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“A good city is like a good party- people stay longer than really necessary because they are enjoying themselves”– Jan Gehl

Why are the costs of joy never included in data about affordability?

We think that conversations about affordability need to include more than the bare minimum necessary to survive.

That’s why we created a data index that recognizes our shared humanity by including costs that enrich your life, such as access to cultural events or an occasional meal at your favourite restaurant. The good stuff.

In this series, we explore the personal stories from responses we received from the Real Affordability Index while taking a closer look at 4 of the 27 cities examined in the data.

Toronto header

All you need is love, the Toronto skyline and $3,853.30 per month…

Want to live in one of the most culturally diverse and exciting cities in Canada? For the price of $3,853.30 a month you could try to. 

Toronto is one of the most expensive cities in terms of the cost of living per month. In Lethbridge, the cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment is well below $1000 but rent averages nearly $2000 in Toronto.

“We used to live in Toronto and decided to move to Edmonton because our family was growing and we no longer couldn’t afford to live in the city with our minimum wages,” says Tammy, a former Toronto resident. She goes on to state that the pressure from increasing inflation rates continues to take a toll on her and her family despite the move.

In Toronto, the minimum hourly wage is $15.50, but a liveable wage in the city is $23.62, which means that the minimum wage needs to be increased to ensure that young people can keep up with the cost of living.

Despite this high cost of living, Toronto remains one of the most desirable cities for youth in Canada.


This story isn’t unique. Halifax is considered the most unaffordable city for youth to live in Canada. According to, an average one-bedroom apartment in Halifax costs more than $1,600 a month, making it difficult for young people to keep up with housing, student loan payments and other monthly expenses.

The city also ranks the third highest in cost of living across 27 cities examined in Canada, with an average monthly cost of $3,427.10.

Young people in Toronto make the highest income of any of the examined cities at an average of $2,732.16 per month. However, Toronto youth face a deficit of $1,122.14 per month, greater than the national average of $750 per month.

Well folks, that was it for our series discussing what affordability really means. We heard youth voices from Vancouver, Halifax, Toronto, and Lethbridge and we explored the importance of joy in discussions about affordability.

Still want to learn more?

Learn more about real affordability for youth across Canada here.

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