Cost Of Living In Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

As the smallest Canadian province by area, Prince Edward Island has gained popularity among immigrants recently. As of 2019, the province attracted roughly 2,267 new immigrants. While this does pale in comparison to Ontario’s and Quebec’s numbers, this is a lot of immigrants by Atlantic standards.

Prince Edward Island shares one thing with other provinces. This is the need for immigrants. Through programs like the Provincial Nominee Program and the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, Prince Edward Island along with other Atlantic provinces has welcomed its share of immigrants.

For an immigrant, the way to a province is the capital. In the case of Prince Edward Island, immigrants here abound in the city of Charlottetown. Even with a population of merely 39,000, it is the biggest city in the province. This Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island the biggest city in Canada’s smallest province.

Charlottetown’s size and population draw those who prefer a more laid-back environment for themselves and their families. Boasting lovely summers and tranquil winters, Charlottetown provides its residents with ample opportunities for outdoor activities. Also, a stroll down the historic Great George Street is a treat for both the senses and one’s tastes for history.

Do you feel like moving here already? It would not be surprising if you are. You reading this proves (at least in part) that you are interested in the city. It is very likely that you are considering settling in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

However, a bit of research on the city is always going to be helpful. Since your intent is to move, you will have to know more about the cost of living in Charlottetown.

This article will give you more information on how much living in Charlottetown costs.

Spoiler alert: The cost of living in Charlottetown is affordable!

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island: A Quick Profile

Not many foreign nationals are familiar with Charlottetown. Reading this, you know a bit about this city or you do not.  Either way, here is what Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island is like.

Charlottetown lies in the Southern part of the province (or island if you will). It is along the Southern shores of Prince Edward Island. Its tip faces the small towns of Cornwall and Stratford (not the same as Stratford, Ontario). Right away, this gives you a clue about the accessibility of other places in the province.

Having a humid continental climate, Charlottetown summers do have the occasional overcast. Winters are freezing and windy, and it is during this time when the city becomes quiet (in the plain and business sense).

For historical reasons, most of the houses in Charlottetown follow a classic Georgian style. Imagine rectangular houses where the doors in the center. After some time, Gothic architecture began to influence some structures in the city, particularly the St. Dunstan’s Basilica.

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island has a thriving agricultural sector, being Canada’s largest domestic producer of potatoes. Also, its location near the sea makes lobster very accessible, and this draws many tourists into the city each year.

As mentioned earlier, the town is small both in land area and population. Charlottetown’s last estimated population was around 36,000. This was in 2011, however. At the time of writing, it is close to roughly 40,000– still small relative to the population of other Canadian cities.

Industries In Charlottetown

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island makes its revenue from two main industries – agriculture and tourism.

possible work in charlottetown

Potatoes are the main sources of revenue in Charlottetown, along with the rest of the parts of Prince Edward Island. It also contributes 12% of Prince Edward Island’s employment. Being a city in Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown contributes a large portion of Prince Edward Island’s potato contribution to Canada.

In 2013, more than a quarter of Canada’s potatoes came from the province. At the time of writing, Canada takes more than a third of its potatoes from this province.

Charlottetown is the site of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board.

The city’s economy takes advantage of location. As a city along the shore, Charlottetown’s fishing industry is one of the main lifelines of the city.  This industry alone gives more than 9,500 residents and immigrants employment. The city is known for its seafood, particularly lobsters which bring in many tourists every year.

Tourism is big in Charlottetown. Due to the seafood and lovely summers, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island has been popular as a tourist destination for many years. The city’s pop culture association with Ann of Green Gables seems to add to the city’s appeal.

More businesses in Prince Edward Island’s capital contribute to the province’s prosperity. Charlottetown’s long-time involvement with agriculture engenders the growth of its bioscience industry.

The establishment of the BioScience research Park proves the city’s commitment to attracting companies that manufacture nutritional and health products. The city succeeded as companies like Novartis and BioVectra have set up shop in the city.

The information and communications technology (ICT) industry in Charlottetown has been growing. And, it has been doing so by leaps and bounds. A 2016 article on Entrevestor credits this development to infrastructure. In particular, there are just more places for IT companies to headquarter in.

At the time of writing, the ICT industry along with the bioscience industry has experienced the largest employment gains. In other words, many people were hired by these industries between 2019 and the early part of 2020.  Hence, if you are coming to Prince Edward Island, you may want to consider finding jobs in these sectors.

How much do certain jobs in these sectors pay? Read on to find out.

Average Wages

The cost of living in Charlottetown is a function of how much things here cost and how much you earn. The average minimum income for most of the city’s inhabitants seems to be a little North of 35,000 CAD annually.

This is for a single-income household. If you are immigrating, and your partner or spouse chooses to work, then your household income might go up to about 50,000 CAD to 60,000 CAD a year.

For an average delivery driver, hourly wages are at least 14.00 CAD. On 39 hours a week, this could equate to 2,184.00 a month. Merchandisers working similar hours could earn at least a dollar more every hour. Annually, those in the service sector take home 26,208 CAD a year.  Though lower than the national average, it is more than sufficient for the cost of living in Charlottetown.

A software developer in Charlottetown, Prince Edward island could bring home 42,000 CAD (before taxes). According to Pay Scale, this is the minimum amount for software and web developers in Charlottetown. The highest recorded salary for these positions is 88,000 CAD a year.

Jobs in marketing have increased in the city recently. Charlottetown-based marketing coordinators and managers could earn about 43,000 CAD. For project managers, Pay Scale estimates the salary at roughly 65,000 CAD annually.

The public sector is one of the largest employers in Charlottetown.  An administrative assistant, on average, makes at least 37,000 CAD in a year. If you are a researcher, you could stand to make 20,000 CAD more a year.

The Cost Of Living In Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Now that you have an idea of the average wages, you might be wondering if living in Charlottetown is affordable. To arrive at the answer (which you may have a sense of now), let us look at some of the basic expenses you will incur at the end of each month.

Housing And Accommodation

houses in charlottetown

There are many opinions and estimations about the housing prices in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.  Since you won’t want to go through each specific figure, we will just give you the average. Most of the data will be from credible immigrant-friendly sources namely Canada Visa and Numbeo.

Local sentiment and online sources agree on one thing- that housing prices in Charlottetown are among the lowest in Canada.  A rent price with four digits is common across Canada. However, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that rent in Charlottetown costs, not thousands, but only hundreds.

To illustrate, a one-bedroom apartment costs 981.00 CAD per month. This an apartment in the city center! For one farther from the city centre, rent is less than 800.00 CAD per month.

Of course, the more bedrooms an apartment has, the more expensive it becomes. If you rent an apartment that has three bedrooms, you need to allocate roughly 1,600 CAD per month. The prices near the city centre are not too far from this amount. Of course, you can rent a place away from the city centre, where prices average at 1,125 CAD per month.

This table from Numbeo laid out the details for comparison:

Type And LocationAverage PricesRange
One-bedroom apartment in city centre981.00 CAD per month750.00 CAD to 1,200.00 CAD
One-bedroom apartment away from city centre800.00 CAD per month700.00 CAD to 1,300.00 CAD
Three-bedroom apartment in city centre1,125.00 CAD per month1,000.00 CAD to 1,500.00 CAD
Three bedroom apartment way from city centre1,600.00 CAD per month1,500.00 CAD to 1,800.00 CAD

What if you wanted to buy an apartment instead? Most of these properties for sale are in the city centre. Most are priced at around 1,600.00 CAD per square metre. If you wish to take out a mortgage, the interest rate at the time of writing is 3.92%.

Utilities

Paying to keep the lights on and your water running will not take a lot out of your paycheck. Charlottetown’s utility prices are also some of the lowest in Canada. The basics like water, garbage disposal, and electricity can cost you as low as 100.00 CAD per month. Throw in some monthly outlay for heating and air conditioning (a must for summer), and your bill amounts to about 173.00 CAD per month.

Here is an interesting fact for you:

Part of the reason electricity bills are lower in Charlottetown is the source. Up to 15% of the electricity produced in Prince Edward Island comes from renewable sources like solar power and wind.

Internet connection with a speed of 60 MBPS could cost 84.00 CAD. Since there are now more companies in the city, this price could change. Hence, you could shop around and consider this amount as your reference.

For each minute of a mobile phone call, you would pay somewhere between 00.30 CAD to 00.37.00- less than a “Loonie”!

Food

With its agriculture and fishing industries, Charlottetown’s food prices are affordable even for a person earning minimum wage. The affordability of food in Charlottetown is obvious in the prices of some dairy products, potatoes, meat, and poultry.

The table below shows the average prices of food.

Food productAverage PricesRange
White bread (1 loaf)3.20 CAD2.00 CAD to 5.00 CAD
1 dozen eggs3.64 CAD2.00 CAD to 4.65 CAD
1 kg of lean back leg red meat (beef)14.00 CAD5.00 CAD to 40.00 CAD
1 kg of chicken breasts14.40 CAD10.00 CAD to 25.00 CAD
1 kg of potatoes2.60 CAD1.00 CAD to 5.49 CAD
I head of lettuce2.70 CAD1.00 CAD to 4.00 CAD
Onions (1 kg)1.30 CAD1.00 CAD to 5.49 CAD
Mid-range wine (1 litre)15.00 CAD12.00 CAD to 35.00 CAD
1 kg of local cheese10.00 CAD5.00 CAD to 24.00 CAD

Dining out in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island not only proves enjoyable but also cheap. The cost of food in a fast-food chain store will probably not differ much from other cities in Canada.

However, let’s face it. It is really the ambience of the local mid-range restaurants that are the stars of the dining scene in this city. The cost of food here has impressed many tourists from the United States and will impress you as well.

FoodAverage PricesRange
Meal for one at a local seaside restaurant15.00 CAD10.00 CAD to 30.00 CAD
Meal for two at a mid-range restaurant (three-course meal)75.00 CAD30.00 CAD to 85 CAD
Combo meal at McDonald’s10.00 CAD8.00 CAD to 10.20 CAD
Domestic beer (1 pint)6.12 CAD3.00 CAD to 9.00 CAD
Imported beer (.33 litre)7.50 CAD3.00 CAD to 10.00 CAD
Cappucino4.00 CAD3.00 CAD to 5.00 CAD
Soda (.33 litre bottle)2.10 CAD1.65 CAD to 3.00 CAD
Bottled water (.33 litre bottle)1.95 CAD1.50 CAD to 3.00

The books of Lucy Montgomery have done much to popularize one beverage unique to Prince Edward Island- the famous Raspberry Cordial. If you are curious about the price, a bottle costs about 2.75 CAD. You can get a case of 12 for around 25.00 CAD to 30.00 CAD.

Transportation

Getting around in the small city of Charlottetown is never a burden on anyone’s wallet! Praise aside, owing to its small size, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island is also known for the high availability of public transportation.  iExplore estimates 120 taxis and buses for every 1,000 people.

Also, the closeness of everything to the city centre means that fares are low. According to Statista, Canadian commuting times average between 30 to 50 minutes. As you might imagine, renting a taxi for this long translates to higher fees. Luckily, Charlottetown is small, so your taxi ride will likely just cost you a “Toonie” for a kilometre.

Should you own a car, you will be happy to know that gas prices in Prince Edward Island’s capital are dirt cheap. At one dollar a litre, you could easily fill up a Volkswagen Golf for less than 15.00 CAD!

 Average Prices
One-way ticket2.00 CAD
Monthly unlimited pass (train or bus)58.50 CAD
Taxi starting fare6.00 CAD
Taxi (1 km)1.23 CAD
Taxi (with the meter running for an hour)34.00 CAD
Gasoline (1 litre)1.09 CAD
Volkswagen Golf (or any equivalent brand new car)28.189 CAD

Quality Of Life In Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Charlottetown proves to be an affordable option for immigrants and Canadians from other provinces. As an immigrant, not only should you know about the cost of living in Charlottetown. You should know about the city’s quality of life. How do you determine this? By looking at certain factors in the city.

In 2015, a paper published by Peter Kitchen and company pointed to three important factors that lead to a high quality of life:

  • Multiculturalism
  • Services and resources (libraries, schools, local community activities)
  • Safety

Over the years, Prince Edward Island has seen a large influx of immigrants from South and West Asia. Though the immigrant population is not as high in this province, the consensus among the locals is positive.

Best place to live in Canada

Many of Charlottetown’s established residents are happy about the presence of new immigrants. This is important since comments like these speak volumes of how well immigrants could integrate into Charlottetown.

Charlottetown, due to its small population, is also known for being one of the safest cities in Atlantic Canada. In fact, according to a CBC report, it is the second safest city in the entire country. The local government also makes sure that community services are available to all, and this helps with the safety and integration of newcomers.

You may already know this, but Charlottetown is very affordable. The affordability of a city also contributes to the quality of life of residents. With most of Charlottetown’s residents paying only 30% to 40% of their salary to rent, it is safe to say that they have more disposable income for other things.

In short, Charlottetown scores well in cost-competitiveness and quality of life.

Conclusion

Charlottetown is the biggest part of the smallest province of Canada. Despite the modest size of its area and population, it makes massive contributions to the rest of Canada through its agriculture and tourism. Like any other city in Canada that brings much to the country’s prosperity and appeal, Charlottetown is a place that takes care of its residents and newcomers.

In Charlottetown, you can bet that your dollar goes farther than in many other places in North America. Not only will you be settling in an affordable city with a close-knit community, but you will also live in one of the safest places in Canada.

Choose Canada Magazine

Each member of our team at Choose Canada Magazine has been in Canada for over five years, and has helped dozens of people worldwide find their life in Canada.

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