Toronto could be one of the loneliest cities in Canada with nearly four out of 10 residents now reporting having the feeling three or four days a week, a new report suggests.

The Toronto Foundation’s 2023 Vital Signs report, titled ‘The Power of Us,’ found that 37 per cent of Toronto respondents to a wide-ranging survey reported feeling lonely at least three days a week.

The number of Torontonians who reported feeling lonely at least three days a week was higher than in any other city included in the survey.

In comparison, the Canadian-wide survey found that 28 per cent of people felt lonely in other major regions and other major cities.

In comparison, the Canadian-wide survey found that 28 per cent of people felt lonely in other major regions and other major cities.

Toronto Vital Signs 2023 Report

Vancouver reported a 28 per cent of people feeling lonely, and Montreal was the lowest in the list of metropolitan areas with people reportedly feeling lonely at 17 per cent.

Other regions experiencing extreme loneliness include the Maritimes, with 35 per cent of residents feeling lonely multiple times a week, and the Calgary-Edmonton region at 28 per cent.

“The connective tissue across all issues is all of us – the relationship we have with one another and our institutions,” the Toronto Foundation’s CEO Sharon Avery told CP24. “When weak, it undermines progress on just about everything.”

Key findings in the report included an increase in Toronto adults worrying about work, experiencing severe loneliness and depression, and facing discrimination.

Many Toronto residents also reported to have fewer friendships compared to pre-pandemic.

In 2018, the majority of Torontonians responding to the same survey reported that they had many close family members or friends. A total of 30 per cent of respondents reported having "many" and 25 per cent reported having "very many."

By 2022, the number who had reported having many or very many friends had dropped to 44 per cent, from 55 per cent.

Research for the study was conducted by the Environments Institute for Survey Research, and was complemented by a Canadian-wide online survey of 2,100 adults.

This year’s report included findings from a survey done in the summer of 2022, which included a sample size of 4,163 adults who reside in Toronto.

A major cause of loneliness, according to Avery, is feeling disconnected from community.

“The difference between being alone and being lonely is that you can actually be lonely with people,” she said in an interview with CP24. “Because it’s about having the relationships in your life that you trust, where you feel that you belong.”

In summary, she said, “A lot of folks in Toronto don’t feel they belong.”

Other factors affecting the mental health of Torontonians include work-related stress and affordability within the city, according to the report.

Over 50 per cent of respondents to the survey said that they worry about themselves, or a family member, having a stable full-time job. In addition, 22 per cent of workers in the GTA said that they feel burnt out most or all of the time.

According to a recent survey completed by the Ontario Mental Health Association, more people are accessing mental health support than at any other time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Housing affordability was also an issue noted in the report, with it costing about 9.5 times the median income in Toronto. The report states that the hourly minimum wage would need to raise to $33.60 for a single minimum wage worker to afford an average one-bedroom apartment in the city.

Additionally, 17 per cent of Toronto respondents to the survey reported living in overcrowded conditions, including almost a third of newcomers.