$2.75

Canada is known for its cuisines. The most popular dishes include poutine, bannock, butter tart, Nova Scotian lobster rolls and Montreal-style bagels. Food trucks are most popular during festivals and events. Here is an overview of the street food markets in Canada:

  • Vancouver – Richmond night market
  • Vancouver – Shipyards night market
  • Toronto – Market 707
  • Toronto – Adelaide Eats
  • Edmonton – What the Truck?
  • Montreal – First Fridays
  • Halifax – Truck – Side
  • Calgary – Calgary Night Market
  • Markham – Night it Up!

Students have an option to cook food at home if they don’t prefer eating at restaurants. Inevitably, home food is nutritious and hygienic.

Here is a breakdown of the costs for popular grocery items in Canada:

  • Milk (1L) – CAD$1.77
  • Loaf of bread – CAD$2.57
  • Rice (1kg bag) – CAD$3.07
  • 12 eggs – CAD$3.17
  • Boneless chicken breasts (1Kg) – CAD$12.47
  • Potatoes (1Kg bag) – CAD$1.98
  • Water (1L bottle) –CAD$1.63