If you’re considering relocating for a fresh start or saving money with more affordable housing, you might be wondering: where are the best places to live in Canada?
We’ve compiled a list of the best places to live in Canada after reviewing various statistics and reports.
However, because “best” is a highly subjective term, we’ve based these rankings on a variety of factors, including economic (average house/rental prices, estimated cost of living, etc.) and overall experiences (availability of cultural events, restaurant variety, etc.).
Experienced expats are all too aware that information is the key to a smooth move. It is important to consider the precise location you will call home, not just the nation you are going to.
The best places to live in Canada are listed below if you are moving there but are unsure of where exactly.
When deciding where to live, there are some important factors to take into account.
Canada has different regions with different opportunities for jobs, careers, housing, education, climate, and leisure pursuits.
Cheapest place to retire in Canada if you own your home
If you own your home, the best place to retire in Canada is Charlottetown, PEI. This goes hand in hand with its title of the best place to raise a family in Canada. It’s a lovely city in a lovely province, and definitely worth a look if you’re thinking about retiring.
The climate is the one drawback of Canada that is mentioned the most. But contrary to popular belief, Canada does not experience a six-month snowfall. Finding a region in Canada with milder winters is not difficult, and enduring the cold is considerably less difficult.
Two things to keep in mind about winters in Canada are that the country is prepared to deal with snow and ice, so infrastructure does not fail like it does in other nations.
Second, activities such as sports and community gatherings are planned around the winter weather.
Cheapest place to retire in Canada if you’re a renter
If you’re planning to rent when you’re retired, Charlottetown is still your #1 option, with rental prices being as low as $705.
Saint John, NB and Moncton, NB are 2 other good options to keep in your back pocket, with rental prices of $810 and $900.
You might be wondering: why are these ranked as the best places to retire in Canada over Edmonton, AB (considered the cheapest city for renters in Canada) and Winnipeg, MB (the best city in Canada for cost of living)?
The east coast has long been a destination of choice for people looking to retire. Charlottetown, Saint John, and Moncton have the highest median ages out of all the cities we observed. So if you prefer to live around people your age and you’re looking for a nice, quiet place to retire, the east coast is your best bet
Best places to live in Canada
What factors are considered while determining Canada’s top cities for living? Here is our rating of the greatest places to live in 2022 based on factors including income levels, housing expenses, expected cost of living, unemployment rate, and crime rate.
Here is our list of the top ten best places to live in Canada, as well as suggestions for where to retire based on the locations listed.
1. Quebec City
Quebec City, the capital of la belle province (commonly known as Quebec), is a breathtaking location for residence, employment, and travel.
There are countless historical sites and activities to enjoy. A historical and cultural treasure, Quebec City.
However, one thing to remember about Quebec City is that it’s a strongly francophone city. Start working on your French if it isn’t as strong as it could be (or learning).
|City||Quebec City, Quebec|
|Land Area (km2)||453.38|
|Population density (per km2)||1,173.2|
|Median household income (2017)||$64,000|
|Unemployment rate||4.1 – 8.6%|
|Average house price||$362,490|
|Average monthly rent (1 bed)||$895|
|Estimated cost of living (single person, without rent)||$1,072|
|Crime rate (incidents per 100,000)||3,075|
|Average yearly rainfall||899mm|
|Average yearly snowfall||303cm|
Hamilton, also referred to as “Steeltown,” is a former industrial city that is currently undergoing a modernization process to keep up with the times.
Hamilton is a bedroom community for people who commute to the Big Smoke (commonly known as Toronto) along the GO line, although the city center has been swiftly changing.
When it comes to fine dining and entertainment, Hamilton has greatly improved since the 1970s.
Deal hunters may have lost their chance, though, as housing costs have been rising rapidly.
|Land Area (km2)||1,117.29|
|Population density (per km2)||480.6|
|Median household income (2017)||$80,200|
|Unemployment rate||4.9 – 11.3%|
|Average house price||$940,545|
|Average monthly rent (1 bed)||$1,425|
|Estimated cost of living (single person, without rent)||$1,088|
|Crime rate (incidents per 100,000)||3,953|
|Average yearly rainfall||791mm|
|Average yearly snowfall||156cm|
You wouldn’t think Ottawa, the location of the Canadian government, would have much to thrill visitors, but you’d be mistaken.
The city is fairly safe, and there’s usually something going on, although it does have a tendency to be a little quiet (they claim to roll up the streets at 10 p.m.).
But Ottawa will particularly appeal to foodies. You can find fantastic restaurants providing practically any type of food you can imagine thanks to the abundance of embassies and tourists from all over the world.
Of course, Ottawa hosts the largest Canada Day celebration in the nation, closing off a significant portion of the city’s downtown for the event. And don’t forget to watch the fireworks.
|Land Area (km2)||2,790.3|
|Population density (per km2)||334.8|
|Median household income (2017)||$78,500|
|Unemployment rate||4.2 – 9.2%|
|Average house price||$420,332|
|Average monthly rent (1 bed)||$1,544|
|Estimated cost of living (single person, without rent)||$1,198|
|Crime rate (incidents per 100,000)||3,898|
|Average yearly rainfall||758mm|
|Average yearly snowfall||223cm|
The tiny yet powerful city of Charlottetown comes next. Although we were unable to locate more recent crime figures, this charming tiny city is known for being one of the safest in Canada and serves as the provincial capital of Prince Edward Island.
Due to the nearby waterways, the winters here are a little milder than in other parts of Canada, however the region still averages 290 cm of snowfall annually.
However, PEI is one of Canada’s most picturesque regions, so all that snow may be worthwhile in exchange for the gorgeous summers you’ll experience.
|Land Area (km2)||44.34|
|Population density (per km2)||814.1|
|Median household income (2017)||$53,736|
|Average house price||$228,000|
|Average monthly rent (1 bed)||$705|
|Estimate cost of living (single person, without rent)||$1,270|
|Crime rate (incidents per 100,000)||N/A|
|Average yearly rainfall||887mm|
|Average yearly snowfall||290cm|
Due to its stable economy, Regina is rated as one of the greatest cities in Canada to live. This Saskatchewan community boasts one of the most stable economies in the nation, with low taxes and high employment, thanks in large part to businesses investing in its natural resources.
Given that the typical household income in this city is a respectable $79,400, two of its key draws are the job market and the possibility of living reasonably.
One thing to be aware of is that it has one of the highest crime rates among all the places we’ve covered, ranking last on this list for crime rate.
|Land Area (km2)||179.97|
|Population density (per km2)||1195.2|
|Median household income (2017)||$79,400|
|Unemployment rate||6.6 – 10.5%|
|Average house price||$335,656|
|Average monthly rent (1 bed)||$900|
|Estimate cost of living (single person, without rent)||$1,116|
|Crime rate (incidents per 100,000)||9,521|
|Average yearly rainfall||308mm|
|Average yearly snowfall||100cm|
Edmonton is a wonderful city to live while you’re still renting because of its (relatively) high minimum income, affordable cost of living, and low rental prices.
In addition to hosting a variety of musical and cultural events, Edmonton, located in the province of Alberta, has long been the headquarters of some of Canada’s leading technology companies. Additionally, the younger crowd will benefit greatly from the low median age.
|Land Area (km2)||685.25|
|Population density (per km2)||1,360.9|
|Median household income (2017)||$87,500|
|Unemployment rate||7.8 – 15%|
|Average house price||$385,570|
|Average monthly rent (1 bed)||$926|
|Estimate cost of living (single person, without rent)||$1,192|
|Crime rate (incidents per 100,000)||8,779|
|Average yearly rainfall||347mm|
|Average yearly snowfall||123cm|
Moncton is a city on the rise, with an increasing number of people moving here from other parts of Canada to take advantage of the low house prices and cost of living.
Surrounded by natural beauty, as the commercial hub of the maritimes, there’s something in Moncton for everyone.
|City||Moncton, New Brunswick|
|Land Area (km2)||141.92|
|Population density (per km2)||506.5|
|Median household income (2017)||$74,240|
|Unemployment rate||5.3 – 8.2%|
|Average house price||$290,949|
|Average monthly rent (1 bed)||$900|
|Estimated cost of living (single person, without rent)||$1,206|
|Crime rate (incidents per 100,000)||8,220|
|Average yearly rainfall||842mm|
|Average yearly snowfall||282cm|
Montreal is well-known for being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Canada, but if you enjoy going to cultural and social events (such as festivals, concerts, and plays), this city can be one of the greatest places to live in the country for you.
Montreal is the heart of the arts and social activities, with a population of 1.7 million and a historically rich cultural identity.
Similar to Quebec City, this city boasts one of the greatest French-speaking populations in the world, therefore you’ll probably need to learn French to live and work here.
|Land Area (km2)||365.65|
|Population density (per km2)||4662.1|
|Median household income (2017)||$62,700|
|Unemployment rate||5.5 – 13%|
|Average house price||$500,250|
|Average monthly rent (1 bed)||$1,379|
|Estimated cost of living (single person, without rent)||$1,109|
|Crime rate (incidents per 100,000)||3,275|
|Average yearly rainfall||784mm|
|Average yearly snowfall||209cm|
9. Saint John
One of Canada’s first cities, Saint John, New Brunswick, was founded in 1785. Saint John, which is a bustling port and industrial city on the Bay of Fundy, is quickly diversifying into technology and other more contemporary industries.
Saint John is not only a stunning city surrounded by some of the most breathtaking natural settings in Canada, but it also has some of the lowest real estate costs in the country.
You can probably get a really good deal on a house if you’re looking to relocate and can either work from home or find a tech job in Saint John.
|City||Saint John, New Brunswick|
|Land Area (km2)||315.96|
|Population density (per km2)||213.9|
|Median household income (2017)||$68,000|
|Unemployment rate||7.0 – 9.8%|
|Average house price||$200,961|
|Average monthly rent (1 bed)||$814|
|Estimated cost of living (single person, without rent)||$1,238|
|Crime rate (incidents per 100,000)||4,215|
|Average yearly rainfall||1,076mm|
|Average yearly snowfall||239cm|
One of the greatest places to live in Canada if you want to save money on housing and living expenses while having a wide variety of career prospects is Winnipeg, which is favored for its affordability.
In comparison to the rest of the nation, housing is quite affordable, with houses costing an average of $364,817 and one-bedroom flats costing an average of $1,021.
You’re looking at a monthly cost of living of approximately $1,135 without rent.
The summers are warm, and there is no shortage of picturesque sights in the natural world. But if you’re coming here, be ready for bitterly cold winters.
Another common complaint from residents is that the city’s public transit isn’t so great, meaning you’ll likely need to own a car to reliably get places (especially for newly developed areas).
|Land Area (km2)||464.33|
|Population density (per km2)||1518.8|
|Median household income (2017)||$66,900|
|Unemployment rate||4.9 – 11.1%|
|Average house price||$364,817|
|Average monthly rent (1 bed)||$1,021|
|Estimated cost of living (single person, without rent)||$1,135|
|Crime rate (incidents per 100,000)||7,863|
|Average yearly rainfall||418mm|
|Average yearly snowfall||113cm|
11. St. Albert
Alberta has been climbing up the list of the best provinces in Canada for several years in a row.
With its strong economy and abundance of high-paying jobs, it is attracting more Canadians and expatriates than ever as people are starting to discover there is more to living in Alberta than just oil.
Previously, St. Albert earned the top spot on the annual Best Places to Live in Canada list in a small-town category, and for good reason.
It has all the amenities such as schools, health care and recreational facilities and also boasts several parks and facilities to promote a healthy lifestyle.
St. Albert has ample green space, an abundance of outdoor rinks and more than 85 km of bike trails along the Sturgeon River.
It is also home to an International Children’s Festival that draws 55,000 people every year.
Crime rates are steadily falling, and while winters there can be freezing (averaging 28 days a year with a minimum temperature below -20˚C), there’s plenty of sunshine all year round.
St. Albert is located just 30 km away from Edmonton – the regional capital – and is a preferred place for those who choose a more relaxed pace of life.
The St. Albert Transit system offers convenient commuter services to Edmonton. If living in Edmonton doesn’t appeal to you, but your job is there, choosing St. Albert can be a better option.
St. Albert has a low unemployment rate of 4.3%, and incomes are among the highest in the country, with most people commuting to work in Edmonton.
Although St. Albert has a much lower exposure to the oil and gas sector, it cannot totally escape the region’s trend. Nearby Edmonton is a major oil and gas centre, with the most prominent industry being petrochemicals.
The region is rich in oil and natural gas, which has given Edmonton the title of “Oil Capital of Canada”. So many residents of St. Albert who commute to Edmonton work in oil-related industries.
However, the area offers a wide range of other employment sectors. There are opportunities in information technology, banking and biotechnology.
Boucherville is one of the oldest municipalities in Québec, with a community of around 43,000. The city’s median household income is $92,253, and its unemployment rate sits at an impressively low 2.88 per cent.
Situated very near Montreal, its population growth is high, so with bike-friendly streets and a strong arts and sports community, Boucherville is hugely attractive for expatriates.
The great outdoors is definitely a prominent feature in Boucherville.
The Iles-de-Boucherville National Park is one of the most amazing parks in Canada, with snow hiking, volleyball on sand, sea kayaking, wildlife viewing, biking and more.
It’s a perfect location for a family who loves outdoor activities, golf, nature and beautiful scenery while still needing the amenities of a big city at hand.
Boucherville residents are mostly French-speaking – about 90% of the population speak French, while only 2% can speak fluent English. Therefore, knowing French is an essential factor if you want to move to Boucherville.
From the point of view of employment, those who are bilingual get better chances to be employed.
In general, the city has a very low unemployment rate, and employees receive relatively good salaries. Boucherville’s industrial park is home to around 575 businesses which provides employment to 23 000 people.
Boucherville is just 18 km away from Montreal, Canada’s second-biggest city, so it is common for many Boucherville residents to commute to work in Montreal.
Typical areas of employment in Montreal are aerospace, software, electronics, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and transportation.
The city is one of the largest aerospace centres in North America; over 40,000 people are employed in Quebec’s aerospace industry at companies like Bell Helicopter Textron, Bombardier Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, and CAE.
Vancouver repetitively tops lists as one of the best places to live in the world, and it’s no surprise.
The city has everything from mountains to beaches, islands, coastline, an urban centre and beautiful residential suburbs.
Vancouver really does have everything. The only drawback if you plan on moving to Vancouver is the property market.
Prices for a family home in the suburbs can reach over CA$1million very quickly, and properties that come up for sale get snapped up fast. Even rent can be very high, making finding somewhere to live complicated.
However, once your housing situation is sorted, you can enjoy the best Vancouver has to offer.
It has incredible connections internationally as well as to the surrounding islands, so getting out of the city and into nature is often easier than crossing downtown.
Vancouver’s economy is diverse and thriving.
Film and television are huge employers in the area as the city is the most popular filming location after New York and LA.
With investment thanks to the recent 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver jobs are easy to find and pay very well. Which makes finding a house easier!
The general cost of living in Vancouver is also very high. Following Singapore, it’s one of the most expensive cities globally.
But on the flip side, it offers the best of the best.
Vancouver has the best schools, best hospitals and medical care, best public transport, best shopping districts, best harbour and maintained parkland – Stanley Park is world-famous – in most of Canada.
Even the weather in Vancouver is milder than in other places making outdoor activities more accessible year-round. If you can afford it, Vancouver is truly incredible.
If you are moving to Alberta, there’s a big chance you are choosing between Calgary and Edmonton.
Calgary, the largest city in Alberta, has a lot to offer anyone moving to Canada.
Home to 1.5million people, it’s a bustling city that is always full of life but is hugely connected to nature and the surrounding landscape.
As the city is located at the meeting point of two rivers – the bow and the elbow – at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, life in Calgary is certainly picturesque.
Calgary initially grew from a small town into a city as the railway expanded out west. As such, it has all the charm of a mountain village with all the amenities of a fast-paced city.
When the Winter Olympic Games chose Calgary for the 1988 games, the whole area received massive investment. Residents in Calgary still benefit from the financial boost with some of the country’s best sporting facilities and transport connections.
The city is separated into 180 distinct neighbourhoods, each with its own history and culture, making Calgary one of the most diverse cities in Canada.
Redevelopment in some of the older neighbourhoods is ongoing, meaning there is always something new to explore. Parks and outdoor spaces are very well maintained, especially Prince Island Park, used for many of the city’s festivals, including a music festival and cowboy stampede.
Thanks to the excellent facilities and ongoing redevelopment, housing prices are on the rise. A condo starts at around CA$300,000, while a house starts at around CA$500,000.
Despite high property costs, Calgary is reasonably inexpensive for day to day living costs. It is also supported by fantastic employment opportunities.
There are plenty of jobs in the tourism, film, manufacturing, aerospace, health, financial services and transport sectors, making Calgary a straightforward place to move to if you are looking for work.
Based out on the Atlantic coast, Halifax is the regional capital for Nova Scotia. The city is the second fastest-growing in Canada in terms of population, with just under 6,000 expatriates arriving last year.
The stunning coastline and leisure lifestyle make it the ideal location for people looking to get away from city life for a quiet retirement.
The city of Halifax sits on one side of the Bedford basin facing the town of Dartmouth on the other side. As such, life in Halifax means having access to the amenities of two cities.
The choices for education, healthcare, public facilities and employment are doubled thanks to the two bridges connecting the two cities.
Like most of Canada, much of city life revolves around nature and the outdoors, meaning Halifax offers an excellent lifestyle for anyone who likes being outdoors.
Thanks to its coastal position, the area gets a fair amount of snow, but temperatures are less cold in winter, and snow melts faster.
Winters are long but feel shorter than the intense cold in other places like Toronto. It is relatively remote, so winters can feel lonely, and many people feel unconnected to the mainland.
In terms of job opportunities, the significant employer in the area is the services sector which makes up 85% of all employment. The healthcare sector is also growing and providing more opportunities. Halifax is Nova Scotia’s economic powerhouse, so jobs in the city are highly sought after.
Unemployment here is higher than in other areas because of the high demand for work, so many expatriates that move to Halifax can either work remotely or are retired and don’t need employment.
Salaries in Halifax tend to be pretty high, with an average annual salary of just over CA$60,000.
Surprisingly, the cost of living in Halifax is relatively low. House prices, rent, and general bills tend to be lower than average, meaning people have high disposable incomes. The area is generally very affluent and a wonderful place to live.
Conclusion: best place to live in Canada
It’s not hard to understand why prospective immigrants choose Canada so frequently. The country is full of opportunities, and its way of life is generally decent, if occasionally chilly.
Canada’s only true “issue” is that it is such a large country with so much to offer that you have to spend time researching the various provinces to locate your favorite region.
We hope the aforementioned list of Canada’s top places to live has introduced you to some of the most exciting lifestyle hotspots in this wonderful country. Your next move should be to travel to areas of Canada where you feel you may establish a new life.
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