There’s no question that Toronto is an incredible place. Whether you’re a foodie, a music fan, an art lover, or simply an appreciator of thriving urban landscapes, you’re bound to enjoy Canada’s largest city. So why are many diehard Torontonians migrating west to Hamilton?
The fact is, Hamilton has always had a lot to offer. But recently, the city has been receiving its due. Many home buyers are looking at it as far more than an affordable alternative to Toronto. Instead, they’re viewing Hamilton as an exciting urban centre in its own right.
Looking to put down roots in the perfect Ontario city? Check out our comparison of Hamilton vs. Toronto to decide which place is right for you…
Overall quality of life
First up, let’s talk about the labour market. Hamilton has a low unemployment rate, and wages are generally high. Residents also find that their dollars stretch pretty far in the city—both when it comes time to purchase a home, and in terms of the costs of living. Of course, Toronto also has a strong job market. But it’s notoriously pricey when it comes to housing and day-to-day expenses.
Wherever you decide to live, your daily commute is bound to have a major impact on your quality of life. It’s worth mentioning that Hamilton isn’t affected by heavy traffic the way that Toronto and many other cities in the region are. Fortunately, both cities are well served by transit—Toronto by the TTC, and Hamilton by the HSR.
Next up in the Hamilton vs. Toronto debate: amenities. Let’s start with restaurants. Simply put, we couldn’t be more excited by the food renaissance that’s happening in Hamilton. Eateries like Quatrefoil (which serves up incredible French-inspired fare) and Born and Raised (where you’ll find exquisite Italian dishes) have helped put the city on the culinary map.
Of course, Toronto has an amazingly diverse restaurant landscape—from the multiple-course meals at Edulis to the perfectly-prepared rolls at Sushi Kaji. That said, Hamilton’s food scene has evolved to the point where many of Toronto’s top chefs are setting up shop there.
If it’s a day of shopping you’re after, both cities are a great bet. In Hamilton, we recommend Lime Ridge Mall for a full-fledged shopping experience. For unique local shops, check out quaint districts such as Locke Street and James Street North. In Toronto, the Eaton Centre is the most popular shopping centre, while West Queen West is one of the best areas for smaller boutiques.
Interested in music and art? If so, you’ll never get bored in Hamilton. The city is home to one of the most exciting music scenes in Canada. Music venues range from large-scale options (like FirstOntario Centre) to intimate clubs (like This Ain’t Hollywood and the Corktown Pub). You’ll also find a ton of places to check out great art in the city, from the prestigious Art Gallery of Hamilton to the funky Redchurch Café and Gallery.
Of course, Toronto is a major arts and cultural hub. The city is home to the impressive Danforth Music Hall, the legendary Horseshoe Tavern and the eccentric Lee’s Palace (among others). You’ll also find the AGO there, along with a multitude of smaller galleries spread around the city—from West Queen West to the Distillery District. In short, there are many tried-and-true spots to immerse yourself in the arts in Toronto (though we’re partial to exploring the exciting, up-and-coming scene in Hamilton).
If you ask us, access to green space is a major part of having a great quality of life. Fortunately, the City of Hamilton maintains thousands of acres of parkland. One of our favourite places to enjoy the great outdoors is Gage Park. This 29-acre space is perfect for outdoor recreation. Other great parks in the area include Pier 4 Park and Bayfront Park. The city also offers trails galore, and its conservation areas can’t be beat (Confederation Park is a great one).
While sprawling Toronto may not be steeped in natural beauty, it’s got its fair share of great green spaces too. High Park (which is almost 400 acres and bursting with greenery) and Trinity Bellwoods Park (known for its tennis, volleyball and skating facilities) are just two examples.
Generally speaking, home prices are more affordable in Hamilton than they are in Toronto. Of course, what you’ll pay for property in the city will depend on the neighbourhood and type of home you’re seeking. That said, average prices tend to sit somewhere between $500K and $600K for single-family homes. For condos, they’re closer to the $300K mark.
While you’ll also find a wide range of price points in Toronto, many home buyers are able to find comparable homes for several hundred-thousand dollars less in Hamilton. Both cities offer a diverse selection of housing types, from pre-war houses to sleek modern condos and everything in between.
Are you ready to learn more about moving to Hamilton? We have the local market knowledge and experience to help. Contact us to discuss your needs today.