Canada’s Best Cities and Towns to Live and Work in 2017

This is a great country to live in, we can all agree on that. However, the quality of life and number of opportunities available in Montreal is very different from in Medicine Hat. Life in Toronto moves at a different pace from that in Saskatoon. So, who comes out on top? Where’s the best place to live in Canada right now?

Well, the international opinion is that Vancouver is Canada’s top town. In fact, it’s one of the best places to live in the world. The Economist recently put out the 2017 edition of their Global Liveability Report, which evaluates 140 cities around the world based on their quality of life.

While Melbourne, Australia took the top spot for liveability, three Canadian cities cracked the top 10 list of most livable cities in the world. Vancouver came in as third, Toronto ranked fourth, and Calgary tied for the fifth spot with Adelaide, Australia. You can read the full report and methodology here.

That’s the view from a distance. Close to home, the team over at MoneySense magazine recently published their own list of Canada’s Best Places to Live in 2017. Their rankings are based on wealth and affordability, employment opportunities and taxes, transit, crime, arts and culture and more. Ottawa, Ontario came out on top.

Other than the nation’s capital, the other top ranked towns by MoneySense’s criteria tend to be smaller communities and suburbs. Often this is because suburban living gives you a more affordable lifestyle with access to the big city job opportunities.

The top 10 cities and towns to live in 2017

  • Ottawa, Ont.
  • Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Que.
  • Oak Bay, B.C.
  • North Saanich, B.C.
  • Weyburn, Sask.
  • Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Que.
  • St. Albert, Alta.
  • Mont-Royal, Que.
  • Burlington, Ont.
  • Lévis, Que.

Vancouver comes in at number 72 on the list of over 400 cities and towns ranked. Calgary follows at number 75, and Canada’s largest city, Toronto is ranked as 129th best place to live. While several Montreal suburbs are scored highly, the island city itself comes in at 356th out of just over 400 cities and towns ranked.

While the big cities tend to have job opportunities and thriving cultures, they lose points for affordability. You can view the complete rankings – and adjust the criteria to find the best place to live for your priorities – on the MoneySense website.

However, for most of us, the quality of life in a region depends most on the number of opportunities available. The more jobs there are, the more security and freedom you have.

The team at Adzuna – a website that aggregates online job ads from across platforms – shared their 2017 data on the hiring climate across the country. Based on their numbers, these are the best and worst places to be looking for a new job right now:

  • British Colombia saw the best employment growth rate last year, at 3 per cent.
  • Languishing at the bottom was Alberta, which saw the number of jobs available drop by 3.5 per cent and a twenty-year high for unemployment.
  • Despite that, the country’s highest salaries can be found in Alberta, with average weekly pay of $1,120 as of May 2017. This translates to an annual wage of $58,240, as compared to a roughly $50,000 Canadian national average salary.
  • The lowest salaries are to be found in Nova Scotia, at $895 per week – or $46,540 annually.

The easiest cities to find work in right now

There are some cities where competition for jobs is fierce, with hundreds of candidates competing for every available position, and others where the balance between job openings and available workers makes it much easier to get hired. Based on Adzuna’s numbers, these are the top five places for landing a job in 2017.

Rank City, Province Employment Rate Average Salary
1. Regina, Saskatchewan 57.20% $43,776
2. Guelph, Ontario 55.90% $42,640
3. Kitchener, Ontario 55.30% $56,875
4. Edmonton, Alberta 54.20% $45,615
5. Calgary, Alberta 53.80% $74,813

Regina comes out on top. While the wages are slightly below the national average, in Saskatchewan the low cost of living and low taxes – plus ample job opportunities still make for an enviable quality of life. Regina ranks # 34 on MoneySense’s list of top Canadian towns.

Heading west or into the smaller cities of southern Ontario’s tech corridor are your best bets right now for lower cost of living and increased job opportunities.

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