Call Us Now: 1.866.880.8681

Select Language

Has Big City Living Lost its Charms for Those Relocating During the Pandemic?

By Quality Move Management Inc / May 5, 2021

The worldwide pandemic, whilst changing the way the world has worked, has held a mirror up to the way many of us live our lives and has led some people to question whether big city living really is for them. With a collection of smaller towns offering open spaces and a different quality of life, many Canadians and those across the world are swapping city life for the suburbs and a slower pace of living.

What is Causing the Shift Away From City Living?

Among many other things, the coronavirus has changed the way many of us work. Whilst bigger cities such as Toronto or Montreal may have pulled in workers pre-pandemic, the move to online or remote working models has meant that many office workers in particular no longer need to live close to the company they work for and instead are able to work from the comfort of their own homes. A record number of Canadians have taken the pandemic as the time to rethink their housing needs and ‘up sticks’ from bigger cities to smaller towns and areas. Young movers in particular are leading the trend when it comes to moving out of the big cities in Canada with more than ever opting for lower costs over city-centre rental prices.

The Move to Cheaper and Quieter Homes

With the need to live close to busy city centres lessening, many Canadians are realizing their dream of moving to a cheaper and quieter area. Large, expensive employment hubs such as Toronto and Vancouver are losing their pull in favour of smaller cities and towns that offer more space to breathe. The ability to choose where they work from has opened the doors to those wanting to make the move to more affordable areas and make the most of their income with large numbers of people leaving the cosmopolitan lifestyle behind in search of a more affordable level of living.


According to Slice Canada, some of the cheapest places to live in Canada can be found in Quebec and Ontario with cities such as Cornwall Ontario and Saint-Georges featuring on the list and a number of the featured cities seeing a rise in those moving to the area. Those who previously justified the high rental and housing costs that allowed them to be close to office blocks and business districts are now seeing the appeal of saving money due to the reduced need to commute. Sales have boomed in suburban and rural areas in Canada with those making the move for financial reasons as well as the need for space.


Considering Moving to Get More Value for Your Money? Check Out These Top 12 Affordable Cities to Live in Canada.


Top 12 Affordable CitiesCost of Living Index

Cost of Living

Single Person (CAD)

Cost of Living

Family of 4 (CAD)

Average Monthly

(1 Bed) Rent

Average Monthly Rental (3 Bed)

Sherbrooke, Quebec52.01$885.33$3,223.76$466.67$862.50 
Moncton, New Brunswick61.15


$4,018.21$759.42 $1,236.36 
Kitchner, Ontario66.46$1,152.87$4,026.07$931.67$1,512.50 
London, Ontario66.78$1,098.02$3,948.40$1,103.75$1,882.65
Winnipeg, Manitoba71.45$1,142.75$4,066.27$966.12$1,544.93
Saskatoon, Saskatchwen71.69$1,152.87$4,026.07$931.67 $1,512.50
Regina, Saskatchwen71.80$1,110.17$3,969.96$931.67$1,512.50 
Edmonton, Alberta72.74$1,186.30$4,183.15$975.35 $1,538.12
Calgary, Alberta73.65$1,181.81$4,190.66$671.25$1,092.86
Saint John, New Brunswick76.14$1,189.69$4,207.27$907.94$1,704.55
Halifax, Nova Scotia76.15$1,214.00$4,312.01$954.54$1,641.88
Kingston, Ontario76.96$1,112.78$3,976.69$1,012.50$1,550.00

​Source: Adapted from statistic Canada and Numbeo. Please note that the first three columns in our table do not include rent or mortgage payments.

Lower Tax for Canadian Movers

If high taxes are eating into your savings, you may be considering joining the countless other Canadians moving to areas with cheaper taxes to make the most of your hard-earned money. Moneysense, the go-to source for finance know-how estimates a single move from Quebec to Alberta could save you 10% in sales tax whilst the city you live in could influence property tax dramatically. If you are searching for the best city in Canada for tax, West Nipissing, Ontario comes out top whilst Elliot Lake and Hawkesbury come in close second and third. If you are looking for a tax-friendly destination in British Columbia, Victoria and Quesnel are ones to watch.

A Different Lifestyle

For some who find the bright lights of the city wearing, the pandemic has allowed them to rethink their priorities and how far or when they are willing to commute. Many Canadians have taken the pandemic as a sign to uproot their lives in search of more rural living. Those moving to more rural areas for that community feeling are often finding temporary moves have turned into something more permanent, particularly for those with young families. Some of the biggest migrations have been from the cities with the largest populations of Montreal and Toronto, with an increase in those moving from the sights and sounds of the big cities to smaller cities or towns.


Those moving from the biggest cities however do not seem to be completely cutting ties with city living, with destinations offering a more cosmopolitan way of life still being popular for those moving home from Toronto or Montreal. High-amenity towns have seen a rise in those moving to the area to enjoy access to some of the things they have been accustomed to through city living, without the added costs and clutter of the larger cities.


Has There Been a Mass-Exodus From Canada’s Capital Cities?

Whilst COVID-19 has certainly heightened any existing dissatisfactions in the minds of those living in Canada’s biggest cities, the pandemic has by no means caused any large-scale mass exodus of the cities. For many in rented accommodation, moving away from the city centres whilst working from home has meant lower housing and living costs but on a temporary basis with plans to return to the cities once an office presence is required. A major source of population for the largest cities has always been related to migration from other provinces and abroad and there is no sense this will not resume once the pandemic has loosened its grip on the country.


However, the pandemic has fueled the trend of thinking outside the box when it comes to work life balances with the pattern set to last as Canadians rethink city living in favour of a more affordable alternative.


Looking to Move Home Yourself?

Whether you are planning to make the move from city living or are planning on moving to Toronto or elsewhere in Canada or beyond, our experienced and trusted moving service is here to help. Contact our team now about our moving home services to find out more.

Recent Posts
Request A Free Quote