Room for improvement



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Lachute, Que. has placed last overall on MoneySense’s 2013 ranking of Canadian 200 cities and towns—not because it isn’t beautiful or because its residents aren’t wonderful—but because the city falls behind in a number of key metrics that ensure a viable city for years to come.

The town’s problem areas include a shrinking population, low incomes and high taxes. On the plus side, there are plenty of doctors in Lachute, house prices are relatively low and the weather is mild compared to other parts of Quebec.

Lachute isn’t the only town on our annual Best Places to Live list that has its work cut out for it. Here are the worst performing cities in some of the most important categories:

Population growth: Miramichi, N.B.

This New Brunswick town saw its population decline more than 14% between 2011 and 2012. The once thriving pulp and paper town has seen many of its residents relocate to other parts of the province and across Canada in search of work.

Unemployment: Bay Roberts, N.L.

The jobless rate in Bay Roberts has continued to climb reaching 22.38% in recent months or roughly three times the national average.

Discretionary income: Victoria, B.C.

Residents in Victoria have the least amount of money left over after paying taxes and other expenses. In all fairness, the low average discretionary income of $26,066 is most likely a reflection of the city’s large aging population living on fixed income pensions.

Steepest house prices: West Vancouver, B.C.

Want a home on this majestic coastline? It’ll cost you $1.46 million give or take a couple hundred thousand depending on the home. That’s high even for this wealthy city with high-paid residents. West Vancouver also ranks way down on our list for affordable housing.

Transportation: Sylvan Lake, Alta.

This city likes its cars. Sylvan Lake has the smallest percentage of residents that walk, cycle or take transit to work.

Weather: Langley, B.C.

Langley has beat out St. John’s, Newfoundland for the dubious distinction of having the worst weather in Canada. Langley sees more than 1.4 meters of rain per year spread out over 168 days on average. It’s not warm either. Residents get 163 days a year on average with a minimum of 20 degrees C.

Crime: Thompson, Man.

Thompson has overtaken North Battleford, Sask. as the most crime ridden city in the country with a crime rate of 46,753 per 100,000 and violent crime rate of 6,709 per 100,000.

Property tax: Halton Hills, Ont.

A city adjacent to a protected “Green Belt” means higher property taxes. How high? Nearly 3% of a home’s value.

Doctors: Brooks, Alta.

Despite efforts to attract new physicians, Brooks is still home to the fewest doctors per capita in Canada with just 0.44 MDs for every 1,000 residents.

6 comments on “Room for improvement

  1. Langley worst weather in Canada?!?! I'm very curious about the metric they use to determine best weather. That just blows my mind. Obviously rain is seen as bad by these guys. Langley is for the most part lush & green. Definitely not the best weather, but FAR from the worst… But I don't know how Oakville can be judged as having better weather than a place like Kamloops, Penticton, or Kelowna… Seriously?!?!




  3. Miramichi , perhaps sleepy but isn't this a positive ? Who needs to lock their doors ? Great summer weather , warm ocean water and sandy beaches not to far away . Amazing fresh fish , lobster , scallops etc which are a low cost item . Oh and lets not forget the cheap housing . Then there is great hunting , fishing and golfing . In reference having lived on the doorstep to Winnipeg for the past 20 years what a contradiction , one scary crime ridden and underdeveloped city . With regards to Miramichi I would suggest that you refer to the article in Zoomer magazine they hit it right on the nose .


  4. Have to disagree with others re. Langley vs. Winnipeg – I find grey skies quite depressing, and prefer to see the sun even if it's cold. As with many things, some of this stuff just comes down to personal preference. Doctors is another matter entirely – diminished health care access is getting unacceptable in most Canadian communities.


  5. Maybe some of your people should come take a good look at Windsor, Ontario and surrounding Essex
    County. We have everything you could want here, good weather, lovely countryside, boating, fishing, golfing, shopping, great place to retire to, or maybe just to visit and whet you appetite!!!!!


  6. I couldn't help but notice there was no mention of Medicine Hat Alberta, even though it's near Lethbridge and close to Regina. Looks as though it didn't even rank either way! I'm pretty sure it's a popular place to retire, or so i've heard, but no mention here. In fact, i wouldn't mind knowing more stats about it if at all possible. Thank-you.


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