Most Affordable Cities In Ontario

Settle In Ontario

With nearly 15 million residents, Ontario is Canada’s most populous Province. There are many reasons why Canadians choose to build their lives here. It is home to both the nation’s economic and political epicentres, Toronto and Ottawa. According to Statistics Canada, Ontario’s GDP accounts for about 38 per cent of the Canada’s whole GDP. As of May 2020, Ontarians earned a median salary of $24 per hour, which is well above the minimum wage of $15.


However, Ontario’s popularity has also made parts of it expensive to live in. The average selling price of a house in the Greater Toronto Area exceeded $1 million in 2021. This region includes cities like Brampton, Markham and Mississauga, from where Ontarians commuted to their work. Consequently, many Ontarians are finding newer hubs within their Province to move to. Below are the top five most affordable big cities in Ontario picked from a report by Zolo, a major Canadian real estate marketplace. These alternatives can help newcomers keep their fixed costs low while maintaining access to the opportunities found in Ontario.

Family home

1. Windsor

Connected by the Ambassador Bridge to Detroit, USA, Windsor is Canada’s southernmost major city. The average home price of Windsor is $534,000. The 2016 census estimated there were more than 329,000 residents in Windsor metropolitan area, making it the 16th largest metropolitan area in Canada. Originally, what is known as Windsor was the traditional territory of the Anishnaabeg people of the Three Fires Confederacy (Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa.) In the 18th century it became one of the earliest cities to be settled by Europeans. English, Arabic and Italian are the top three languages spoken by its people.


Windsor’s primary industry is manufacturing. With Chrysler, Ford and General Motors establishing major plants in the early 20th Century, Windsor became an automotive hub for North America. Although the General Motors plant shut down in 2010, Chrysler and Ford still carry on the legacy.


The Ambassador Bridge is the busiest land-border in North America. It accommodates about 27 per cent of the trade between Canada and the USA, according to the US Department of Transportation. This makes Windsor attractive to people seeking employment and trade opportunities with Detroit, a major hub of North America. The Windsor International Airport and city-wide transit system ensures residents can conveniently travel within and outside their city.


The highly accredited University of Windsor offers the full array of education programs. At St. Clair College students can earn Diplomas and Certificates to enter the workforce as highly trained, job-ready candidates. Surrounded by the Detroit River, Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair, Windsor’s coasts overlook beautiful vistas and host recreational activities such as paddle-boating and kayaking. Nature lovers can relax in the 205 parks situated within the city, including Ojibway Park and Point Pelee National Park. Vast swathes of farmland and apple orchards cover the East of Windsor, while vineyards in the South produce many world famous wines.

2. London

Nicknamed “the Forest City” for its abundant parks and pristine nature, London Ontario was founded in 1826. The average house in London costs $578,000. Its metropolitan area is the 11th largest with a population of more than 494,000. Prior to the 19th Century, this region was traditionally the land of Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, and Lenni-Lenape Nations. One of the major draws for London is its proximity to both Toronto and Detroit. It is only a two-hour drive to either hub from the city.


Styling itself as an automotive city similar to Windsor, London is presently diversifying into agri-food, digital media and technology. Being sandwiched by Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair means residents have plenty of beaches on both sides of the city. Ranked among the top 10 Canadian universities by QS, the Western University is known for its intensive focus on research. Fanshawe College is the go-to place for Diplomas and Certificates that prepare students for technical occupations with high earning capabilities.

3. Barrie

Situated to by Lake Simcoe, Barrie is only an hour’s drive away from Toronto. The average price of a house in Barrie is $713,000. This territory traditionally belonged to Anishinaabeg people, which include the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Pottawatomi Nations collectively known as the Three Fires Confederacy.


With a population of more than 212,000, its metropolitan area is much smaller than Windsor or London. Being just outside the Greater Toronto Area, most of Barrie’s residents commute to work. After work, they can return to the quiet and relaxed hometown, happy they can earn Toronto money without paying Toronto rent. In terms of education, Barrie residents have easy access to many of the best institutions Canada has to offer, including the University of Toronto and McMaster University. If you are looking for vocational training, Humber College and Seneca College are both only an hour’s drive away.


Lake Simcoe gives residents many recreational opportunities. The city teems with marinas and waterfront entertainments.

4. Kanata

If you are looking for an alternative to the competitive Greater Toronto Area, Kanata might be the city for you. Located merely 20 minutes away from Ottawa, Kanata is suburb with a population of 117,000. A house in Kanata costs $756,000. Formerly a stand-alone city, Kanata was absorbed into the Ottawa government in 2001. Traditionally this land belonged to the Algonquin Anishinabe territory.


Being the second fastest growing city, Ottawa opens a multitude of economic opportunities for residents of Kanata. Home to Parliament Hill, the picturesque Rideau Canal and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa encapsulates an important part of Canada’s cultural heritage. While less populous than the Greater Toronto Area, you would find Ottawa to contain many of the former’s benefits. One in four of its residents are immigrants. Partly because of its proximity to Montreal, Ottawa and its suburbs speak both English and French. Continued immigration has also seen the growing use of Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Italian and German.


For education, there is the world class University of Ottawa and the Carlton University. Algonquin College and College of La Cité are also nearby for students to obtain professional training.

5. Guelph

Located between London and Toronto, Guelph has a population of 131,000. The average price of a house is $761,000. Traditionally this was the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation of the Anishinaabek People.


The University of Guelph is a top university in Canada noted for veterinary science. Waterloo University, known for its co-op programs that help students transition Canadian jobs, is only a half-an-hour’s drive away. Conestoga College, providing state-of-the-art vocational training, completes the education triangle around Guelph. This means that a diverse, international student body is a major part of the local population. Those who are looking to transition into Permanent Residence as students would find that aspect particularly helpful. According to Statistics Canada, Guelph is also one of the safest cities of Ontario. Its crime rate is well below the Province’s average, and nearly 95 per cent of residents reporting they are satisfied with their personal safety.

A Welcoming Community

Toronto people

Among newcomers, the Province remains a favourite for the economic and education opportunities it provides. According to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, nearly half of Permanent Residents who landed in 2021 chose to settle in Ontario. As a result Ontario is a culturally diverse hub, with nearly 30 per cent of its population identifying as visible minorities.


Furthermore, the Province has a multi-pronged Provincial Nominee Program that gives Express Entry pool candidates an additional 600 points. Take our free assessment or speak to one of our immigration consultants and see how you, too, could become a proud Canadian.

The information in this blog is not to be interpreted or construed as legal advice. Everyone’s immigration goals, objectives and situations are different. Please contact us to speak to a consultant for advice.

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