Canada’s Best Places to Live 2015: Time to Think Small
The best place to live in Canada is small, really small. It is often assumed that residing in a modest-sized town implies giving up access to most services and amenities you need but it may not be true everywhere. Satellite communities have evolved around major centres to deliver small-town flare with big-city conveniences. Several of these communities aren’t just great places to live: they’re in fact Canada’s best-kept secrets. An example is St. Albert, a community of just 64,000 on the edge of Edmonton. Very few Canadians have likely ever heard of it. But it tops MoneySense’s annual Best Places to Live ranking.
Canada Top 25 Best Places to Live
About half of the top 20 cities on our list are west of Winnipeg. The area offers plenty of opportunities to land high-paying jobs, and the city is fast expanding its transit system and growing its cultural scene. The westward tilt brings some casualties in the east. For instance in Orillia and Owen Sound in Ontario, growth is stagnant and the job outlook is dim.
Many big cities took a step back this year, except for Quebec City, Laval, Que., and Vancouver. A dichotomy is emerging in the La Belle Province, where little-known communities like Boucherville, Lévis and Rimouski are jumping up the list while Montreal sinks towards the bottom.
Several critics point out that we don’t include intangible considerations – like the best scenery or hottest attractions – into our methodology. This is true and we don’t take these things into account because such characteristics aren’t the point of this exercise. This isn’t the ‘best places to visit list’, it’s the ‘best places to live list’. The characteristics we take into account include good access to medical care, low crime, good public transportation and nice weather. And most importantly, the best places to live in Canada have to be affordable. So measures like housing prices, employment and wealth are particularly given the greatest weighting in our methodology.