Canada's Best Places to Live 2018: Top Cities for Healthy Living - MoneySense

Canada’s Best Places to Live 2018: Top Cities for Healthy Living

Health care wait times are a key factor in this year’s ranking

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ottawa best place to live healthy cities 2018

(Josef Pittner/Shutterstock)

Access to health care isn’t something that’s typically at the top of people’s checklists when they’re looking for a place to live — but maybe it should be.

Living far from an urban centre might mean long trips and expensive overnight stays if you or someone in your family needs specialized care. Ambulances might take longer to reach you in emergency situations. And in some parts of the country, you might find yourself on a long waitlist for necessary treatments.


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The Best Places to Live ranking has always included access to health care as an indicator, but this year, we beefed it up. We added data on health care wait times at both the regional and provincial level, awarding high marks to cities where residents can expect faster access to surgeries, cancer therapy and other treatments.

The results are clear: If you want plenty of family doctors, proximity to top hospitals and reasonable wait times, Ottawa is the place to be. In fact, five of the other cities in the top 10 best places for access to health care are within easy driving distance of Canada’s capital.

Thanks to the fastest health care wait times in the country, Ontario is also the clear winning province. Sherbrooke, Que., is the only one of the top 25 cities for access to health care that’s outside Ontario, thanks to its hospitals affiliated with the Université de Sherbrooke Faculty of Medicine and wait times for hip and knee replacements among the top 10 shortest in the country.

The access to health care category is worth 11 per cent of the main Best Places to Live ranking. The category considers the number of family doctors and specialists, the number of doctor’s offices, regional and provincial health care wait times and proximity to hospitals. For more information, please see the methodology page.


The Top 100

Search to filter by city or province:

Rank City Province Family doctors per 100,000 residents in health region Specialists per 100,000 residents in health region Doctors' offices Days on wait list for a hip replacement [1] Days on wait list for a knee replacement [1] Days on wait list for bypass surgery [2] Days on wait list for cataract surgery [2] Days on wait list for breast cancer surgery [2] Days on wait list for lung cancer surgery [2] Days on wait list for colorectal cancer surgery [2] Days on wait list for bladder cancer surgery [2] Days on wait list for radiation therapy [2] Days on wait list for hip fracture repair [2] Days on wait list for prostate cancer surgery [2]
1 Ottawa ON 142 149 779 83 83 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
2 Cornwall ON 142 149 74 83 83 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
3 Thunder Bay ON 135 78 192 77 65 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
4 Hawkesbury ON 142 149 22 83 83 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
5 Pembroke ON 142 149 21 83 83 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
6 North Dundas ON 142 149 10 83 83 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
7 Greater Sudbury ON 120 76 151 69 87 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
8 Sault Ste. Marie ON 120 76 141 69 87 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
9 Kingston ON 137 131 189 95 101 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
10 Carleton Place ON 142 149 8 83 83 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
11 North Bay ON 120 76 80 69 87 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
12 Sherbrooke QC 130 133 183 53 65 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
13 Belleville ON 137 131 98 95 101 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
14 Kenora ON 135 78 21 77 65 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
15 North Glengarry ON 142 149 6 83 83 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
16 North Grenville ON 142 149 6 83 83 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
17 Mississippi Mills ON 142 149 6 83 83 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
18 Timmins ON 120 76 40 69 87 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
19 Brockville ON 137 131 48 95 101 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
20 Markham ON 95 77 238 72 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
21 South Glengarry ON 142 149 2 83 83 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
22 The Nation ON 142 149 2 83 83 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
23 Richmond Hill ON 95 77 184 72 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
24 Newmarket ON 95 77 131 72 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
25 Prince Edward County ON 137 131 26 95 101 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
26 Granby QC 130 133 35 53 65 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
27 Prince Albert SK 126 66 97 43 65 3 59 21 16 19 18 7 82 50
28 Quinte West ON 137 131 21 95 101 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
29 Trois-Rivières QC 110 88 192 63 60 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
30 Temiskaming Shores ON 120 76 14 69 87 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
31 West Nipissing ON 120 76 10 69 87 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
32 Drummondville QC 110 88 91 63 60 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
33 Aurora ON 95 77 31 72 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
34 Montréal QC 124 221 1059 86 94 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
35 Georgina ON 95 77 27 72 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
36 Greater Napanee ON 137 131 10 95 101 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
37 Shawinigan QC 110 88 67 63 60 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
38 Victoriaville QC 110 88 54 63 60 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
39 Magog QC 130 133 11 53 65 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
40 Peterborough ON 81 66 187 71 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
41 Cowansville QC 130 133 9 53 65 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
42 Oshawa ON 81 66 115 71 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
43 Gaspé QC 198 100 4 40 47 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
44 Whitby ON 81 66 81 71 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
45 Ajax ON 81 66 80 71 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
46 Westmount QC 124 221 78 86 94 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
47 Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine QC 198 100 3 40 47 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
48 New Tecumseth ON 95 77 13 72 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
49 Elliot Lake ON 120 76 3 69 87 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
50 Pointe-Claire QC 124 221 61 86 94 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
51 Kawartha Lakes ON 81 66 58 71 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
52 Pickering ON 81 66 50 71 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
53 Sept-Îles QC 172 76 12 37 77 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
54 Oakville ON 91 73 220 77 100 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
55 Rouyn-Noranda QC 139 89 41 81 83 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
56 Baie-Comeau QC 172 76 10 37 77 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
57 Mont-Royal QC 124 221 25 86 94 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
58 Barrie ON 105 68 195 95 104 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
59 Milton ON 91 73 63 77 100 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
60 Cobourg ON 81 66 20 71 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
61 Dollard-Des Ormeaux QC 124 221 19 86 94 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
62 Val-d'Or QC 139 89 20 81 83 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
63 Vancouver BC 177 299 958 94 127 7 78 18 24 21 23 9 84 40
64 Dorval QC 124 221 18 86 94 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
65 Hamilton ON 100 118 569 116 106 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
66 Saguenay QC 132 102 168 80 106 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
67 Clarington ON 81 66 17 71 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
68 Kirkland QC 124 221 17 86 94 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
69 Windsor ON 93 64 378 69 110 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
70 Côte-Saint-Luc QC 124 221 15 86 94 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
71 Orillia ON 105 68 69 95 104 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
72 St. Catharines ON 100 118 201 116 106 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
73 Amos QC 139 89 16 81 83 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
74 Burlington ON 100 118 197 116 106 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
75 St. John's NL 130 148 250 92 149 6 63 14 23 12 21 12 87 34
76 La Tuque QC 110 88 6 63 60 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
77 Collingwood ON 105 68 44 95 104 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
78 Halton Hills ON 91 73 27 77 100 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
79 Uxbridge ON 81 66 11 71 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
80 Adjala-Tosorontio ON 95 77 0 72 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
81 Niagara Falls ON 100 118 94 116 106 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
82 Brantford ON 100 118 94 116 106 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
83 Midland ON 105 68 34 95 104 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
84 Sarnia ON 93 64 80 69 110 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
85 Chatham-Kent ON 93 64 75 69 110 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
86 Port Hope ON 81 66 8 71 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
87 Alma QC 132 102 39 80 106 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
88 Bracebridge ON 105 68 24 95 104 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
89 Trent Hills ON 81 66 6 71 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
90 Huntsville ON 105 68 23 95 104 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
91 Welland ON 100 118 42 116 106 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
92 Roberval QC 132 102 25 80 106 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
93 Lévis QC 106 87 59 85 94 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
94 Leamington ON 93 64 36 69 110 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
95 Scugog ON 81 66 4 71 78 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34
96 Saskatoon SK 118 161 602 114 152 3 59 21 16 19 18 7 82 50
97 Saint-Georges QC 106 87 44 85 94 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
98 Corner Brook NL 139 90 45 92 140 6 63 14 23 12 21 12 87 34
99 Beaconsfield QC 124 221 3 86 94 N/A 41 19 21 20 26 N/A N/A 35
100 Kitchener ON 99 68 249 95 148 7 67 15 16 19 24 7.7 86 34

[1] Median days in health region
[2] Median days in province