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Home » Immigration, Travel

Best places to live: Canada’s Top 10 cities

Submitted by on May 6, 2010 – 9:01 am7 Comments

Ottawa sign img_1628-1Most newcomers to Canada settle in the country’s largest urban areas: Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.

Yet according to the MoneySense 2010 Best Places to Live survey — which rated 179 Canadian cities and towns on such factors as climate, prosperity, access to healthcare, home affordability, crime rates, and lifestyle — some of Canada’s smaller cities came out on top.

And the nation’s capital, Ottawa, earned this year’s #1 spot.

The prevalence of government and university jobs has made Ottawa more recession-proof than other communities, and salaries there are high, while housing costs are relatively low.

Here’s the MoneySense Top 10 list:

  1. Ottawa-Gatineau, ON
  2. Kingston, ON
  3. Burlington, ON
  4. Fredericton, NB
  5. Moncton, NB
  6. Repentigny, QC
  7. Brandon, MB
  8. Victoria, BC
  9. Winnipeg, MB
  10. Lévis, QC

Among Canada’s other large(er) cities, London, ON ranked #12, Halifax, NS was #14, Edmonton, AB was #16, and Quebec City came in at #18.

While Vancouver frequently tops many lists of the world’s most liveable cities, it lost points in the MoneySense poll because of the high cost of housing, earning a ranking of #29.

Toronto and Montreal have much less expensive housing options than Vancouver, but the recession has caused unemployment rates in both those cities to rise about the national average. Toronto ranked #85 in the MoneySense survey, while Montreal was #120.

MoneySense even published a companion article about why Toronto will never be Number One on their list.

However, since MoneySense this year separated out suburbs with more than 50,000 residents, some Toronto and Montreal suburbs scored far better than the cities themselves, including Burlington, ON at #3 and Laval, QC at #13.

Here’s the link to the complete list of the MoneySense 2010 Best Places to Live.

Ottawa photo ©Carolyn B. Heller


  • Joanna says:

    Hi, my husband and I are thinking of going to Canada to study in one of the universities but Canada is such a huge and beautiful country an we cannot make up our minds as to which province to go to. I used to study in Edmonton, Alberta some 20 years ago and loved it there but am not sure if it’d be suitable for us. We have a 12year old and have to consider a school for her as well. We are not expecting to find the perfect place but somewhere that is safe, the cost of living won’t be too high, and the education received will be good. Also we love the cold and hate the heat as we have that enough from where we come from. We’re really hoping to relocate by next year so HELP!!! thanks . Btw, WE LOVE CANADA and truly believe it’s paradise on earth.

    • jr says:

      Alberta is great – cold winters, lots of sunshine year round, great educational system and post secondary – Calgary and Lethbridge are awesome! My three sons and I went thru the system here from school to post secondary and have lived all over the world. Our Alberta education prepared us well.

  • Sitamshu Marahatta says:

    Ottawa got voted the best Cty to live in Canada in 2010. I dont know why cause Hollywood north(Vancouver)is the best. I live in Edmonton,AB but i love Vancouver . only one thing bad about Hollywood north is it rains toooooooo much. Only L.A., N.Y.C and Las Vegas can beat Vancouver when it comes about celibrities and songs. You dont have to shovel your driveway cause it snows only about 0.49 meters each year. Vancouver is not much polluted cause they have big reputation of walking and biking.Infact Vansterdam is the 2nd city with many people using bikes and sailboats to travel.I swear a slomen oath that Vansterdam(Vancouver) will be voted the best city in Canada 2011—with my fingers crossed.-)Saskatoon calgary, edmonton and Victoria are also pretty good city to live in

  • Summer camps Switzerland says:

    Canada is a great place. What we need to avoid is health tourists or people from anywhere who use Canada as a part time residence to get free health care. In the end, this will drive up taxes and make health care expensive for the Canadians.

  • Tim says:

    I would find it helpful if your ratings included new resident retention.Brandon for example has had a lot of people re-locate there but few stay longer than 5-6 years.

    • Carolyn B. Heller says:

      Tim, that’s a good question. I don’t think MoneySense — the magazine that did these ratings — looked at resident retention. There was a recent article in the New York Times that looked specifically at immigration to Manitoba through that province’s Provincial Nominee Program, and the article reported that “the program has attracted about 50,000 people over the last decade, and surveys show a majority stayed.” I blogged about the Times article here: if you want to read more.