As one of the most expensive cities in Canada, Vancouver’s cost of living is high, and expats should budget accordingly. The 2022 Mercer Cost of Living Survey ranks Vancouver 108th out of 227 cities surveyed, making it the second most expensive city in Canada after Toronto at 89th.

Cost of accommodation in Vancouver

Vancouver is a vibrant cosmopolitan city that offers a great lifestyle and plenty of job opportunities. Each year, scores of expats as well as Canadian citizens head to the city in search of a fresh start. As a result, the demand for accommodation is high and the rent is expensive. In fact, Vancouver has the highest rental prices in Canada and regularly ranks as the least affordable city in North America in terms of property prices relative to earning power.

Cost of eating out in Vancouver

Eating out in Vancouver can be expensive. That said, the city boasts world-class eateries that are certainly worth shelling out for every now and then. It's not all fine dining though, and expats are sure to find a variety of good restaurants that won't break the bank. 

Cost of entertainment in Vancouver

Due to strict licencing laws, Vancouver’s nightlife isn’t as crazy as Toronto’s or New York’s. It’s therefore unlikely that expats will party away all their hard-earned dollars. 

In terms of activities, much of what there is to do in Vancouver is based outdoors and is often free to enjoy. Popular pursuits include hiking and biking at Lynn Canyon National Park and enjoying a day of relaxation at Stanley Park. In the summer months, Vancouver residents tend to head for one of the city’s many beaches. During winter, expats can visit Vancouver’s museums and galleries, where entrance fees are reasonable.

Cost of transport in Vancouver

Vancouver has an extensive public transport system made up of buses, trains, the SkyTrain, streetcars and ferries. Commuting via public transport is cost effective if passengers purchase a monthly pass. 

Having a car isn't necessary in Vancouver, especially if expats live in an area close to the city centre. With the rising cost of fuel, expats who are considering getting a car will have to budget for the cost of running a vehicle.

Cost of education in Vancouver

Expats moving to Vancouver with children have the option of sending their child to a public school in the area at no cost. The standard of schooling in British Columbia is generally excellent and the province has one of the top-rated education systems in Canada.  

Parents who choose to send their child to a Canadian private school in Vancouver can expect to pay high fees. Those who would prefer for their children to continue in their home country’s curriculum can send them to one of Vancouver’s many international schools. Expats should bear in mind that international school fees are particularly expensive in Vancouver.

Cost of living chart for Vancouver

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for July 2022.

Accommodation (monthly rent in a good area)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

CAD 2,251

One-bedroom apartment outside city centre

CAD 1,968

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

CAD 4,426

Three-bedroom apartment outside city centre

CAD 3,064


Eggs (dozen)

CAD 4.60

Milk (1 litre)

CAD 2.80

Rice (1kg)

CAD 4.57

Loaf of white bread

CAD 3.26

Chicken breasts (1kg)

CAD 16.05

Pack of cigarettes

CAD 18.99

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

CAD 12

Coca-Cola (330ml)

CAD 2.60


CAD 4.93

Bottle of local beer

CAD 7.50

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

CAD 100


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

CAD 0.35

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

CAD 82.98

Basic utilities (per month for a small apartment)

CAD 111.45


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

CAD 1.93

Bus/train fare in the city centre

CAD 3.05

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

CAD 2.71