Cost of living: Is Ottawa an expensive city?

Many people who think of Ottawa as a possible city to move to, wonder what is the cost of living, especially compared to other major cities in Canada. The truth is that Ottawa is not an expensive city when compared to Toronto or Vancouver, But on the other hand it isn’t exactly  a cheap city either.

Actually, compared to Montreal, the closest bigger city, Ottawa seems to be expensive in terms of rent, food, childcare, leisure activities, and other things.

What I found to be particularly expensive was dining in restaurants. If you have a family of 4 or more, the bill is usually high. Childcare is also expensive in Ottawa and that was one of the reasons we decided to move to Canada when my younger daughter was 4, so she could go directly to school.

Rideau mall

Meanwhile, the real estate market in Ottawa is incredibly hot nowadays. There can be ferocious bidding wars among buyers willing to pay up to 400,000 dollars over asking, without any conditions. Insane!

In this scenario, the average sale price for a house in Ottawa was in February 717,914 dollars, an increase of 27% from a year ago. As for condominiums, the sale price was 407,671 dollars, 17% more compared to last year.

To those who want to know the cost of living in Canada’s capital, I made a list of the main things that could make up your monthly expenses.

Byward Market


  • Apartment 1 bedroom downtown: 1,600 dollars.
  • Apartment 1 bedroom outside downtown: 1,240 dollars.
  • House 4 bedrooms: between 2,000 and 3,000 dollars depending on the location.
  • Room: between 650 and 800 dollars.

Utilities (water/electricity/heating):

  • For 85m2 Apartment: Approximately 175 dollars.
  • For a house: Approximately 300 dollars.
  • Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL): 73.17 dollars.


  • 87 octanes 1 Lt: 1.15 dollars.
  • 94 octanes 1 Lt: 1.47 dollars

Public transportation:

  • One way ticket: 3.60 dollars.
  • Monthly pass: 120 dollars.


Groceries in Ottawa, and in Canada in general, always seem expensive to me, especially the cost of fruit, which you can have way cheaper and fresher all year round in my home country.

I went to four different big supermarkets to compare prices and this is what I found. (average prices)

  • Milk (carton 2Lt): 4.46 dollars.
  • Eggs (dozen) : 2.83 dollars.
  • Bread: 3.25 dollars.
  • Potatoes (10Lb): 4.98 dollars.
  • Tomatoes (1Lb): 1.99 dollars.
  • Green lentils (2Lb): 2.88 dollars.
  • Spaghetti (900 grams): 1.58 dollars.
  • Grapes (1Lb): 3.65 dollars.
  • Bananas (1Lb): 0.75 dollars.
  • Chicken (Lb): 5.3 dollars.


  • Private daycare full day, monthly for 1 Child: 1,230 dollars

Hair salon:

  • Simple hair cut: 20 to 40 dollars depending on location.

Car insurance:

  • Between 1,100 and 1,400 per year.


  • Meal for 2 in a mid-range restaurant: Approximately 75 dollars.
  • Meal in an inexpensive restaurant: 12 dollars.

Veterinary services

Many people make the decision to have a dog, or a new pet because of the pandemic, so that’s why I include veterinary expenses.

  • Vaccines and check up for a puppy: approximately 200 dollars each visit.
  • Bath and brush (puppy): 18 dollars.
  • Bath and brush (six months and older): 46 dollars.

What do you think now? Is Ottawa an expensive city? Let’s remember that residents in Ottawa have always the chance to live in Gatineau. It’s the nearby city in Quebec, where the cost of living is less. One can also enjoy the advantages of living close to Ottawa. Actually Ottawa and Gatineau are like the same city but run by different provincial governments.

If you want to know the difference between Ottawa and Gatineau in terms of the cost of living, check this out:

If you want to know about other prices, feel free to ask in comments. I’ll do my best to have the information for you. Take care.

You may also like

One thought on “Cost of living: Is Ottawa an expensive city?

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: