Canada’s Best Places to Live 2011

Check out how your own community rated and why in 2011.



Online only.



What makes a city or town a great place to live? Can a community’s “livability” be measured? MoneySense believes that, to a certain extent, it can.

Canada’s Best Places to Live 2011 is based on data compiled from 180 Canadian cities and towns with populations over 10,000 people. Cities were rated based on home affordability, climate, prosperity, crime rates, access to health care and lifestyle, with subcategories in each area. Points were also given for the categories of transit, ammenities and culture. These categories are not included in the online list but are included in the full spreadsheet available for download.

Scoring highly on this list is not unlike being a scratch golfer. A community need not be perfect in every category. Being above average in all categories is enough to crack the top 10. Having excellent health-care options and a low unemployment rate will certainly help a city’s chances, but these are cancelled out if it’s too dangerous to walk the streets at night and the air quality is terrible. Consistency is key.

This year, for the second time in a row, our top city was Ottawa with a score of 71.7 points out of a possible 105.

Top 25 Best Places to Live Map

Top 25 Best Places to Live Map

Canada’s 25 top places to live 2011 include communities from coast to coast. Use the screen controls on the left side of the map to move around the country and zoom in on the featured cities. Click on each location to see that city’s rating in different categories and why it’s a great place to settle.


Top 25 Best Places to Live Map

Top 25 Places

The top 25 best places to live in Canada as ranked by MoneySense magazine.

Top 25 Best Places to Live Map

Worst Places to Live and why

These towns are struggling. Find out who they are.

Top 25 Best Places to Live Map

The Best City in Canada

Ten reasons that make this city the best.

Top 25 Best Places to Live Map

Best Cities by Category

Which cities have the best weather, the highest household income or the best job prospects.

How to use the Best Places List

Click through the different categories to find out how the cities performed. To download full spreadsheets click here

To see how we crunched the numbers, check out our full methodology

84 comments on “Canada’s Best Places to Live 2011

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  11. I agree with you about the weather. I would pick rain over snow and cold ANY day. The west coast has the best weather and lifestyle in Canada… where else can you go downhill skiing and golfing (without a big winter coat) in the SAME day.

    There is a reason why real estate out here is the most expensive in Canada… and it's not keeping people away.

  12. Fort McMurray is included in Wood Buffalo as defined by Statistics Canada
    Phil Froats, Data Manager, Moneysense and Canadian Business

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  20. How can you take this article seriously. The person who wrote this article does not even know the geography of Canada. He/she groups the best city (or cities) to live together. Which one is it? Ottawa, Ontario or Gatineau, Quebec?

  21. I agree with you. I really do not know why they group Ottawa with Gatineau. I would understand if both cities were in the same province, but they are not.

  22. I agree John: I was born and raised in Ottawa and now am retired in White Rock BC. I remember Ottawa and those winters. Great when I was a kid, but couldn't get out of there fast enough as the years rolled by. Now living just outside of Vancouver I have the best of both worlds. Still in Canada, but the lifestyle out here is totally different (and expensive) than anywhere I've ever lived. Its worth it! How Vancouver can be so far down the
    list from Victoria makes me question the whole article. Everything around Van is set around the water and Victoria is just a big tourist trap unless you have lots of money to live there. Vancouver is for outdoors and for the young at heart – no snow and you learn to love the rain. Where I used to see blackened snow I now see flowers in February and actual clean water out here. As for Ottawa/Gatineau don't let my father hear you say that in the same breath. Those who lived there know what I mean.

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  24. Well, that is certainly good, however what about the other choices we have here? Do you mind publishing one more post regarding all of them as well? Thanks!

  25. You included Whitehorse and Yellowknife, why not Iqaluit?

  26. – Property/Hydro/Water tax is too high
    – Not enough jobs
    – Bus fee is too high
    – Parking fee is too high
    – HST tax is too high
    – Tuition fee is too high
    – Green Bin project is bad due to poor planning, now the city wants to pick up garbage once every two weeks
    – Sewage water leaks into Ottawa river

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  36. I am a bit disappointed that one magazine can tear apart a country that was brought together just a short time ago, it was called the Olympics 2010. There are so many other events in this country where our forefathers gave up their LIVES so we could live pretty much safely anywhere. Where are our brains here? We are all Canadians and I am proud of the countries and cities, the diversity, no matter where. The diversity is what makes Canada special. Shame one the grading style.

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  40. i think points should be allocated not based on unemplyment rate, but based on career opportunities. i think canada is a big nation , and big career opportunities make it a big nation. for example you are a top lawyer and have your firm office in burlington, tell me who on earth will want to go to burlington with top corporate cases?? more points should be allocated to entertainment and tourism, that means top cities should have great clubs, restaurents, hotels, spa, etc. third, the point system here says considers culture. i dont understand what they mean by cultutre, but it seems they dont consider multiculture, coz kingston and burlington are 90 percent white and there is not trace of multiculture there. i mean no offence to small cities, but in my rating 1. is Vancouver 2. Toronto .. burlington better than toronto, oh comeon. if you want clean air of burlington so much why dont you pple live in amazon forest, its clean and natural there tooo.

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