Best cities to live in Canada


It’s not always easy to decide in which area to settle in when moving to Canada. According to you, what are the best cites to live in?

Which regions offer most of the job opportunities, a good quality of life, an affordable cost of living?

Share with us the cities you would recommend to expats and soon-to-be expats in Canada.

Thank you in advance,


I would recommend major metropolitan cities like Toronto/Vancouver.

Montreal may be a good choice but being bilingual will take you miles ahead of others if you are starting out new.

Just remember that cost of living is getting higher especially in toronto. Renting a house has become expensive. When we came in 2001 we rented a 3 bedroom detached bungalow house for $1100. Same house right now is being rented out for $1600 / month.

If you want affordable housing you may want to look at some places around windsor/niagara region. They have some of the lowest home prices in canada. Ive seen some new 3 bedroom houses detached go for about $250,000 and even less.

Best city in Canada is London, Ontario to raise young family.  Best schools and best university.  People are very friendly.  Reasonable house prices.  Good job opportunity.  Toronto is expensive but best for every thing.

I recommand Ottawa. Nice and clean not too much traffic. Easy to find a job

toronto is the best

Montreal is the best place government is helping 0 to 18 years old and 60 plus even they don't study or work they get good money from The Government   which is not the same in ontario or alberta affordable rent and car insurance in toronto a car model 1999 and like $400 to $600  per month when in montreal is just $250 per year  biggg difference

But taxes are higher in Quebec due also to the deficit in their provincial budget. Mainly because all the subsidies that are given to people that are not studying or working.

I recommend Ottawa and Calgary.

When we are looking for a city to settle in, there are 3 major things that stand out and determine our choice: the personal criteria (that we are looking for), the "time / period" during which we make the research and finally the status of the city (what the city is offering).

1)    Personal criteria:

Each one of us lives a different life from the other, each one has an academic background and different professional experiences (various degrees, studies, knowledge etc ...), everyone has their own lifestyle (adventurous, sociable, lonely ...), each one has its own situation (single, married with or without children ...). Therefore the choices are many and will be quite different from each other.

We can summarize the most wanted criteria's as follow:

• The labor market (one of the most important criteria)
• The real estate market (average price of rent / mortgage);
• Access to education;
• The cost and quality of life (having a good salary is good, paying less expenses is better);
• The cultural, geographical and climate attraction (the latter is important criteria in Canada);
• The size of the city and the number of inhabitants;
• The language (French or English)
• The transport and public services;
• The existence of family members, friends or spouses already installed
• The health care services

Since we can not find all those criterias in the same city, we then have to filter by the most important (or most urgent, depending on the person's situation).

2) The "time / period" during which research

More than a decade ago Ontario was attracting the majority of immigrants. Few years later Ontario became less economic engine than it was and transition starts to be to the West. Internal migration in Canada is toward the West. Ontario still attracted a lot, but less. But since the oil price fall, this province know a resurgence of migration. In fact just yesterday (4 February 2016) in the news we could read that Ontario was the only province with an increase of employment.
As for the eastern provinces (maritime), they do not encourage much the immigrants to settle there or to retain those already installed there. And this regardless of the period during which we are searching.

That being said, the timing to choose where to elect domicile, also remains an important criterion to be taken into consideration.

3) The status of the city:

A better city to live is not necessarily the best in all criteria ( it does not exist), but it is much more a city that constantly maintains a level of quality of life above the average (national) and in a consistent manner.
The first resource is the website of the city itself, but it is rare to find objectives elements (all the websites of cities evoke the beauty of living at home). Another resource is the experience of those who live in this place or city, however, these stories must be filtered and we would pick-up what interests us, since eachone has its own lifestyle (as explained in the beginning of my message). Other official sources may do the job: Statistics Canada, Environment Canada (for the weather), The national network of air pollution monitoring (quality of air, pollution) Public Safety Canada (Measuring Crime in Canada), the Corporation housing and housing of Canada (for housing), Canada Revenue Agency (Taxation and provincial and territorial credits for individuals) ... through studies and expert analysis while keeping a critical thinking on them.

Why not The media/press for information on some aspects, especially the ones we did not pay attention to at the beginnings. Examples: find out if in a particular town, water or air is not polluted; if in such city it's easily to commute (problem of transit, "walkable" streets, traffic jam ...), the level of diversity of the population, if some programs exist in such university or college in this place ...

So an analysis of the city's status indicates whether it is consistent with our personal criteria.

The research will be complete if we are also informed about the characteristics of the province: taxes, social services, budgets (deficit or surplus) ...

I would refer to the study of the Conference Board Canada, but with a small update (because it dates from 2014):

Waterloo, Calgary, Ottawa, Richmond Hill, Vancouver, and St. John’s continue to appeal to newcomers, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s report assessing the attractiveness of Canadian cities.
“Attracting skilled workers is crucial to Canada’s competitiveness. Cities that fail to attract new people will struggle to stay prosperous and vibrant,” said Alan Arcand, Centre for Municipal Studies.


•     Waterloo, Calgary, Ottawa, Richmond Hill, Vancouver, and St. John’s remain the most attractive cities to live for newcomers since our last report in 2010.
•    Attracting skilled workers is crucial to the competitiveness of Canada and its cities. Communities that fail to attract new people will struggle to stay prosperous and vibrant.
•    Cities offering centres of innovation are valued the most when choosing where to live.

Good luck everyone for your searching !!


Hi @Abdel,

Nice to hear from you again. That's very insightful. I agree on most of your points.

This may seem like a passionate topic for people like us since we are overseas extract that came and settle down her mid life.

Anyhow as much as I love sleepy town Halifax, I'd say the best city is different depending on people's wants and needs. But chief among those needs are a roof above one's head and work for wages. If one do not have any of these, then even the best doesn't appear good anymore eh? :)

Y'all are so helpful and generous with your time. I appreciate it. Kris


british colombia

@tonynewton British Columbia (note the u in Columbia), is a province / state and not a city. There are many cities within BC.

Anyhow, pick up your French you guys, … ily/?id=12

Sherbrooke, Que is voted the best city to raise a family by Reader's Digest.

Hi Phil,

Nice to hear from you too, and it’s really pleasant to see you are active in the forum. Great Thanks !

I like when you say “the best city is different depending on people's wants and needs”. Indeed that sum up all !
I still feel Halifax could be a good place to live, especially if we talk about Nova-Scotia. I saw a position (for work) in Sydney (cap Breton) but when I think about it, I feel that except working what a person could do more if the city doesn’t relay have a Buzz??
At least Halifax “moves” with cultural activities?
Don’t you think so?


Hi Folks!

Just to boost again this topic, since there are still many things to say.

So any new input?

I've been traveling alot to Toronto due to my new job of late. Therefore I have a better perspective of that city. I'll be writing something about soon enough when I have the time.

Hi Phil,

That sounds great and we are looking forward to hearing from you and Toronto.

Any perspective to establish there?


Depends in what field you are working. For me the best province is Alberta,you make good money,the tax is less but the cost of living is a bit high,but you should know how to manage.saskatchewan is the place to be in let's say 3-4 years.i was working in Alberta,found a job in Hamilton Ontario,I was thinking it's closer to my country and winter will be less rough,so without hesitation I came here....omg the worst place ever everything is expensive,houses and groceries are the same price in Alberta and you pay more taxes in Hamilton and you don't make the same money. But you have cheap restaurants all over Hamilton that's nice but I met some retarded people here and I'm  nice the way I'm describing it,people in Alberta and Saskatchewan are nicer

Are you currently residing in BC, tonynewton?

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