This year’s Best Places to Live measures 179 cities, up from 154 last year. To come up with the ranking, we gathered information on Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomeration areas that had a population of 10,000 or greater (and for which the required data was available). We then broke up the CMAs of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Quebec City, Hamilton, Oshawa and Kitchener into their component cities of 50,000 or more in population.
We then ranked each community by the following categories. The categories were scored out of a given number of points. The higher the potential points, the more weight that category had in our final ranking.
WALK/BIKE TO WORK – 7 Points – Data taken from 2006 Statistics Canada reports.
WEATHER -18 Points (6 for each of amount of precipitation, number of wet days, days below 0). Ideal volume of precipitation was considered to by 700 ml per year – Source: Environment Canada
AIR QUALITY – 2 Points – One point for parts per million of ozone and one point for levels of suspended fine particulate matter, both of which are major components of smog. Data was from monitoring stations in or nearest to each city and reported by the National Air Pollution Surveillance Network.
POPULATION GROWTH – 10 Points – 2006 figures from Stats Canada. Results are based on the average Canadian growth from 01-06 of 5.4% plus 2% as an ideal rate. Higher created problems, lower meant less opportunities. Cities with negative growth received 0 points.
UNEMPLOYMENT – 10 Points – 2009 data from Statistics Canada when provided and 2010 estimates derived from Canadian Demographics.
HOUSING – 15 Points (7.5 for average house prices & 7.5 for time to buy a house) House average prices from reports and listings by MLS, Toronto, Fraser Valley, Vancouver and Quebec Real Estate Boards. Time to buy was derived from average price divided by average 2010 estimated household income sourced from Canadian Demographics.