City Name
Calgary vs Toronto Which should hold the title of the best city

Calgary vs Toronto: Which should hold the title of the best city? 

Here we are again, folks. It’s time for another round of “which city is better?”!

I’m your host, Bianca, and in today’s tournament, we have a head-to-head battle between Calgary vs Toronto. Place your bets and let’s get the ball rolling with a quick answer: 

If you’re the type of person who craves outdoor adventures, Calgary is likely to be better for you. Meanwhile, if you’re in the midst of self discovery with an affinity for museums and other historical treasures, Toronto may feel more like the perfect fit. 

Want to know how we came to that conclusion? Let’s break down how they stacked up in every category!

Size or Land Area of Toronto vs Calgary

Calgary is 31% larger compared to Toronto, with the former having a total land area of  825.3 km² while the latter encompasses only 630 km² of land. 

Population of Toronto vs Calgary

Though Calgary’s land area is 31% larger than Toronto’s, the population in Toronto is bigger, with roughly 2.93 million people residing in it. Meanwhile, Calgary only has 1,070,930 people. 

Culture and Lifestyle of Toronto vs Calgary

Toronto is perfect for those looking to participate in exciting arts and music events. This city is also an ideal setting for those who are in their 20’s and still just starting out to reach their life aspirations. 

Meanwhile, Calgary presents plenty of exciting opportunities for anyone looking to indulge in plenty of outdoor activities and road trips to famous neighboring places. It’s also ideal for families looking for a place to call their home. 

The Similarities

  • The residents of both Toronto and Calgary engage in a fast-paced lifestyle with an entrepreneurial, driven mindset. 
  • Both cities are homes to diverse people with multicultural backgrounds. 
  • Both cities display strong enthusiasm when it comes to sports, specifically hockey and baseball. 

The Differences

  • Toronto feels more youthful compared to Calgary, with a lot more activities and opportunities catering to single people in their 20’s pursuing further studies, climbing the corporate ladder, etc. In fact, according to the latest Urban Work Index published by RBC, Toronto ranked first in the best cities in Canada for youth to work.
  • Calgary is better for families looking to settle down. This city is extremely community-centered, so you can expect that the neighborhoods are exceptionally welcoming to outsiders, making it easy for you and your kids to fit right in. 
  • A lot of Calgarians are outdoor adventurers because of the multitude of opportunities in and outside the city. In fact a lot of visitors choose this destination because of the surrounding places. Meanwhile, people in Toronto like going to museums and participating in other art-related activities simply because there are plenty of opportunities to do so in the city. 

Transportation in Toronto vs Calgary

Overall, we can say that it’s equally expensive to get around Toronto and Calgary. 

Calgary is slightly more expensive in terms of one-way tickets for public transportation as well as taxi rides. However, it’s cheaper than Toronto in terms of monthly transit pass and gasoline. 

One-way ticketCA$3.35CA$3.60
Monthly passCA$156.00CA$112
Taxi (1km)CA$1.75CA$2.36
Gasoline (1 liter)CA$1.66CA$1.44

*Please note that the information above is from Numbeo. 

Attractions and Entertainment in Toronto vs Calgary

Both cities offer attractions and entertainment, but if you’re looking to explore museums, find rare vintage gems, and experience exciting musical performances, Toronto is better. 

On the other hand, if what you’re looking for are scenic natural views and thrilling outdoor activities, Calgary might suit you better. 

Places to go in Toronto vs Calgary

Toronto is famous for its museums, namely Royal Ontario Museum, Bata Shoe Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, Aga Khan Museum, and more. On the other hand, plenty of people go to Calgary for the Calgary Tower, Prince’s Island Park, and the Studio Bell. 

Needless to say, both cities offer a wide range of activities visitors and locals can enjoy. However, it seems that Toronto is more art-centered. In fact, according to Artsy, it’s Toronto that connects the local art in Canada to the art market in other countries. 

Though there are also famous museums in Calgary, people enjoy this city more for its natural landscapes and wonders. A lot of people choose Calgary as their destination of choice because it’s also near a lot of famous attractions like Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. 

Things to Do in Toronto 

  • Explore the different museums in the city – As mentioned, there are plenty of museums in Toronto. In fact, there are 46 museums currently running in the city. If you find yourself there, don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity! 
  • Watch live performances – Toronto boasts a rich concert scene enough to entice any kind of music enthusiasts. In the mood for some groovy jazz tunes? Head to The Rex Hotel Jazz and Blues Bar! Want to dance to some Latin music? You’d love going to the Lula Lounge on weekends. 
  • Wander around the Distillery District – This part of Toronto is a must-see destination for those who want to delve deeper into the local art and entertainment scene. There are plenty of exciting restaurants to choose from and shopping spots to discover there. You might just need to book your entire day just to explore this lovely spot. 
  • Discover vintage gems at Kensington Market – Any local vintage aficionado would recommend the Kensington Market. It’s home to a lot of rare finds that come with great deals! Moreover, there’s also plenty of art spaces, cafes, bars, restaurants, and bakeries in the area. 

Things to Do in Calgary 

  • Travel back in time while walking around Heritage Park – The Heritage Park is one of the most famous destinations in Calgary, especially for those interested in the local history. It perfectly mashes up entertainment and discovery, which is why a lot of kids love it too. 
  • Witness the Calgary Stampede in action – Calgary Stampede is a famous rodeo event in Calgary, attracting more than 1 million visitors annually according to CBC. It’s certainly worth checking out even just to quench your curiosity. 
  • Check out Calgary’s famous neighborhoods – A lot of visitors go to Calgary because it’s in close proximity to a lot of dreamy destinations including the Aspen Crossing, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Canmore, and a lot more. 
  • Go ice skating at Prince’s Island Park – Prince’s Island Park is also a famous attraction in Calgary. From December to February every year, visitors can go here to go ice skating for free. A lot of people choose this spot because it’s a place where you can also appreciate majestic views of the city. 

Cost of Living in Toronto vs Calgary

It’s more expensive to live in Toronto compared to Calgary. In particular, the average rent per month is significantly larger in Toronto when compared to Calgary. Utilities, transportation costs, and childcare are more expensive in Calgary but not by an insane amount. 

ExpensesToronto CostCalgary Cost
Housing (Average Rent per Month)
1-bedroom apartment (within city center)CA$2,838.57CA$1,781.14
1-bedroom apartment (outside city center)CA$2,216.78CA$1,509.55
3-bedroom apartment (within city center)CA$5,018.91CA$2,967.78
3-bedroom apartment (outside city center)CA$3,890.13CA$2,386.41
Utilities (Average Monthly Bill)
Utility bill for one personCA$170.38CA$347.20
Internet planCA$84.20CA$96.25
Transportation (Fare)
1-way ticket (local transport ticket)CA$3.15CA$3.60
Monthly pass (local transport ticket)CA$140.00CA$112.00
Taxi ride (normal tariff)CA$4.00CA$4.50
Gasoline (1 liter)CA$2.03CA$1.40
Childcare (Tuition Fee)
Preschool (monthly)CA$1,329.57CA$1,204.77
International Primary School (yearly)CA$24,766.84CA$28,775.00

Career Opportunities in Toronto vs Calgary

There are a lot of job openings in health, transportation, construction, and information technology in Toronto. Meanwhile in Calgary, health, finance, information technology, and engineering are what’s most in-demand. Both cities exhibit diversity while featuring a few similarities and differences when it comes to career opportunities. 

According to the most recent data from Immigration Canada, the most in-demand jobs in Toronto as of the moment are registered nurses, physicians, delivery truck drivers, heavy equipment operators, and software developers

On the other hand, software engineers, registered nurses, financial analysts, project managers, and mechanical engineers are what most employers are looking for in Calgary. 

Diversity in Toronto vs Calgary

Toronto and Calgary both take pride in their diversity. For example, both have a good mix of ethnicities and both welcome the LGBT community. In fact, according to Gay Real Estate, both cities are inclusive destinations for LGBT folks. 

Based on the data from  Wikipedia, Toronto and Calgary both have diverse ethnic groups. 

Ethnic GroupTorontoCalgary
East Asians12.73%8.49%
Southeast Asians8.12%8.56%
South Asians13.96%10.97%
Latin Americans3.35%2.47%
Middle Easterns4.03%3.55%

As for how welcoming they are for LGBT individuals, it’s important to note that Canada as a whole is recognized as an inclusive location – it’s received praise from Ok 2 B Me and other publications and news outlets like Forbes, Pink News, and CIC News for it. 

This is the result of the abundance of laws in place that protect the rights of LGBT people. 

To quote the Government of Canada, “The human rights of all persons are universal and indivisible. Everyone should enjoy the same fundamental human rights, regardless of their sexual orientation and their gender identity and expression.”

By the way, it’s also important to note that there’s a gay neighborhood in Toronto called the Church-Wellesley Village, which is arguably one of the most vibrant queer neighborhoods in the country. 

On the contrary, Calgary doesn’t have its own gay village, but there are still plenty of areas where LGBT people can hangout. For example, there are places like the Twisted Element, Dickens Pub, and Ship & Anchor where one can enjoy drag shows. 


Both Toronto and Calgary have their unique strengths, so it’s hard to say if one is better than the other. It ultimately depends on the individual’s taste and interests. 

With that in mind, which one do you think is more suitable for your lifestyle? To help you answer the question, here’s a side-by-side overview of everything we’ve discussed. 

FactorsThe Better CityWhy
SizeCalgaryCalgary is 31% larger than Toronto when talking about total land mass.
PopulationCalgaryToronto has plenty more residents compared to Calgary. However, we consider this a win for Calgary because Toronto is overpopulated in comparison.
Culture and LifestyleTiedBoth cities exhibit diverse cultures and lifestyles, so there can’t be a clear winner for this one.
TransportationTiedWhen different modes of public transportation were considered, both cities displayed an equal affordability, thus resulting in a tie.
Attractions and EntertainmentTiedBoth cities have distinct attractions and entertainment. Which one is better than the other depends on what you’re looking for.
Cost of LivingCalgaryIt’s more expensive to live in Toronto especially when it comes to rent prices. Therefore, Calgary wins this one.
Career OpportunitiesTiedBoth cities offer diverse career opportunities.
DiversityTiedBoth cities are diverse in terms of the percentage of ethnic groups and the laws in place to protect the rights of LGBT people.

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