05 Feb

What Is The Average Cost Of Living For A High School Student In Toronto?

Moving to Toronto for high school can be a daunting but very exciting opportunity for many high school students.

Toronto is the business capital of Canada and is the fourth largest city in North America, offering up endless options for education, careers, and culture. Being a bit city, however, living expenses are typically higher than for more suburban or rural centres.

So how much can a high school student expect to spend in Toronto?

This will vary greatly depending on personal circumstances, but we have put together a list of the most important living expenses and how much the average student could expect to spend per month. Read on to find out more!

Twilight view of toronto skyline


The single largest expense for most people in housing, and high school students are no exception.

If you are a domestic student in Toronto, you are likely still living at home with your family. This would usually mean you do not pay for housing, in which case, skip to the next section!

For international students, or domestic students that have moved away from home to attend school, you will need to consider how much rent you will have to pay to live in Toronto. How much you pay will depend on where in Toronto you stay, and whether you rent just a room or your own place.

Average costs of downtown Toronto for students range from $1,011 for a room in a shared house, through to $2,982 for a 3 bedroom place. Clearly you pay a premium for being in the centre of the action, but the added convenience and not having to get up at the crack of dawn for class can be worth it for many.

Should you decide to live a bit outside of Toronto in the GTA, the cost of housing decreases dramatically. A room in Mississauga will run you only $526, whereas a 3 bedroom home will be $2,004. Similarly, Scarborough rooms are $753 or $2,821 for a 3 bedder.

One excellent option for international students is a Canadian homestay. These programs place international students in Canadian family homes, allowing them to interact with locals and become a part of the community. Cestar High School offers a comprehensive homestay program for international students attending school. These packages include a private room, free wifi, and three meals a day. Costing usually $1,000 – $1,200 per month, this can be one of the most cost effective and enjoyable forms of housing in Toronto. If you would like more information on homestays, simply contact Cestar High School.

Wherever you choose to stay, you should take into account how long your commute to school will take and how much the rent will stress your finances.


Most high school students in Toronto will rely on the Toronto Transit Commission, or TTC.

The TTC is the public transport network within Toronto, and services are large area across the GTA. It consists of subways, buses, and streetcars with most of the system running on a 10 minutes or better scheduling program. A single trip between any two points on the network will cost a high school student $2.10, which allows for unlimited travel for 2 hours.

Many students choose to load up their PRESTO card with a monthly Student TTC Pass. This ticketing option is convenient and easy, giving users unlimited travel without having to worry about reloading their cards. A monthly student pass costs $116.75 on PRESTO. There are also 12 month passes available for $107 per month.

Something to keep in mind if you are planning to live outside of Toronto is that some areas of the GTA have their own transit systems which are not included in a monthly PRESTO pass. There are some discount programs for users of the GO Train who also use the TTC, however, you will want to look up exactly how much it will cost you to get to and from school every day.


Another living expense for high school students in Toronto is food and groceries.

This expense will depend greatly on the individual student, their dietary requirements, and how much they tend to eat in a typical day. Some students can eat everything and have three to four main meals a day, whereas others have a restricted diet but only eat one to two meals a day.

Obviously, the types of groceries you are purchasing and the amount of food you are eating will directly affect how much you spend on groceries. In general, high school students can expect to spend between $200-$450 per month on groceries. Meat, eggs, and dairy tend to cost more in Canada than other parts of the world. Due to a large number of imports of produce from Mexico and the US, fruits and vegetables are actually quite cheap.

Some schools will also offer a meal plan for students. These range in how much is offered and their associated costs. Crunch the numbers before you sign up for one to see if it will really save you any money in the long run.

Leisure & Entertainment

Toronto is one of the best cities in the country for leisure and entertainment, with thousands of bars, restaurants, theatres, and events to take part in.

Famous as one of the most multicultural cities in the world, the options for international cuisine in Toronto are endless. Dining out can be an ultra luxurious affair, or a more simple and affordable one, depending on the occasion or your tastes. A typical meal out in an average Toronto restaurant will usually cost approximately $30 per person including tax and tip. Obviously, this will increase with the more food/drinks you order and if you go to more upscale establishments.

Another favourite past time for many high school students is heading to the movies. The average cost for a regular movie ticket is $13.75 including tax, which is lower than many other countries. There are also a range of movie subscription services available, allowing for multiple cinema trips a month for a low flat price.
Students sitting in class in private high school in Toronto


Every modern student will require a collection of services to learn effectively in Toronto.

Everyday essentials like a mobile phone plan are still particularly expensive in Canada. An average phone plan in Toronto will cost approximately $60 per month for 5GB data and unlimited talk and text within Canada. International calling will be an additional charge, but most providers have packages tailored for international students with competitive rates.

Are you looking for a private high school in Toronto that will give your child the best chance possible at a bright future? Cestar High School is a premier private high school conveniently located in North Toronto. Our small class sizes and dedicate professors ensure every child gets the attention and care they deserve during their secondary schooling. Contact us today and find out about our international assistance programs and scholarship requirements.


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