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These Are the Loneliest Cities in Canada, According to a Study

Woman walking in a city street
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Nearly 3 million people call this city home, but despite its population size, life feels more lonely in Toronto than anywhere else in Canada.  The Toronto Foundation’s recent study, Vital Signs Report, found that 34 per cent of Torontonians reported feeling lonely at least three days a week. In comparison, here’s the percentage of residents from other cities and regions that feel similar to Toronto:

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The Loneliest Cities in Canada

  • Toronto: 34 per cent
  • Calgary and Edmonton: 28 per cent
  • Vancouver: 23 per cent
  • Montreal: 17 per cent

The Loneliest Regions in the Country

• Maritimes: 35 per cent
• Atlantic: 33 per cent
• Ontario: 31 per cent
• Prairies: 29 per cent
• West: 28 per cent
• Quebec: 23 per cent

Why is Toronto the Loneliest City in Canada?

Toronto’s cost of living crisis might be one of the reasons its earned the title of Canada’s loneliest city. As reported in the study, people in Toronto face several financial hardships that exacerbate their struggles. Many have become significantly challenged by their ability to meet basic needs, such as purchasing groceries. According to the Daily Break Food Bank, demand for services increased by 295 per cent since 2019.  Furthermore, 22 per cent of survey participants said they eat less than they should due to financial limitations.

Unfortunately, the financial worries are more than just the weekly grocery bills. The study found that one in five people in Toronto report exhaustion due to burnout. A possible reason for this stress level could be that 33 per cent of residents reported insufficient household income in 2023, up from 12 per cent in 2018. And with the average rent in Toronto now costing $2,900, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the increase in people working two or more jobs was because they need to make ends meet.

More than half of people surveyed in the Toronto-area expressed concern about their ability (or a close family member’s ability) to secure or maintain stable full-time employment.

In addition to feeling stressed and burnt out, fewer people are involved in their community, with participation in cultural, educational and hobby organizations dropping by 39 per cent since 2018. Involvement in sports or recreational activities has also seen a 30 per cent decline.

Read More: The Happiest Places to Live in Canada in 2023

The Loneliness Epidemic Around the World

Loneliness is a concern that does not affect only Torontonians or Canadians. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently launched a new commission, bringing together leading experts to address loneliness as a significant health threat to countries of all income levels.

In a press release, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO, explained the consequences of social isolation and loneliness. “People without enough strong social connections are at higher risk of stroke, anxiety, dementia, depression, suicide and more,” he said. Through this new initiative, the WHO hopes to better understand the impact of social connections on people’s health and identify methods to strengthen these connections across all age groups.

You Might Also Like: Toronto’s 10 Best Neighbourhoods to Live and Work Revealed



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