Aside that Canada is the Top Eleven in Forbes’ latest Happiest Countries in the World report. 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.
Canada is one of the best places to live in the world because of its free healthcare, growing economy, high standard of living, a multitude of opportunities, culture, and more.
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.
Where is The Best Place to Live in Canada?
Well, the answer to this question will vary based on your specific situation and needs:
- Do you want to live in a big city, or be surrounded by nature?
- Will you be looking for work or are you working from home?
- Are you looking to buy a house or rent an apartment?
- Will the cost of living fit with your budget or income?
- Are you bilingual, or do you only speak English?
The cost of living varies greatly depending on the city you live in. Some cities, like Moncton and Saint John, have a much lower real estate market than other cities like Toronto or Vancouver.
Some cities are better than others for finding work, so you should look at the employment prospects before deciding which city to move to.
1. Montreal, Quebec – Best Overall
With a population of over 1.8 million, Montreal is one of the biggest cities in the province of Quebec and is Canada’s largest city after Toronto.
Montreal is an important hub for commerce, arts, culture, and architecture and is quite affordable compared to Toronto and Vancouver.
There are plenty of employment opportunities with lower real estate costs than in other provinces. Renting an apartment plus the average cost of food and entertainment isn’t too high in the city.
Montreal is called the French Heart of Canada, so you’ll need to know how to speak French or start learning it to get by. It is the 2nd largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris, and French is the only official language of the city.
When you’re in Montreal, you might think you’re in a French town in Europe, as there are many old buildings and unique architecture.
It is an ethnically diverse city, like Toronto, and is one of the best places to live in Canada for young adults and students for the nightlife and the many universities in the city.
Montreal City Main Attractions
Montreal city is well known because of the following popular attractions below:
- Notre-Dame Basilica
- Mount Royal
- Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
- Montreal Botanical Garden
When to Pick and Live in Montreal City?
Aside that Montreal city is the overall best city to live in Canada this place is also best for young adults and students for the nightlife, cultural and social events.
Related Article: How To Talk To Canadians the right way
2. Toronto, Ontario
Toronto is the largest city in Canada by population and the largest city in Ontario, even though it is not the capital. It has a population of over 2.93 million.
This hustling and bustling city is the number one choice for many immigrants and international students. It is one of the best places to live in Canada for students.
It is home to some of the best universities in the world, including the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, and York University.
There are many large events at different times during the year, like the Toronto Raptors games and Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
Toronto has a high cost of living, renting, and real estate. It is one of the most expensive cities to live in and is the most expensive market for real estate in Canada.
Despite this, there are many employment opportunities, resources, and facilities in this big city. There is an industry for nearly anything you want to do.
Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world, with over 270 ethnicities and 170 languages represented in the Toronto region. Half of the population identifies as a visible minority.
If you love experiencing new cuisines and cultures, Toronto may be a great place for you.
Toronto City Main Attractions
Toronto city is well known because of the following popular attractions below:
- CN Tower
- Ripley’s Aquarium
- Yonge Dundas Square
- Nathan Phillips Square
- Eaton Centre
When to Pick and Live in Toronto City?
Aside that Toronto city is the Canada’s business and financial capital this place is also best for culture, nightlife and professional opportunities.
3. Quebec City, Quebec
Quebec City is one of the best places to live in Quebec and is one of the most picturesque places in Canada. It is primarily a tourist destination, with more than 4.5 million people visiting every year.
Old Quebec is a historical part of Quebec City and is preserved as a UNESCO world heritage site. It is the most intact fortified town north of Mexico, where you can travel back in time to see the colonial architecture. It is regarded as the historical and cultural heart of Quebec City.
Like Montreal, the official language is French, so you will need to know or learn French to get around in the city.
Quebec City is one of Canada’s least expensive cities, with housing prices among the lowest of Canada’s metropolitan areas.
The city has an affordable cost of living with many study and job opportunities, great for international students moving to Canada.
Quebec City and surrounding areas are quite safe to live in, with one of the lowest crime rates in North America.
There are many festivals and major events throughout the year, like the Quebec Winter Carnival and the Festival D’Éte.
There are also quite a few outdoor activities just outside of town, like skiing, hiking, cycling, or snowshoeing.
Quebec City Main Attractions
Quebec city is well known because of the following popular attractions below:
- Old Quebec City
- Fairmont Le Chateau
- Montmorency Falls
When to Pick and Live in Quebec City?
Quebec city is best for tourism and festivals.
4. Ottawa, Ontario
One of the best places to live in Ontario, Ottawa is the capital city of Canada in the province of Ontario and is the 4th largest urban region in Canada.
It is a very multicultural city with a large and growing immigrant population. It is an officially bilingual city; however, you don’t need to know French as almost everyone knows and speaks English.
Ottawa offers many jobs and opportunities in the tech industry, government, and health and education sectors.
It is one of Canada’s most respected tech hubs and is home to companies like Shopify and GNX. There are world-class research centers and two major universities – the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.
It is a vibrant and youthful city with beautiful architecture and a bustling city center. It is very green, clean, and bike-friendly.
The Rideau Canal cuts through the city, giving way to many trails, walkways, paths, and bike lanes. In the winter, the canal freezes over and turns into the world’s longest skating rink.
Ottawa has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada, at 3.4%. The city has the third-highest quality of life of any city in North America, and in 2017, MoneySense ranked Ottawa the best place to live in Canada.
Ottawa City Main Attractions
Ottawa city well known because of the following popular attractions below:
- Rideau Canal
- Parliament Hill
- National Gallery of Canada
When to Pick and Live in Ottawa City?
Aside that Ottawa city is the Canada’s city capital this place is also best for job opportunities and visiting museums.
5. Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver Island is one of the best places to live in BC for its low crime rate, culture, and community engagement.
It is located in pacific northwest Canada, just off the coast of BC, where mountains, lakes, forests, and the ocean surround the island.
It is the largest island along the west coast of the Americas, with over 500 communities with various schools, healthcare facilities, and transportation systems.
Vancouver Island includes urban cities like Nanaimo and Victoria, as well as small rural towns that are nowhere near larger population areas.
With this range of rural and urban cities, the cost of living will differ depending on where you live on the island.
Vancouver Island is known for its natural beauty, family-friendly communities, and relaxing lifestyle.
It is also one of the best places to live in Canada for outdoor activities. There is no shortage of them, with over 120 provincial parks, the ocean surrounding the island, and mountains.
Some outdoor activities include surfing, kayaking, snorkelling, hiking and walking trails, and winter activities like skiing and snowboarding.
Vancouver City Main Attractions
Vancouver city well known because of the following popular attractions below:
- Mount Washington Skiing Alpine Resort
- Royal BC Museum
When to Pick and Live in Vancouver City?
Aside that Vancouver city is the British Columbia province city capital this place is also best for outdoor activities.
6. Calgary, Alberta
Calgary is the largest city in Alberta, with a population of about 1.6 million. It is the sunniest place in all of Canada, located at the confluence of two rivers, the Bow and Elbow, at the foot of the rocky mountains.
Calgary is a bustling city that is always full of life but also largely connected to nature and surrounding landscapes.
It is one of the most diverse cities in Canada, as it has 180 distinct neighborhoods, each with its own history and culture.
Housing prices are on the rise; however, they are much lower than in cities like Vancouver and Toronto. Despite these high costs, the cost of day-to-day living is relatively inexpensive.
There is no provincial sales tax in Alberta, so residents only pay a 5% sales tax, unlike any other province.
One of the best places to live in western Canada, Calgary has many great employment opportunities with jobs in tourism, film, aerospace, health, and financial sectors.
Calgary is home to the Calgary Stampede, a yearly ten-day event that calls itself “the greatest outdoor show on earth”, one of the world’s largest rodeos.
Calgary City Main Attractions
Calgary city is well known because of the following popular attractions below:
- Calgary Stampede
- Calgary Tower, WinSport
When to Pick and Live in Calgary City?
Calgary city is best for young and diverse residents.
7. Edmonton, Alberta
Located in the heart of Alberta, Edmonton is the most northern city in North America, with a population of over 1 million.
Known as the Festival City of Canada, Edmonton hosts over 50 festivals annually. Multiple summer festivals take place every few days from May until September, and winter festivals go from November until the end of March.
Edmonton has a relatively high minimum wage with a reasonable cost of living and low rental rates, making this city a great choice for renters.
It has the highest average household income in Canada, with Edmontonians having more disposable income than most other Canadians.
Edmonton is home to some of Canada’s top technology companies and the West Edmonton Mall, the largest shopping mall in North America.
The city has Canada’s highest area of parkland per resident, with over 460 parks in total. The River Valley forms a “Ribbon of Green,” winding through the North Saskatchewan River that cuts the city in two.
There are many winter activities to take part in, such as cross-country skiing, outdoor skating, snowshoeing, and tobogganing.
Edmonton City Main Attractions
Edmonton city well known because of the following popular attractions below:
- West Edmonton Mall
- World Waterpark
When to Pick and Live in Edmonton City?
Aside that Edmonton city is the Alberta province capital this place is also ideal for renters due to cheapest rates.
8. Halifax, Nova Scotia
Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia and is one of the best places to live in Atlantic Canada.
Located on one of the deepest ice-free natural harbours in the world, it is one of the most important Canadian commercial ports on the Atlantic seaboard.
Halifax has affordable housing prices, excellent healthcare, and a wide variety of restaurants and bars.
Not as large a city as Vancouver or Toronto, Halifax is a safe and welcoming city with the perfect balance of small-town charm and big-city life.
Downtown, you’ll find a hub of food, business, and sports. Outside of the downtown core is a lot quieter, and it’ll almost feel like you’re in a different city.
Much of the population comprises students as there are five large universities. It is a great city with reasonably priced rent, food, and drinks.
Halifax also boasts some beautiful scenery. You’re never more than 30 minutes away from the beachfront, and there are many parks and hiking trails nearby.
Halifax City Main Attractions
Halifax city well known because of the following popular attractions below:
- Halifax Citadel National Historic Site
- The harbourfront
When to Pick and Live in Halifax City?
Aside that Halifax city is the Nova Scotia province city capital this place is also best for students and for people looking to get away from the city life for retirement.
9. Charlottetown, PEI
Charlottetown is the capital of Prince Edward Island and is one of the largest cities in the province.
It is the commercial centre of the province, home to the provincial government, the only airport on the island, and the University of PEI.
With a population of 36,000, it is a relatively small town, but a vibrant seaside community. It is one of the best cities in PEI with its rich history, energy, and various arts and cultural activities.
It is one of the best places to live in Canada for families, newlyweds, students, and young adults.
Charlottetown has 11 National Historic Sites of Canada and is famous for being one of the safest cities in Canada.
Because of the surrounding waters, the winters are milder than in other parts of Canada, but there is quite a bit of snow during the winter.
Charlottetown City Main Attractions
Charlottetown city well known because of the following popular attractions below:
- Confederation Centre of the Arts
- St. Dunstan’s Basilica
- Charlottetown Farmer’s Market
When to Pick and Live in Charlottetown City?
Aside that Charlottetown city is Prince Edward Island province city capital this place is also best for families and those who want to live in a small, quiet town.
10. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Saskatoon is one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada and is the largest city in Saskatchewan. It has a population of 273,000, but it doesn’t feel like a city.
The downtown area and surrounding suburbs are very community-based and welcoming to any newcomers. Much of Saskatoon is based around communal living.
Saskatoon is known as the “Paris of the Prairies” for its many bridges that cross over the Saskatchewan River. The city is named after a Cree word that means “place of many berries” and is known for desserts made with the Saskatoon berry.
Like Quebec City, Saskatoon is also home to a heritage site (Wanuskewin Heritage Park – a historical centre of the First Nations), and the city has applied for UNESCO World Heritage status.
It is known for its fantastic food scene, diverse communities, and vibrant neighbourhoods.
The only downside is the weather. Saskatoon has extreme freezing winters, and if the weather gets too bad, life can come to a halt.
There are many public parks, playgrounds, public sports areas, and a weekly farmer’s market for local produce.
The Remai Modern museum has just opened within the past few years, as well as many new restaurants, breweries, and bars. As the city becomes more popular, house prices are rising but are generally lower than average.
The cost of living in Saskatoon is fairly low compared to the rest of the country because of the wide-open plains and local agriculture.
Rent is quite affordable at an average of $1,000 per month, so it is a go-to place for people looking for affordable living in a city.
Saskatoon City Main Attractions
Saskatoon city well known because of the following popular attractions below:
- Remai Modern Museum
- Wanuskewin center
- Ukrainian Museum of Canada
When to Pick and Live in Saskatoon City?
Aside that Saskatoon city one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada this place is also best for families or young individuals due to the low cost of living.
11. Winnipeg, Manitoba
The capital of Manitoba, Winnipeg is known for its harsh winters and is sometimes called “Winterpeg.” However, it is one of the sunniest Canadian cities with nice summers and beautiful scenery.
Winnipeg is quite a big city, so there are many job opportunities across different sectors, like technology, manufacturing, and public administration.
The cost of living in Winnipeg is more affordable than in other Canadian cities, with low-cost housing and rent options.
Many different cultures are represented in Winnipeg, with several festivals and art shows held annually, like the Folk Festival held at Birds Hill Provincial Park.
Winnipeggers are generally friendly and welcoming, which is why many newcomers to the country go to this city.
12. Saint John, New Brunswick
Saint John is Canada’s oldest incorporated city, established in 1785. The city is located where the St John River meets the Bay of Fundy and is home to the highest tides in the world.
It is an active port and industrial city but is quickly expanding into technology and other businesses.
Saint John is surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscapes in Canada with stunning historical architecture.
It has been designated as a Cultural Capital of Canada, as there are many visual performances, live music, and festivals. It is also famous for being the city with the happiest people in Canada.
Saint John has some of the lowest real estate prices in the country. If you work from home or work in technology, you can move to Saint John and find a good deal on a house.
In 2020, it was named the 6th most affordable city in the world for middle-income housing.
13. Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria is the capital of British Columbia on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.
It is one of the best places to live in Canada for seniors and is named after Queen Victoria, known for its old-world charm with narrow streets and 19th-century stone buildings.
With a small population of only 400,000, it is called the “Garden City” as it’s very progressive and environmentally friendly. There are greenery and flowers all around, and Butchart Gardens is a popular tourist attraction.
Victoria is a small city with friendly people and large nightlife and amenities, such as world-class universities, a downtown core, entertainment, and outdoor activities. It is a great place for biking, and it is easy to get to the mainland by ferry.
It is the best city for retirees, as there are low property taxes and access to doctors. In fact, 18% of the population is over 65 years old. The city also has milder weather than most of Canada, as it rarely snows in Victoria.
There are many accessible outdoor activities, such as hiking, golfing, biking, and kayaking.
14. Moncton, New Brunswick
Moncton is the largest urban centre in New Brunswick, located at the geographic centre of the Maritime Provinces in the heart of NB.
It is nicknamed “Hub City,” because of its central inland location and history as a railway land transportation hub for the Maritimes.
The city is mainly based on commerce, transportation, fintech, and goods distribution. If you want to start a business, Moncton is one of the best cities to do so.
Moncton is known for its warm and welcoming nature towards visitors and immigrants. It has been named one of the most considerate and best cities for raising a family.
There are many food and drink festivals throughout the year and a few nightclubs, restaurants, bars, and cinemas in the downtown core.
Moncton is Canada’s first officially bilingual city in the officially bilingual province of New Brunswick, so you will need to be bilingual to get around.
The city is home to the largest French-language post-secondary school outside Quebec, called Universite de Moncton, and other universities like the University of New Brunswick and Mount Allison University.
Moncton has affordable housing compared to the average across Canada.
15. Oakville, Ontario
Oakville is a small suburban town in southern Ontario, close to Toronto. In 2018, it was named the best city to live in Canada.
There are many employment opportunities in the city and a generally good quality of life. It is only a 30-minute drive from Toronto, so residents have access to the Toronto job market without the costs of actually living there.
Many life sciences, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing companies are based in Oakville and can provide great job opportunities for those who work in those sectors. Oakville may be a good location if you commute to Toronto for work or if you work from home.
Oakville has a cozy small-town feel but includes all the amenities of an urban centre. There is a lot to do for those who love arts, music, and culture, as there are museums, art galleries, and festivals throughout the year.
There are also hundreds of parks, hiking trails, and seven golf courses.
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!