Vancouver vs Toronto: Which is the Best City for Students?

7 minute read
Vancouver vs Toronto Which is the Best City for Students

Ranked 3rd in foreign student attraction with over 642,000 international students; Canada is the most accessible destination for millions of international students because of its quality education and hassle-free visa requirements. A Canadian degree/diploma is revered across the globe. They are also affordable and allow students to stay back in the country for up to 3 years to gain relevant work experience. It is home to some of the most popular-student friendly cities; Cities like Vancouver and Toronto are the most sought-after destinations to study in Canada. If you are planning to study in Canada and are confused about which city is perfect for you, then, keep reading because we are going to compare the two most popular destinations: Vancouver vs Toronto!

Also Read: 100 Interesting Facts About Canada All Students Must Know

Vancouver vs Toronto: Education in Vancouver

Vancouver vs Toronto
Credits – Unsplash

Canada is known for its remarkable educational system and British Columbia contributes to this reputation with a well-known selection of schools. Whether you are looking into government-funded education, independent schooling, or homeschooling, British Columbia has many options available. The province offers education in French and/or in English. 

Public Schools 

British Columbia provides free education in most of its public schools. They provide all of the learning materials including textbooks to their students who fall in each particular catchment area. Overall there are 92 public elementary schools, 1 middle school, and 18 secondary schools in the Vancouver schooling system. 

Independent Schools 

There are a few highly-rated schools in the Vancouver area including religious, ex-pat, and special need institutions. They have a more focused approach and fantastic facilities that some public schools do not provide. Though, they are more expensive than public schools ranging up to an average of USD 42,000 tuition in a specialized ex-pat school. 

Homeschooling and Special Needs

Students learning from the homeschooling system are able to apply through distributed learning facilities. This allows students to register with a Ministry-approved school, but all classes are conducted at home. Special needs children who struggle with learning or socializing are catered for in the public and private schooling systems. Some independent schools cater exclusively to children who need extra support and specialized education. 


Vancouver home to Canada’s well-renowned University of British Columbia. Some other popular universities in University Canada West, Calipano University, Simon Fraser University, Emily Carr University are also located in this city. Colleges like Langara College, Vancouver Community College, Columbia College, Regent College are located in this city of Vancouver

Must Read: Acceptance Rate for University of British Columbia

Vancouver vs Toronto: Education in Toronto

Vancouver vs Toronto
Credits – Unsplash

The school system in Toronto operates at a high standard and is even able to accommodate ex-pat children who don’t speak either of the primary languages, French or English. 

Public Schools 

Public schools in Toronto take their curricular mandate from the Ontario Ministry of Education. Generally, the standard of education is high. But like anywhere in the world, certain schools seem to perform better than others. In Toronto, children can register at their neighbourhood school, or they can apply to a school that’s not within their residential area. Preference is given to those associated with geographic catchment areas. 

Independent Schools

Private schools in Toronto are a different matter entirely. While there are scholarships for gifted students, private schools are expensive, with choice international schools and boarding schools are levying even higher fees. 

Special-needs Education 

The state of Ontario promises inclusion and equality for children with behavioural, communicational, intellectual, or physical needs that cannot be met by the standard educational system. School boards are responsible for drawing up an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for each exceptional student which details the interventions being taken. These are regularly reviewed to ensure the student’s needs are being met. 


They are ideal for children who struggle with a particular subject, such as maths or science. In the case of ex-pat families, tutors can be useful in bridging up the gap between a child’s previous schooling abroad and current education in Canada, especially where a completely new curriculum is followed. 


Toronto is home to some of the most popular and internationally recognized universities like the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, York University, Trent University, and over 20 colleges like George Brown College​, Humber College, Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology, Centennial College and Tyndale University College.

 Also Read: University of Toronto Courses 

Vancouver vs Toronto: Cost of Living

When it comes to how much it costs to live in each city, which city comes on top? It’s actually more affordable to live in Vancouver if you believe it. 

To maintain the same standard of living in both cities, you would need $6,293 CAD in Vancouver compared to $6,900 CAD in Toronto (assuming you rent in both locations). This breaks down to:

  • Consumer Prices in Vancouver are 8.72% lower
  • Rent Prices in Vancouver are 0.18% higher 
  • Restaurant Prices in Vancouver are 11.46% lower 
  • Groceries in Vancouver are 13.75% cheaper
  • Overall, if you live in Vancouver, your purchasing power is 13.41% higher than in Toronto

Use our Cost Calculator to find which city in Canada is in your budget!

Vancouver vs Toronto: Lifestyle

Lifestyle, activities, and culture can be significant differentiators for where you want to live. In many ways the cities are similar, they offer all the essential conveniences that you would expect from any big city. 

Toronto is the largest city in Canada. It’s known for being the financial and cultural hub of the entire country. It has a global city vibe that’s always bustling. Think of it as the New York City of Canada. If you love the city lifestyle, you may love Toronto. 

When you are downtown in Toronto, 

  • You’ll be surrounded by hundreds and thousands of people all going about their business at the same time
  • Toronto’s salaries are the highest in the country, and there are many incredible job opportunities
  • One major selling point of Toronto is its extreme diversity
  • More than 50% of the population belongs to a visible minority population group. The community is vibrant for anyone from anywhere, which can translate to some incredible food, activities, and shops

Must Read: Higher Studies in Canada: A Complete Expert Guide

Vancouver is also a big city, but it’s a lot more laid back. However, if you are looking for a better work-life/balance, Vancouver takes the lead. Though, it also means that business can be a lot slower in Vancouver. Don’t expect quite as high salaries or as many open jobs. 

Vancouver’s main feature is its landscape. 

  • The province is best for outdoor enthusiasts
  • There are many opportunities for skiing, kayaking, hiking, and more all within 30 minutes of downtown
  • It has incredible public transportation
  • Skytrain: Known for its efficiency and regularity
  • Seabus: Ferries people to North Vancouver in 20 mins

Vancouver vs Toronto: Business Schools

Both Vancouver and Toronto are home to some well-known business schools with quality MBA programs, excellent placement opportunities and an opportunity to work in the world’s fastest-growing economy. We’ll take a quick look at the top 3 schools in each location.

Business Schools in Toronto 

  • Rotman School of Management
  • Wilfrid Laurier’s University Lazaridis School
  • Schulich School of Business

Business Schools in Vancouver

Vancouver vs Toronto: Job Opportunities

When it comes to job opportunities and the economy, Toronto stands out. The city is home to the Toronto stock exchange as well as being the headquarters of Canada’s five largest banks. 

Some of Toronto’s top employers include: 

  • Accenture
  • Bayer
  • AIG Insurance Company of Canada
  • CIBC
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Oracle
  • IMAX Corporation
  • Salesforce
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Xerox

As for Vancouver, It’s consistently named one of the top 5 worldwide cities for livability and quality of life. Vancouver is the third-largest port by tonnage in the Americas, it offers some uniquely thriving industries. 

Some of Vancouver’s top employers include: 

  • Best Buy Canada
  • BC Assessment
  • BC Hydro
  • HSBC Bank Canada
  • Fraser Health Authority
  • Nintendo
  • Oppenheimer Group
  • SPK Consulting
  • Arrow Transportations Systems

Reasons to Choose Vancouver

City DiversityMajority of European Canadian
TransportationRapid Trains, Buses, SeaBus, West Coast Express
SafetyPersonal Safety is high. Crimes like shooting, mugging, murders are rare.
Employment OpportunitiesThe city provides a plethora of employment opportunities. Go through the section above to find out more. 
Perception of
Quality of living is high and offers a world-class education
Monthly Cost of
Apartment Rent (1 Bedroom) – 1900 – 3000 CAD3 – Courses Meal – 80 CADTransportation – 109 CAD

Reasons to Choose Toronto

City DiversityMulti-Cultural city in the world. 140 languages are spoken in this city. 
TransportationSubways, Street Cars, bus services
SafetyToronto ranks 81% of the safety Index
Employment OpportunitiesThe city provides a plethora of employment opportunities. Go through the section above to find out more. 
Perception of
Toronto is rich in Culture and attracts more students than other Canadian cities. 
Monthly Cost of
Apartment Rent (1 Bedroom) – 2,020 CAD3 – Courses Meal – 75 CADTransportation – 103 CAD

Must Read: Canadian Universities that Accept Backlogs

The comparison of Vancouver vs Toronto should give you an idea that both the cities are equally preferred for higher education by international students. Admissions to top universities in both areas could be challenging as they witness a huge rush of students from all over the world. But you don’t need to worry when Leverage Edu has your application. Our experts have an impeccable record of helping students to make it to the top universities in the world. So, what are you waiting for? Book a free session now!

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *