Is Vancouver Or Toronto Better To Visit?

Are you wondering is Vancouver or Toronto better to visit?

As a Canadian from Vancouver who has also been to Toronto, I’m here to help you break down everything you need to know and help you better decide which city is best to visit.

Canada is home to two iconic cities, Vancouver and Toronto. They have many similarities but differences that set them apart, making things a little more complicated.

It will all come down to whether you want an adventure in the mountains and by the ocean in Vancouver or a “New York feel” city atmosphere by the great lakes in Toronto.

Let’s break down Vancouver or Toronto, which is better to visit.

Is Vancouver Or Toronto Better To Visit

Before discussing the specifics and differences between Vancouver and Toronto, here’s a brief description of both cities.


Vancouver is on the West Coast of Canada, with a beautiful backdrop of mountains, ocean, and forests. The city is known for its multicultural identity and outdoor recreational activities.

A point of view of the Yaletown skyline in Vancouver. There are buildings across the False Creek inlet. There are sail boats anchored to the ground in the water. It's also a cloudy with blue skies peaking through kind of day.


Known as the “New York of Canada,” Toronto is a bustling city in central Canada known for its diverse culture and dynamic atmosphere. The city of Toronto is located on Lake Ontario’s Northwestern shore, offering beautiful waterfront views, and its modern skyline features iconic skyscrapers.

The city of Downtown Toronto during the night. The city is all lit up from the lights, cars are on the freeway driving. The CN Tower is lit up purple.

Differences Between Vancouver And Toronto

Here are some key differences between Vancouver and Toronto. I’ll discuss the weather, cost and price, food, nightlife, and safety.


When comparing the weather between Vancouver and Toronto, they experience weather on opposite sides of the scale. Both cities have advantages and disadvantages depending on what you’re planning to do and when you decide to go during the year.

Vancouver Weather

Vancouver is in a temperate rainforest, so the city experiences mild temperatures and frequent rainfall, especially during the fall and winter.

Suppose you want to travel to Canada but avoid the snow. Vancouver will be your best option. There are many things to do in Vancouver in winter, and the winters are relatively mild, with temperatures not often dropping below freezing.

Vancouver can have the occasional snowfall; however, it usually only lasts a short time. If you’re looking for snow-related winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing, we have three mountains that are close to Vancouver for winter recreation.

In addition, the summer is warm and hot, perfect for hiking, swimming, rock climbing, and more. 

Toronto Weather

On the other hand, in Toronto, winters can be and are pretty cold, with temperatures often falling below freezing, and snowfall is always expected.

So, if you’re looking for the ambiance of winter in a city, Toronto is the best place to experience outdoor skating, sledding, and other winter-related activities.

Summers in Toronto are warmer than in Vancouver, with higher temperatures and occasional humidity.

Cost & Prices

Vancouver and Toronto are relatively similar in cost and price. While Toronto is often considered slightly more affordable than Vancouver, both rank in the top two spots for the most expensive cities in Canada.

Buying houses in both cities is also relatively similar as the lowest is in the 1.2 million range. But again, Vancouver still slightly beats Toronto for higher housing and overall costs.

When considering moving or visiting Vancouver or Toronto, it’s essential to consider your budget and lifestyle preferences.

Vancouver Cost & Prices

Vancouver consistently ranks as one of the most expensive cities in Canada. Food prices and excursions are expensive.

Now, you can budget while you’re in Vancouver, such as taking public transit, not eating out too often, and having enough to eat for the next day.

There are shuttles that can take you to places outside of Vancouver, so you can save money on renting a car.

Toronto Cost & Prices

While still considered relatively expensive and usually tied with Vancouver as one of the most expensive cities in Canada, Toronto has a slightly lower affordability cost than Vancouver. But not by much.

Again, food and excursions are expensive, but you can budget by taking public transit or shuttles and not eating out often.


Comparing Vancouver and Toronto is difficult as both are, again, fairly similar when it comes to food. But, they do differ in what kind of food they specialize in. Still, I would say Toronto has a slight edge over Vancouver.

Vancouver Food

Vancouver’s food scene has heavy Asian and East Asian influences, such as Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese, and Chinese. Seafood is top-notch and known in Vancouver due to the proximity of being located beside the Pacific Ocean.

A bowl of seafood spaghetti with shrimp, clams, cherry tomatoes,  and parmesan cheese on top and a gralic bread on the side. There is also a drink on the right hand side and another plate of food out of focus across the table.

Toronto Food

Toronto features a diverse culinary landscape with global influences. The city offers a variety of flavours, including Italian, Mexican, and Indian.

Toronto has a growing number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants, particularly in neighbourhoods like Kensington Market. These restaurants showcase a slightly more extensive selection of plant-based options than Vancouver.

Two tacos sitting on a black and whilte checkared paper on a metal flat plate with someone holding it to take a picture. There are beans, jalapenos, some kind of protein, chopped redonions and cilantro on a corn tortilla. The resturant is in the background with a drink fridge, close fridge displays and entrance to the back, and menu on the wall.

💡 Side Note: I have to say that Vancouver and Toronto both have many food options. But if you’re looking for sushi specifically, I’d visit Vancouver.


When I visited Toronto, I found it was more lively in the evening than Vancouver, so I would have to say that Toronto has a bit of an edge over Vancouver regarding nightlife. 

Vancouver Nightlife

Vancouver’s nightlife includes a mix of options scattered throughout the city. Popular areas like Granville Street, Gastown, Robson, and Yaletown offer later-night restaurant locations, lounges, pubs, and nightclubs.

Toronto Nightlife

In contrast, Toronto is considered the “New York of Canada” because of its better nightlife. The Entertainment District is a hub for clubbing, artsy bars, upscale rooftop bars, and intimate live music venues.


When it comes to safety, both cities are usually safe for tourists as most of the crime is focused on locals. I always like to reiterate that no city is truly crime-free.

Still, Vancouver and Toronto are much safer than other cities worldwide. But still always take precautions when travelling to an unfamiliar location.

According to Numbeo’s crime index for Vancouver and Toronto, crime has increased in both cities, but Toronto’s crime rate is slightly lower than Vancouver’s.

Honestly, in my opinion, at least in Vancouver, it started to increase near the end and after the pandemic. We began to hear more about violent and petty crime after the pandemic compared to before the pandemic.

I believe also Toronto has experienced the same time for rising crime. At least when I watch the news something is always going on there too.

Is Vancouver Safe?

Is Vancouver safe? Yes, generally for tourists and overall comparatively to the rest of Canada. Petty crimes still occur in Vancouver, such as vandalism, breaking and entering, thrift, etc.

As a local, we do hear about violent crime that does happen in Vancouver, but not really towards tourists; however, still, it’s a possibility, but not usually.

Is Toronto Safe?

Is Toronto safe? Again, like Vancouver, Toronto is generally safe for tourists and overall comparatively. Given Toronto’s size and population, while being Canada’s largest city, crime is still slightly lower than in Vancouver.

However, Toronto does experience petty and violent crime, but again, it’s not usually aimed at tourists.


Regarding transportation, Vancouver has the edge over Toronto when getting around the city efficiently. I recommend not driving in either city because both driving and parking are potential hassles.

Both cities are walkable, so you can walk to locations if you would rather not use the public transportation system.

Vancouver Transportation

Vancouver (TransLink) has an efficient network of transportation options that almost all connect to one another. The city has the SkyTrain, Canada Line, SeaBus, buses, and soon-to-be subway line connecting to the University of British Columbia.

A grey with a yellow strip and blue bottom SkyTrain pulling into Commercial Broadway station. Translink is the opporator for the SkyTrains in Vancouver.

Vancouver’s iconic SkyTrain is a fully automated, driverless rapid transit system that connects various parts of the city and surrounding areas. There are three main lines:

  • Expo Line: Connecting Waterfront Station in Downtown Vancouver to King George Station in Surrey.
  • Millennium Line: Connecting VCC-Clark Station in East Vancouver to Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station in Coquitlam, with access to Burnaby, Port Moody, and Coquitlam through the Evergreen Line extension.
  • Canada Line: The Canada Line connects Vancouver to Richmond and provides transportation to the Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

A unique part of Vancouver’s transit system, the SeaBus provides ferry service across Burrard Inlet, connecting Waterfront Station in Downtown Vancouver to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.

The 12-minute ride offers scenic views of the city skyline and surrounding mountains. Many locals take the SeaBus to North Vancouver rather than a direct bus.


Vancouver’s extensive bus network covers the vast city area. Key bus routes connect areas not served by the SkyTrain, and main bus routes also stop or start at SkyTrain locations. There are also rapid bus routes, such as the 99 and the R4, to take you to central areas quicker.

Transit Map of all the major and popular stops and buses.


Compass Cards and Compass Passes allow you to pay to get around the city by tapping in and out of the SkyTrain and Canada Line Stations or onto buses.

  • Compass Cards are reusable and reloadable and are better for you to use if you stay in Vancouver for an extensive amount of time.
  • Compass Passes are one-use cards better for shorter stays in Vancouver.
  • You can tap with credit cards, but the prices will be higher than using a Compass.

You can purchase Compass Cards at the customer service location at Waterfront Station or select London Drug stores.

Compass Passes are available at any station machine. Buses don’t have passes to purchase, and you can pay in cash on the bus, but no change will be given.

Toronto Transportation

Toronto’s transit system is a comprehensive network operated primarily by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), providing diverse options for commuting within the city and its surrounding areas.

A red and white railcar at a stop on the street in Toronto. There are stop lights on the right hand side in the back for cyclist and cars. Is Vancouver or Toronto better to visit? If comparing public transportation, Vancouver is better.

Toronto’s subway system is a crucial city transit network component. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) operates four subway lines that connect various neighbourhoods:

  • Line 1 (Yonge-University)
  • Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth)
  • Line 3 (Scarborough)
  • Line 4 (Sheppard)

Toronto has an extensive streetcar network that runs through many major streets. Operated by the TTC, streetcars offer a convenient and iconic mode of transit, connecting neighbourhoods and supplementing the subway system.


The TTC’s bus network covers a wide area, serving neighbourhoods that may not be accessible by the subway or streetcars.


PRESTO Cards and passes are the way to pay to get around Toronto by tapping in on streetcars, subway stations, and buses.

  • PRESTO Cards are reloadable and better if you stay in Toronto for an extended time.
  • PRESTO Passes can be purchased for short-term use.
  • You can also use credit cards to tap in and out of the stations or buses. But prices may be higher.

You can purchase a PRESTO Card or passes at any station machine, retail/grocery locations, or the TTC Customer Service Centre above Davisville Station. Buses don’t sell cards or passes; you can pay in cash, but no change will be given.

Tourist Attractions

Now you’re looking for something to do in these two cities, right? Vancouver and Toronto also have many tourist attractions and activities in and around the cities.

Vancouver Tourist Attractions

Vancouver has many tourist attractions and locations to discover. Here are a few tourist attractions in Vancouver.

A narrow triangle shaped building in the middle of a block in Gastown. There's cobblestone streets and cars are lined up to let a pedestrian alk across the crosswalk. There's buildings on either side with one way streets.

Stroll through the cobbled streets guided by knowledgeable storytellers, diving into Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood with this historic Gastown walking food tour.

The three-hour tour takes you through the streets of Gastown and offers a diverse culinary experience, including seven food tastings and three alcohol samplings, including non-alcoholic options.

➡️ Check Prices & Availability for Gastown Historic Food Tour

A pod of six black and white orcas or killer whales swimming. There are mountains in the background with coloudy skies.

Enjoy this half-day whale-watching tour departing from Downtown Vancouver. The 80-foot flagship catamaran offers optimal viewing areas, including an indoor, heated cabin and open-air decks.

The captain and a team of three to four guides/naturalists provide insights into local history, geology, and marine life as you explore the waters, with views of the Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands, and Howe Sound.

Things included with your tour:

🐳 Complimentary tea, coffee, and hot chocolate
🐳 Two washrooms on board

🐳 Free photo package capturing your journey.
🐳 Lifetime Whale Sightings Guarantee – return until you see whales

➡️ Check Prices & Availability for Half-Day Whale Watching Tour

Explore Whistler

The Olympic Rings in Whistler Village. It's a metal statue with a cobblestone bottom. The background is an open  green space with trees and colourful chairs to sit in.

Whistler is worth visiting all year round in Vancouver. It’s a top tourist location, only a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Vancouver. The beautiful drive from Vancouver to Whistler is safe and ranks as one of the best scenic routes in Canada.

Many avid skiers love to come during the winter months to ski in Whistler. And if you’re looking for things to do in Whistler in winter for non-skiers, there are also many other options for you.

Other stops along the way include the Britannia Mine Museum, Porteau Cove, home to two beautiful Olympic Legacy Cabins, and Squamish. 

Toronto Tourist Attractions

Toronto has many tourist things to do and see. These are a few tourist attractions in Toronto.

Niagara Falls is one of Canada's most famous landmarks. It's a massive waterfall that is also shared with the United States.

Explore Niagara Falls on a day tour from Toronto, experiencing the world-famous waterfall’s beauty. The nine-hour tour travels comfortably in modern, air-conditioned buses with a small group for personalized service.

The waterfall tour, guided by a knowledgeable driver, includes a scenic drive along the Niagara Parkway. You can visit regional attractions like the Floral Clock, enjoy photo stops at the Niagara Whirlpool and the Niagara River viewpoint, and spend around three hours at Niagara Falls.

Included in the tour:

✅ Driver/guide
✅ Live commentary on board for insights into the region’s history and attractions

➡️ Check Prices & Availability for the Niagara Falls Day Tour

Explore Toronto’s Kensington Market on an international food tour. The tour is known for its diverse culinary offerings. Skip long lineups and sample at least six international cuisines, such as Tibetan momos and Jamaican patties.

All food tastings are enough for a satisfying lunch. A vegetarian option is also offered.

➡️ Check Prices & Availability for the Kensington Markt International Food Tour

Explore Harbourfront And Nearby

At Toronto Harbourfront. There are many boats docked in the marina.  There are many tall buildings in the background and the CN Tower.

The Harbourfront district along Lake Ontario offers parks, trails, galleries, and theatres. You can also take a ferry to the Toronto Islands for beaches and the Centreville children’s amusement park, including a 1907 carousel and street-level restaurants, cafes, and shops.

Near the Harbourfront, the CN Tower in Toronto, standing at 553 metres, provides views of the city from its observation deck, Glass Floor, and SkyPod. You can try the EdgeWalk, a hands-free walk around the tower.

Adjacent to the tower, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada features interactive exhibits and a transparent tunnel.

Also near the CN Tower is Steam Whistle Brewing offers brewery tours, and Roundhouse Park showcases Toronto’s railway history.

Right beside the CN Tower is Rogers Centre, home to the Toronto Blue Jays, where you can watch baseball games from the only Canadian professional baseball team.

Is Vancouver Or Toronto Better To Visit – FAQs

These are frequently asked questions: Is Vancouver or Toronto better to visit?

Is Toronto Or Vancouver More Beautiful?

Despite Toronto being the bigger city yet still nice, Vancouver is the more beautiful city because of its natural surroundings: mountains, forests, and the Pacific Ocean.

Is Vancouver City Worth Visiting?

If you’re debating if Vancouver is worth visiting, yes, it is. Despite Toronto potentially having more things to do and see or being “more well known” in the world, Vancouver is still ranked as one of the best tourist destinations in Canada.

Which City Is Bigger Vancouver Or Toronto?

Toronto is bigger than Vancouver overall in size and population. Vancouver comes third in Canada, with Montreal coming in second.

When Are The Best Months To Visit Vancouver?

Vancouver is a year-round destination with a mild climate. However, the best months to visit Vancouver are May to September if you want to avoid the rain. Still, it’s during the high tourist season, so prices will increase.

October to April will be your best bet if you’re looking for a low tourist season but more rain.

When Are The Best Months To Visit Toronto?

The best months to visit Toronto are late April to August, but it’s also during the high tourist season. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, September and October are the best months before the freezing cold winter.


Ultimately, your choice between Vancouver and Toronto depends on personal preferences. While Toronto has the edge over Vancouver overall, both cities are places you’ll want to explore, whether it’s the outdoor adventures of Vancouver or the urban excitement of Toronto.

Have a good day 🙂