If you’re feeling the squeeze of rising living costs – from gas prices to groceries to rent – you’re not alone. Looking for some relief but still want to stick to a major city? Here are 10 large Canadian cities with the cheapest rent across the country in descending order, according to Zumper’s latest Canadian Rental Report. The prices reflect one-bedroom median rent prices in May 2022.
One-bedroom median rent price: $1,400
Year-over-year increase: 0.7 per cent
Of all the cities on this list (which all saw a rise in rental costs), Montreal’s rent has increased least year-over-year. The city is also Canada’s answer to a European city feel, without having to reach for your passport. Not only is it one of the best places to raise your kids, but is also full of cute, trendy spots for first dates. It is home to attractions such as the Notre-Dame Basilica and Old Montreal, ensuring you’ll always have something to go see and do.
One-bedroom median rent price: $1,390
Year-over-year increase: 13 per cent
One of the best Canadian cities to work remotely, London is close enough to big brother Toronto (about 170 km southwest), without the crowding and the second-costliest rent in the country. Not only is it the birthplace of Ryan Gosling (one of the wealthiest Canadian actors), it also has a thriving tech scene, focusing on digital media (the industry is one of the main employers).
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One-bedroom median rent price: $1,230
Year-over-year increase: 12 per cent
Another amazing city to work remotely from, Calgary is not only a major western Canada hub, it offers all the benefits of big city living, with lower rent. Bonus: with scenic landscapes and dramatic views within easy reach, this is a great option for outdoorsy types. Many companies have their corporate headquarters in Calgary too, and it boasts a bustling tech hub and nightlife.
One-bedroom median rent price: $1,210
Year-over-year increase: 15 per cent
Recognized as one of the best cities to buy your home, Windsor is also one of the most diverse cities in Canada (some 30 per cent of its population was born outside of the country). Its schools offer English and French programs and the city also has its major university, too. While the automotive sector is the major employer here, its tech industry is quickly catching up. The city also has some beautiful waterfront views, as well as close proximity to our southern neighbour, making day-trips a breeze.
One-bedroom median rent price: $1,060
Year-over-year increase: 2 per cent
While its winters are no picnic, this vibrant city nonetheless has plenty on offer (the city was even known as “Chicago of the North” at the turn of the 20th century). The Forks Market for lots of food offerings or wander around one of the many museums or historic buildings. It even boasts the most haunted hotel in Canada, the Fort Garry Hotel. These things aside, it also has a relatively low cost of living, giving us all the reason to consider this one great option for those looking to move to a city with cheaper rent.
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One-bedroom median rent price: $1,000
Year-over-year increase: 8 per cent
Just one province west of Winnipeg, you’ll find an even cheaper rental option in Saskatoon. With its South Saskatchewan River, Saskatoon and its bridges also offer one of the most scenic sunsets in the country. While its winters are definitely cold, there is still plenty to do – you can go skating or cross-country skiing along the Meewasin Valley Trail. But that’s not all, Saskatoon has one of Canada’s highest number of restaurants per capita, so you’ll never be short on great food options.
Quebec City, Quebec
One-bedroom median rent price: $960
Year-over-year increase: 28 per cent
This incredibly scenic and beautiful city gives a European feel with its historic neighbourhood of Old Quebec – an UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring the Chateau Frontenac. Some buildings date as far back as the 17th century, making this an ideal spot for history buffs. While its rent is one of the cheapest on our list, Quebec City also holds plenty of opportunity for young people just starting out. If you make it before Christmas, check out the city’s Christmas market or plan to come in February for the annual Carnaval, complete with outdoor ice skating.
One-bedroom median rent price: $940
Year-over-year increase: 4 per cent
Sure, Edmonton is known for having once been the record holder for the largest mall in the Americas (since bumped off in favour of Mall of America Bloomington). But Edmonton has so much more to share with its residents. Not only are the rents significantly cheaper than in many other major cities across the country, it holds some great curb appeal. Its Capital Boulevard is a wide, tree-lined thoroughfare complete with street furniture, bike racks and public art installations. Even the lampposts are designed thoughtfully. But that’s not all. There are museums, parks and unique clinker-brick architecture. If nature is more your thing, you’re in luck. The city is one of the best places to observe the Northern Lights.
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One-bedroom median rent price: $930
Year-over-year increase: 6 per cent
The second least expensive city on this list, Regina, is the other Saski city on this list. It’s made for a winter-lover, naturally suited for outdoor winter activities like skating, cross-country skiing and tobogganing (even snowkiting – a combination of snowboarding and kitesurfing!). There are music festivals for every taste, and none of the drawbacks of bigger, more expensive cities.
St. John’s, Newfoundland
One-bedroom median rent price: $880
Year-over-year increase: 2 per cent
Not only does St. John’s have one of the country’s most affordable housing markets, it’s also the city with the cheapest rent. Off Canada’s Atlantic coast, the city is known for its downtown colourful row houses and being the site of the first transatlantic wireless communication, Cabot Tower. Find Signal Hill with its walking trails and so much more. The city, like the rest of the province, is known for its warmth and hospitality, with incredible views.