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Which is better, Edmonton or Ottawa? 

Edmonton vs Ottawa
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Trying to figure out if Edmonton or Ottawa is better? Well, setting aside our own bias as born-and-bred Edmontonians for a moment, the answer is that it depends on your criteria.

If you wish to advance your career or live a fast-paced life, Ottawa is an arguably better place to live than Edmonton. Meanwhile, if you prefer a slow-paced life and a low cost of living, Edmonton is the better pick.

How did we come to this conclusion? We’ll show you below as we compare them in terms of cost of living, diversity and demographics, safety index, and more. 

Cost of Living in Edmonton vs. Ottawa 

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

The cost of living in Ottawa is significantly higher than in Edmonton. The average monthly living cost in Edmonton is $1,660, while in Ottawa, it’s $1,872. 

This means that Edmonton’s monthly living cost is 12.77% cheaper than Ottawa’s. This is particularly evident in rental, utility, and childcare costs. 

How did we calculate this? Check out the table below that contains data from to get a closer look at the costs attributed to living in Edmonton and Ottawa. 

ExpensesEdmonton Cost RangeOttawa Cost Range
Housing (Average Rent per Month)
1-bedroom apartment (downtown)$815$1,162
1-bedroom apartment (outside the city center)644890
3-bedroom apartment (downtown)$1,306$1,666
3-bedroom apartment (outside the city center)$1,109$1,337
Utilities (Average Monthly Bill)
Utility bill for one person$125$97.50
Utility bill for a family$191$152
Internet plan$51.70$52.50
Transportation (Fare)
1-way ticket (local transport ticket)$2.61$2.79
Monthly pass (local transport ticket)$74.80$93.90
Taxi start (normal tariff)$19.30$16
Gasoline (1 liter)$1.16$1.38
Childcare (Tuition Fee)
Private Preschool/Kindergarten (full day)$766 per month$1,046 per month
International Primary School$8,254 per year$16,813 per year

As you can see, there’s a drastic difference between Edmonton and Ottawa for most expenses.  

Since Ottawa is Canada’s capital city, a high cost of living is generally expected. However, it’s still 34.83% cheaper compared to the national average living cost of $2,524.

That’s why students and young professionals looking for career opportunities still prefer to live in Ottawa compared to Edmonton, despite the former’s higher living costs. On the other hand, Edmonton’s affordable cost of living and lack of provincial tax attracts those starting a family and retirees.

Real Estate Prices in Edmonton vs. Ottawa 

Real Estate Prices in Edmonton vs. Ottawa
Image Source: Pexels 

Ottawa has higher real estate prices compared to Edmonton. 

Based on the Housing Market Report of, the average price of a single-family home in Ottawa is 35.273% more expensive than in Edmonton.  Meanwhile, a condo is 123.499% cheaper in Edmonton.

Real estate pricing is decidedly one place where we have Ottawa beat. Edmonton’s real estate market offers a variety of houses and condos at a more affordable price compared to its Ottawa counterparts.

The table below shows the comparison between the average sold price of single-family homes and condo apartments in Edmonton and Ottawa

Property TypeEdmontonOttawa
Single-Family Home$459,600$710,070
Condo Apartment$187,325$418,670

Diversity and Demographics in Edmonton vs. Ottawa 

Diversity and Demographics in Edmonton vs. Ottawa
Image Source: Unsplash 

Edmonton and Ottawa are capital cities with relatively diverse inhabitants. However, the former has more minorities in its population. 

In Edmonton, visible minorities constitute 40.3% of the total population, while in Ottawa, it’s 32.5%

Still, although Ottawa has a slightly lower percentage of visible minorities, it had the third-largest Black and Arab population in Canada in 2022. Besides that, it has fairly high diversity compared to other cities in the country. 

In terms of total land area, it’s evident that Ottawa is bigger. However, Edmonton still has a slightly higher population and a more diverse ethnic composition, as you’ll see in the table below (which shows the differences in the population distribution for the cities). 

Geographic LocationAlbertaOntario
Size (Area)684.4 square kilometers2,790 square kilometers
Female Population50.2%51.4%
Male Population49.8%48.6%
Median Age37 years old40 years old
Life Expectancy at Birth82 years old85 years old

To further demonstrate each city’s diversity, we made a table with stats gathered from World Population Review. It shows the comparison of the population demographics in Edmonton and Ottawa in terms of racial composition. 

Racial CompositionEdmontonRacial CompositionOttawa
South Asian7.2%Black5.7%
Filipino4.6%South Asian3.9%
Southeast Asian1.9%Southeast Asian1.6%
Latin American1.7%Filipino1.2%
Arab1.7%Latin American1.2%
West Asian0.8%West Asian0.9%
Other Visible Minorities0.3%Other Visible Minorities0.2%
Multiple Visible Minorities0.8%Aboriginal2.1%

Career Opportunities in Edmonton vs. Ottawa 

Career Opportunities in Edmonton vs. Ottawa
Image Source: Unsplash 

Sourced data from CREA Statistics shows that Ottawa offers a more favorable job landscape for job seekers than Edmonton. This is because, as of March 2023, the unemployment rate in Ottawa is 4%, while in Edmonton, it’s 5.4%. 

To add to this, according to, the average annual salary in Edmonton is $55,907, while in Ottawa, it’s $55,222. 

On top of having a slightly higher average annual salary, the cost of living is also significantly lower in Edmonton. That’s why even if you can find a job more easily in Ottawa, there’s a possibility that you’ll earn less and pay more for necessities – leaving you with less in savings or disposable income. 

Crime Index in Edmonton vs. Ottawa 

Crime Index in Edmonton vs. Ottawa
Image Source: Pixabay 

Based on the data from Numbeo, it’s substantially safer to live in Ottawa than in Edmonton. 

The safety scale in Ottawa is at 70.71%, while in Edmonton, it’s at 53.44%. Meanwhile, the crime index of the former is at 29.29%, and the latter is at 46.56%.

As far as metropolitan cities go, it’s evident that Ottawa is one of the safest in Canada. However, this doesn’t mean that Edmonton is unlivable due to its higher crime rates since it still maintains a moderate safety index.  

Below are the stats from Numbeo that show the crime comparison level between Edmonton and Ottawa. 

Type of CrimeEdmontonOttawa
People using or dealing drugs63.04%44.34%
Property crimes such as vandalism and theft58.74%36.47%
Violent crimes such as assault or armed robbery45.40%27.78%
Corruption and bribery33.62%25.47%

Lifestyle in Edmonton vs. Ottawa 

Lifestyle in Edmonton vs. Ottawa
Image Source: Pexels 

Ottawa is the ideal place to live in if you prefer a safe, clean, and multicultural city. Meanwhile, if living cost is a concern or you simply love vibrant festivities and the outdoors, the Edmonton lifestyle will suit you better.

To get a closer look at the type of lifestyle offered in both cities, we compare each city in detail based on several factors, such as the weather, recreational activities, and healthcare.

Weather in Edmonton vs. Ottawa 

Both Edmonton and Ottawa have a continental climate, so both of these cities experience warm summers and frigid winters. 

In summer, Edmonton can experience temperatures as high as 30°C, while in winter, the temperature can drop to -35°C. This is pretty similar to Ottawa’s weather, where summer temperatures can rise up to 34°C, and winter ones can drop to -25°C.  

Things to Do in Edmonton vs. Ottawa 

Edmonton and Ottawa both offer a myriad of opportunities for recreation and leisure.

However, when it comes to natural attractions and outdoor activities, Edmonton has a slight edge. Here you can also enjoy a range of leisure activities, including hiking, camping, hunting, kayaking, stargazing, and more. 

Moreover, it’s called the City of Festival for a reason, so you can expect a range of vibrant festivities and celebrations throughout the year.

Meanwhile, Ottawa is known for its rich arts scene and museums, including the Ottawa Art Gallery, Canadian Museum of Nature, and National Gallery. But, if it’s not your cup of tea, you can also visit the Parliament Buildings and explore the Rideau Canal. 

Healthcare in Edmonton vs. Ottawa 

Just like in other major cities in Canada, the healthcare services in Edmonton and Ottawa are both high-quality. Sourced data from Numbeo shows that Edmonton’s healthcare index is 77.69% while Montreal’s is 71.15%, so it’s evident that both cities offer excellent healthcare systems. 

Below are some of the factors that affect the overall healthcare index in both cities.  

Skill and competency of medical staff83.83%74.57%
Speed in completing examinations and reports65.51%62.43%
Equipment for modern diagnosis and treatment85.91%81.18%
Accuracy and completeness in filling out reports81.76%75.87%
Friendliness and courtesy of the staff81.85%72.27%
Responsiveness (waiting in medical institutions)44.39%42.05%
Satisfaction with Cost86.96%79%
Convenience of location81.99%73.99%

Both cities feature publicly funded healthcare delivered through the provincial or territorial system. 

However, it’s worth noting that in Ottawa, expats will only be covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) after a three-month waiting period. 

Moreover, prescription medicines, optometry, and dentistry are only covered under special conditions, so many expats in Ottawa avail of private health insurance to cover these costs. 

On the other hand, Edmonton’s healthcare system features better access to routine care services because the city has many community health clinics. 

Apart from that, eligible Edmonton residents can receive full coverage for medically necessary physician services as well as some oral surgical and dental health services. 

Edmonton vs. Ottawa: The Essential Differences 

Overall, each city has advantages and deal-breakers that can affect your final decision. The better city to live in depends on your living standards and lifestyle. 

To review everything we’ve discussed, here are our suggestions on which city is better depending on the factors we’ve discussed above. 

FactorsThe Better CityWhy
Cost of LivingEdmontonThe living cost in Edmonton is 12.77% cheaper than in Ottawa.
Real EstateEdmontonThe average prices for real estate properties in Edmonton are significantly cheaper.
Diversity and DemographicsEdmontonBoth cities have relatively high diversity, but overall, the Edmonton population has a higher percentage of visible minorities.
Career OpportunitiesOttawaOttawa has a more favorable job landscape and a lower unemployment rate.
Crime IndexOttawaThe crime index in Ottawa is lower than in Edmonton.
LifestyleTied (depends on what kind of lifestyle you prefer)Edmonton and Ottawa share the same type of climate.

Edmonton offers more natural attractions, while Ottawa offers more art and cultural scenes.

Healthcare services in Edmonton offer better access to routine services, while in Montreal, you can find excellent healthcare facilities.