The Cost of Living in Canada

So I’ve done a couple of posts about Real Estate on my blog before (here and here). It’s a subject that truly fascinates me. Where you want to live, or dream of living means E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G to your budget. Like, we’re talking 95% of your budget factors should be location. After that you can consider size, amenities, renovations, etc…

Initially, I was going to make a post about the cost of living in Vancouver, and why it’s one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. But, when I saw how far your money really gets you in Vancouver (a townhouse for nearly 1.4 million) I thought it would be cool to compare that to the rest of Canada. All houses shown in this list will be between $1,300,000 and $1,400,000 – as I thought it best to keep similar prices for comparison’s sake.

Why is this list interesting to someone like myself? I think there’s a preconceived notion that it’s cheap to live in Canada. And yeah, you might be able to get a cheap house, depending on where you decide to live (Spences Bridge, anyone?), but for the most part if you’re going to be living and working in a major city centre or touristy location, there’s a deep chasm between how far your money does or doesn’t go.

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. If you disagree with my tastes, please don’t be offended by the snark that I’ve included. Also, please note that all of the following photos came from Realtor.CA and I presume are credited to the listing agent for each listing. If you click on the link to the listing you’ll see the agent. (Link is location and price listing)

Banff, Alberta – $1,400,000

You’re not seeing things, a home in the Canadian Rockies will cost you a pretty, pretty penny. For anyone who doesn’t know, Banff is a tourist hot-spot that people from around the world flock to each year… just to bear witness to it’s sheer beauty and breath its crisp mountain air. (Fun fact: it’s also where Knight grew up) Real estate is pricey, no matter how new or old the home, and there are increased regulations for home ownership due to it being located in a National Park. Thus, with a tiny, old, dated home such as this costing $1,400,000, 99% of the town rents… and rents at obscene prices at that.

Calgary, Alberta – $1,349,900

Now we’re talking luxury. Boasting some pretty spectacular properties on the outskirts of the city, Calgary is a place with a lot of wealth and where your money will take you a long way. This stunning brick exterior home boasts 3700 square feet of living space that includes five bedrooms (every single bedroom having its own walk in closet), four bathrooms, vaulted ceilings, and a private, landscaped, lot with big back yard that backs onto a ‘private club’ golf course. You ain’t gonna see your neighbours in this place, baby.

Cambridge, Ontario – $1,375,000

Doesn’t this home look like something from a story book? This Queen Anne style historic home (built in 1888) in Cambridge, Ontario proves that home prices are still high even if you remove yourself from the GTA(Greater Toronto area)! That being said, this house has been beautifully kept up and thoughtfully renovated over the years. If you’re the type of person who looks for a home with character, this is it. Each room tells a story and each glance gives something new to offer. Curb appeal is A+, the yard is HUGE and the home itself is just the type of home that everybody could really make their own, whether they like historic or modern.

Edmonton, Alberta – $1,385,900

Edmonton is nestled at the foot of Alberta’s oil sands and is the root of OODLES of wealth. Some of the nicest homes in Canada can be found in Alberta’s capital and this home is no exception. Built in 1990, I’d describe this 6,000 square foot home as vintage modern. It’s been updated well over the years, as you can clearly see from photos, but there are some dated pieces to it’s structure. All in all, would it be an incredible home with incredible yard to call home? Sure, if you want to live in one of the most regressive cities in Canada.

Fernie, British Columbia – $1,400,000

Fernie is a mountain town that… fun fact, is where the movie Hot Tub Time Machine was filmed. Nestled smack dab between two of the biggest ski resort towns in North America (Whistler and Banff) Fernie is a town often forgot about by internationals, but on a local scale has seen it’s popularity on the rise. This luxurious, modern home was built in 2012 and is centrally located for any and every outdoor activity your little heard could ever desire. If you want to experience mountain living at its finest, without the overly tourist-oriented mentality of the well-known mountain towns, this house and this town is the place that you should be. Honestly, the hot tub, the deck, the modern style and updated functionality… I’m daydreaming. I really am.

Montreal, Quebec – $1,395,000

Montreal is a city that’s famous for it’s history. There’s a lot of old architecture in the city that really draws people in to it’s almost… European charm if I do say so. (Though people from Montreal might not like me saying that) This stunning brick home was built in 1987, so it’s older than I am, and the interior almost looks as though it hasn’t been updated since then either. It’s going to take some serious dough for a buyer to update this place to decorative styles that match this decade. And if you’re already spending over a million dollars on a home, do you really want to be doing renovating from there? This home is a perfect reason you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Street appeal is A+ but inside you can watch all your dolla bills fly away from the updates you’d need to do.

Ottawa, Ontario – $1,389,000

Oh Ottawa, you’re such an enigma. Seriously, for Canada’s capital, your money won’t stretch very far. I mean it. There were condos on the list for $1,400,000. And, if this home looks a lot like another home on our list, it’s because it is! Seems this… style of tall and skinny homes is popping up more and more across our country. There’s not really anything special about this home. It’s new, so that’s a plus. It’s got an all-white interior, so if you have children that might not be a plus. But hey, if you need to live and work in our capital and have a lot of money that you don’t care about, this house is exactly what you’re looking for!

Parry Sound, Ontario – $1,300,000

Nestled in the heart of Ontario’s ‘Cottage Country’ this cottage is no joke. Containing 11.9 acres of land and 600 feet of Georgian Bay shoreline, this is the ultimate summer home for anyone with an extra 1.3 mill laying around. I’ve included this home on the list, because much like Whistler and Banff, this home sits in one of our countries famous tourist hot spots. This home proves though, that you can seemingly get a lot more for your money in cottage country than you can in the mountains! Warning: this home is for wood lovers only. The interior is definitely not for everyone’s taste!

Quebec City, Quebec – 1,399,000

Of all the homes on this list, I think this might just be my favourite. Built in 2004, this stunning 2-storey stone/wood home sits on a picturesque property with beautiful yard and plenty of space to raise kids, or not. There’s 4100 square feet with four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a very unique design to every room in the home. Some updates would be necessary, but, all in all, I think there is a Mona Lisa quality to this place. Bonus points for it being nestled in the heart of Quebec City, a city rich in beautiful Canadian history and the world’s best poutine.

Regina, Saskatchewan – $1,399,900

It’s worth noting that this is the only home in the city of Regina for sale that costs more than $1,300,000, so that is why it’s made the list. Built in 1991, the design of the home is a little dated (although I fully admit some people still like that look… it’s just not my particular style) and the neighbours are RIGHT THERE. Seriously, that’s neighbour house next to the truck (on the left) and you can see the shadows of the neighbours on the right side of the photo too.The garage situation makes no sense. Also, I don’t know why you’d want to drop 1.4 million on a home only to be able to hear your neighbours phone ring…

Surrey, British Columbia – $1,395,000

No, this is not a joke. This is what 1.4 million will get you in the suburbs of Vancouver. That’s right! Not even in Vancouver, but the suburbs! The Greater Vancouver Area (known locally as the ‘Lower Mainland’) is one of the most expensive places in the world to live. As Vancouver has continuously made the list of most expensive cities to live in, people have slowly, gradually, made their way farther and farther out from its city limits, sadly only to find heartbreak and disappointment when they see how much their money won’t get them. If you want to live in the Lower Mainland, you better be independently wealthy or, be prepared to rent.

Toronto, Ontario – $1,399,000

I’ll admit, this custom built, nearly new and very modern home is a bit of an anomaly in a city that’s real estate is typically much older. The home is freestanding, with next to zero yard space… but, if you need to have roommates to help pay your mortgage, you can boast about your whopping five parking spaces available! Don’t miss out on all that the Toronto housing market doesn’t have to offer.

Vancouver, British Columbia – $1,398,000

For the low, low price of nearly 1.4 million dollars you can own your very own, run-of-the-mill town-home. I will admit that this home, built in 1974, has been nicely renovated on the inside. That being said, I still can’t get past the fact that it’s a basic town-home.You get no yard, only 2113 square feet and one parking space… and the property taxes are still $2,600 a year!

Whistler, British Columbia – $1,395,500

For nearly 1.4 million you can own your own run-of-the-mill town-home in Whistler, the ski and snowboard capital of Canada and Australia’s home away from home! (Holla if you’re Australian and you get this joke). There’s nothing special about this town-home. There’s a roof. There’s a kitchen. There are walls. But hey, I guess that’s the price you gotta pay to be at the foot of some of the most incredible ski and snowboard mountains in the world.

Winnipeg, Manitoba – $1,399,646

Winnpeg, Canada’s forgotten city. Right smack dab in the middle of our country, Winnipeg is famous for horrible winters and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. I won’t lie to you, I picked this home because of it’s flat roof. A home having a flat roof in a city that spends 7-8 months of the year buried in snow seems like a lot of effort. Effort because, with a flat roof, you have to shovel the roof, rather than having the snow just slide off. I will say that it’s a really beautiful home. The inside is well laid out so if you don’t mind that there is not much of a yard, at all, and you don’t mind the frigid winters, this might be the home for you!


How do these compare to homes where you’re from? What do you think about the prices of homes in Canada? Do you have any real estate links you could show me for where you’re from? I’d love to draw comparisons between Canadian cities and towns and other countries.

If I ever won the lottery.

One thing that I really love is real estate. Not for investment, but more so for living. Homes fascinate people. How people make them, how people decorate them, what’s popular and how styles come into popularity and fade out of popularity. All homes inspire me.

I love to drive down new streets and look at the homes, see what I like and what I do not. I also love browsing homes on Realtor.ca (also known as MLS). Realtor.CA allows you to see inside of the incredible homes that you can only see from the street when you drive by. It’s like being a fly on the wall in someone else’s life. (And I’m kind of nosy!)

I also like to look at homes and imagine lives for the people who live in them. I dream up entire scenarios of who they are and what they do, how they spend their time. Then I turn the stories into what I would do and how I would spend my time when I lived there.

I just love looking at homes.

One of the places that I love looking at homes is Vancouver. I’ve always felt at home when I’ve been in Vancouver and I’ve always had this idea in my mind that when I retire, I’m going to buy a massive home in Vancouver with a lot of windows and a home library to fill with the books of my travels. It’ll be my haven to come back to from all of my travels and my place for my loved ones to come and visit and escape the world for spring breaks and summer vacations, Christmas’ on the West Coast or just a weekend away. It’ll all be mine.

If I ever won the lottery…

I present: 4205 RockRidge Road, Vancouver B.C. Canada.

All photo credits go to the realtor Eric Christiansen/Realtor.ca.

“Sitting high on prestigious Rockridge Road is this incredible modern home designed by renowned architect Rob Ciccozzi for the current owners. Enjoy stunning views through massive floor to ceiling windows and a floating staircase running down a gorgeous concrete feature wall in the entrance foyer. The main floor boasts 12 foot ceilings, beautiful hardwood flooring, a huge climate-controlled wine room. The open plan kitchen, dining and living room are gorgeous and flow smoothly through massive folding doors to a huge patio and deck with sundrenched swimming pool. Offering 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms and an incredible master suite. Truly a special home in an amazing neighborhood. ” – From Listing

Click here to view > (House listing)

I love clean, crisp, minimalist designs. White walls, wood floors, simple appearances. If you look to the right it appears to be a wall of windows that can be fully opened for indoor/outdoor living, which is an incredible bonus!

Look at how warm and cozy this beautiful bedroom looks. I love that it’s so simple. There’s no need for a tv in the bedroom when you’ve got windows that large with views of the city.

The type of bathroom that dreams are made of. Imagine sitting in that tub, looking out at the view of the city lights/English bay to wind down each night. Also, that walk in shower with glass walls! I love everything about this room.

I love the fireplaces/cement throughout this house. It gives it a very minimalist look. The simple furniture is something that raises the profile of the home as it allows viewers to picture their own things in the space. I’m a fan of basic colours for large furniture and bright colours for accents (cushions, stools, etc).

I could imagine myself putting a giant bookshelf in here, as big as this wall. I would spend my days wandering through second hand bookstores all over the world to collect books to fill it with.

When it comes to homes, I love the ‘West Coast Contemporary’ style. Imagine having this many windows in your home to watch the sunset each night or the raindrops fall in the winter, or view the city lights each night before going to bed.

Imaging the parties, drinking the wine… playing the piano, singing the songs in my horrible, horrendous singing voice. I can absolutely see myself in every square inch of this home.

All I need is a cool, crisp $5.9 million dollars and it could be mine! Oh and $13,900 per year for property taxes.

All credits to realtor Eric Christiansen and Realtor.ca. Listing >

The BEST places to see in Canada.

Growing up in Canada you kind of, sort of, might start to believe that what you see all around you is what everyone gets to see. That everywhere is as beautiful as you have it and that the sights you’ve come to call home are sights that others get to call home as well. It’s a naive way of thinking, but some would say we’re pretty sheltered up here anyways.

I started travelling when I got to University and it was at that point that I realized that not everyone gets to see what I see.

And don’t get me wrong, every place has a beauty about it in its own way, but I happen to be a little bit biased in my belief that Canada is ‘next-level’ on the spectrum of beautiful places in this world.

Some of these photos were taken by me, some of them I’ve found online. About two years ago my house was broken into – stolen was all of my electronics including a laptop that contained pictures of all of my travels – so if a photo was taken by me then it’s been in the past two years that I’ve been. And if it’s credited to someone else, I wanted to show the beauty but no longer have my photos. Insert sad face for stolen computer.

Here are a few places I’ve been that I think everyone needs to see:

LAKE LOUISE

Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Picture the most beautiful, pristine lake that you could possibly imagine, surround it by escalating mountains covered in snow, fields of green and one of the most expensive hotels in Canada to stay at, and that is the luxury that is Lake Louise.

Visit in the winter for walking, skating, skiing or snowshoeing on the lake itself. In late January each year they host the ‘Ice Magic Festival’ where artists create incredible sculptures of ice that stay until they melt.

Visit in the spring, summer or fall for some of the most turquoise blue waters you’ll ever see. There’s a trail around the lake for you to walk, if you so feel the desire for exercise, and if you’re really an outdoorsy person, you can hike up some trails on those mountains at the far side of the lake for some pretty exceptional views.

Any way that you look at it, Lake Louise is a must see.

Photo: British Columbia Magazine

VANCOUVER

I actually grew up in Vancouver, so this one has a strong bias for me. This multicultural maven of a city is just as beautiful as it looks. Situated almost perfectly between the Coast Mountains and Pacific Ocean, it really doesn’t matter which way you look in this city you will see a beautiful view.

If you prefer the city life you can wander down city streets staring up at skyscrapers from every angle, drinking some of the best coffee in the world and shopping in stores to suit any budget. There’s a cafe on every corner, a ‘sorry eh’ at every passing and not enough time in a day to see the multifaceted face that makes up its downtown.

And if you much prefer a nature, Vancouver is filled with parks and natural landscapes that allow you to get out and roam, ride a bike, go to the beach, hike a mountain, walk through the forest… all in the same day. I recommend the Grouse Grind. But, there’s much to do in this city, and I strongly recommend you try it all.

Photo: ME

ANCIENT FOREST

In Northern British Columbia, about an hour’s drive from Prince George, you will find the entrance to the ‘Ancient Forest’. This several kilometer hike is through the largest Ancient Inland Rainforest in the world. Trees are much like those you would see in the Redwoods National forest in that they’re more massive than you could possible dream up, and they’ve likely been there for thousands upon thousands of years. The densely packed plant-life shelters you from weather (the trees are so thick you cannot feel rain) and the beauty is unimaginable.

Photo: Styleathome.com

OLD TOWN, QUEBEC CITY

If you want a true feel for French-Canadian culture, Quebec City is the place to find it. With a mixture of old-world charm, quaint city streets lined with history and the smells of amazing food pouring out of the shops and restaurants surrounding you, Quebec City feels a lot like a European destination in Canada.

While you’re here, try the poutine, it’s better than anything else on earth.

NORTH OF 60 (YUKON, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES, NUNAVUT)

Photo: travelzoo.com

As someone who’s been lucky enough to visit the Yukon, Northwest and Nunavut territories, I’m leaving this one open and saying they’re all worth the time if you’ve got it. Honestly, north of the 60th parallel is a whole different world in Canada. In the summer the sun doesn’t set and in the winter the sun barely rises. It’s a way of life the locals are accustomed too and the tourists are fascinated with when they witness it.

For no other reason, I recommend the trip for the Northern Lights. Watching Aurora Borealis dance across the midnight sky is unlike any other experience you will ever have. You can rent some snowmobiles and take them out into the middle of nowhere (for fun) and for better views of the lights by night, or, in summer, you can go golfing at midnight.

I wish more people would make it farther north. It’s expensive, don’t get me wrong. But it’s well worth the experience if you ask me.

Photo: Wildlife Worldwide

PRINCESS ROYAL ISLAND – THE GREAT BEAR RAINFOREST

No, that’s not a polar bear you’re looking at. That’s the elusive kermode ‘Spirit Bear’ who calls the rainforests of British Columbia’s coastline home. Princess Royal Island as a unique little fishing destination nestled in the coastline islands of British Columbia.

Fun fact: Twelve of the 17 crew of U.S. Air Force 44-92075 were found alive here in 1950, during the first lost nuclear/Broken Arrow episode of the Cold War. 

The Island is a protected zone by the World Wildlife Fund for having one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Animals you’ll find in these forests: black bears, grizzly bears, deer, wolves and foxes, and nesting populations of golden eagles, bald eagles, and the endangered marbled murrelet. 

If you ever want to feel at one with nature, it’s a difficult place to get to, but once you’re there, it’s worth every second.

Photo: Bay of Fundy Tourism

HOPEWELL ROCKS – BAY OF FUNDY

You might have seen these rocks before in photos for weddings or engagements, or just plain instagram swoonworthy photographer shots. People largely flock to these rocks out of fascination, but stay for the peace, serenity and beauty that is the area when they get there.

A few years back I got to go to the Bay of Fundy for a work project and I’ve got to say, the way the tide rolls in and swallows up the beach, making those rocks look like they pop out of the ocean is pretty cool to see. Thinking back on it, I wish I could take a camera and take a time lapse of the tide rolling in. Something tells me it would make an incredibly satisfying video. Nevertheless, I am rambling.

If you’re ever on the East Coast, check out Hopewell rocks. Take some beautiful photos and take some lunch. As a girl who grew up next to the pacific can tell you, there’s a certain peace to the Atlantic Ocean air that will make your whole day melt away.

Photo: National Geographic

FOGO ISLAND, NEWFOUNDLAND

When I think of Fogo Island, I am most sad that I no longer have my old computer with all of my photos on it. (Important interruption: print your photos, boys and girls. Or, at the very least, save them to an external hard drive) Fogo Island is my definition of peace. You go there to escape the world, and when you’re there, you really do. It’s just you, some Newfies you can hardly understand because they talk so fast, and the ocean.

If you’re ever wanting a dream get away for inner peace and calm, Fogo Island is the place to go. I would love to wander those rocks again. To just take some time for me.