Top 10 Best Places to Live in Ontario: Which Ontario City is Best For You?

Best Cities in Ontario: Windsor, Toronto, and Ottawa

Looking for the best cities in Ontario that fit your lifestyle and budget? We make your search easier by providing a concise comparison of cities like Toronto, Ottawa, and lesser-known gems. Discover where job markets blossom, housing costs align with your budget, and educational and cultural opportunities abound, all tailored for an informed decision for your move to Ontario.

Key Findings

  • Ontario boasts a variety of cities offering diverse employment opportunities and varying costs of living, from the expensive Toronto to the more affordable Windsor and Thunder Bay.
  • Many Ontario cities, like Ottawa and Waterloo, balance urban and natural living, providing residents with comfortable standards of living, strong job markets, and access to educational institutions.
  • In addition to major cities, Ontario’s lesser-known cities such as Barrie, Guelph, Kingston, Burlington, and Thunder Bay offer unique lifestyles, community vibes, and affordable living, making them hidden gems worth exploring.


Windsor is One of the Best Places to Live in Ontario

Our journey starts in Windsor, a city in southwestern Ontario known for its friendly atmosphere and job opportunities in industrial and manufacturing careers. Nestled by the Detroit River, the city offers a unique lifestyle that blends urban convenience with natural beauty.

Adding to the charm of Windsor is its trans-border attribute, which ensures its constant growth and development. Whether it’s enjoying a picnic in Jackson Park or exploring the city limits, Windsor promises a unique experience to its residents.

Real estate in Windsor starts as low as the upper $100,000s and tops out around $2 million, meaning there’s a home for every budget. Several Windsor condos and other homes offer great views of the Detroit River, while other residents can enjoy proximity to Lake St. Clair or more rural areas.


Toronto, a major city in southern Ontario, is the epitome of city life with a population of more than 6 million people. Some highlights of Toronto include:

  • Strolling along the serene Lake Ontario, one of the best lakes in the province
  • Exploring the bustling downtown core
  • Visiting the iconic CN Tower
  • Enjoying the vibrant food scene
  • Discovering the many neighbourhoods

The city’s job market is competitive, offering an average household income range of between $57,000 and $97,000. Educational opportunities are plentiful with institutions like Foxford University and the University of Toronto offering a wide range of programs.

However, the high demand for this Ontario city reflects in its cost of living. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Toronto is notable, costing upwards of $2,300 per month. Meanwhile, purchasing a property comes with a hefty price tag often in the millions—one of the reasons why people may prefer to live in Windsor over Toronto.

But the city offers more than just career and educational opportunities. The Royal Ontario Museum, vibrant festivals, and a plethora of cuisines make Toronto an exciting place to live. Despite the cost, the city’s offerings make it stand out among other Canadian cities.


Next, we journey to Ottawa, the capital city offering a comfortable standard of living to more than a million people. Its a pillar of the economy in Ontario, with rapid job creation and an unemployment rate lower than the national average, provides ample opportunities. The city is home to institutions like the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, cementing its place as a hub for education and growth.

The cost of living in Ottawa is moderate compared to Toronto. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment stands at around $2,000, while a two-bedroom costs around $2,400, making it a viable option for those looking to live in Ontario.

The average income for individuals in Ottawa is between $48,000 and $80,000 annually, which supports a relatively comfortable standard of living. From its rich history to its strong job market, Ottawa is indeed a city that thrives.


Waterloo is a Good Place to Live in Ontario

Waterloo, a city in southern Ontario, is known for its educational institutions, including the University of Waterloo, and its thriving tech industry.

With an affordable cost of living and proximity to Toronto, Waterloo offers a balance of urban and natural living for its population of more than 100,000. The city’s variety of entertainment options, including the St. Jacob’s Farmer’s Market, Oktoberfest, and an array of restaurants, reflect the city’s vibrant student population.

Waterloo’s thriving tech industry and affordable living make it an attractive city for those seeking an enriched and balanced lifestyle.


Affectionately known as the ‘Forest City,’ London is a charming city in southern Ontario. In addition to schools like Western University and Fanshawe College, London boasts a thriving economy and job market.

London’s cultural and recreational attractions include a bustling downtown, a variety of parks and green spaces, and an abundance of annual public events and festivals. The city’s local tradition of the ‘Rock the Park’ music festival is a testament to its vibrant cultural scene and showcases the importance of events in the community.

The average monthly living cost is over $2,000, while the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $1,800. About an hour away from Chatham-Kent, London offers a balance of urban living and cultural experiences.

Hidden Gems: Lesser-Known Ontario Cities Worth Exploring

Ontario is not just about the major cities; there are lesser-known cities worth exploring too. Each of these cities offers a unique lifestyle, affordable living options, and a strong community vibe. Let’s explore some of these hidden gems:

  • Barrie
  • Guelph
  • Kingston
  • Burlington
  • Thunder Bay

Each of these cities holds its own charm with unique offerings, making it difficult to determine the best city among them. Now, let’s dive deeper into each of these cities and discover what makes them some of the best places to live in Ontario.


Barrie is a Nice City in Ontario

Barrie, a growing city in southern Ontario, is known for its beautiful waterfront, restaurants, and various events. The city’s population stands at around 130,000 people, reflecting its status as a growing city.

Barrie’s waterfront is a haven for water sports enthusiasts and those who love serene strolls. The city’s diverse range of restaurants caters to different tastes, and its variety of events keep the city life vibrant and lively.

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Barrie is around $1,600, while a two-bedroom apartment goes for closer to $2,200. The cost of living in the city is relatively affordable—especially when compared to larger cities like Toronto and Ottawa.

The city’s waterfront charm and growing community make it an attractive place to live in Ontario.


Moving on to Guelph, a city with a strong sense of community and a thriving arts scene. With a low unemployment rate and income ranges between $35,000 - $105,000 annually for its over 100,000 residents, the city offers a sense of security and stability.

It’s also home to the University of Guelph, an institution that adds to the city’s reputation as an educational hub. The economic viability of Guelph is reflected in its real estate market, with homes ranging from $400,000 for a condo to over $800,000 for a single-family home.

As mentioned earlier, Guelph boasts a thriving arts scene, adding to the city’s charm and making it a prime location for those seeking a balance of urban and natural living.


Next is Kingston, a historic city in eastern Ontario known for its rich cultural scene, beautiful waterfront views, and educational institutions such as Queen’s University and the Royal Military College of Canada.

From its wealth of historic sites like Bellevue House to the vibrant arts and culture scene featuring numerous museums, galleries, and theatres, Kingston is a treasure trove of cultural richness.

The limestone city offers an array of natural attractions like the Lemoine Point Conservation Area and picturesque waterfront views, alongside various outdoor activities like boating, fishing, and hiking.

With its population of approximately 600,000, Kingston offers a tranquil atmosphere.


Burlington is a Great City to Live in Ontario

Burlington, a quaint city in southern Ontario, offers a relaxed lifestyle with the perks of city living for its just over 200,000 residents.

Burlington’s proximity to Toronto provides additional opportunities for work and leisure. The city boasts several attractions, including a beautiful waterfront, access to the Bruce Trail, and a lively downtown core with shopping, bars, and live music venues.

Despite its small size, Burlington offers a unique mixture of urban convenience and natural beauty, making it a perfect choice for those seeking a balance between city and country living.

Thunder Bay

Last but not least, we have Thunder Bay, a friendly city in northern Ontario. With a population of 113,000, the city offers a manageable urban size with a sense of community.

Housing costs in Thunder Bay are relatively affordable, with average rent for a one or two-bedroom apartment under $2,000. This affordability, coupled with the city’s range of activities, makes it an attractive choice.

From its affordable living to its friendly atmosphere, Thunder Bay presents a relaxed lifestyle without sacrificing on the urban conveniences, making it another splendid place to live in Ontario.

Where Is Your New Home in Ontario?

Ontario, with its blend of bustling metropolises and hidden gems, offers a lifestyle for every preference. Each city, from the thriving Toronto to the quaint Burlington, presents unique opportunities, attractions, and communities.

While major cities like Toronto, Ottawa, and Windsor offer diverse cultural experiences, robust job markets, and educational opportunities, the lesser-known cities like Barrie, Guelph, Kingston, Burlington, and Thunder Bay offer unique charms, affordable living, and strong community vibes.

Ontario’s cities cater to your needs and preferences, whether you’re looking to lower your cost of living or searching for a place bursting with amenities. With their unique offerings and rich experiences, these cities truly embody the Canadian spirit.

If you're ready to move to Ontario, contact Team Goran of RE/MAX CARE Realty at (519) 979-9949 to reach a local real estate agent who can help find your dream Ontario home.

Post a Comment