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Living costs in Canada will vary depending on city and province, but on the whole they compare very favourably with living costs in other developed countries.

The major living costs in Canada for international students will be rent, food and transportation. Depending on your city and province, different options will be available for all of the above. Food is generally less expensive than in European cities, particularly in terms of produce, meats and other fresh foods. This is especially true if you are in a rural area with access to farmer's markets.

Transportation will depend on whether or not you choose to have a car, how far you will need to commute from your home to your school, and what the public transportation options and fares are in the city you choose to live in. Bus fares in Canada tend to range from $2 to $5 for a single ticket depending on the city and how far you have to go; monthly passes can range from $75 to $120, and provide unlimited access to the buses in the network. Your educational institution may also offer public transit passes at a discounted rate, or as part of your tuition.

Rent will depend on where you choose to live, and whether you choose to live alone or with a roommate. See the table below for a basic rent comparison between Canadian cities.

Comparison of Rents in selected Canadian Cities (2 bedroom apartment, off-campus)

Calgary, Alberta


Vancouver, British Columbia


Toronto, Ontario


Edmonton, Alberta


Ottawa. Ontario


Victoria, British Columbia


Kelowna, British Columbia


Halifax, Nova Scotia


Winnipeg, Manitoba


Kamloops, British Columbia


Thunder Bay, Ontario


Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island


Montreal, Quebec


Quebec City, Quebec


St John's, Newfoundland


(source: Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2007 data)

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