As two of the largest cities in North America, Toronto and Chicago often get compared for their size and influence. But when it comes to sheer geographical area, which of these metro giants is bigger?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Chicago is the larger city, with 234 square miles of land area compared to Toronto’s 243 square miles.

In this in-depth guide, we’ll look at total area, population size, economic power, and infrastructure to see how Toronto and Chicago stack up. By the end, you’ll have a clear sense of which city reigns supreme in size and scope.

Total Land Area

Toronto’s city boundaries and total size

Toronto, the capital city of the Canadian province of Ontario, is known for its vibrant culture, diverse population, and stunning skyline. When it comes to land area, Toronto has a total size of approximately 630 square kilometers (243 square miles).

It is important to note that this figure includes both land and water areas within the city boundaries. Toronto’s city limits encompass various neighborhoods, parks, and bodies of water, such as Lake Ontario and the Toronto Islands.

Chicago’s city boundaries and total size

Chicago, often referred to as the “Windy City,” is a major metropolis located in the state of Illinois. With its iconic skyline, rich history, and renowned architecture, Chicago is a popular tourist destination.

In terms of land area, Chicago spans approximately 606 square kilometers (234 square miles). Similar to Toronto, this measurement includes both land and water areas within the city’s boundaries. Chicago is situated along the shores of Lake Michigan, providing residents and visitors with picturesque waterfront views.

It’s important to note that while Toronto has a larger land area compared to Chicago, it’s worth considering other factors when comparing the two cities. Population density, infrastructure, cultural offerings, and economic opportunities are just a few aspects to consider when determining which city is “bigger” in terms of overall impact and influence.

Population Size

Toronto metro area and city population

Toronto, the largest city in Canada, boasts a thriving population. As of the latest data, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has a population of over 6 million people. This includes the city of Toronto itself, as well as its surrounding municipalities such as Mississauga, Brampton, and Markham.

The city of Toronto alone has a population of approximately 3 million residents. These numbers make Toronto one of the most populous cities in North America.

Chicago metro area and city population

Chicago, often referred to as the “Windy City,” is one of the largest cities in the United States. The Chicago metropolitan area, which includes the city and its surrounding suburbs, has a population of over 9.5 million people.

The city of Chicago itself has a population of around 2.7 million residents. With its rich history, iconic skyline, and diverse population, Chicago has established itself as a major cultural and economic hub.

Comparing the population sizes of Toronto and Chicago, we can see that while Toronto has a larger metropolitan area population, Chicago has a larger population within the city limits. However, it’s important to note that population size is just one factor to consider when comparing cities.

Other factors such as economic growth, cultural offerings, and quality of life also play a significant role in determining the appeal and vitality of a city.

Economic Power

Toronto’s GDP and major industries

Toronto, also known as Canada’s financial capital, has a booming economy that contributes significantly to the country’s overall GDP. According to the latest data available, Toronto’s GDP surpassed $350 billion in 2019, making it one of the largest metropolitan economies in North America.

The city is home to several major industries that drive its economic power. The financial sector, including banking, insurance, and investment services, plays a crucial role in Toronto’s economy. The Toronto Stock Exchange is one of the world’s largest stock exchanges, attracting investors from around the globe.

Additionally, Toronto has a strong presence in the technology and innovation sectors. The city is known for its vibrant startup ecosystem and is home to numerous tech companies, including software development firms, artificial intelligence startups, and biotech companies.

Toronto also has a thriving film and television industry, with the city often being referred to as “Hollywood North.” The entertainment sector contributes significantly to the city’s economy, creating jobs and attracting international productions.

Chicago’s GDP and major industries

Chicago, often referred to as the “Windy City,” is a major economic powerhouse in the United States. With a GDP of over $700 billion, Chicago’s economy is diverse and robust.

The city is home to a wide range of industries that drive its economic growth. The manufacturing sector, including automotive, steel, and machinery production, has historically been a significant contributor to Chicago’s economy.

However, the city has undergone a transition towards a more service-based economy in recent years.

Chicago is a global financial hub, with a strong presence of banks, trading firms, and financial institutions. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange are among the largest derivatives exchanges in the world.

In addition to finance and manufacturing, Chicago has a thriving tourism industry. The city attracts millions of visitors each year, drawn to its iconic landmarks such as the Willis Tower, Millennium Park, and Navy Pier.

It’s worth noting that both Toronto and Chicago have thriving real estate markets, with commercial and residential properties contributing significantly to their respective economies.

Toronto Chicago
GDP $350 billion $700 billion
Major Industries
  • Finance
  • Technology
  • Entertainment
  • Manufacturing
  • Finance
  • Tourism


Toronto’s airports, transit, roads, etc.

Toronto, being a major international city, boasts a well-developed infrastructure that caters to the needs of its residents and visitors. The city is served by two main airports: Toronto Pearson International Airport, which is Canada’s largest and busiest airport, and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, located on the Toronto Islands.

These airports offer a wide range of domestic and international flights, connecting Toronto to destinations around the world.

When it comes to public transit, Toronto has a comprehensive system that includes subways, streetcars, buses, and commuter trains. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) operates the subway and streetcar network, which covers a large portion of the city.

The GO Transit system provides regional transportation services, connecting Toronto with its surrounding suburbs and other cities in the Greater Toronto Area.

Toronto’s road network is well-maintained and extensive, with numerous highways, expressways, and major arterial roads. The city’s grid layout makes it relatively easy to navigate, although traffic congestion can be a challenge during peak hours.

To alleviate this issue, the city has implemented various measures, such as HOV lanes and dedicated cycling infrastructure, to promote alternative modes of transportation.

Chicago’s airports, transit, roads, etc.

Chicago, often referred to as the “Windy City,” also boasts a robust infrastructure that supports its status as a major economic and cultural hub. The city is served by two major airports: O’Hare International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world, and Midway International Airport.

These airports offer a wide range of domestic and international flights, connecting Chicago to destinations around the globe.

Chicago’s public transit system is known as the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), which operates an extensive network of buses and trains. The “L” train system, short for “elevated,” is an iconic feature of the city and provides convenient transportation throughout Chicago and its surrounding suburbs.

The CTA also operates a comprehensive bus network, ensuring that residents and visitors have access to reliable and affordable public transportation options.

Chicago’s road infrastructure includes an extensive network of highways, expressways, and major arterial roads. The city’s renowned grid system, with streets laid out in a logical and organized manner, makes it relatively easy for drivers to navigate.

However, like any major city, Chicago experiences traffic congestion during peak hours, and drivers should plan their routes accordingly.


While Toronto comes close, Chicago claims the title for the larger city by total land area. However, Toronto bests Chicago in population size and economic growth. Both cities boast extensive infrastructure networks befitting global hubs.

When considering all factors, Chicago edges out Toronto for sheer size. But Toronto’s rapid growth shows signs of giving Chicago a run for its money in upcoming years.

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