11 things to know before choosing between Toronto and Montreal

I’m often asked why I didn’t go to Montreal. I’m also often asked whether it’s better to live in Montreal or Toronto. Having only lived in Toronto, it’s hard to compare, but I thought I’d share a few points to consider if you’re choosing between Toronto and Montreal.

Please note that this is just my opinion, I don’t have the absolute truth and you may disagree!

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French community: Montréal vs Toronto

As you probably already know if you’re into researching Canada, Quebec is predominantly French-speaking. Ontario is predominantly English-speaking. So you’ll find many more French speakers in Montreal than in Toronto. There are pros and cons to every situation. On the one hand, the comfort of being able to speak in your own language. On the other, a slightly different notion of community when you’re a minority in a predominantly English-speaking city. And a sense of comfort when you find random francophones around you. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve struck up a conversation with strangers in the street, just because we speak the same language!


You may not know it, but in Toronto 50% of the population was not born in Canada. Which means you’ll be able to meet people from all over the world. I’m not saying that this isn’t possible in Montreal. I’m just saying that in Toronto, since you’ll be speaking mostly English, there may be more opportunities to connect with people outside your own community.

The weather

Another aspect to consider when choosing between Toronto and Montreal: the weather. Especially winter weather. Montreal gets a lot of snow in winter. According to the figures I found, between 2010 and 2019, Montreal had an average of 2 metres 11 of snow. For the same period, Toronto saw 1 metre of snow. We’re not on the same quantities and so we also experience things differently.


Access to permanent residency

I have a full blog post on permanent residency that you can find here. But I want to go over a few differences between applying in Quebec and applying in Ontario. It’s not the same system. For permanent residency in Quebec, I refer you to blog post from Marine du blog OffToMontréal.

  • In Ontario, you’ll need to pass a French language test to prove your proficiency. In Quebec, you can use your French diplomas.
  • In Quebec, you’ll need to apply for a CSQ: certificat de sélection du Québec. This is something you don’t need in Ontario, and it takes a long time to get, according to my experience.
  • Generally speaking, it takes less time to obtain permanent residency in Ontario. If you’re coming on a WHP or a visa other than permanent residency, this is a parameter to take into account if you want to stay for the long term.

Different style

Ensuite il faut savoir que Montréal et Toronto ont vraiment deux styles différents. D’un côté Toronto ressemble plus à nos voisins américains. Avec beaucoup de hauts buildings, une impression d’une ville plus grande, une culture plus tournée vers le travail. La ville peut renvoyer une image un peu froide/individualiste. Alors que de l’autre côté Montréal a une influence plus européenne. Des bâtiments plus bas et plus d’histoire. Un peu moins intimidant et une ambiance un peu plus chaleureuse et conviviale.

Health system

Depending on your status, there are big differences between Quebec and Ontario. As a WHP in Ontario, if you meet the conditions, you may have access to the equivalent of social security. I refer you to my article on my medical guide to Toronto for more information. In Quebec, however, you are not entitled to social security.



In both Toronto and Montreal, you’ll have access to schools in English or French.

Career opportunities

Historically, Montreal accounted for the vast majority of corporate head offices in Canada. But after the 1955 referendum, many companies decided to move their headquarters from Montreal to Toronto. This was a turning point for Toronto, which over the years became the economic capital. All of which is to say that Toronto is home to some of the world’s largest head offices, and being French-speaking can be an asset! Of course, with more head offices and more companies, you also have more opportunities.

Cost of living: Montréal vs Toronto

Well … let’s talk small, let’s talk big. Toronto has become a very expensive city. I’ll let you take a look this video on the cost of living in Toronto. From the feedback I get, Montreal is also getting more and more expensive. Be sure to compare things that are important to you, and do some shopping simulations online, for example. Find out as much information as you can to make sure you have the best possible picture of what your life could be like there.


Access to the great outdoors

Montreal is the clear winner in this category. You can more easily explore the surrounding area. Have access to cottages, discover beautiful places. Whereas around Toronto it’s a little harder to get to, I find.

Parks in the city

Contrary to what I often hear, yes, Toronto has parks! So does Montreal. I’d say that whether you choose Toronto or Montreal, you’ll find plenty to do.

I hope this helps you are choosing between Toronto and Montreal. To see more of Toronto, every Wednesday I post a vlog to discover life here alongside me. Follow me on Youtube and Instagram.


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