Are you torn between choosing Ottawa and Toronto as the city you want to call home here in Canada? I totally get it. My husband and I lived in Toronto for almost a year and I can say that it is indeed an amazing city despite of its flaws. Meanwhile, we have visited Ottawa once and I’d admit that I fell in love with this lovely city.
My husband and I have been talking about moving to Ottawa in the future (since my friend Kristine also lives there), but Toronto has its own charm that makes it hard for us to leave. Although we now live at St. Catharines, we’re just an hour away from Toronto and we can visit it anytime we want.
So for those of you who are still deciding which city is better to live in here, or are considering of moving from one city to another, here’s a super informative video by Kristine of The Maple Diaries to help you in your decision.
Which is better, Toronto or Ottawa?
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Are you considering to moving in Ontario but still undecided where to settle? Which one works best for you, is it Toronto or Ottawa? In this episode, I’m going to provide you a basic comparison between Ottawa and Toronto. We’re going to cover topics about the employment, weather, cost of living and so much more! So let’s get this started!
For newcomers, please make sure not to get confused about these two important FACTS.
Ontario is a province of Canada and has one capital which is Toronto.
On the other hand, Ottawa is the nation’s capital of Canada, located in the province of Ontario right on the border with Québec.
Ottawa has less dense population. The population of Ottawa is 934,243. This makes Ottawa the fourth largest city in Canada, the second largest city in Ontario and the 30th largest city in North America. It gives you more of a town than a city vibe feeling.
While Toronto is Canada’s most populated city with an estimated population of over 2.7 million people. It is most known city in the country (often mistakenly recognized as Canada’s capital).
It has so much to offer. It’s cosmopolitan which gives you a big city feel.
Ottawa has a semi-continental climate, with a warm, humid summer and a very cold winter. Winters in Ottawa are severe. Snow depths of greater than 1 cm are seen on about 120 days each year compared with about 65 days in Toronto. Ottawa lies farther north than Toronto, resulting in significantly colder winters
Toronto weather in winter is, in fact, milder than most Canadian cities. Toronto has decent amount of snowfall. It’s less colder in Toronto compared in Ottawa.
Traffic in Ottawa is mild compared than Toronto. OC transpo is the local public transit provider and Presto card is widely used by the commuters. Usually it would take you around 20-30 mins to reach downtown if you’re driving from the suburbs. Personally, I find the public transport in Ottawa less reliable than Toronto, so it is highly encouraged to own a vehicle here. It’s more convenient and efficient to own a vehicle most especially during the winter months.
Toronto has better transit system. It also has one of the best subways in Canada which is efficient and affordable. The best way to get around Toronto is by public transportation. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) runs three modes – subway, streetcar and bus – which operate extensive routes throughout the city and suburbs.
But as per the research studies, Toronto has been known as one of the worst cities in Canada in terms of how long the average commuter spent stuck in congestion due to its rapidly growing population, which translates into more road users.
Since Ottawa is the capital of Canada, it’s the federal government’s HQ. If you’re bilingual, you’ll have more advantage to secure federal jobs. Ottawa caters more niche opportunities in federal government, education, non-profit sectors. It also serves a good technology hub which is based in the suburbs of Kanata.
Toronto is the business or financial capital of Canada. Plenty of job opportunities in different sectors. Since it has a higher population, expect that there’s also a tough competition between the job seekers.
Housing/Cost of living
Ottawa offers more affordable housing costs than Toronto. The average cost for a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto is $2,230 whereas Ottawa can offer you the same thing for around $1,300. You can get a pretty decent apartment close to downtown. Ottawa has a lower crime rate than Toronto.
The high living costs is the worst thing about Toronto life.
Ottawa has a pretty quiet lifestyle. Has plenty of green spaces, beautiful parks. Ottawa performs well in ‘quality of life’ type surveys. It has a reputation for being a quiet, reserved, family-oriented city, where people are laid back, more into outdoor activities than nightlife. Mercer ranks Ottawa as the third best city in the Americas, behind Vancouver and Toronto, and nineteenth best in the world. Many say it’s boring because it doesn’t have the exciting night life that one can find in Toronto or Montreal. It doesn’t have the same number of restaurants, bars, cafes, and shopping centers that the bigger cities have. Canada day and Winterlude are some of the popular events and festivals in Ottawa.
Toronto is also one of the most multicultural cities in the world, making life in Toronto a wonderful multicultural experience. Consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world, Toronto enjoys a reputation as an exciting and diverse city in the world. It’s well known for its sporting events, fashion, and entertainment.
Both Ottawa and Toronto offers the best of both worlds. It always comes down w/personal preference. Fast pace and big city life, go for TO but if you are into slow charming setting, clean and healthy living, outdoor living, stable economy then Ottawa is a great fit.
Kristine Kasselis is the creator behind The Maple Diaries, a YouTube channel where she shares her newcomer’s journey as an immigrant here in Canada. Watch more of her videos and don’t forget to subscribe.