It’s nearly impossible to reasonably answer if it’s expensive to rent an apartment in one of Canada’s four largest cities. (Short answer: yes.)
This is mainly because one’s definition of ‘expensive’ hinges on dozens of individual factors and accompanying costs of living, all of which we’re going to respectfully ignore for the purpose of this article. Sometimes you just want to know if your hard-earned cash will fetch you a nicer pad in one city compared to another.
So we spent a few too many hours scouring Craigslist to see what kind of place you can expect to find for $1000/month in Montreal vs. Toronto. Or $1500 in Vancouver (ha!) vs. Calgary. Or $2000 in Toronto vs. Vancouver?
Here’s what we found…
Best Case: 70s pre-fab apartment on the subway line.
Worst Case: basement apartment north of Highway 7 that abuses the definition of ‘bright’.
Reasonable Expectation: one bedroom nowhere near downtown, though within walking distance to important things.
Best Case: A semi-furnished downtown loft.
Worst Case: A big, old tower.
Reasonable Expectation: The same amount of space and downtown proximity you’d find for $1,500 in Toronto.
Best Case: An address in Gastown.
Worst Case: A place deemed borderline liveable by First World standards.
Reasonable Expectation: Not even a full month at the Surrey Central Inn.
Best Case: A one-bedroom townhouse on the outer rim of the city.
Worst Case: A two-bedroom basement on the outer rim of the city.
Reasonable Expectation: Living on the outer rim of the city.
Best Case: A sliver of space in a trendy area.
Worst Case: Living in St. Jamestown because you need space.
Reasonable Expectation: A large bedroom in an older building downtown or a tiny bedroom in a brand new building hovering around the border that divides downtown and “general city centre.”
Best Case: A downtown condo with plenty of space, light, and a rooftop swimming pool.
Worst Case: A big, old tower (with $250 gift card!)
Reasonable Expectation: Two-bedroom apartment; fully furnished, centrally located.
Best Case: You find a place at all.
Worst Case: Settling for Burnaby.
Reasonable Expectation: Temporary accommodation near the Trans-Canada Highway.
Best Case: A brand new two-bedroom place out near a lake.
Worst Case: A decent place in Airdrie.
Reasonable Expectation: Not much better than what you should expect to find for around $1000/month.
Best Case: A Victorian mansion downtown.
Worst Case: Two bedrooms way out on the Danforth.
Reasonable Expectation: One bedroom + den in the downtown core with decent-to-good amenities.
Best Case: You live like a king/queen. Seriously.
Worst Case: Something brand new with a lot of space in one of the best areas of town.
Reasonable Expectation: You can look for places in Old Montreal.
Best Case: A one-bedroom condo downtown in a relatively new building.
Worst Case: “Call to inquire.”
Reasonable Expectation: There are actually options, and someone selects you to live in one.
Best Case: Finally, something downtown.
Worst Case: Many of the sub-par options you’d find around $1500.
Reasonable Expectation: There are no listings for your lofty allowance.