Most popular accommodation options in Canada.

Most popular accommodation option in Canada.


To start with accommodation needs to be defined.  This can extend all the way from a cheap hostel for a few weeks during a brief holiday all the way through to a permanent residence, say a four-bedroom detached house.

All of this will depend on your individual circumstances. This could include staff accommodation if you are on a working holiday.  It could also be shared accommodation. 

Backpackers Accommodation Options:


You have sorted out all your student visa applications. The next problem is finding a place to stay. If you need to find a hotel to start with then you must book in advance. Hotels are a very popular form of accommodation for tourists. There will be 90% full booking from May until August. Going in “blind” anywhere will be very difficult.

You tend to pay for what you get. The quality of hotels in Canada is good overall, but this can vary. There will be a difference between the cities and the country, where the country will tend to be cheaper.  Plus at the ”cheap” end, the quality tends to be better, as well. 

The following prices are in Canadian Dollars. These are for overnight stays in hotels. This is the overall Canadian average.

  • The low price range is CAD$45 - CAD$75.

  • Mid price range is CAD$55 - CAD$135

  • The expensive price range is CAD$135 - CAD$250

  • Five “star” price range CAD$250 upwards.

Bed and breakfast

This is very much a temporary solution. If you have come to study or work and have not yet sorted out any accommodation, this is one possible option.

They could be in a townhouse, an apartment, or a farmhouse.  Most will be registered with a specific professional association. They may not have a private comfort room etc. This is something you may have to share.

The prices vary from CAD$35.00 to CAD$105.00 in Canadian dollars.

YMCA. YWCA and Youth Hostels.   

This is probably one of the cheapest and most convenient ways of finding shared or communal accommodation. This is also a safe method of finding accommodation as hostels in Canada are regulated, approved, and inspected by the Canadian Hosteling Association. Toilets, shower areas, bathrooms, and cooking areas are shared. They may not all be “basic”. Some have swimming pools as well as fitness centers. Pre-booking is essential as places fill up quickly 

Costs in Canadian dollars

  • Hostels average out at between CAD$10.00 and CAD$20.00 per night.

  • YWCA and the YMCA average out at  CAD$24.00 to CAD$45.00 per night. 


This could be another option for international students wishing to study in Canada. You are given your own private room and become effectively part of the family. This way you get to learn about Canadian culture and also pick up on language skills, in either English or French.  These will be organized through colleges and individual schools.  Again in Canadian dollars, costs will include a “placement fee” of CAD$200.00. Monthly charges will vary between CAD$400.00 to CAD$800.00.

Dormitories/Halls of Residence

Universities, Colleges, and Schools may have their own accommodation for students. These will usually include a private bedroom, along with shared washrooms, laundry, and canteens. The standard cost for these per school year, in Canadian dollars, is CAD$3000.00 to CAD$7500.00. This is a good way to meet and mix with other students.

Commercial Renting for Students

Universities and colleges will often offer listings of available private rented accommodation. There will also be online sites and adverts in local newspapers.

Real care could be needed in this area. Any lease or agreement with a private landlord will need to be looked at very carefully prior to renting.  Visit the accommodation first, as well. This could well be an expensive option in major Canadian cities. This will also quite probably mean shared accommodation, in order to bring down prices. You may need to get in contact with a provincial tenancy office as well. 

This will give you freedom away from the campus if you are an international college or university student.

Prices, in Canadian dollars, can vary between CAD$250 up to CAD$750 a month, for students.

Accommodation for the Work Permit Holders

If you are thinking about going on a working spree in Canada or are looking at a fixed working permit, then accommodation deals and packages could be an important part of this. For example, if you plan to work in a ski resort like Whistler in the Rockies, you could get staff accommodation at a reduced rate. 

There are a number of jobs available in hotels and resorts across Canada, baristas, waiters, waitresses, cleaning and maintenance staff, etc. Look for those companies that do offer accommodation; not all will.  

If accommodation is provided then there is a good chance that you will have to share a room.  This will include washrooms, laundry, etc.  There could be a demand for a “damage” deposit, and you may have to pay one or two months in advance rent.  Also keep drinking and any other activities to a minimum, to avoid problems.

Major Cities

The cost of accommodation will vary to some extent from city to city.  If you plan a gap year or a working holiday, and there is no accommodation included,  then you will have to take the average price of a reasonably cheap place to stay, into consideration. So you have a good idea of knowing your overall budget before you go. 


Rented apartments and condos

So in Toronto, a shared house could cost in the region of CAD$700 a month. A one or two-bedroom apartment or condo, depending on where it is, could cost between CAD$1200, to CAD$1,600 CAD a month.

Hotels and Hostels 

Again, as with anywhere else, location is everything in a large city. Again a website check will show prices ranging from around CAD$50 per day, up to CAD$400 for a two-bedroom room. If you are passing through, look at YMCA, YWCA, bed and breakfast, and hostel options. This could help to bring the price down. With hostels etc, be prepared for some communal living. 


Cheap rented apartments and condos. 

Quotes online for very cheap apartments put some in the range of  CAD$600 to CAD$800 a month for one bedroom.

If you are looking for a cheap apartment for two, these can be priced between CAD$700 to CAD$1,200 a month. Bear in mind, that these could vary a lot depending upon location.

Hotels and hostels. 

These are set of average prices, this time in Canadian dollars

Checking online, the hotel prices seem to follow the same pattern noted above. The prices range from CAD$45.00 to CAD$215.00 a night. The summer vacation period for most colleges and Universities runs between June and August. Some colleges and universities do rent out rooms over this period. So it could be an idea to check this out online.

This is another set of prices for cheap hotels and hostels in Montreal. These can range from CAD$12.00 upwards for two. This is a night. For a two-bedroom apartment, this is CAD$700 to CAD$12,00. Bear in mind the type of neighborhood, and what you plan to do in Montreal, Is this a working holiday, or are staying in Montreal for s while, then moving on?


Cheap rented apartments and condos

You can find a good rented one-bedroom apartment for around CAD$800 a month, at present, in central Vancouver. These go up to CAD$2000 plus, a month for two-bedroom apartments. This is an option for anyone wanting to stay for a fixed short-term work contract. Again, if you know you want to stay in Vancouver for a while, say for a year or more, book a cheap hotel first, then explore what apartments and condos are available, online and via listings.  This will give you a better idea of what is available, plus what conditions may go with the renting. 

Hotels and Hostels

The cheapest deal available could be dormitories.  This would be ideal for younger backpackers and students in gap years. This can be as low as CAD$15 for a 6-bed dormitory. There are also cheap hotels starting from CAD$39, a night for two rooms. There are even deals starting at CAD$27. These can range up to CAD$500 plus, for two-bedroom bookings, in better hotels in more central areas.

Longer-term accommodation options. 

The options so far have been for younger people probably in their 20s. Either about to start college or university, or just have left. They could be on an extended work holiday, or on a gap year.

There is also a slightly older age group, possibly reaching middle age.  These will be professionals or individuals with specific skills.  They could be offered longer-term working visas. They could be looking to emigrate to Canada, as they have a definite work offer there.

These might also include married couples or partners with dependent children.  

In all these cases, they must be sure that any possible future income will match the longer-term costs of renting better apartments or houses or even buying them.  Also take into consideration, all the other possible living costs when arriving in Canada.

Differences in Prices

If you are on a longer-term working visa, the chances are you may be directed away from the larger cities.  This could be to your advantage if you are moving to Canada, as the price of both renting and buying property could be cheaper.  This is especially the case if you are coming across a partner and possibly a family. 

At present Toronto seems to be one of the most expensive places to buy property.  House prices in the Greater Toronto area have reached, on average almost, CAD$876.000. However, the average price in Calgary is pretty well half that at CAD$478,500. The overall Canadian average is CAD$451,100.

Most expensive and Cheapest places to rent

The highest at present is Yellowknife in the far North West, where a three-bed apartment would cost you CAD$1,902 a month to rent. Vancouver comes in at number four with CAD$1,631, for a three-bed apartment. Toronto comes in at number six, with CAD$1,515.

The cheapest rented three-bed apartment is Shawinigan Quebec Province, where the average price is CAD$659 for a three-bed apartment. Victoriaville, the fourth lowest, is CAD$613 for a three-bed apartment in Quebec Province. At number nine is Trois Rivieres, Quebec Province, with a three-bed apartment costing CAD$631 a month.

It is interesting to note that all the cheapest rented accommodation in Canada seems to be in the Quebec Province. Looking at New Brunswick on the east coast, rented three-bedroom apartments range from CAD$625 up to CAD$2000.

It could be that Quebec Province is one of the cheapest locations to move to in Canada. There could be a possible problem if you can't speak French, but this should not be a restriction in moving to Quebec Province if your English is up to a good standard.

Conclusion: Moving to Canada from Abroad

If you have a good long-term contract lined up or a permanent placement that it would make a lot of sense to carefully investigate and evaluate what you can do.  This is especially the case if you want to buy property.

The first thing, once a location has been sorted out, is to look at contacting professionals in that area, such as reputable estate agents. They will know the costs, taxation, and regulations that need to be looked into.  If it looks too good, it probably is. Make realistic decisions. You will also need to understand insurance and possible mortgage requirements and get professional help with this.  You may need a cash down payment of 35% if you are technically a nonresident when you wish to go ahead with a purchase.

You may have a property to sell in your home country, which could cover the cost of the purchase in Canada.

The Australian dollar has appreciated in recent years. This gives it a rough parity with the Canadian dollar.  It is always wise to keep a close eye on these two currencies as well as the US dollar to see what the long-term trends may be.

A deposit of CAD$250,000, for a property worth in Canada at say CAD$750,000, might incur large transfer fees in a bank-to-bank transfer. It is worthwhile looking into other safe ways of transferring large sums internationally.

With planning, none of this is impossible. There are good trustworthy outside agencies that can help you with all of this as well.

Finally, keep a check on Currencies.

A lot of online sites do not state which dollar they are using. If it is a general world-based site, then there is a good chance that the currency stated will be in US dollars. If the website has “AU” at the end this may well mean that prices are quoted in Australian dollars. If the ending is “CA” or "CAD" this could well mean that the prices are in Canadian dollars. However, don't take any of that for granted. A close look at any site is needed to see what currency they are using. This is not always that easy.

At this particular point in time, the US to Canadian dollar equals 1.31. The Australian dollar to the Canadian dollar is now very close at .88. Again, keep a “weather eye” on currencies. A major economic or political crisis could see a currency crash. Like, for the first time, Euros going at par with the US$. The money will soon flood elsewhere, usually the US dollar. It is wise to keep all this in mind if you are making major changes in your life.

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