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Toronto trumps Vancouver as country's most expensive city

Toronto has topped Vancouver to become most expensive city in the country to live in.



Toronto surpassed pricey Vancouver due to its relatively high rental accommodation costs, Mercer's global cost-of-living survey, to be released Tuesday, shows. Canada's largest city moved up to 59th spot worldwide from the 76th position last year.



Vancouver climbed to 65th place from 75th last year, and is followed by Montreal and Calgary. Ottawa is the least expensive Canadian city in the rankings.

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Canada as a whole is becoming more expensive relative to other cities because of the strength of the Canadian dollar, it says.



The survey covers 214 cities in five continents and tracks the cost of 200 items in each place including housing, transport, food, clothing and entertainment. Mercer calls it the world's most comprehensive cost-of-living survey, which is designed to help multinationals plan compensation allowances for their expatriate staff.



This year's survey comes as "the world witnessed an incredible number of natural disasters and political upheavals that have all affected the lives of expatriate employees to some extent," said Nathalie Constantin-Métral, Mercer's senior researcher who compiled the ranking.



Currency fluctuations and the impact of inflation on goods and services -- gas prices in particular -- sparked shuffling on the list, she said.



Luanda, Angola is the world's most expensive city due to its record high accommodation prices, followed by Tokyo, N'Djamena, Chad, Moscow and Geneva. The least expensive city in the world to live in, for the second year running, is Karachi, Pakistan.



Brazil has galloped up the rankings, and the country's major cities are now among the world's most expensive.



Sao Paulo has the 10th-highest cost of living on the planet, zooming up from 21st place last year, according to Mercer's annual survey. Rio de Janeiro leapt to 12th spot from 29th place in 2010.

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The two South American cities are now more expensive to live in than Oslo, London or Seoul, as inflation has ballooned and its currency, the real, strengthened.







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About the Author

Tavia Grant has worked at The Globe and Mail since early 2005, covering topics from employment and currency markets to trade, microfinance and Latin American economies. She previously worked for Bloomberg News in Toronto and Zurich, writing on mining, stocks, currencies and secret Swiss bank accounts. More

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