Eight cheapest places to live in and rent in Ontario (2022)

A breakdown of the average rent, house, and living costs in Canada's most populous province

Eight cheapest places to live in and rent in Ontario (2022)

Are you feeling burnout from hustling around Toronto trying to make enough money to pay for your tiny basement apartment? Maybe you’ve reached a point professionally where you can afford a condo but were expecting… more than a glass box? In either case, you are definitely not alone. Here are some options you may want to consider—from border cities to the wilderness of northwestern Ontario and everywhere in between.

Sudbury

Sudbury, officially called Greater Sudbury, is the largest city in northern Ontario and the regional capital of north-eastern Ontario. With a population of roughly 165,000 people, Sudbury is also home to the third-largest French-speaking population in Canada outside of Quebec.

The average rent in Sudbury is $1,424 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,895 for two bedrooms. As of April 2022, the average price of a home was $503,728, and the cost of living for a single person for one month—minus rent—is $1,158.

And Sudbury is known as the City of Lakes for good reason—it boasts 330 of them—and is home of the Sudbury Basin, the third-larges crater in the world.

Sarnia

Sarnia is a small city of 72,000 people in southwestern Ontario and offers one of the warmest climates anywhere in Canada. A border city with easy access to the United States, Sarnia boasts a natural harbour and is a crucial centre for cargo ships and lake freighters ferrying petrol and grain.

The average rent in Sarnia is $1,338 for a two-bedroom apartment and $1,193 for a one-bedroom, while the average cost of a home sits at $587,691. The cost of living for a single person is $1,146 per month before rent.

Windsor

With a population of roughly 233,000 people, Windsor offers the most affordable rent in Ontario, according to Rentals.ca. The average cost of rent is $1,215 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,500 for a two-bedroom apartment. As of February 2022, the average cost of purchasing a property was $704,112 and the average cost of living was $1,113 per month (not including rent) for a single person.

Windsor has a major railway terminal and is an important port of entry from the United States. It has also been dubbed the “automotive capital of Canada” and is home to Caesars casino. The Windsor area has rich farmland for vegetables, fruit, soybeans, corn and more, and the city centre has a strong industrial and manufacturing reputation.

Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay’s average rent prices have remained steady year after year. For a two-bedroom apartment in downtown Thunder Bay, the average rent is $1,184 and around $1,000 for a one-bedroom apartment. The average cost of living before rent is $1,246 per month for a single person. The average cost of a single-detached home, meanwhile, is $366,900.

With a population of just over 110,000, Thunder Bay is also home to more than 100 parks and the largest grain storage facility in North America. Aside from the consistently low rent, the best part of Thunder Bay is that it has been dubbed the city in Eastern Canada that receives the most sun: about 2,200 hours of sunlight each year.

Rainy River

Rainy River is a small town in north-western Ontario that is roughly a three-hour drive southeast of Winnipeg. More important than location, however, is the cost of living, which is 37% lower than the average in Ontario. With a population of just 1,000, apartments to rent in Rainy River are hard to come by—but you can rent a private cottage for less than $1,000. The average cost of purchasing a property is $334,329.

Rainy River is a transportation hub with the Canadian National Railway, with fuel, lumber, and grain being shipped through the community. It is also home to Hannam Park, a perfect family vacation spot with a volleyball court, playground and beach.

Deep River

Deep River, with a population of 4,200, is situated 200 kilometres northwest of Ottawa and offers an average cost of living 27% lower then the provincial average. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,400 and the average cost of a house is currently $368,025.

Peterborough

The average cost of rent in Peterborough is $1,623 for a two-bedroom apartment and $1,371 for a one-bedroom. Before rent, a single person can expect to pay $1,021 per month on average. With a population currently around 81,000, Peterborough is known as the gateway to the Kawarthas—cottage country. One fun fact about Peterborough you may not have known: in 1884, Peterborough became the first Canadian city to have electric street lighting.

Kingston

As far as cities in Ontario are concerned, Kingston offers one of the most well-travelled areas. The city of 136,000 sits at the halfway point between two of Canada’s largest cities—Toronto and Montreal—and near Prince Edward County, one of the province’s tourist regions, as well as Thousand Islands.

The average cost of rent is $1,428 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,816 for a two-bedroom apartment. The average cost of a home is $700,846, and the cost of living before taking rent into account is $1,057 per month for a single person.

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