Canada's Most Livable Cities for Newcomers The Globe and Mail published a study recently ranking the most desirable cities for newcomers in Canada.

The Globe examined how simple it was to integrate into the community and access basic amenities and affordable housing. The ranking was intended for individuals who arrived in Canada over the past five years.

The Globe accumulated data from 439 cities throughout the country, each with a population of more than 10,000. The evaluation involved an analysis of 43 variables, which span 10 categories that were recognized as essential when a person considers relocating to a new city. These categories were economy, demographics, housinghealth care, community, education, amenities, transportation, safety and climate.

The ranking is as follows:

  1. Pitt Meadows, BC
  2. Victoria, BC
  3. Winnipeg, MN
  4. North Vancouver, BC
  5. Saanich, BC
  6. Wellesley, ON
  7. Burlington, ON
  8. Regina, SK
  9. Delta, BC
  10. Maple Ridge, BC
  11. West Vancouver, BC
  12. Oak Bay, BC
  13. Abbotsford, BC
  14. Colwood, BC
  15. Norwich, ON
  16. Parksville, BC
  17. Fort St. John, BC
  18. Port Coquitlam, BC
  19. Middlesex Centre, ON
  20. Coldstream, BC


The study classified a few categories as more important for people selecting a community to live in, such as housing, and has put more weight on those categories than less significant categories, such as climate.

In the end, they weighted and averaged the scores to compute a composite score for each city. No city was perfect—even Victoria, a top-ranked city, got some average scores for housing and healthcare. However, the ranking offers a holistic view of the strengths of each city and its overall livability.

A deeper look into the categories and variables 

The economy category evaluated a city’s financial health by analyzing the job market, income levels, taxes, and overall economic stability. Middlesex Centre, Oak Bay, Norwich, Colwood, and Port Coquitlam were some cities that had an unemployment rate below 6%.

For housing, the category considers the affordability of housing and the accessibility of housing options for seniors. They looked at the average value of primary real estate, property tax, and household dwelling expenditure. They also examined the seniors’ housing per capita.

The demographics category assesses a city’s stability and sustainability in terms of population growth, diversity, and cultural richness. The Globe has used a diversity indicator index based on three variables: the percentage of the population whose mother tongue is not English, the percentage of the population who are visible minorities and French, and the percentage of the population who are first- or second-generation immigrants.

Abbotsford, Port Coquitlam, Delta, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, and Winnipeg are cities that have higher diversity than the Canadian average. 

The Globe examined the accessibility and quality of healthcare services, as well as residents’ general perception of their health status, to evaluate healthcare. The Globe used various indicators, such as the proportion of the population who can receive immediate care for minor problems within three days and the percentage of the population with a regular healthcare provider.

In Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, and North Vancouver, over 88% of the population had a regular healthcare provider.

The safety category focused on the likelihood of crimes and residents’ overall confidence in public safety. Wellesley had a crime rate that was 88% lower than the Canadian average, which was the lowest among all cities. Pitt Meadows, North Vancouver, Saanich, and Burlington were other cities with a lower likelihood of crime than the Canadian average.

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The education category evaluated the educational qualifications of the community and the availability of schools, universities, and other educational institutions in the area. For the community category, the assessment considered the city’s social engagement venues, community events, volunteer opportunities, and the sense of belonging and connectivity within the city. The two cities with the highest sense of belonging to the local community are West Vancouver and Coldstream, with 74% of the population. 

The amenities category focused on the number of recreational facilities, entertainment options, shopping centers, and other leisure opportunities available for residents in the community. This included cannabis stores, gyms, movie theaters, and proximity to childcare, grocery stores, libraries, and parks.

The analysis of the transportation category involved evaluating the public transit system, accessibility, and the overall ease of getting around the city. This involved examining the percentage of households within 45 minutes of an airport and the percentage of the population residing within a kilometer of any public transportation source.

Only three cities, North Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Victoria, were more walkable than the Canadian average.

Lastly, the Globe also considered the climate of each city, including extreme weather conditions and overall seasonal conditions from the past. They analyzed the number of days in a year with a humidex above 35 and a daytime low temperature below -15 degrees Celsius.

Winnipeg and Regina were the two cities with the highest number of days where the temperature was below -15 degrees Celsius.


Also read: Immigrating to Canada as Couples

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