Canada only just falls outside the top ten in Forbes’ latest Happiest Countries in the World report. Coming in at number 11, there are hundreds of reasons to move to Canada. But also, given its vast expanse, Canadians already living in one province might just be wondering what their other options within this fantastic country are.
Whether you’re drawn to thriving cities, stunning mountains, or you want a little of both, Canada has a city or town for everyone. So what are the best places to live in Canada? And how should you decide where to settle down in such a huge country?
Keep reading for our list of the very best towns and cities you should consider moving to in Canada.
If you’re looking for the best city to live in Canada, Montreal should be at the top of your list. The second-biggest city in Canada, and the largest in the french-speaking province of Quebec, Montreal is a stunning city to live in all year round.
Simply walk up the city’s namesake, Mount Royal. Here, you’ll get to watch the seasons change from firey autumnal colors to pristine snow and then luscious greens.
During the summer, it feels like the city hosts a different festival every week, namely the International Jazz Festival. This event is globally recognized and draws millions of visitors each year. The city comes alive with performers and free events to attend, and is truly a spectacular event. If you do plan on attending, don’t forget your travel insurance. It’s the most important accessory you will pack.
Montreal is a truly international city, hosting restaurants that cook the cuisines of every corner of the world. With both French and English heard on almost every street, the city has a remarkable ability to make even long-term residents feel like they are discovering somewhere new.
From the trendy Plateau Mont-Royal to the high-end Westmount, the different neighborhoods come together to form an exciting city you’ll never tire of admiring.
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Toronto is the largest city in Canada, as well as the fourth largest in North America. With its enormous size comes an incredible array of entertainment options: from live sport to theatre, to museums and galleries.
Toronto is one of the more expensive cities on this list with regards to housing. However, many feel that this is a good price to pay for the experience of living in a city with so much going on. Low unemployment rates and the major Toronto Pearson International Airport are two more great reasons to consider a move to Toronto.
Don’t forget the iconic Toronto skyline featuring the CN Tower or the excellent public transport system when thinking about where to move in Canada.
Many of those living in Toronto choose to rent property rather than buy it. If you’ll be looking to rent in Canada, make sure you check out our renters insurance options.
St. John’s, Newfoundland
Next up, let’s head east – almost as far east as you can go! St. John’s is the largest city as well as the provincial capital of Newfoundland and Labrador. With origins dating back to the end of the 15th century, it is one of the oldest cities in North America.
While some might not be able to overlook the isolation of St. John’s, it is a wonderful city to raise a family. It has affordable daycare and housing that is cheaper than the national average. Don’t forget that St. John’s International Airport puts you in easy reach of the major Canadian cities. It also connects to the south of the border, in addition to London and destinations in Cuba.
St. John’s boasts a strong sense of community as well as great education options, including Memorial University. Finally, the beautifully colored houses and stunning landscape make it difficult to overlook this eastern city.
Victoria, British Columbia
Next, let’s head further west to Victoria, British Columbia. Situated on the eastern-most point of Vancouver Island, this charming city has a population of around 100,000 people.
Exploring the Butchart Gardens is like stepping into a fairytale and they host an unmissable display every Christmas. Meanwhile, the quaint Fisherman’s Wharf is the perfect place to spend a lazy Sunday. Take a stroll while people-watching and picking up some delicious street food treats.
Victoria is known as the ‘Garden City’ thanks to the great green spaces and lovely warm temperatures. If you move to Victoria, you’ll have ample opportunity to explore the rest of Vancouver Island. You can even see majestic orcas and humpback whales.
It’s easy to get from Victoria to the major city of Vancouver, as well as popping across the border to visit Seattle and Portland for weekend getaways.
Quebec City, Quebec
One of the absolute top cities in Canada is Quebec City, back east in francophone Quebec. Quebec City boasts that it has the most photographed hotel in the world. The beautiful Chateau Frontenac dominates the city skyline and is well worth a visit.
Many people love Quebec City for its wonderful, European-feeling old town, named Vieux-Québec. The winding cobbled streets will transport you back to the arrival of French settlers. Meanwhile, the restaurants of Quebec City live up to this culinary heritage.
Quebec City is popular with young couples, growing families, and even those looking for a change upon reaching retirement.
It is fantastically situated and in easy reach of Montreal and Trois-Rivieres on one hand, and the more remote expanses of the province of Quebec heading north-east. Be sure to check out the Montmorency Falls located just outside the city. The bridge spanning the falls is are awe-inspiring and terrifying in equal measure!
Saskatoon, the largest city in Saskatchewan, is a hub within the wilderness of the prairies. Thanks to its beautiful bridges and architecture, it has been bestowed the nickname of the ‘Paris of the Prairies’.
The city teems with restaurants, galleries, and fun outdoor activities to take part in. For those looking to get a little closer to nature, you’ll be thrilled to hear about the abundant deer, moose, and pronghorn that can be seen around Saskatoon.
Saskatoon is one of the furthest north Canadian cities on our list. While winter covers all of our top destinations in Canada with a beautiful white blanket, you might just find that the low temperatures in Saskatoon have you craving sunny beaches and sand between your toes.
If the warmer climates of the south start calling you, check out Insurdinary’s excellent comparison of snowbird travel insurance policies.
Vancouver, British Columbia
For those who are living in Canada and looking for a change of scene, why not consider the third most populous metropolitan area and largest city in British Columbia: Vancouver. This diverse city throbbing with life attracts people from all over the world.
If you don’t already have a job lined up, Vancouver is a great option to consider with the wide range of industries and the low unemployment rate in the city. Meanwhile, for those looking to continue their education, the University of British Columbia is one of the top-rated institutions in the world.
There are wonderful hiking trails and easy access to nature available to those living in Rain City, as it’s nicknamed. By the time winter comes around, skiers will love the proximity of Whistler and other incomparable ski resorts.
Finally, there are also many national parks surrounding Vancouver. These include the Garibaldi Provincial Park, and North Cascades National Park just across the U.S. border.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
When considering a move in or around Canada, one place you need to think about is Halifax. The capital of Nova Scotia, Halifax is a major economic center of Atlantic Canada.
It hosts several major employers such as the Department of National Defense, the Port of Halifax, and several universities.
Medium-sized cities in Canada such as Halifax are hugely popular with families who want to relocate. This is thanks to the combination of entertainment, safety, and the wonderful nature they are able to combine.
Halifax often rates highly in lists of the best places to live in Canada. This is thanks to its low housing costs, beautiful beaches, and vibrant nightlife. Haligonians appreciate the low crime rates and distinctly seasonal weather.
Perhaps its thanks to the many positive attributes of this city that citizens of Halifax are known to be a friendly and welcoming community.
Now, let’s move to the neighboring province of Alberta and explore what its largest city, Calgary, has to offer. Situated just 50 miles from the Rockies, if you’re wondering where you should live in Canada, people who love picture-perfect lakes and mountains should pay close attention.
Calgary is a popular choice for those looking to relocate thanks to the low cost of living but ample opportunity to earn high wages. If you have a background in oil, mining, or engineering, you’ll find many career options here.
The excellent dining and drinking venues, in addition to cultural events throughout the year, make Calgary a great option for young couples and singles. Don’t miss the Calgary Stampede that takes place every July and features some of the best rodeos you could hope to see.
The skyscrapers of Calgary are reminiscent of New York. However, you won’t mistake where you are thanks to the jaw-dropping background of the Rockies.
Finally, if you’re thinking of moving to, or retiring in Canada, we shouldn’t neglect to mention the nation’s capital city, Ottawa. Situated in Ontario, it ranks as the fourth largest city in Canada. A city full of culture and history, Ottawa is popular with Canadians and tourists alike.
From the parliamentary buildings to the beautiful Rideau Canal that freezes over every winter to allow ice-skaters to take to the waters, Ottawa is a thriving and welcoming city. It boasts great nightlife, superb restaurants, and affordable housing.
What’s more, the childcare costs are affordable here. Thanks to its title as the nation’s capital, there are plenty of dynamic government jobs available. It’s also popular with retirees thanks to the wonderful architecture and high standard of living.
For those who are moving to Canada from another country, you’ll have to open a bank account. To explore the best deals when opening a bank account, check out our comparison guide.
If you’re not sure where to live in Canada, why not take a look at Churchill, a beautiful town on the coast of Manitoba. Sitting on the edge of the Hudson Bay, this is where you should move to get a glimpse of polar bears.
Churchill is very much a town, rather than a city. It is rather isolated, and a move here isn’t for the faint-hearted. But, the incredible snowy landscapes, arctic wildlife, and the opportunity to see the northern lights make Churchill the ideal location for some.
Churchill is home to both polar bears in the winter and beluga whales in the summer. It is one of the best places to situate yourself to feel the wonders of Mother Nature. In fact, it’s been nicknamed the ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World’! The community is also rich in indigenous history and culture.
The Bottom Line
Now You Know the Best Places to Live in Canada
Now that we’ve covered the best places to live in Canada, you can start thinking about where appeals the most to you. From Victoria on the West Coast, to St. John’s on the East Coast, one of the very best things about Canada is the huge variety of cities and landscapes that lie between the two oceans.
After that, it’s time to move on to the practicalities of moving. That means accommodation, visas, transport, and finding employment.
Don’t forget that wherever you choose to live in Canada, you’ll need insurance. Get a free, no-obligation quote from Insurdinary for your home insurance, life insurance, travel insurance, and more!