While we can’t gauge many of the elements that people enjoy in their cities, the nearness of family, the friendliness of neighbours or even great sunsets, we have measured what can be measured and compared what can be compared from towns and cities across our provinces and territories.
What’s New This Year
Best Places to Live 2012 measures 190 cities, up from 180 last year. To come up with the ranking, we gathered information on Census Metropolitan Areas (CMA) and Census Agglomeration (CA) areas as defined by Statistics Canada. We then broke up the CMAs of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Quebec City, Hamilton, Ottawa-Gatineau, St. Catharines-Niagara, Oshawa, Edmonton, Victoria and Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo into their component cities of 50,000 or more in population.
In 2012, we added the new CAs of Steinbach, Man., and High River, Lacombe, Strathmore and Sylvan Lake, all in Alberta. New suburban cities are Aurora, Ont., Strathcona County, Alta., Blainville and Dollard des Ormeaux, both Que. In addition, Gatineau, Que. and Saanich, B.C. are split out from their CMA areas for the first time. Lastly, La Tuque, Que. was removed from the CA cities designation by Statistics Canada.
We have also included breakout lists; Best Places to Retire, Best Places to Raise Kids and Best Places to Find Jobs.
How We Ranked the Cities – The Calculations
A total of 105 points was up for grabs. Each category (below) was allotted a number of points depending on the importance of the category. For example, employment statistics are worth 10 points while sales taxes are worth 1 point. Some categories are further broken into subcategories. For example, the crime category is determined by statistics in the subcategories of violent crime, crime severity and total crime.
The top city in each category received the maximum number of points, and the rest of the cities received descending incremental points based on their ranking.