Montreal vs. Toronto; Which is the best city?

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure – Paulo Coelho

As a Montrealer myself, I obviously love my city very much. However, every chance I get to visit Toronto, I take it! Both cities are so cool but also so different and give totally different vibes! They are two of the largest cities in Canada, which makes the comparison between the two almost inevitable.

Did you need help to decide which city to visit next? Let’s compare Montreal vs. Toronto on different aspects so you can make an informed decision!

History

TORONTO

The city was founded in 1793 under the name York Town. They then had to change it to Toronto in 1834. It was getting confusing with New York City! Half a century later, the University of Toronto was officially created. Today, it ranks the best university in Canada and 26th in the world. Economically, the city has been rising quite fast but, unfortunately, in 1929, the TSX suffers its biggest loss and plunges the country into the Great Depression! Later on, the city invested in building the CN Tower and was, at that time, the tallest building in the world.

Toronto is often compared to New York City in regards to the diversity found within them and the general energy.

Today, Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the 4th largest in North America. And it’s ranked one of the best cities in the world.

MONTREAL

Almost 150 years before the creation of Toronto, in 1642, Montreal was founded as a French colony. Then in 1760, Montreal had to surround to the British after losing the battle of the Plains of Abraham, forcing the city to become an English colony. Several battles later, between the french and english populations, made almost all Montrealers bilingual. Through all of that, Montreal opens the Canal Lachine and creates a railroad system. This makes the city economically dominate the rest of the country. After the Great Depression, Montreal enters the Quiet Revolution. The metropolis modernizes itself and becomes once again the place to be!

Today, Montreal is the second-largest city in Canada and is ranked one of the best cities in the world. Especially for individuals looking for new opportunities.

Winner: Montreal! Given all the tension it held and being founded more than a century before Toronto… Montreal is the clear winner.

Weather

The weather is very similar in both cities during summertime. It is considered the touristic season, and both cities host plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained and entice you to come back!

On the other hand, winters are a completely different story. Montreal has very harsh, stormy, and cold winters compared to Toronto. Montrealers are used to this type of weather and dress accordingly. They manage to have a lot of fun, despite the cold, whether it’s skiing, ice skating, or tubing! And if you think the weather stops the city from hosting festivals, you would be wrong!

Winner: Toronto! Montreal is located north of Toronto, making it colder all year long, especially during winter. If you are a winter lover, then maybe Montreal is more for you!

Safety

Winner: Montreal! Not only is the crime rate cut in half compared to Toronto, but it’s also safer to walk alone during the daytime and at night!

Public Transport

MontrealToronto
1-way bus ticket3.50$3.25$
Monthly pass90.50$156$
Bike – membership19$10$
TaxiFlexibleFlexible
UberYesYes
Airports12

Winner: Montreal!

Housing

For a 1 bedroom rent, the average cost in Montreal is 1 419$ whereas in Toronto it’s 1 855$

For a 2 bedroom rent, the average cost in Montreal is 1 855$ and in Toronto, it’s 2 606$

If you are looking toward purchasing instead of renting, an average cost for a house in Montreal and Toronto are respectively 514 868$ and 1 089 536$

Winner: Montreal! By far!

Accommodation while traveling

It goes without saying that the price in both cities are a lot higher during summertime and then they go down the rest of the year.

You can choose to go to a hotel, a bed & breakfast or an Airbnb. You can find inexpensive places, but typically speaking, Toronto is less expensive.

An average night in Montreal is about 110$ whereas in Toronto, it’s 95$

Winner: Toronto!

Architecture

Montreal has the perfect mix of the old and new architecture. The city tries to keep its history as intact as possible and protects it at all costs. The whole Old Port and Mount Royal are historical neighborhoods with some sparkles of new and modern architecture.

Toronto, on the other hand, is very modern with its tall buildings made of glass.

Winner: Montreal! I like to see the history behind a city!

Food life

TORONTO

Toronto doesn’t have a specialty food or dish per se, but they are great at having all kinds of authentic foods from all over the world, thanks to immigration. Whatever your ethnicity is or the food restrictions you have, you will find something good in Toronto. Everything is accessible, and I think it’s beautiful.

You can also find St. Lawrence Market, one of the biggest and oldest markets in Canada. You can find pretty much any type of food there.

MONTREAL

Montreal, on the other hand, has a few iconic foods born out of its crazy history. To name a few, you can find; Smocked meat, poutine, foie gras poutine, bagels from Fairmount Bagel, and something called a “pâté chinois”.

I wrote an article about a few of my favorite restaurants in Montreal that you can read here.

Same as Toronto, the food market in Montreal is called the Jean-Talon Market, and it’s a great place to taste the local cuisine.

Winner: Tie! I love food too much to be able to make this kind of decision!

Touristic sights

MONTREAL

The city is known for:

  • Mount-Royal
  • The Fine Art Museum
  • Contemporary Art Museum
  • Biodome
  • Biosphere
  • La Ronde
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Notre-Dame Basilica
  • Olympic Stadium
  • Old Port

TORONTO

The city is known for:

  • CN Tower
  • Ripley Aquarium
  • Casa Loma
  • Royal Ontario Museum
  • Toronto Zoo
  • High-end shopping centers
  • Hockey Hall of Fame museum
  • Toronto Islands
  • Rogers Center

Winner: Tie! There really isn’t a way to untie it because they both have a lot of amazing sights!

Conclusion

For me, Montreal is the winner, in this battle if Montreal vs. Toronto, but Toronto has a special place in my heart. Also given I live in Montreal, I like to go elsewhere from time to time!

I hope this helps you make a decision and if you have more questions don’t hesitate to ask them below, I would love to answer them! Also, let me know know which city you would pick yourself!

Until next time!

Sofyah,

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