Montreal or Toronto

Just curious: now that we’re looking at remote work for an extended period of time, what city would you recommend a newcomer move to (from NYC)? I may be getting an offer to work as an independent contractor for a U.S. based company (based in Boston) and can basically live anywhere so would prefer any of these two cities (or surrounding areas).

I know that COL is lower in Montreal but taxes seem to be higher. None of us speak French so not sure if we would be able to get by when we actually live there permanently.

We’re childfree and my husband is actively looking for a data science job as well. I’ve visited both and loved both cities but the $$$ to live in Toronto scares us a bit. Eventually, I’d also have to travel a lot to meet US clients to give talks & attend conferences so easy access to an airport is also essential which is why we’re zeroing in on these two cities.

We’re also car-free (for now) so public transport is important. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and advice.

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if you are considering Toronto explore a bit and look at Mississauga / Etobicoke / Brampton in that order. Mississauga and Etobicoke will give you quick access to the airport. Brampton will give you value for money. ( rent per sft ). If you want to remain carfree you may have to look at areas north of Downtown Toronto. These areas have good subway connectivity but rents are on the higher side and airport connectivity are not as great as Mississauga or Etobicoke.


Are you already permanent residents of Canada? If not, then you may not be able to move to Montreal without going through Quebec’s immigration program and in that case if you want to come in via the federal skilled workers program then Toronto is your only choice.

As for the taxes, it’s a bit higher in Quebec but not significantly more. This is because Quebec residents get a federal tax abatement, basically you pay a higher amount of tax to the province instead of the federal government

Yes, we are already PR’s and completed our landing/got our SIN’s etc. in 2018 :slight_smile: Now it’s just a (huge) matter of finding a job and making the move.

Thanks so much for letting me know about the taxes in Quebec.

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Okay, sounds great! Thanks so much for your thoughts on this.

If you are car-free, I would suggest living in the city rather than the burbs. Choose a neighborhood with a high walk score The East end of Toronto is great, less congested than the West and everything is accessible by walking or public transport. From Union Station, which is downtown Toronto you can take a direct express train to the Pearson airport Also if your travels are to the east coast of the US you can fly out from the city airport


We actually flew from Newark to Billy Bishop at night when we officially landed. The view was so stunning and we never expected to land that close to the city. (Fell in love with Porter Airlines).

Funny you say this. I was actually also looking at the east end of Toronto (near the beaches) last week :slight_smile: thanks so much for your advice!

Cool, we live close to the Beaches. If you need any help navigating the many different neighbourhoods on the east side feel free to DM me.

As for Montreal we’ve visited the city couple times, its beautiful in the summer but the winter is far more intense when compared to Toronto.

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Thanks so much :slight_smile: I’ll let you know if I get that offer and we decide to move.

I believe once you have your PR and SIN there are no immigration requirements or restrictions, PR in most cases authorizes employment anywhere in Canada so Montreal is certainly available to you and a great place to live. Having owned homes in both cities I would say Montreal is friendlier and safer. My Toronto friends would dispute my “friendlier” opinion but probably not question the “safer” . Also Montreal/Boston is roughly the same flight time (1 1/2 hours) but Montreal/Boston by car is considerably closer (5 hrs vs 8 1/2) and an easier drive … I do it often.
Montreal’s housing cost is significantly less expensive and more available. If you were to live in typical Anglophone neighborhoods of, say, West Island or NDG for example, commute time by commuter rail or Metro is roughly a half hour to downtown.
The IT sector is booming. Lots of openings in Data Science and language in most cases is not an issue in the field if you’re not dealing with retail local clients. Look at IQVIA for example or contact me and I’ll email you a list of IT-centric employers.
Contrary to common scuttlebutt you can easily live and work totally in English although you of course should enjoy the opportunity to pick up at least basic French.


I concur about Montreal. I had similar apprehensions about potential language troubles.
Montreal, the most of the city, is bilingual, and people are quite friendly. They switch to English seamlessly the moment they realize you don’t speak French. And, it’s a beautiful city, the buildings are historic, the streets are very clean and safe. There’s the Game-of-Throne-esque winter but I have a feeling it’s not going to be as bad as it is made out to be.

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Hi hslawd, it’s good to hear that once one got PR and SIN it’s possible to move to Montreal, but what if then I want to sponsor other family members too? As I am living there I would need to go under the Quebec immigration policy, would they then find out I entered Canada through EE and hecne reject my sponsorship application?

Very glad to hear this. It’s really nice to know that this is an option to consider :slight_smile:

Hi Mie, My specialty is integration, not immigration which is bizarrely complex particularly when Quebec immigration gets involved. However, if you were to sponsor other family while living in Quebec I assume Quebec immigration policy would govern. I doubt they would reject your sponsorship due to the source of your PE but they may reject it because your relative doesn’t speak French.

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