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School of Continuing Studies | University of Toronto

Money and Banking

Canada’s currency is based on dollars and cents. Credit cards (VISA, Mastercard and American Express) are accepted for most purchases. Many stores and restaurants also accept debit cards (Interac). These bank cards allow you to pay for goods and services directly from your bank account. Some international debit cards are accepted. Ask your bank if your card is valid in Canada before leaving your home country, and be sure you know your daily withdrawal limit.

Most Canadians do not carry large amounts of cash. We recommend that you do not carry too much cash. Instead, we suggest that you bring your money to Canada as travellers cheques in Canadian dollars or use a credit card or debit card. Travellers cheques can be converted to cash at most Canadian banks. You can also easily replace them if they are lost.

All major Canadian banks and many international banks are located in Toronto. ATMs (automatic teller machines) are widely available for withdrawing cash or using credit cards and debit cards.

Living Costs

Compared with many other large cities around the world, Toronto is affordable. Each student’s budget will be different depending on the kind of accommodation, food, transportation and activities you prefer. The sample below shows a minimum budget for a single student living in Toronto for six months (in Canadian dollars):

Sample Budget (for six months)

  • Accommodation: $4,680.00
  • English Language Program optional activities: $800.00 (One weekend trip plus other activities.)
  • Food: $2,000.00
  • Clothing: $325.00
  • Local transportation (TTC): $780.00
  • Total: $8,585.00 plus course tuition

The University of Toronto has an informative page of links about Living in Toronto.

When you buy products and services in Canada, you pay sales tax in addition to the listed price. In the province of Ontario, the rate for HST (harmonized sales tax) on many items and services is 13%. It means that a $1 item will cost $1.13 to buy.