Toronto vs Vancouver: Which Canada City is Better to Visit?

By Anna

Canada, known worldwide for cold winters and maple syrup, which makes it the perfect place to get away to this winter, but which city do you visit? And more importantly, which city is the best? This article is going to be the battle of Toronto vs Vancouver so you can decide for yourself which city is worth the visit.

We’ll be telling you everything needed to know about Toronto and Vancouver from accommodation to nightlife and the best beaches and food before revealing which city we think is best in our Toronto vs Vancouver battle.

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Toronto vs Vancouver: Accommodation:

Where you stay in any country or city for the duration of the trip is an important thing to research as many different people have different specifications of what they want – being close to the centre of town, a safe location, a 5 star hotel with swimming pool, a queen-size bed just for one or even a rental house, the list is never ending!

So, let’s have a look firstly at the accommodation in Toronto:

Hilton Toronto: In our eyes, you can’t go wrong with a Hilton hotel and although this is our budget hotel, it sure can offer a whole lot for your stay. Located in Richmond street in Downtown Toronto you won’t be far from a restaurant or an attraction such as the Art Gallery of Ontario. This hotel gives a great view of the city and if you want to unwind at the hotel then there’s a choice of two swimming pool – indoor and outdoor!

Shangri-La Hotel: If you’re looking to spend a little bit more on accommodation and have a few days of luxury then nothing can beat the five-star Shangri-La in Toronto. Located near the Hilton hotel in Downtown Toronto you’ll be close to local attractions and near to Pearson International airport.

Accommodation in Vancouver:

Sandman Suites: As our budget option for Vancouver, we’ve chosen the Sandman suite which is a three-star hotel with studios and one-bedroom suites with kitchens – this is great if you’re not looking to spend a lot on food as you’re able to prepare it all in the suite kitchen. The Sandman is located near Nelson Park and has different bakeries and cafes to try out as well as being near the Aquatic Centre.

Hotel Fairmont Pacific Rim: If fancying a little five-star luxury whilst in Vancouver then this accommodation is perfect. With fantastic views, three high-end dining options, a spa and a rooftop pool there’s a range of options and things to do if you’re too tired from exploring the big city. Located near the Financial district, you’re also close to bars, restaurants and shopping centres.

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Toronto vs Vancouver: Which Canada City is Better to Visit?
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Toronto vs Vancouver: Prices

So, as you can see from reading about the accommodation, Toronto and Vancouver offer a range of different hotels all at different prices to suit everybody’s needs, but is there a massive jump between prices in Toronto vs Vancouver?

The answer to that question is that it really depends on what it is that’s going to be bought, but to make your lives bit easier, we’ve researched a range of different things in both Toronto and Vancouver to see what the cost of living is and where you can get more for your money.

Housing: If living in downtown Toronto then this will be more expensive than living in downtown Vancouver, however, both of these cities are very expensive to live in but both cities are cheaper than New York by almost 30 percent.

Transport: Most people in these cities will get to work using public transport whether that would be the train, bus or taxi, there’s a massive difference when it comes to the price in both of these big cities. Vancouver is a lot cheaper than Toronto for any public transport and in some cases, we’re talking more than just a few pounds! The only thing that’s more expensive in Vancouver is the price of gasoline which is almost 30 percent more than Toronto.

Restaurants: A three course meal at a mid-range restaurant will cost 17 percent more in Toronto than Vancouver so if dining out in Vancouver, there’s no need to feel guilty about ordering another drink! Fast food restaurants such as McDonalds are also more expensive in Toronto by almost 17 percent. Hot drinks to take-away are generally more expensive in Vancouver but only by 2 percent.

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Vancouver taxi
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Toronto vs Vancouver: Food

Of course, in every city that you visit the food is going to be different and with different countries that means different specialities and local cuisine that you can get to taste. As we mentioned previously, Canada is known for Canadian maple syrup, so in our Toronto or Vancouver food comparison, there might be a dish with that ingredient that pops up.

We’re going to be telling you about three of the best restaurants in each city at costs to suit everybody.

Toronto Food:

The Rhino: Situated in Queen Street West, which is an easy location to get to, if you like burgers, club sandwiches and chips then The Rhino is the perfect place for an evening meal. With a massive selection of alcoholic drinks including wine, beer, cocktails, fizz and soft drinks and non-alcoholic cocktails there’s something for everybody.

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Fuwa Fuwa Pancakes: Not your average pancake house as these specialise in Japanese soufflé pancakes, did we just hear your stomach rumble? Located in Downtown Toronto in Bloor Street, this is perfect as a lunch time dish as it will keep your stomach full until dinner time. Choose from a range of different toppings including Nutella, mango, banana, tiramisu, fruit forest plus many more.

Canoe: If you’re into fine dining and can spare a little change in a restaurant then Canoe is our suggestion which can be found in Wellington Street. Serving contemporary Canadian food, you could be tucking into the likes of Ontario lamb, roast truffled chicken or costal oysters and if there’s room for dessert then how about a wild ginger brownie or freshly churned sorbet?

Toronto food
Image by timokefoto from Pixabay

Vancouver Food:

Smak: If you’re feeling like you’ve even too much fast food recently and are trying be healthier then Smak is the perfect place. Known for being a healthy fast food restaurant, there’s no need to feel so guilty about tucking into a delicious curry with an iced latte. The dishes served here are for breakfast and lunch and there are three restaurants to be found in Vancouver.

Japadog: If you’re into Japanese food and love hot dogs then Japadog has a huge selection of meaty and veggie dogs which are perfect for a lunchtime treat. With over 20 different varieties to choose from it’ll be a hard decision decided which one to have! If feeling extra hungry then why not add chips onto the order? Based in over seven different locations in Canada, there’s sure to be a Japadog around the corner.

Five Sails: A fine dining experience with a view located in Canada Place! This restaurant is inspired by British Columbia’s ocean and coastal mountains so you may be able to guess what might be on the menu? Choose from a range of different fish dishes including scampi risotto, caviar, lobster bisque and pan seared sable fish plus many more. For dessert there is coconut panna cotta, chocolate tart and a selection of cheeses, plus more.

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Toronto vs Vancouver: Which Canada City is Better to Visit?
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Toronto vs Vancouver: Beaches

There’s nothing better than sitting on the beach on holiday with creamy ice cream and scorching hot sun on the back unfortunately this might not be the case in Vancouver as their summer times will usually reach an average of 22 degrees – which may be warm but not as nice as Toronto which is 27 degrees.

So, let’s take a look at some of the best beaches in Toronto and Vancouver.

Toronto Beaches:

Canada’s Sugar beach: This beach is an urban beach park that opened in 2010. Toronto doesn’t have many conventional beaches with sand and sea so instead it’s waterfront parks with cobbles or sand. You can’t miss this beach as it’s full of bright pink umbrellas and iconic candy-striped rock outcroppings.

Hanlan’s beach point: This is a public beach situated on Hanlan’s Point in the Toronto Islands on the shore of Lake Ontario. This is a sandy beach is popular with both tourists and locals and it’s also a clothing optional beach, so if skinny dipping is on the bucket list, then this is the beach to get it ticked off to.

Marie Curtis park: This is a great family friendly park that everyone will enjoy. In this park there is a playground, wading pool, a public swimming beach, picnic spots and walking trails including a connection to the Waterfront Trail so this a whole day out in one place.

Toronto beach
Image by Jan den Ouden from Pixabay

Vancouver Beaches:

Kitsilano beach: There’s lots to see and do at this beach! Kitsilano beach or known as just Kits beach doesn’t just have the sand and the sea, it has also got basketball courts, tennis courts, playgrounds and a range of different water activities including windsurfing, skimboarding, stand-up paddling and kiteboarding.

Wreck beach: This beach is located on the edge of the University of British Columbia in Pacific Spirt Regional Park. Wreck beach is also a clothing optional beach but if that isn’t your style, then visit the beach in the colder months which are December and January.

Ambleside park: Popular with both tourists and locals, this park gives a fanatic view of of Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver. Ambleside is one of the North Shore‘s most popular parks, with its paved walkway along the water. There are also different festivals held here throughout the year including Persian New Year Fire Festival and West Vancouver Community Day plus more.

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Sugar beach Canada
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Toronto vs Vancouver: Attractions

Both Toronto and Vancouver have many different attractions that are popular with locals and tourists every year, so let’s get straight to it and have a look at the best attractions Toronto and Vancouver have to offer!

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Toronto Attractions:

Niagara Falls: Niagara Falls is a must see when staying in Toronto as this is an attraction that will take your breath away! To see these famous waterfalls then we suggest getting a guided a tour as there’s a lot to learn about this stunning tourist hotspot. Tours offer hotel pickup and drop-off and include a Horn-blower Niagara Cruise.

Eaton Centre: Like shopping? Then this is the perfect place to spend all those hard-earned Canadian dollars. The shopping centre has a massive range of well-known stores including H&M and Levi’s plus hundreds more so get ready to spend a whole day here! This mall even has its own subway station!

High park: High park is a beautifully kept park that’s surrounded by green lusciousness, hanging basket gardens, nature trails, natural ponds and streams so this is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the surrounding nature. Within the park there’s even a zoo which is home to animals including reindeers, llamas and wallabies.

Vancouver Attractions:

Grouse mountain: This attraction is not for fainthearted or anybody that isn’t okay with heights! Grouse mountain is a 1,200-metre mountain offering activities such as skiing and hiking plus sweeping views of Vancouver! There’s also an option to take a 12-minute sky ride to the top of the mountain where it will pass 3700 feet.

Flyover Canada: This attraction is for adrenaline junkies! Flyover Canada utilises state-of-the-art technology to give the feeling of flight. Get ready for an 8-minute virtual journey across Canada for an experience that won’t be forgotten!

Botanical Garden: VanDusen Botanical Garden is a 55-acre oasis in the heart of Vancouver with over 7,500 plant species and varieties from around the world so there’s plenty of things to see here! Get out the camera and take pictures of local wildlife and even get lost in an Elizabethan hedge maze.

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niagara falls
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Toronto vs Vancouver: Nightlife

There’s nothing like that Friday night feeling of getting all glammed up for a night on the town and spending it with friends and having a few drinks. Something fun to do on every holiday is to test out how the city compares to your hometown in nightlife, so, let’s see how Toronto compares with Vancouver!

Toronto Nightlife:

As Toronto is a lively place throughout the daytime then you can probably imagine what it’s like in the evening? Toronto has a huge range of bars and clubs to suit everybody, so let’s have a look at a couple of them!

Pravda Vodka Bar: Anybody who likes vodka is going to like the Pravda vodka bar! With a massive range of vodka-based drinks and yummy food to go alongside it, this bar is the perfect place to start off the nightlife adventure as it’s situated in Downtown Toronto, it won’t be difficult to move on to somewhere different afterwards.

Vertigo: Get ready to dance the night away at Vertigo! Situated near a wide range of other night-clubs, this club offers different music including hip-hop, RnB, pop plus much more. This club offers table service and is also available to hire for private parties, so if the holiday is for a special numbered birthday, why not have a little treat?

Toronto nightlife
Image by Rohit Verma from Pixabay

Vancouver Nightlife:

You may not think it because Toronto is Canadas largest city, but Vancouver has been known to have bigger and better nightlife than Toronto! All clubs sit next to each other in central Vancouver. So, let’s see what’s on offer!

Alibi Room: Situated near Vancouver harbour, if beer is your choice of drink then then come to this bar! Offering over 50 taps of local and imported craft beers plus a wide selection of locally sourced food then this is a great place to start off the night especially with its reasonably priced food and drinks.

The Roxy Cabaret: One of Vancouver’s most popular and longest standing night-clubs, the Roxy Cabaret offers its customers music from live bands, DJs as well as having themed nights and an energetic vibe. The club offer table service and have different offers for birthdays and guest lists.

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Vancouver nightlife
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Toronto or Vancouver: Where is Better?

Even-though both of these cities are amazing, and both offer a massive variety of things to get stuck into, Vancouver is going to be named as the better city in our vs battle.

If you love being in a big city that’s crowded and always has something going on then Toronto is going to be the place for you, if however you like the city but also being able to escape and being outdoors and with nature then Vancouver is what we recommend due to being able to have both things round the corner from each other.

We’re not saying that Toronto is bad but when you’re able to have city life and nature in the same city then it’s a no brainer.

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James Ardimento has spent the last 12 years journeying around the globe ! With its precious experiences and tips he gained around Asia, South America, Europe and the US he is a precious asset for this blog and for its readers