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Edmonton vs. Montreal: Which Canadian city is right for you?

Edmonton vs. Montreal Which Canadian city is right for you
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Edmonton and Montreal are both considered major Canadian cities. But which of these cities is better to live in? 

The decision on whether you should live in Edmonton or Montreal depends on your personal needs and living preferences. If your main concern is the cost of living, Edmonton is the cheaper choice, but if you want to live in a safer city with more French-speakers, Montreal might be a better fit for you. 

Anyway, if you plan to move to one of these cities, this guide can help you decide between the two. Here we compared Edmonton and Montreal based on living costs, safety and security, job opportunities, and more. 

Cost of Living in Edmonton vs. Montreal 

Cost of Living in Edmonton vs. Montreal
Image Source: Pexels

The living costs in Edmonton and Montreal are roughly the same. The average living cost per month in Edmonton is $1,660, while in Montreal, it’s $1,688, so it’s only 1.68% cheaper to live in Edmonton. 

There is a substantial difference in rental prices, utility rates, and childcare expenses, though. Rental prices in Edmonton are more affordable, for instance, while Montreal has lower childcare costs and utility rates. 

This suggests that both are decent options for families with children, as one offers cheaper housing while the other offers cheaper monthly utilities and tuition fees.

We created the table below to give you an overview of the average living costs in Edmonton and Montreal. The data is from

ExpensesEdmonton Cost RangeMontreal Cost Range
Housing (Average Rent per Month)
1-bedroom apartment (downtown)$815$922
1-bedroom apartment (outside the city center)$644$695
3-bedroom apartment (downtown)$1,306$1,687
3-bedroom apartment (outside the city center)$1,109$1,233
Utilities (Average Monthly Bill)
Utility bill for one person$125$57.5
Utility bill for a family$191$89.2
Internet plan$51.7$45.2
Transportation (Fare)
1-way ticket (local transport ticket)$2.61$2.61
Monthly pass (local transport ticket)$74.8$70.6
Taxi start (normal tariff)$19.3$15.3
Gasoline (1 liter)$1.16$1.44
Childcare (Tuition Fee)
Private Preschool/Kindergarten (full day)$766 per month$670 per month
International Primary School$8,254 per year$8,519 per year

Safety and Security in Edmonton vs. Montreal 

Safety and Security in Edmonton vs. Montreal
Image Source: Unsplash 

Data sourced from Numbeo shows that living in Montreal is comparatively safer than living in Edmonton. Edmonton’s crime severity index is 46.33%, while Montreal’s sits at 31.65%. 

Nonetheless, both cities maintain an appealing moderate safety scale. The safety scale in Montreal is at 65.35%, while in Edmonton, it’s at 53.67%. 

The table below shows the crime comparison level between Edmonton and Montreal based on the data calculated by Numbeo. 

Type of CrimeEdmontonMontreal
People using or dealing drugs62.85%46.17%
Property crimes such as vandalism and theft58.72%40.86%
Violent crimes such as assault or armed robbery45.13%27.35%
Corruption and bribery33.31%50.07%

Although the crime index of Edmonton appears to be much higher compared to Montreal, it’s important to keep in mind that these reports come mostly from the problem areas in Edmonton, which are easy to steer away from. 

Still, if you want a safe and secure city for your family, we recommend Montreal because it’s a fairly safe city where residents and tourists alike can walk around worry-free. It has a low violent crime index and was even ranked the 3rd safest city in the world by Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection.


Social Services in Edmonton vs. Montreal 

Social Services in Edmonton vs. Montreal
Image Source: Pexels 

In terms of social services and assistance, Edmonton and Montreal both have comprehensive systems and progressive features, especially in healthcare. 

However, each city is under the jurisdiction of its respective province – Alberta and Quebec. That’s why there can be differences between Edmonton and Montreal’s social services sectors. 

For example, in Montreal, Francophone schools are more evident and popular throughout the city, while in Edmonton, only a certain population attends these schools. Language can also be a barrier to certain study programs and employment opportunities in Montreal.  

Employment Opportunities in Edmonton vs. Montreal 

Based on Statistics Canada data, Montreal fares a little better than Edmonton on the job market because, as of February 2023, the unemployment rate in Montreal is 4.10%. 

This is slightly lower than the average unemployment rate in Canada (5%). Meanwhile, Edmonton’s unemployment rate is a bit higher than the national average, at 5.4%. 

According to, the average annual salary in Edmonton is $56,716, while in Montreal, it’s around $64,837. Edmonton’s average annual salary trails behind Montreal, but even minimum wage earners can still live comfortably, given its affordable housing and rental prices, and lower sales tax rates. 

You see, the total tax sales rate in Montreal is 14.975%, and this includes the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the Quebec Sales Tax (QST). Since Edmonton doesn’t impose provincial sales tax, you will only be charged 5% for GST. 

Nonetheless, Edmonton and Montreal are big cities that offer a variety of employment opportunities. Both cities are good places to work in financial services, technology, healthcare, and manufacturing. 

Just note that before you can land a job in Montreal, you have to be able to speak French. If you speak little to no French, it might be a struggle to get a well-paying job. 

Make sure to take the time to learn the language before starting a career in Montreal. 

Education in Edmonton vs. Montreal 

Edmonton and Montreal both boast excellent education systems that are well-regarded throughout the country. Public schools are free for residents of both cities, so there are no tuition fees for attending public kindergarten, elementary, and high schools in them. 

However, since the education system in Canada’s cities is a provincial responsibility, Edmonton and Montreal have their own education minister who decides how things go for the school boards in each city. 

Here are Edmonton’s strengths in this aspect:

  • With over 212 public schools for elementary, junior high school, and senior high school, Edmonton is known for being one of the largest education hubs in Canada. 
  • Edmonton features 8 universities that offer more than 134 study programs, so students can have a variety of choices as they enter college. 
  • Edmonton has more colleges and institutions specializing in technology, art, computer science, and healthcare.  

On the other hand, here are Montreal’s strengths for comparison: 

  • Montreal has 6 universities and 12 junior colleges.
  • Montreal boasts two of the country’s top universities – McGill University and Concordia University. There are also a number of trade schools and colleges in the city. 
  • Many students in Montreal attend private schools because most certified private schools receive government subsidies, so the fees they impose are greatly reduced.

It’s best to note that residents in Montreal are encouraged to attend French-language public schools, but there are also a few English-language public schools available in the city. 

Some of the study programs offered in the universities in Montreal require students to be fluent in French. Make sure to check the program requirements before applying to one of the universities in Montreal. 

Healthcare in Edmonton vs. Montreal 

Edmonton and Montreal both offer excellent healthcare, with Edmonton having a slight edge. According to Numbeo, the healthcare index in Edmonton sits at 77.69%, and 63.20% for Montreal, showing that the healthcare system in both is highly satisfactory. 

The table below shows some of the factors that affect the healthcare system index in Edmonton and Montreal. Note that the data below is just based on surveys from contributors in each city. 

Skill and competency of medical staff83.83%68.12%
Speed in completing examinations and reports65.51%41.32%
Equipment for modern diagnosis and treatment85.91%77.32%
Accuracy and completeness in filling out reports81.76%66.02%
Friendliness and courtesy of the staff81.85%63.24%
Responsiveness (waiting in medical institutions)44.39%26.80%
Satisfaction with Cost86.96%76.98%
Convenience of location81.99%72.03%

Edmonton has a well-integrated healthcare system and over 15 local hospitals that offer universal access to emergency care and other healthcare services to all its residents. However, some specialized medical services are not covered, so having health insurance is still encouraged. 

Montreal, on the other hand, offers universal health insurance to its residents. The city also has a host of hospitals, walk-in clinics, and university health centers that offer a range of free treatments and health services. 

Diversity and Demographics in Edmonton vs. Montreal 

Diversity and Demographics in Edmonton vs. Montreal
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons 

Edmonton and Montreal are both relatively diverse, though Edmonton may have more visible minorities. As of 2021, 40.3% of Edmonton’s residents identified as part of visible minorities, while in Montreal, it was 27.2% of the population

And although Montreal has a lower percentage of visible minorities, it’s still evident that it’s one of the most diverse cities in Quebec. Moreover, it’s a bit higher than the percentage of visible minorities in Canada, which sits at 26.53%.

It’s worth noting first that though Montreal is significantly smaller than Edmonton in terms of land area, it has a bigger population than Edmonton. Look at the data in this table, to illustrate:

Geographic LocationAlbertaQuebec
Size (Area)684.4 square kilometers431.5 square kilometers
Median Age38.4 years old41 years old
Life Expectancy at Birth81.7 years old83 years old

Montreal is the second-most-populous city in the country. Despite that, Edmonton’s ethnic composition is still more diverse.

The table below contains the stats we gathered from World Population Review. It shows the comparison of the population demographics in terms of racial composition between Edmonton and Montreal.

Racial CompositionEdmontonRacial CompositionMontreal
South Asian7.2%Italian7%
Southeast Asian1.9%Spanish2%
Latin American1.7%Black9.1%
West Asian0.8%Latin American4.2%
Korean0.6%South Asian3.3%
Other Visible Minorities0.3%
Multiple Visible Minorities0.8%

Lifestyle in Edmonton vs. Montreal 

Lifestyle in Edmonton vs. Montreal
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons 

If you enjoy walking to places like parks, shopping in farmers’ markets, or dining in cozy restaurants, the Edmonton lifestyle is ideal.

Meanwhile, Montreal is the French capital of Canada, so if you prefer the European vibe and love century-old attractions, live music, and underground galleries, this city is for you.

Edmonton and Montreal both offer a laid-back and slow-paced lifestyle, even though they are both metropolitan locations. 

These cities also share a similarity. Edmonton and Montreal host many events throughout the year, including film festivals, art exhibits, sports events, and holiday festivities.

Nonetheless, if you enjoy exploring new places and meeting new people, both cities are very welcoming and have diverse cultures you can experience.

Things to Do in Edmonton vs. Montreal 

There is no shortage of things to do and places to explore in both cities. 

Most of the attractions in Edmonton are built around its majestic natural harbors. Generally, Alberta’s capital is for people who love natural attractions and enjoy various outdoor activities like ice fishing, hunting, camping, kayaking, stargazing, and more. 

Edmonton is also known for its arts scene and sporting events, but if it’s not your thing, then the classic historical scene in Montreal might be for you. 

The European influence in Montreal is highly evident in every corner, so it might feel like you are living in another country in this city. Cobbled streets with classic French cafes are the usual sight in every district. 

You can also spot beautiful botanical gardens and eye-catchy architecture in Montreal. 

Apart from that, it’s renowned for its vibrant nightlife. There are a myriad of bars, music venues, and clubs you can check out in this city.

Weather in Edmonton vs. Montreal 

Edmonton and Montreal both have humid continental climates. Both cities have short summer months as well as long and harsh winter months with a temperature that consistently drops below zero degrees Celsius. 

However, even if both cities share the same climate type, they still have differences. 

You see, Edmonton is a city of extremes when it comes to weather. During summer, you can expect to experience highs of around 20°C to 30°C. 

In Montreal, the average daytime temperature just ranges from 24°C to 28°C. 

In Edmonton, if it’s winter, you’ll have to bundle up to deal with the average temperature of -25°C to -30°C. This is usually experienced from November to March.

Montreal is also known for its freezing cold winters, and the temperatures can be extremely cold on some occasions, but it rarely drops below -20°C.

A Recap: Which is better, Edmonton or Montreal? 

All in all, the final decision will still come down to personal preferences and what you’re looking for in a city. It would be best to opt for a lifestyle you like or can afford. 

To sum up what we’ve discussed, here are our suggestions for which city is better for whom and why.

DemographicsThe Better CityReason
RentersEdmontonRental costs are a bit cheaper in Edmonton than in Montreal.
StudentsTiedEdmonton has more public schools, post-secondary institutions, and universities.

Montreal features more Francophone schools and affordable tuition fees for private schools due to government subsidies.

FamiliesMontrealMontreal has cheaper utility rates and cheaper childcare costs.
Job SeekersMontrealMontreal has a lower unemployment rate and a higher average annual salary.
Healthcare SeekersTied (but if you require specialized medical care, Montreal is better)Edmonton has more healthcare facilities.

Montreal has better coverage for specialized medical care.

MinoritiesEdmontonBoth cities have a large percentage of visible minorities, but overall, there are more residents in Edmonton that identify as minorities.
TouristsTied (depends on what kind of recreation you enjoy)Edmonton has more natural attractions and outdoor recreation.

Montreal offers European vibes and has historical attractions.

Edmonton and Montreal are both great cities in their own right, and of course, each has aspects that can make them difficult to live in. 

Nevertheless, everyone has an opinion on which is the better city. Edmonton and Montreal are different, and there are advantages and downsides in each city that you need to consider before you decide where to live.