London and Toronto are some of the most charming cities worth living in. These two cities remain the number one destination for people to cut their teeth into a new career, study, or settle down. It’s no doubt that they provide people with unique, desirable job skills and a great stepping stone to launch their careers with a dynamic interplay of resources.
London is known for its historical landmarks and cultural attractions, while Toronto for its multicultural diversity. London has a wider variety of housing options, while Toronto has more affordable housing. Yet, London is also more expensive to live in, but it offers more job opportunities.
Each of these cities offers invaluable benefits, especially if you gravitate towards stepping out of your comfort zone. They provide the freedom to follow your passion, be creative, explore new hobbies, and, of course, meet new people. This article will bring fresh eyes to everything you need to know before making that life-changing decision to move either to London or Toronto.
Also read: How to move to the UK from Canada.
Living in London vs Toronto
Both London and Toronto are some of the best cities to live in on the planet. In fact, London is ranked 1st best city to live in the United Kingdom, and Toronto ranked 3rd in Canada, while they are placed 5th and 25th among the best cities to live in the world.
Pros of living in London
- Great employment opportunities
- Cheap and easy to travel
- Perfect traveling point for all your international flights
- Higher wages
- Plenty of amazing things to do
- More green space than most large cities
- Beautiful architecture, both modern and ancient
- Plenty of money-saving deals
- friendly and safe
- Free healthcare
- Incredible food
- Accessible ATMs to any bank holders
- Great and efficient public transport
- Cheap transport rates if you book your trains and buses in advance
- Alcohol is allowed in public places
Cons of living in London
- Excessively touristed
- Plenty of litter in the parks and commons
- Overpriced housing and small apartments
- Eating and drinking out are expensive
- Traffic pollution
- Dining out without a reservation is next to impossible
Pros of living in Toronto
- Offers excellent opportunities and economic stability in all fields
- Plenty of exciting things to do
- Free and good quality healthcare
- People are friendly and welcoming
- No racism
- Tolerant society towards other cultures
- Good education
- Lower taxes
- English and French language
- Proximity to the USA
- More affordable property
- Low crime rates
- Convenient and accessible airport, especially in downtown
- World-class universities
- Underground markets and pathways (Path)
- Plenty of neighborhoods
- Great produce locally grown
- Diverse cultures
- Great food experience
- Interesting bar culture
- Credit card acceptance is almost everywhere
Cons of living in Toronto
- Expensive housing
- Socializing can be a challenge
- Summers can get extremely hot
- Compulsory tip rates are becoming expensive
- Transport can be slow
- Increased local taxes
London vs Toronto: Quality of Life
While the quality of life and job opportunities in these two cities may appear the same, there are notable differences to be considered. London is one of the cities you can easily fall in love with. This city is like a collection of various villages with different characters.
On the other hand, London is very busy and expensive. It can tire some people out quickly, especially not younger ones.
With that said, London is a great place to spend your 20s or your early 30s. Family-orientated people might opt for one of London’s suburbs. That way, you can enjoy wider roads, bigger houses, larger gardens, and a generally less busy life yet be close to the city at the same time.
1. Work-life balance
London is perfect for your career. However, you might face a significant amount of overtime and working late. Yet, London agencies have been trying to create a conducive and balanced working environment in recent years.
While London’s work-life balance is considered to be average, 52% of UK employees say their work bleeds into their personal lives.
The biggest problem in London is the exorbitant cost of real estate and the rising cost of housing. Getting affordable housing, especially close to the center, is almost impossible, forcing the larger population to live in congested areas.
If you’re on a tight budget, Barking and Dagenham in East London is the cheapest place to live.
Moreover, the quality of housing isn’t on the same level. London has older, denser, more closely packed houses; hence, in Toronto, you will have a better place to live for the same money.
The UK education system is one of the most prestigious as it offers a variety of premium and high-quality courses and subjects. This allows you to tailor your program to your needs.
The diversity of different cultures in London makes studying much more than a degree. The local students receive numerous support from the government and excellent job opportunities.
London is known for its efficient and quality healthcare system. If you’re looking to relocate to London, getting adequate healthcare should be your least worry. All taxpaying London residents are entitled to free healthcare through the National Health Service (NHS).
The only downside is the ridiculously long wait periods. Getting same-day appointments is impossible.
5. Social Security
London’s residents can count on a pension provided by social security. As anywhere in the UK, there are also various allowances for the disabled, old, parents, and ill. This includes sick and maternity leave for employees. As an employee, you pay between 12% and 14% of the salary into social security funds.
To qualify for social security in London, you need to be aged 62 and above, disabled, blind, and have enough work credits. Social security’s main aim is to provide partial income cushioning for disabled people and qualified retirees together with their spouses, children, and survivors.
Also read: Living in France vs Canada.
The crime rate in London has been on the rise. This is because the number of police officers in the UK has declined for the past decade. This doesn’t take away the fact that London continues to rank as one of the safest cities in the world.
According to the Economists Safe Cities Index, London ranks as the fifteenth safest city globally. It’s generally a safe place to live.
Firstly, we need to mention that London is just significantly bigger than Toronto. And the ever-growing population in London has made it unbearable to beat traffic.
The pressure on the roads from the heavy traffic continues to cause congestion on the streets, thus spending extended periods in traffic jams. Population growth means more vehicles while being stuck in traffic translates to wasted time.
London has a vast amount of culture due to the diverse backgrounds of its population. London is also the home of world-famous galleries, theaters, museums, exhibitions, and live music making it a leader with incredible talents and diversity.
A good salary in London depends on having a family and the kind of lifestyle you want to live. With a £60,000 salary, you can be able to afford a sustainable life in London.
The standard annual income for full-time workers is over £39,000. London wages are high as compared to other parts of the UK.
10. Cost of living
Being one of the most expensive cities globally makes the living cost quite unbearable. This leaves you with no option but to cut costs to survive.
The average cost of living in London is about £2,892 per person per month. The Price Index for the city of London is 222. This score indicates that food, rent, and other necessities are more than twice as expensive in London than in the average global city.
The total cost of living in London is about 38,5% higher than the Central European average.
The average cost of living in London:
- £5,057 for a family of four.
- £3,051 for a single person.
Moreover, the cost of living in London is more expensive than in 97% of cities in the world.
- In London, the rent of a one-bedroom apartment will be £1,662
- Meal for 2 – £60
- Transportation (monthly pass) – £158
London has one of the best infrastructures in the world to sustain its strong economy. The city’s infrastructure comprises enhanced digital connectivity, water, tube rail, road schemes, new energy, etc. This makes movement for both people and cargo a seamless experience.
January is the coldest month, with temperatures of up to 42 F – or 5°C. Though rarely, London can get snowy between January and February. July is the hottest month, with temperatures of about 71 F (22°C). November is usually the wet month, while January is the windiest.
With most of the world’s biggest companies in the world, London is a great place to find a good job that can earn you a decent lifestyle. The vibrancy and fast-paced life in the city keep you on your toes to afford a comfortable life. There’s a fine line between living vicariously and saving up for a better future.
There are plenty of eateries everywhere in London. It’s easy to overindulge, especially when not on a strict diet. With a diverse population comes a variety of foods.
While you can find cheaper street foods in London, a decent meal can set you back a pretty amount of cash. Make sure to book your reservation in advance if you want a spot in a restaurant.
No personal car? No problem. London’s excellent public transport system makes it easy to move around. The underground trains (tube) and city buses are reasonably priced means of transport. Book your trains and buses in advance to enjoy 75-90% cheaper rates.
While working in London, you also need to consider how much taxes will be deducted every month from your salary. Fortunately, UK taxes are significantly lower than in most European countries. It comes to about 24,90% of your gross income.
With an average annual salary of £40,862 (according to Glassdoor), you will take home £31,450. This means £2,621 in your pocket a month. Hence, you just paid around 24,1% in taxes.
The UK’s income tax is between 20% and 45% (20% is the most common). You can see rates for 2023 below.
|England/Wales/Northern Ireland tax band||Taxable income||Income tax rate|
|Personal allowance||Up to £12,570||0%|
Additionally, employees pay social security taxes between 12% and 14% of their salary. Expats, foreign employees, as well as business owners can sign up for private health insurance, which will save them money.
For example, if you earn £4,000 a month gross or £48,000 a year, for national insurance, you pay:
- nothing on the first £9,568
- 12% on the next £38,432
- total in social security £4,611
Toronto is such a livable city with great potential and opportunities, making it one of the most coveted cities in the world. A quick search on the internet for potential destinations worldwide ranks Toronto high on that list.
Moving to Toronto is by far one of the best decisions you would make for your life, but that doesn’t make it perfect.
Toronto has expensive yet small housing. Be sure to pay premium prices for cramped-up spaces. With the increasing amount of foreign investors flocking to the city, the cost of housing continues to rise as they’re willing to pay top dollar in accommodation.
However, with plenty of neighborhoods in Toronto, finding a place to live with basic amenities can be pretty easy if you’re keen on good locations. Moreover, the availability and price of housing is better in Toronto compared to London.
If you’re moving to Toronto with your family, then finding great schools for your children will be a smooth experience.
Toronto’s government has strict laws for every child to get an education. Toronto has both private religious and public-funded schools to cater to everyone.
For international students, the city has some of the best universities. For example, the University of Toronto offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
3. Work-life balance
The newly-released report on cities with the best work-life balance ranks Toronto at number 14, which is excellent for a city that attracts people seeking growth opportunities.
From flexible working hours to work-from-home opportunities, paternity, and maternity leaves, all of which are significant points that make Toronto’s work-life balance unique.
Residents in Toronto enjoy the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), which funds the healthcare system. You only need to pay a small premium that will automatically deduct from your salary.
Healthcare costs range between CA$60-120.
5. Social Security
Social security in Canada is a tax on labor income charged to both the employer and employee. The revenues generated help pay for social programs like healthcare, welfare, and other benefits.
Overall, you will be covered with all standard allowances when in need, including pension, sickness, and maternity.
Toronto is easily one of the most multicultural and multiracial cities globally. This makes it a home for vast cultures, traditions, and backgrounds from the large numbers of immigrants.
In Toronto, a livable wage is about CA$22.08 per hour, CA$2,867 per month, or CA$42,900 annually. According to Ontario.ca, the general minimum wage rate from October 1, 2022, is CA$15.50 per hour. Read more about Toronto’s salaries.
8. Cost of living
In Canada, the average household expenses are about CA$7,400 per month, of which approximately CA$1,600 goes to housing, CA$1,300 for taxes, CA$1,030 for transportation (private), CA$730 for food, and CA$188 for education. A family of four will need at least CA$7,000 per month.
Expensive bills like food, drinks, car insurance, and utilities will cost you higher, unlike other cities in Canada. With local taxes gone up, living conditions continue to rise, making everything expensive in the city.
While the general cost of living is higher in London, you will pay more for groceries in Toronto. Hence, your daily groceries, including items such as milk, bread, vegetables, and meat, can cost up to 20% more in Canada.
A three-bedroom apartment in Toronto will cost you about CA$2,700 – 3,500 per month.
Buying and having a car is cheaper in the UK. A VW Golf will cost you 27% more than in Canada.
Entertainment and free-time activities aren’t included in this list.
Example of some monthly expenses in Toronto:
- Phone and Internet: CA$127.50
- Public transportation: CA$176.25
- Groceries: CA$383.60
- Insurance: CA$52
- Entaintenment: at least CA$500
Being Canada’s financial capital and a cosmopolitan city, Toronto has a long way to go with infrastructure. There’s a great need to look into public transportation, environmental sustainability, and utilities to cater to the ever-growing city.
Everything is centered in Toronto’s downtown, while in London, you can experience a vibrant life in any part of the city.
If you live near downtown Toronto, you know how expensive rent can be. Other expenses such as phone, groceries, transport, and insurance are not cheap either.
Taxes are progressive in both cities and depend on your income. In most cases, you end up paying almost the same amount in Toronto and in London.
For example, with an annual salary of CA$87,476, you will have CA$64,828 after tax in Toronto, which is £52,772 gross in London and £38,757 (CA$64,299) after tax in 2022.
Tax overview in Ontario, Canada, for a gross annual salary of CA$87,552 for a single with no kids:
- Federal tax: CA$12,368
- Provincial tax: CA$6,248
- CPP/EI Premiums: CA$4,056
- Total tax: CA$22,672
- Average tax rate 21.33%
- Marginal tax rate 31.48%
- Net Salary: CA$64,880
Federal tax rates in Canada in 2023:
- 15% on the first CA$53,359 of taxable income, +
- 20.5% on the next CA$53,359 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $53,359 up to $106,717), +
- 26% on the next CA$53,359 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $106,717 up to $165,430), +
- 29% on the next CA$53,359 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $165,430 up to $235,676), +
- 33% of taxable income over CA$235,676
In Toronto, with an average annual income of CA$54,630, you will pay CA$$12,335 or 22,58% in tax. This will leave you CA$42,295 or CA$3,524 per month.
In the end, employees pay almost identical amounts in taxes in London and Toronto.
London vs Toronto: Cost of living
Generally, living in London is more expensive than in Toronto, yet it offers a better quality of life to compensate for high expenses.
The average cost of living in London is US$2,941 vs US$2,197 in Toronto.
According to statistics, the cost of living in London is 34% higher than in Toronto, where London is ranked 34th and Toronto 266th as the most expensive in the world. For example, the same apartment in downtown will cost you US$3,627 in London and US$2,191 in Toronto.
However, groceries are more affordable in London than in Toronto. But if you enjoy eating and drinking out, London is very expensive.
If you have the same disposable income in both cities, you will have a higher quality of life in Toronto because you can afford more. Consequently, you will get a better value for your money in Toronto, not in London.
London vs Toronto: Job opportunities
Highly skilled workers will find many job opportunities in Canada. With over 41,500 tech companies, IT specialists have the best chances of employment. Apart from IT, manufacturing, service, real estate, and communications are all essential sectors in Canada and have been growing continuously over the years.
Moreover, Canada is ready to take more immigrants in the next two years. If your specialization falls into the IT, medicine, engineering, oil, or gas industries, you are more than welcome.
Location-wise, most expats prefer to work in Toronto. However, this doesn’t mean that Toronto offers the best job opportunities for foreigners.
In fact, many skilled laborers come to the northern parts of Canada, where the demand is the greatest. The western part of the country has more to offer, for example, in Saskatchewan province.
Regions like Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan have a higher demand for skilled foreign workers. The three provinces have higher employment rates for foreigners than large cities like Toronto and Montreal.
Besides, finding a job in Canada depends on how prevalent an occupation is. Also, some careers in Canada usually concentrate in certain cities or provinces. If you are looking for a job in tech, you have a better chance of getting it in cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal.
On the other hand, jobs in the healthcare sector are available in every part of Canada. Besides healthcare, jobs in the mining, construction, and engineering sectors are available across the country.
When looking for a job in Canada, it’s essential to know some facts about getting a job there:
- Employers are looking for qualified individuals
- Techs jobs are in the highest demand
- Graduates can find work after finishing school through programs like Post Graduate Permit
Benefits of working in the UK vs Canada
Canadian employees receive employment insurance, family benefits, pension insurance, education and training benefits, housing benefits, and maternity and paternity leave as part of the benefits. The list is pretty much the same for London.
Payments are made biweekly in Canada, while you will usually get paid once per month in the UK. Moreover, in London, you can enjoy 28 official paid leave. In Canada, employees get only 10 days of paid vacation. Sick days are also limited.
Some information on job opportunities in London vs Toronto:
|Best Industries to work in:||Best Industries to work in:|
|Design and creative industries||Technology|
|Entertainment technology||Business and finance|
|Hospitality and services||Life sciences|
|Health care||Administrative Roles|
|Manufacturing and production||Science and Research|
|High-demand jobs:||High-demand jobs:|
|Programmers and software developers||Cyber security specialists|
|Cyber security specialists||Registered nurses|
|Health services and residential care||Transportation drivers|
|Graphic designers||Web developers|
|Skill shortages:||Skill shortages:|
|Cyber security||Hospitality and foodservice|
|Technical architects||Health care|
|Arts, media, and publishing||Manufacturing and construction|
|Business, admin, and finance||Retail trade|
|Construction and planning||Trucking|
|Education and training|
|Best-paid industries (CA):||Best-paid jobs (CA):|
|Financial services – $113,000||Senior software engineer – $93,503|
|Executive management and change – $107,000||Physiotherapist – $93,600|
|Legal department – $98,000||Senior devOps engineer – $94,150|
|Legal and paralegal – $97,000||Registered nurse – $94,603|
|Agriculture and forestry -$93,000||Investment manager – $95,915|
|Compliance, AML, KYC, and monitoring – $87,000||Construction manager – $98,253|
|Chances for foreigners (2019):||Chances for foreigners (2019):|
London vs Toronto: Salaries
The average after-tax salary is enough to cover living expenses for 1.4 months in London compared to 1.7 months in Toronto.
A good salary in London depends on having a family and the kind of lifestyle you want to live. With a salary of £60,000, you can be able to afford a sustainable life in London. The standard annual income for full-time workers is over £39,000. London wages are high as compared to other parts of the UK.
In London, a very good salary is around £70,000, but in other places in the UK, it’s £50,000.
Ultimately, a net monthly salary between £2,800 and £3,000 will provide you with a decent lifestyle in London. But only starting from £3,300 and £4,000 gross, you will be considered a good earner.
A family will need at least £60,000 to have a normal life in London, e.g., a two-bedroom apartment and eating out occasionally.
The average salary in London was £53,700 in 2021. This translates to £4,475 in monthly wage (Plumplot 2021). In contrast, the average salary across the country is only £38,100. Hence, the high cost of living in London is reflected in the wages, which are by far the highest in the UK.
Yet, not everyone in London earns an average salary. Some people have to live on less. And there are also some small amount of people making over £100,000 annually.
Toronto’s salaries for some common occupations as of November 2021 (CA$):
|Job||Lowest wage/hr||Median wage/hr||High wage/hr|
|Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators||16.50||27.12||35.45|
|Senior managers – construction, transportation, production and utilities||15.00||57.03||190.41|
|Human resources managers||28.85||46.15||70.19|
|Advertising, marketing and public relations managers||24.04||40.87||70.26|
|Computer and information systems managers||34.52||52.66||72.12|
|Restaurant and food service managers||15.00||19.23||43.47|
|Financial and investment analysts||24.04||35.90||51.28|
|Financial auditors and accountants||22.00||36.06||66.67|
|Banking, insurance and other financial clerks||16.83||20.51||35.00|
|Electrical and electronics engineers||25.00||40.00||66.15|
|Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)||24.00||44.10||67.02|
In 2020 average earnings in Canada were as follows:
|Classification||Hourly wage (CA)|
A salary of CA$22 per hour gives you an annual salary of CA$42,900.
Canada’s average weekly salary in different industries and professions in 2020 (CA):
|Forestry, logging and support||$1,288|
|Mining and quarrying, and oil and gas extraction||$2,205|
|Transportation and warehousing||$1,122|
|Information and cultural industries||$1,402|
|Finance and insurance||$1,386|
|Real estate and rental and leasing||$1,126|
|Professional, scientific and technical services||$1,482|
|Management of companies and enterprises||$1,623|
|Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services||$849|
|Health care and social assistance||$954|
|Arts, entertainment and recreation||$621|
|Accommodation and food services||$418|
|Other services (excluding public administration)||$859|