Canada's Best Places to Retire 2018: Top 100 Cities - MoneySense

Canada’s Best Places to Retire 2018: Top 100 Cities

Meet the Goldilocks of cities: not too big, not too small

by

Ottawa city skyline at sunrise in the morning park view over river (Songquan Deng/Shutterstock)

Patricia Walsh’s three children are leaving Ottawa to start their careers, but the 58-year-old retired public servant is staying put.

Sure, Walsh has considered moving but every time she considers a different city, she realizes it can’t compete with Canada’s capital. She likes Ottawa’s size, safety and ease of getting around.

“I love to travel but I always love to come back to this city,” Walsh said. Nothing else has intrigued me enough, has gotten me interested enough to leave.”

The results of this year’s ranking of the best places to retire suggest Walsh is onto something. Ottawa took the top spot, thanks to its great healthcare, easy access to amenities and friendliness to cyclists, pedestrians and transit users.


PHOTOS:


Ottawa has historically done very well in the Canada’s Best Places to Live ranking, winning the top honour in the main ranking in 2016 and 2017 before being knocked off its throne by Oakville, Ont. this year. Ottawa’s balance of a strong, stable economy and an affordable cost of living make it tough to beat.

Those same factors make it a great place to retire. It may not be the bucolic small town or sun-drenched island many picture when imagining the ideal place to spend our golden years, but it has a lot going for it in other areas that are arguably more important.

Small town living is great while you’re healthy, but as we age, it becomes increasingly important to have top hospitals and healthcare professionals nearby. And Ottawa came in number one out of 415 cities in the ranking’s access to healthcare category.

The city has excellent hospitals, including specialized ones like the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. It has the sixth highest concentration of doctors’ offices in the country, with 779 clinics. And while there’s always room for improvement, Ontario has the shortest healthcare wait times in the country.

Seniors who moved to small towns may find themselves isolated once they give up their drivers’ licences, but Ottawa’s retirees have a wide range of options. It is among the top 10 cities for the percentage of its population that walks, bikes or takes public transit to work. The city’s paths along the river and canal are great for recreation, as well as getting from point A to point B.

For Walsh, Ottawa is the Goldilocks of cities: Not too big, not too small, but just right.

“It’s not Montreal or Toronto. It’s not a huge big city,” she said. “It’s a reasonably-sized city that has so much going for it.”

Our ranking of the best places to retire is based on the same 10 categories as the main Best Places to Live ranking, but with the weightings adjusted to reflect the needs and interests of retirees. The weather and healthcare categories are worth more and we take the unemployment rate out of consideration. For more information, please see the methodology page.

Canada’s Best Places to Retire — by region

Atlantic Canada: Fredericton, N.B. (no. 77)
Quebec: Westmount (no. 12)
Ontario: Ottawa (no. 1)
Prairies: Saskatoon, Sask. (no. 76)
Alberta: Calgary (no. 36)
British Columbia: Whistler (no. 18)


The Top 100

Search to filter by city or province:

City name Province Property tax rate as % of average income Family doctors per 100,000 population Population Average value of primary real estate Average annual property tax bill Population that walks to work Population that bikes to work Population that takes transit to work Days per year with rain or snow Days per year with rain Days per year above 0C Days per year above 20C Crime rate per 100,000 population [1] Crime Severity Index [1][2] Violent Crime Severity Index [1][3] Doctors' offices Population employed in arts and recreation Community index (higher is better)
Ottawa ON 2.4% 142 999,183 $510,363 $3,254 4.3% 1.5% 13.8% 161 118 216 117 3,782 52 64 779 2.2% 102
Toronto ON 2.0% 75 2,933,262 $880,923 $2,384 4.2% 1.3% 19.2% 145 114 264 117 3,847 59 104 3145 3.4% 99
Oakville ON 2.6% 91 209,039 $1,218,967 $5,269 1.8% 0.4% 8.3% 118 102 222 107 2,133 25 22 220 2.4% 98
Burlington ON 2.5% 100 197,683 $870,475 $3,749 2.0% 0.4% 5.3% 136 114 239 125 2,133 25 22 197 2.2% 103
Carleton Place ON 2.5% 142 10,764 $348,538 $2,729 4.4% 0.3% 2.5% 154 114 198 117 5,362 48 37 8 1.5% 104
Milton ON 2.0% 91 120,556 $1,146,379 $3,855 1.3% 0.3% 4.8% 139 112 196 120 2,133 25 22 63 1.7% 82
Cornwall ON 2.4% 142 47,734 $211,715 $1,811 3.3% 0.8% 3.0% 150 115 224 120 7,997 80 96 74 0.6% 117
Belleville ON 2.4% 137 51,835 $333,335 $2,181 4.3% 0.7% 2.4% 149 116 229 117 7,281 75 74 98 1.0% 114
New Tecumseth ON 2.6% 95 36,745 $583,646 $3,501 2.5% 0.6% 1.6% 155 115 216 122 2,906 35 32 13 1.4% 106
Newmarket ON 2.7% 95 90,908 $920,758 $3,894 2.8% 0.3% 5.6% 130 102 211 107 2,749 34 36 131 2.1% 99
Mississippi Mills ON 2.7% 142 13,407 $423,263 $3,629 2.1% 0.2% 2.6% 154 114 198 117 2,138 28 33 6 2.4% 115
Westmount QC 2.7% 124 21,083 $1,588,535 $6,812 7.5% 1.2% 10.1% 163 119 218 117 4,594 72 96 78 5.3% 122
Kingston ON 2.5% 137 133,328 $392,953 $2,644 6.1% 1.5% 5.3% 159 123 223 99 5,664 62 44 189 1.5% 108
Halton Hills ON 2.6% 91 65,782 $1,088,359 $4,413 2.6% 0.4% 3.1% 139 112 196 120 2,133 25 22 27 1.9% 108
The Nation ON 2.2% 142 13,275 $386,219 $2,713 2.0% 0.4% 3.2% 155 122 200 113 2,186 34 42 2 1.5% 99
Collingwood ON 2.7% 105 23,190 $507,796 $2,763 3.2% 1.2% 1.6% 163 117 216 101 4,772 44 32 44 2.0% 110
Mont-Royal QC 3.3% 124 21,172 $1,146,801 $7,090 2.8% 1.3% 12.3% 163 119 218 117 4,594 72 96 25 3.0% 114
Whistler BC 1.2% 159 13,193 $1,620,336 $1,947 7.4% 4.5% 9.7% 180 142 218 83 14,137 96 54 13 5.9% 116
Richmond Hill ON 2.6% 95 211,034 $1,330,432 $4,172 1.3% 0.2% 7.7% 165 120 221 119 2,749 34 36 184 2.1% 96
Markham ON 2.8% 95 358,416 $1,329,714 $4,524 1.0% 0.2% 8.4% 165 120 221 119 2,749 34 36 238 1.9% 102
St. Catharines ON 2.7% 100 136,160 $403,179 $2,432 2.4% 0.6% 2.4% 151 117 238 127 3,900 50 37 201 1.7% 118
Russell ON 2.2% 142 17,155 $403,638 $3,528 2.1% 0.3% 3.6% 164 118 210 78 2,540 28 26 4 1.8% 101
Montréal QC 2.0% 124 1,798,719 $499,823 $1,332 4.8% 1.9% 19.9% 165 120 206 118 4,594 72 96 1059 3.6% 78
Cobourg ON 2.7% 81 20,112 $407,716 $2,685 4.6% 1.0% 1.5% 124 105 224 96 4,034 46 53 20 1.8% 112
Waterloo ON 2.6% 99 109,671 $557,790 $3,466 3.9% 1.2% 4.5% 166 119 208 116 5,112 61 60 86 2.0% 105
London ON 2.7% 107 406,462 $361,543 $2,562 3.3% 0.9% 5.0% 168 122 223 122 6,798 77 67 446 2.3% 108
Aurora ON 2.7% 95 59,946 $1,212,006 $5,055 1.8% 0.3% 5.5% 165 120 221 119 2,749 34 36 31 2.8% 92
Hamilton ON 2.5% 100 570,654 $561,524 $2,700 2.3% 0.5% 5.4% 156 118 227 120 4,550 63 81 569 1.9% 111
Barrie ON 2.3% 105 150,096 $561,670 $2,717 2.6% 0.5% 4.2% 156 114 208 113 4,341 50 55 195 2.0% 101
Peterborough ON 2.5% 81 84,009 $358,721 $2,267 4.1% 1.3% 2.9% 160 120 195 117 5,404 64 83 187 1.9% 117
Brampton ON 2.4% 75 657,141 $924,715 $3,197 1.1% 0.2% 6.9% 146 113 229 122 2,997 43 51 343 1.1% 105
Greater Sudbury ON 2.1% 120 165,645 $348,202 $2,227 2.9% 0.5% 3.3% 167 108 187 96 4,875 64 61 151 1.3% 109
Niagara-on-the-Lake ON 2.8% 100 18,026 $651,023 $3,785 1.3% 0.5% 0.9% 151 117 238 128 3,900 50 37 4 3.2% 127
Gatineau QC 2.2% 108 288,092 $324,369 $2,000 2.9% 1.2% 10.9% 161 118 216 117 5,384 60 63 145 1.4% 67
Uxbridge ON 2.7% 81 22,471 $937,410 $4,099 2.4% 0.2% 2.9% 143 110 221 119 2,749 34 36 11 1.6% 107
Calgary AB 1.5% 138 1,359,777 $563,463 $2,096 3.0% 0.8% 10.2% 112 68 171 87 5,275 74 62 1430 1.9% 101
Dorval QC 3.2% 124 19,900 $483,123 $3,158 2.8% 0.8% 12.3% 163 119 218 117 4,594 72 96 18 2.5% 102
Ajax ON 2.6% 81 127,977 $896,749 $3,900 1.5% 0.3% 10.5% 146 123 239 100 3,251 40 48 80 1.8% 96
Pickering ON 3.0% 81 98,642 $754,649 $4,216 1.7% 0.2% 8.2% 146 123 239 100 3,251 40 48 50 2.5% 105
North Grenville ON 2.7% 142 16,858 $393,970 $3,376 2.4% 0.3% 2.6% 162 119 202 111 2,663 31 21 6 1.3% 96
Chatham-Kent ON 2.6% 93 103,934 $234,031 $2,172 2.5% 0.5% 1.0% 137 118 247 132 5,094 66 37 75 0.8% 126
Clarington ON 2.6% 81 98,586 $626,102 $3,548 1.9% 0.3% 3.8% 146 123 219 111 3,251 40 48 17 1.7% 101
Oshawa ON 2.6% 81 170,445 $551,164 $2,696 2.4% 0.3% 5.1% 146 123 239 100 3,251 40 48 115 1.4% 109
Elliot Lake ON 2.2% 120 10,645 $135,993 $1,390 3.5% 0.9% 1.9% 137 95 189 92 5,286 57 62 3 0.6% 118
Vaughan ON 2.5% 75 332,250 $1,359,665 $4,572 1.2% 0.2% 6.7% 137 108 212 117 2,749 34 36 222 1.8% 93
Pointe-Claire QC 3.8% 124 32,687 $464,113 $4,260 2.5% 0.6% 11.1% 163 119 218 117 4,594 72 96 61 3.1% 106
Windsor ON 2.7% 93 223,601 $263,959 $2,032 2.5% 0.7% 2.3% 150 120 249 139 6,186 85 77 378 1.0% 112
Whitby ON 2.7% 81 136,657 $763,391 $4,078 1.6% 0.3% 7.4% 146 123 239 100 3,251 40 48 81 2.0% 101
Georgina ON 2.6% 95 49,318 $606,065 $2,764 2.2% 0.3% 2.8% 156 114 208 113 2,749 34 36 27 1.2% 110
Brant ON 2.5% 100 38,724 $513,049 $2,968 1.7% 0.2% 0.5% 136 114 218 125 2,763 34 23 13 1.7% 122
Brantford ON 2.6% 100 103,062 $379,691 $2,328 2.1% 0.4% 1.8% 136 114 218 125 7,331 95 96 94 1.5% 113
Quinte West ON 2.4% 137 44,574 $318,140 $2,385 2.7% 0.4% 1.0% 153 120 217 118 3,342 39 51 21 0.8% 120
Orillia ON 2.4% 105 32,967 $418,066 $2,078 4.0% 1.1% 3.5% 161 119 210 104 6,938 67 73 69 1.8% 116
Whitchurch-Stouffville ON 2.2% 95 50,099 $1,952,512 $4,910 1.5% 0.2% 4.0% 165 120 221 119 2,749 34 36 10 2.4% 94
Hawkesbury ON 2.2% 142 10,419 $246,528 $1,516 4.8% 0.9% 1.9% 135 104 198 114 7,209 79 76 22 0.4% 80
Sault Ste. Marie ON 2.5% 120 73,725 $238,013 $2,282 2.7% 0.6% 3.1% 176 110 191 94 5,830 77 63 141 1.1% 119
Brockville ON 2.4% 137 21,261 $294,524 $2,037 5.5% 0.6% 1.4% 155 119 227 111 8,936 80 84 48 1.2% 117
King ON 2.6% 95 26,697 $1,428,993 $6,224 1.5% 0.0% 3.3% 135 106 206 114 2,749 34 36 9 2.6% 109
North Glengarry ON 2.4% 142 10,192 $257,396 $2,115 4.1% 0.5% 1.7% 149 109 196 113 7,997 80 96 6 1.4% 116
Sarnia ON 2.7% 93 73,268 $277,038 $2,784 2.0% 0.7% 1.4% 150 117 233 121 7,276 82 68 80 0.8% 121
Grimsby ON 2.6% 100 27,975 $634,400 $3,546 1.8% 0.4% 1.6% 163 135 244 121 3,900 50 37 17 2.2% 110
Ingersoll ON 2.7% 107 13,134 $349,998 $2,678 2.6% 1.2% 0.7% 165 124 223 119 3,549 40 28 12 1.6% 114
Clarence-Rockland ON 2.0% 142 25,356 $352,625 $2,586 2.6% 0.2% 6.2% 155 122 200 113 2,540 28 26 2 1.0% 95
Victoria BC 1.1% 176 89,659 $654,020 $930 13.5% 5.8% 9.2% 155 152 319 79 11,156 119 116 318 4.3% 109
Mississauga ON 2.6% 75 791,672 $811,224 $3,333 1.4% 0.3% 8.9% 126 111 242 103 2,997 43 51 560 1.6% 93
Guelph ON 2.3% 99 137,187 $633,889 $2,736 3.4% 1.1% 5.5% 167 127 206 113 4,879 55 49 158 1.6% 101
Niagara Falls ON 2.7% 100 90,428 $405,669 $2,507 2.2% 0.5% 1.7% 171 132 241 124 3,900 50 37 94 1.7% 115
North Bay ON 2.1% 120 54,285 $307,561 $1,948 4.7% 1.0% 3.2% 180 116 190 91 5,663 66 82 80 1.3% 112
Strathroy-Caradoc ON 2.6% 107 21,919 $304,826 $2,551 2.4% 0.4% 0.6% 152 117 227 123 2,734 35 34 14 1.2% 119
Midland ON 2.7% 105 17,735 $359,366 $2,251 4.1% 0.9% 1.3% 164 112 200 109 6,178 66 93 34 1.6% 120
Kitchener ON 2.3% 99 244,880 $507,281 $2,407 2.5% 0.6% 4.5% 166 119 208 116 5,112 61 60 249 1.5% 104
Vancouver BC 1.5% 177 672,719 $1,514,621 $1,649 7.7% 2.8% 18.4% 171 167 331 53 8,718 114 98 958 5.6% 103
North Vancouver BC 1.5% 159 56,176 $997,974 $1,439 7.5% 1.6% 14.0% 181 179 297 81 8,507 81 44 162 4.1% 93
Saanich BC 2.0% 176 116,964 $832,569 $2,586 3.7% 3.0% 8.0% 159 156 334 71 3,828 40 33 127 2.4% 113
Welland ON 2.7% 100 53,482 $330,936 $2,262 1.9% 0.7% 1.0% 152 126 227 126 3,900 50 37 42 1.3% 120
Saskatoon SK 2.2% 118 274,104 $421,338 $2,515 2.9% 1.2% 3.5% 109 65 170 104 10,499 128 129 602 1.8% 108
Fredericton NB 1.6% 113 62,020 $305,356 $1,565 4.9% 1.0% 2.7% 149 115 192 104 6,565 73 61 122 2.9% 107
Kelowna BC 1.6% 137 134,234 $638,667 $1,922 3.7% 1.9% 2.8% 137 108 215 123 11,579 116 68 262 0.9% 106
Squamish BC 1.8% 159 21,421 $706,062 $2,280 3.4% 2.2% 1.9% 178 173 299 93 8,413 81 63 29 3.0% 114
Nelson BC 1.5% 173 10,746 $396,369 $1,303 13.8% 2.2% 2.4% 163 128 262 115 10,630 85 61 33 3.2% 106
Kenora ON 2.4% 135 16,126 $347,395 $2,312 5.0% 1.1% 0.7% 153 89 186 91 9,007 78 105 21 1.5% 109
Centre Wellington ON 2.6% 99 29,193 $531,477 $3,222 3.1% 0.4% 1.0% 179 130 208 106 2,186 25 16 24 1.9% 120
Leamington ON 2.4% 93 28,118 $293,568 $2,007 2.8% 0.4% 0.2% 129 111 246 124 4,084 45 38 36 0.5% 123
Weyburn SK 2.0% 77 11,649 $301,846 $2,590 4.7% 0.8% 0.8% 136 86 169 110 7,809 74 53 6 1.2% 110
Adjala-Tosorontio ON 2.7% 95 11,569 $871,112 $4,503 0.9% 0.1% 1.2% 155 115 216 122 2,906 35 32 0 1.5% 112
St. Thomas ON 2.8% 107 40,193 $247,588 $2,330 2.6% 0.8% 0.6% 159 133 230 128 3,628 42 50 45 1.4% 115
Timmins ON 2.1% 120 41,629 $212,922 $2,131 3.3% 0.6% 3.1% 184 107 159 89 7,635 92 129 40 1.2% 112
Thunder Bay ON 2.6% 135 109,015 $295,449 $2,408 3.0% 0.8% 2.7% 143 91 162 85 6,784 89 130 192 1.1% 117
Stratford ON 2.5% 107 32,480 $417,076 $2,439 6.6% 2.1% 1.8% 165 118 216 112 5,061 53 29 62 1.2% 117
Longueuil QC 2.2% 96 248,943 $315,177 $1,781 2.4% 0.8% 13.5% 165 120 206 118 3,724 50 57 183 1.8% 61
Lévis QC 2.0% 106 147,403 $309,397 $2,088 2.7% 0.5% 4.4% 175 118 195 94 2,784 31 28 59 2.0% 64
Regina SK 2.0% 106 232,654 $410,876 $2,325 3.0% 0.7% 3.4% 114 75 153 107 10,545 132 133 367 1.6% 110
South Dundas ON 2.3% 142 11,105 $267,153 $2,168 2.7% 0.6% 0.9% 171 129 209 118 2,755 32 26 5 1.5% 117
Caledon ON 2.8% 75 73,540 $954,983 $4,810 1.2% 0.2% 2.3% 151 112 195 105 2,245 27 22 28 2.2% 102
Saugeen Shores ON 2.7% 107 14,109 $502,673 $4,099 4.5% 0.9% 2.3% 163 117 209 110 5,113 53 44 7 0.6% 121
Trois-Rivières QC 2.3% 110 137,525 $209,497 $1,677 3.0% 0.7% 2.3% 161 120 197 104 4,295 51 49 192 2.0% 69
Prince Edward County ON 2.6% 137 25,014 $463,076 $2,858 2.5% 0.3% 1.1% 153 123 224 119 3,396 43 35 26 1.6% 115
Woodstock ON 2.4% 107 42,285 $383,988 $2,278 3.0% 0.8% 1.2% 158 124 217 122 5,286 91 132 37 1.7% 113
Wilmot ON 2.5% 99 21,485 $572,071 $3,421 2.4% 0.8% 1.8% 128 101 210 117 5,112 61 60 2 2.0% 117
Kamloops BC 1.7% 122 92,100 $464,689 $1,967 3.2% 1.0% 2.9% 106 83 246 132 13,618 128 99 132 0.6% 108

[1] In area covered by local police service
[2] (Lower is better, national average = 71)
[3] (Lower is better, national average = 75)