10 Cheapest Places To Live In Ontario 2021

Cheapest Places To Live In Ontario

As Ontario hosts one of Canada’s most expensive cities to live in, Toronto, many people think all of Ontario is an expensive place to live in. While Toronto is undeniably expensive, many other cities throughout Ontario are affordable to live in. Keep reading to find out what the cheapest places to live in Ontario are.

Quick Overview

Cheapest Places To Live In Ontario 2021 –

Name2016 Census Population
1. Thunder Bay121,621
2. Sudbury88,054
3. Windsor287,069
4. Ottawa934,243
5. Kingston117,660
6. Cobourg19,031
7. Waterloo535,154
8. Orillia31,128
9. Guelph131,794
10. London494,069

1. Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay is in Northwestern Ontario and is the most affordable city in Ontario. With only 107,909 people, it is quite a small city. Despite being a city, Thunder Bay has a lot of great natural areas and lakes around to make living there even more tempting.

Thunder Bay is a great city for families or couples looking to buy their first home as the cost of living is so low. On average, buying an apartment in the city center is 5,489 per square meter. To rent a one-bedroom apartment is $978 a month in the city center and $828 outside of the center. If you want to buy a home instead, the good news is that the average price of a home is only $217,745.

The low cost of living is not the only benefit of Thunder Bay, there is a prominent university, Lakehead University in the city that makes it a great place for students as well.

There are plenty of jobs in Thunder Bay as well, especially in the transportation, education, manufacturing, mining and forestry industries. Don’t forget that Thunder Bay is surrounded by nature, Great Lakes and national parks, so there’s something for everyone in this affordable city!

2. Sudbury


Sudbury comes in as the second cheapest place to live in Ontario as buying a house is on average $268,696. Since many people may not be familiar with the city, Sudbury is located in Northeastern Ontario, 390 kilometres north of Toronto.

How far away it is from Toronto is a big part of what makes the cost of living in Sudbury low. That is not necessarily a bad thing though if you are looking to get out of the big city and move to a more nature-centric city.

Sudbury is surrounded by freshwater lakes, pristine forests and beautiful parks to explore. Despite being so ingrained in nature, Sudbury still has city amenities with a population of 161,531 people.

The benefit of having so much space with a small population is that Sudbury is one of the largest municipalities with a low population density of 49.3 people per square kilometre. This means that you will not be isolated, but you and your family will have the space you need to grow and explore.

Despite being a smaller city, Sudbury still has great job options, particularly in financial and business services, education, government, health care, research and tourism. Sudbury is also home to the Northern Ontario Film Studios, making the city the fastest-growing market in Canada for film and television. So, if you work in any of these sectors, Sudbury would be the perfect place for you!

3. Windsor


Even closer to the United States border is Windsor, Ontario which sits along the border to Detroit. Due to its proximity to the States, Windsor has a lot of Canadian residents that work in Detroit, but live in Windsor thanks to its low cost of living.

Rent in Windsor is 56% lower than Toronto. The average price to buy an apartment is $3,498 per square meter while the average price of a home is $303,183. To rent a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is $923 a month.

As it is a bigger city, the low cost of living in Windsor is not the only thing that draws residents. There is plenty to do in the city with plenty of festivals like the Harrow County Fair, many museums like the Canadian Transportation Museum, beautiful gardens and the Windsor waterfront with views of Detroit’s skyline.

Windsor’s location is also very accessible as you can drive to the United States or Toronto, or the International airport offers daily flights to many major cities. Getting around the city is easy as well with great, affordable public transport. A one-way ticket is on average $3.00 while a monthly pass is $75.

Windsor is also a great city for university as one of Canada’s well-known universities is there, the University of Windsor. This makes Windsor a great city for university students, families and couples looking to buy an affordable home.

4. Ottawa


Even though Ottawa is the nation’s capital city, it is still one of the cheapest places to live in Ontario. Ottawa’s houses are slightly more expensive than the first three cities we discussed, but the average income is higher in Ottawa to make up for it.

The average price of a home in Ottawa is $418,232, but the median income of citizens in Ottawa is $44,189, $10,000 more than Thunder Bay, Sudbury and Windsor. This is because Ottawa is the home of most of Canada’s government services, meaning there are a lot of government jobs available.

So, even though the houses are slightly more expensive, there are tons of job opportunities in the city. Rent is also lower in Ottawa, 29% lower than Toronto. To rent a one-bedroom apartment in the center of Ottawa is $1,527, but outside the city center is $1,199.

Ottawa is also a great place to live because the city has a low crime rate, making it ideal for families and children. Ottawa actually has one of the lowest crime rates among large cities in Canada and crime rates continue to decrease.

Lastly, the city has two great universities: Carleton University and the University of Ottawa, for when your children grow up. This makes Ottawa a good place for families, students and young professionals looking to start their career. No wonder it makes our list for one of the best places to live in Canada!

5. Kingston


Kingston, Ontario is a city located on the eastern end of Lake Ontario. You may have passed Kingston on a road trip to Montreal as it is located between Toronto and Montreal, Quebec.

Due to its proximity to both major cities, Kingston is a great place to live. Kingston also has a low cost of living with the average price of a house being $305,155 and the rent for a one-bedroom apartment outside the city center is $1,224. Rent in Kingston is actually 42% lower than Toronto.

Kingston also has a low unemployment rate at 6.3%, making it a good place to start a new career. The most important sectors in Kingston are health care, higher education at Queen’s University, government, tourism, manufacturing and research.

Kingston is a military city as the Canadian Forces have a base with 9,642 personnel. This makes it a great area for military personnel to live in.

As Kingston is located along Lake Ontario, there is plenty to do. Water activities like kayaking, boat rides, canoeing, and swimming are all popular in Kingston. The city has also retained a lot of its history like the famous Fort Henry, making it a great place to explore nature and history.

6. Cobourg


The smallest place on our list is the town of Coburg, Ontario with a population of 19,440 people. Just 95 kilometres east of Toronto, this small town has a lot to offer.

As it is a small town, the average price of a house is low at only $256,789 and rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city is $1240. Coburg is a great place to retire or to have a summer home in.

As the town is located along Lake Ontario, there are some beautiful beaches and waterfront areas that attract a lot of tourists in summer. This means that Coburg’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism.

This also means that year-round, there are not a lot of job opportunities in Coburg which is what makes it a good town for retirees who no longer want to work.

If you don’t move to Coburg, you should definitely visit in the summer! With two waterfront areas, beaches and a sandcastle festival, there’s plenty to do!

7. Waterloo


Waterloo is last on our list as it is a bit more expensive than the rest of the cities we discussed with an average cost of a house there is $479,797. The reason Waterloo is still on our list is that the cost of living is significantly lower than Toronto still and the overall cost of living in Waterloo is quite low.

If you want an apartment in Waterloo instead, to buy one will set you back $4,650 per square meter and renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is $1,513.

The advantage of living in Waterloo is that the unemployment rate is low at 5.5% and Waterloo has a strong job market. There are many tech companies located in Waterloo, so if you work in the tech industry, Waterloo is the perfect place for you.

Waterloo has also made it to this list as the economy in Waterloo is similar to bigger cities like Toronto. This means not only plenty of employment opportunities, but also similar salaries. This means with the lower cost of living, your money will go further in Waterloo.

Waterloo also has great education options with two of Canada’s biggest universities: University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. Making it a great city for university students and families.
With plenty of parks, sports fields, trails, and pools, there’s plenty to do in Waterloo and nearby cities like Kitchener.

8. Orillia

Photo by P199 / CC BY-SA 3.0

The smallest city on our list so far is the city of Orillia with a population of 31,166. Orillia is located in Simcoe County between Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe and is frequently called “The Sunshine City” as Orillia has a popular, sunny waterfront.

The cost of living in Orillia is relatively low with the average price of a house being $329,900 and renting a one-bedroom apartment is $1200 a month. Orillia makes a lot of their money from tourism in the summer and their largest employer, Casino Rama.

But, there are plenty of jobs in Orillia, typically in manufacturing, government services, tourism and customer service. A lot of residents open their businesses solely for tourism in summer as the city is very popular among tourists.

Orillia may be a good place to retire or for people with families due to it being a smaller city. There are no major universities or colleges in Orillia, but Toronto is only a little over an hour away, so commuting is possible.

Overall, if you’re looking for a smaller city with a low cost of living, Orillia is a great choice!

9. Guelph

Photo by Onasill / CC BY-SA 2.0

Guelph, Ontario is the best-connected city to Toronto on this list as Go Transit has daily busses and trains to go between Guelph and Toronto. With its lower cost of living, this makes Guelph a great place to live in.

It is a smaller city with 131,794 people but has a great economy. Guelph actually has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada at a low 4.2%. This is because they have a very diverse range of employers with manufacturing and education being the leading sectors in Guelph.

The cost of a house in Guelph is slightly higher than some of the places we discussed, with the average cost of a house being $436,000. But, the average median income in Guelph is also higher at $40,000 a year. This is what makes Guelph an attractive place to live in.

Guelph is also a great place for university students as the city has the University of Guelph which has a location in Toronto as well at the Humber campus.

Guelph also has a great downtown area with lots of shops, restaurants and cafes to explore. It is a great city to live in to be connected to Toronto with a lower cost of living.

10. London

Photo by Mathew Campbell / CC BY 2.5

London, Ontario is the sixth-largest city in Ontario with over 366,000 people. But, despite the size, the city is still quite affordable compared to other big cities in Ontario.

London has a small-town atmosphere with big-city amenities, making it the ideal place for people who want a big city life at a lower price. Buying an apartment in the city center will cost $2,992 per square meter while renting a one-bedroom apartment in the center will cost $1,163 a month. The cost of living index in London is 15% lower than Toronto and rent in London is 46% lower. Finally, the average home price is $368,490.

So, you can get similar big-city amenities and events in London at a fraction of the cost compared to Toronto. London has a busy downtown, but the suburbs are quiet and have plenty of great parks and trails. Having both types of environments means there’s something for everyone in London.

Jobs in London tend to lie in the education, healthcare and financial sectors, but there are plenty of jobs available in London if you’re wanting to make the move.

London is also a great location as it is just outside of the Greater Toronto Area and is close to the United States border. This makes it easy to visit either the states or Toronto whenever you want!

James is a writer based in Ontario who has a background in IT. In his free time, he loves to travel, swim and make a positive difference in the world.
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