When most people think of Ontario, they think “Toronto”. This is not surprising. After all, the Maple Leafs and Drake have done well to market this Canadian city to the rest of the world. Whether or not this has engendered the high immigration rates of Ontario is uncertain. All we know is that Toronto is the popular way to Ontario.
This all sounds well and good. Nevertheless, the numbers do not lie. In 2019, Toronto was ranked the 115th most expensive city in the world. This may not seem like a big deal, but on that same list were Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York- cities notorious for their high cost of living.
Hence, for some immigrants on a tight budget, Toronto may not be feasible if Ontario is the destination. What could be the more cost-effective alternative to this city? What could be a cheaper place in Ontario to immigrate to?
Drive for about 45 minutes from Toronto, and you will find such a city. Home to about 767,000 people, Hamilton is located roughly 59 kilometres Southwest of Toronto. The city has a total land area of about 1,138 square kilometres. With 767,000 people sharing that much land, the costs of living are imaginably lower than that of Toronto.
How low? This article could answer that question.
Hamilton, Ontario: A Quick Profile
Many immigrants tilt their heads to the side when they hear about Hamilton. In other words, it simply is not a well-known part of Ontario to the rest of the world.
Engulfing a large section of Lake Ontario, Hamilton has been a “city by the shore”. It is part of Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe. In case you were wondering, this is a region of Ontario that starts from Niagara Falls and extends to the tip of the Niagara Peninsula. This makes it form a “U’ shape, similar to that of a horseshoe. Hamilton is at its heart. And, with 155 other waterfalls, it has become the waterfall capital of the world.
Besides waterfalls, Hamilton also features breathtaking scenery. From the Devil’s Punchbowl to the Eramosa Karst, even hikers and outdoorsmen consider Hamilton a haven.
Due to its location, the city of Hamilton has a long history of being used as a trade and military hub. To this very day, its shoreline remains to be a prominent feature of the city. Most of the city’s downtown area is located along its shores. For this reason, it is a port city. This has been a factor in the economic activity of the city.
The city has a history of having industries in shipbuilding and steel production. Over time, industries in metalwork, health care, and plastic production have emerged.
Now that you are more familiar with Hamilton, let’s talk about the average wages in the city.
In Hamilton, the local economy is dominated by steel production. Hence, most employers will be in this industry. Also, steel production has led to other businesses developing in the city. These businesses include logistics and manufacturing. Hence, for immigrants, they could expect to find jobs in these industries.
Its location and geographical features have also led to a boom in its tourism industry. With this development comes a demand for housing and accommodation.
The average wage depends on the industry with which a worker is involved. The average factory worker can expect to make about 15.89 CAD in an hour. At the time of writing, these are the mean wages for a general factory worker in Hamilton.
The average wage of those in other areas like logistics and tech manufacturing is not too different. This aforementioned wage figure is 10% above the national average.
In other industries like healthcare, salaries could range from 17 CAD to 26 CAD. This is the case for licensed practical nurses, mental health technicians, care aides, and anyone working in rehabilitation.
Cost Of Living In Hamilton
The figures above are the average wages and salaries in Hamilton. You now know how much a worker makes in the city. The question is whether or not these are enough to live in Hamilton.
You will be glad to know that the answer to this question is yes. Life in Hamilton is affordable.
With the wage figures in the earlier section, you can imagine the minimum monthly salary to be around 2,800 CAD per month. For anybody considering moving, it is important to calculate expenses based on this.
First, it is essential to consider housing. Data taken from 2019 sets average rentals at roughly 1,630 CAD a month. This is regardless of property type and is for any property close to the city centre. Away from the city centre, you will be able to find more affordable apartments or condos ranging from 900 CAD to 1,300 CAD per month.
Here is some good news. Utility bills won’t break the bank either. According to data from 2020, for less than 170 CAD, you could pay your electricity bill. The bills for water, garbage, and heating are also covered by the said amount. Of course, you will have to pay extra for other creature comforts like internet connection and your mobile phone plan. The prices may vary, but this usually adds up to just below a 95 CAD a month,
Food is essential. With many budget and mid-range options in the city, the prices of groceries and dining out are competitive. For instance, a bottle of wine and some domestic beer cost only 11.00 CAD and 2.00 CAD respectively. Hence, a splurge is not a splurge in this part of Ontario. Food is also cheap in Hamilton. Eggs cost only about 2.00 CAD, and one pound of meat 5.00 CAD at most.
These prices are very similar to those in the Philippines. This should put the low cost of food in Hamilton into perspective.
Living in Hamilton (or anywhere else for that matter) will lead you to think of transportation expenses. Either you want to drive, or you are willing to commute. Either way, data on these costs show promising figures.
Car prices could cost anywhere from 20,000 CAD to 30,000 CAD. A compact like a Volkswagen Golf costs about 25,000 CAD. Of course, a second-hand car is bound to cost much less, the prices of used cars are one digit cheaper!
For most of Hamilton’s residents, hardly is gasoline ever an issue. At only a Canadian dollar a litre, you could fill up your tank for less than 19.00 CAD.
Should you choose public transportation, train and bus tickets cost only 3.00 CAD. You could also pay for a one-month pass which gets you unlimited rides at only 110 CAD monthly.
Potential Total Monthly Expense
In total, you could expect to pay about 2,100 CAD monthly.
Steep? Again, almost nobody gets paid less than this amount every month. Hence, this makes the cost of living in Hamilton one of the best in Ontario.
When an immigrant thinks of affordable cities in Canada, many would think all of them are out of Ontario. This is simply not true.
Toronto is great, but know that there is another city in Ontario that has a great cost of living index.
Look no further than one of the cities in Toronto’s Southwest- Hamilton, Ontario.