Best Places to Live

Best Places to Live MoneySense CoverIf you've ever wondered about picking up and moving, you've probably pondered what makes a community a good place to live. Is it climate? Salaries? Real estate?

To be honest, it's probably a bit of each of those factors, plus many more. MoneySense's fourth annual ranking of Canada's Best Places to Live measures every important aspect of every community in Canada. We've taken weather into account, of course. Jobs and home prices, too. We've also looked at crime and access to health care. In total, we looked at 24 different indicators and rewarded points for each one, with 105 the maximum number of points a community could get.

We've compiled a massive amount of data on 154 communities across Canada. We recommend that you first read our Canada's Best Places to Live article. It best explains how we came up with the results. Then you may want to listen to MoneySense's editor discuss the list on our Best Places to Live podcast, and see our slideshows on the top 10 places to live and top five cities with buzz.

How to get started

To see where each community ranked, overall and by individual category, you can download our spreadsheet. It also contains all the raw data we used to compare cities. You can also click on any of the headings below to get more detailed comparisons. Click on a category in any of our lists and you’ll see how all cities ranked out of 154 communities. Clicking on the city name itself will lead to that city’s data page, where specific metrics for each category can be found.

Be sure to check out our Canada's Best Places to Retire, Canada's Best Places to Work and other mini-rankings as well. For more information on how we put this list together, read the methodology page.

View this year's rankings here

 

Rain/snow days
If you’re searching for a dry climate, click on this link. Cities with the fewest days of precipitation are ranked highest.

Precipitation
We figure 700 mL/year of precipitation a year is ideal. Cities closest to this figure earn top rankings. Rain-drenched cities and parched places rank lower.

Days below 0°C
If you're looking for warm weather, click on this link. You'll see which cities have the fewest sub-zero days a year.

Air quality (Ozone and Particulate matter)
Two major components of smog are ozone and particulate matter. We measured both to find the cities with the cleanest air. (Click on the links above to see how cities rank in these two categories.)

Average house price
Looking for deals on homes? Click here. Communities with the lowest home prices ranked highest.

Time to buy a house
How affordable are homes in each city? Our time-to-buy index shows you. We calculated how many years it would take you to own a home by dividing the average house price in each city by the average pre-tax household income in that city. The fewer years it takes to buy a house, the higher a city's rank.

Average household income
Click here to find out where you'll earn the highest wages. All 154 communities are ranked, from best paid to worst.

Household discretionary income
How much income you keep after paying taxes, your mortgage and other necessities of life varies hugely across the country. Here we rank each city on its ability to fatten your wallet.

Unemployment rate
No point moving to a city if there aren't any jobs. The lower a city's unemployment rate, the higher a place ranks.

New cars on road
The percentage of people driving new cars is a sign of a community's prosperity. The more new cars, the higher a city's rank.

Income tax
Income taxes vary by province and territory. Click here to see where you'll pay less. The lower the income taxes, the higher a community ranks.

Provincial sales tax
Sales tax rates vary by province and territory. Click here to see where you'll pay less. The lower the sales tax, the higher a community ranks.

Population growth
Communities that people actually want to move to tend to be good places to live. We give top marks to cities growing a couple of percentage points above the national average. Out-of-control boomtowns or slow growth backwaters rank lower.

Crime rate (violent crime rate and homicide rate)
How safe are the streets in each community in Canada? We measured the overall crime rate, the violent crime rate and the homicide rate. Cities that enjoy lower crime rates rank highest. (Click on the links above to see results in each category.)

Walk or bike to work
A large number of pedestrians and bicyclists is a sure sign a community is clean and safe. The higher the percentage of people who walk or bike to work in the community, the higher it ranks.

Doctors (per 1,000)
We measured the number of physician, per 1,000 people in each community. The more doctors in a city, the higher it ranks.

Health professionals
We measured the percentage of people in each community employed in health care. The higher the percentage, the higher a community's ranking.

Transit use
Looking for a city with a great public transit system? We measured the percentage of residents in each city who actually use public buses and trains. The higher the number, the higher a city's transit ranking.

Buzz
To gauge each community's good-times potential, we measured the percentage of residents employed in arts, culture, recreation and sports. The higher the number, the higher a city ranks.

Top 10 Best Places to Live slideshow
There’s no place like home — well, unless there’s somewhere better. Check out this slideshow to find out which Canadian communities are the best places to live and why.

Top five cities with the most buzz
Where are the best places in Canada to have fun? View this slideshow to find out.

Best Places to Live podcast
Listen to Ian McGugan, MoneySense's editor, discuss how his team put together the list.

Overview
Want to know what makes a great place to live? Read this story to find out how the MoneySense staff determined which communities topped the chart.

Weathering heights
Perfect weather may not exist in Canada, but there's still a few places that will satisfy that snowbird feeling.

Golden cities for grey hair
There are plenty of places to kick back and relax in your post-working years, but, as this list proves, some locales are better than others.

Worker's paradise
Where you live when holding a job boils down to dollars and cents. To find the best cities in Canada to work, we recalculated our numbers to emphasize places with generous salaries and above-average discretionary incomes.

Buzz factor
Canadians just want to have fun, but that's easier said than done in some places. This list reveals which communities have the most culuture, or "buzz".

Cheapest
Most people want a big house, but at what cost? These communities offer the best bang for your real estate buck.

Most Expensive
You get what you pay for, especially when it comes to houses. It might cost a bundle to live in these cities, but there are plenty of perks — great views, bustling streets — that could make the high price tag worth it.

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