Canada’s Best Places to Live 2016

This year, there are winners coast-to-coast

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by

From the Summer 2016 issue of the magazine.

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Canadians are proud of their hometowns—and rightfully so. From abroad, many would say we’re all fortunate to live anywhere in this vast, lucky nation. That’s why our annual Best Places to Live in Canada is really an exercise in finding the best of the best. Here at MoneySense, we have strong feelings about what makes a city a great place to live. Above all else it should be prosperous, but affordable. It should also be safe and easy to get around, with plenty of amenities. And nice weather helps, because who wants to wear a parka eight months of the year? Tracking the data for hundreds of Canadian cities is a major undertaking, which is why we turn to Environics Analytics and other partners to create the most comprehensive data set we can. Many cities offer a comfortable place to hang your hat if money is no object, but the greatest places are the ones where the entire community thrives. Scroll down to see the Best Places by region.

Photo gallery: Top 25 Best Places to Live »
See also: Full ranking of 219 cities »


Hover or tap to see the Best Place to Live in each region


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Canada’s Best Places to Retire »

What does the perfect place to retire look like? We feel it should be somewhere with low taxes, a thriving cultural community, quick access to an airport and plenty of doctors. (It should also have 20°C weather in February, but there are some things we can’t control.) Here are the Top 10 places with the highest retirement score.


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Canada’s Best Places to Raise Kids » 

Raising a family is a lot of work, but it gets easier if you have a strong community to back you up. Our ranking looks for access to affordable daycare, high density of school-aged kids and schools, affordable homes and well-paying jobs. Here are the 10 cities that scored the highest for having kids.


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Canada’s Best Places for New Canadians »

Those looking to start a new life in Canada should place these 10 cities high on their list. What do they have in common? Well-paying jobs, low unemployment rates and plenty of affordable rental properties. They’re also culturally diverse, increasing the odds that recent immigrants will forge new connections in the community.


Canada’s Richest Places »

Six Canadian cities have household net worths above the $1-million mark—and one of them also cracks the top 10 of the overall Best Places to Live in the country. And get this: The No. 1 city’s $3.5-million average household net worth is more than twice as much as that of the No. 2 richest city in Canada.

best places to live

Weekend nightlife in the Byward Market, Ottawa, Ont.
(Photograph by David Johnson)

Photo gallery: Top 25 Best Places to Live »
See also: Full ranking of 219 cities »

14 comments on “Canada’s Best Places to Live 2016

  1. Dawson Creek not Dawsonreek on your listing.

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    • Thanks for catching that!

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  2. I would love to know how much time you have spent in Windsor Ontario. It is an amazing city, with amazing people, reasonable real estate, a diverse and supportive region for the LGBTQ community, surrounded by water on three sides of the region, offers a balanced lifestyle easy access to world class entertainment and some of the most charitable people in all of Canada I am a subscriber of Money Sense Magazine and a business owner here in Windsor. There is no other community in Canada I could have lived and thrived in my business for 30 years and still had a completely balanced lifestyle. Please take the time to come the city and truly experience it before you write these stories Many young entrepreneurs are setting up in Windsor because they can work to live not live to work. I invite you to come to Windsor and let me show you around-Windsor is often snubbed by media snobs who have never experienced it true beauty and lifestyle.

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    • MoneySense: I also take great issue with your ranking of Windsor. You give us no check mark for Affordable Housing, yet we are ranked #1 in Canada for affordable housing (as typically measured by economists as the average income versus average home sale price). You give us no check mark for low crime, yet we rank 27th of 500+ communities in crime rate, plus we are surrounded by 4 of the Top 10 safest towns (essentially bedroom communities to Windsor as we were never amalgamated like most major communities in Ontario). And at last count — I haven’t checked this year — we had the 7th highest average family incomes in Canada, yet you’ve given us no check mark for “high incomes”. We have the highest net disposable incomes in Canada for Pete’s sake. Not sure how you collected your data, but as someone with a heavy statistical background I must strongly object to your omissions of our clear, factual and easy to research strengths.

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    • Hello, I am an Black American working women and I am thinking of moving to Canada. I make a good living here in the states and looking for a good job. I have over 20+ years of Executive Administrative experience. I have 3 kids, my son is currently in college to become a Forensic Pathologists, and I have two girls 10 & 4. I am very displeased with the education system down here in Georgia. My 10 year is made to suffer because she is highly intelligent and they no longer have gifted classes. I was told by the principle ” they prefer to mix the higher learning kids in with lower learning kids, hoping the higher learning kids will rub off on those bad ones.”. I am overboard done with this, I take my time to teach my kids at home so they ‘ll soar in school and this is what I get. I am looking for a family environment, diverse and nice homes. It’s time for a change and I’ve worked to hard, to let the government continue robbing me of my hard earned income, supporting those who sit home all day doing nothing to collect a check! I would gladly take any suggestions.. Thanks

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  3. West Kelowna has over 30,000 people and is British Columbia’a fastest growing city but is not on this list?

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  4. #1 – As mentioned LAST year also to you Moneysense people – PORT CREDIT is part of MISSISSAUGA – cannot be a separate entry unless you’re also doing neighborhoods.
    #2 – Can’t find Swifturrent OR Haldimandounty on any map.

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  5. How old is the information your sources are providing you with? Thunder Bay has an average property tax of well over the $2049 you claim it to be – my home is worth 58000 and I am paying just over 1000/yr – and my home is the bottom end of the values in the area. 5-6000/yr would be more accurate and that is just for residential. can you please have your sources advise what crime is going down? Nobody in the city has any idea – unless it is jay walking – crime in Thunder Bay is on the up swing and has been for a number of years now – the weekly police call report provided by the local media demonstrates that.

    As much as I hate to say it Thunder Bay is going down hill fast – taxes are constantly rising, services are being reduced, and more and more residents have to choose between eating and heating. This city is getting so expensive any one under 90-100 000 per yr house hold income are finding it difficult to live – and those ones are just making it. The rest of the city is just wishing they could afford to leave but with the constant tax hikes to pay for city councils pipe dream of a legacy that is not needed people cannot afford to leave.

    Next time maybe it would be beneficial to speak to residents as opposed to using what would appear to be 10 or 15 year old statistics.

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  6. @Alex Radionow
    I agree with Alex. Port Credit is now a neighbourhood in the city of Mississauga, Ontario since it was merged with Mississauga 42 years ago in 1974.

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  7. This article in Money Sense makes no sense to me. I have lived in Windsor, Ontario since childhood. This is a truly an amazing part of the Country. We have great weather, fascinating history, friendly people, wonderful wineries, our economy is getting better by the day, delicious restaurants, festivals, the list literally goes on and on. I truly question how this information was obtained. Did you ask people within these communities? Come on to Windsor and see for yourself. We have so many things to offer, there aren’t enough check boxes.

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  8. Windsor, Ontario: world class waterfront, award-winning restaurants, art gallery, museum, world-class sport facilities, casino, annual film festival, extended outdoor health recreation season, craft breweries, wineries, Hiram Walkers, art festivals, ethnic festivals, public and private schools, International bridge and tunnel crossings, one of the most affordable housing markets in Canada. Job opportunities on the rise, University of Windsor and St Clair College expanding to City core. Various farmers markets throughout the core. Plentiful senior housing, recreational and sporting activities. Multicultural schools, restaurants, places of worship. I could go on and on.
    Mr Brown you should actually spend some time here. We are so much more than people think.

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  9. Your article has really ticked me off!!! I was born and raised in Windsor, have lived and travelled to many parts of the world! Windsor is far from perfect, yet you managed to really hurt and anger many people! The weather in Windsor is by far the best in Canada and we are quickly becoming the retirement capital of Canada. Just ask my retired Toronto and British Colombian neighbours! They could never afford to retire in their hometowns…too expensive! The entire article is not fit to wrap fish parts in……..
    A proud Windsorite

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  10. Hi my name is Daniel Michael am from Eritrea am lives Israel &please I need to move canada and I need help

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  11. I am in a quandary as to why St. Catharines (which is spelt incorrectly) went from 99th position in 2015 to 139th in 2016. I tried to determine where the differences were, but the 2015 study does not seem to be available, while the 2014 study is. There has been no big changes in the area other than real estate going up, however not even that is substantial. Perhaps you should review the metrics you are utilizing to determine the best place to live in Canada. I have lived in over 10 cities in a number of provinces in Canada and there are some ratings that I wholeheartedly disagree with. Perhaps the question we should ask is who these cities are the best for? I have a family and have lived in Vancouver and for me and my family St Catharines is an amazing place to live. It is beautiful, there is alot to do, access is good to Toronto and will be great with the Go Train. Homes are way cheaper here and the cost of living is low especially when compared to Vancouver. Have you compared things like the cost of groceries, the cost of gas or daycare, things that matter to people with children? In Vancouver I was house poor, daycare was expensive, I made far less money and anything that wasn’t chained down was stolen. I think you need to not only add more metrics to your study, but also perhaps visit the cities and interview the people that live there.

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