Ten Best Places to Live in Canada

When immigrating to Canada people are often so focused on the immigration application itself that they forget to plan for the actual relocation process. They and are then required to make last-minute decisions once their Canadian Permanent Resident Visas are issued. That is why we have compiled the ten best places to live in Canada.

Canada’s Express Entry Program allows people to apply for immigration without the need for a job offer, providing they meet certain criteria. This means that once their Canadian Permanent Resident Visas are granted, they will be able to relocate to their province or territory of choice.

If you have never visited Canada before starting your immigration process you will need to do some research about Canada to find the perfect city for your family to settle in. Your options are definitely not limited as Canada has ten provinces and three territories to choose from. The major difference between a Canadian province and a Canadian territory is where they receive their powers of authority from.

Canada covers 9.98 million square kilometers, meaning that it can be difficult to narrow down a list of places to live and settle in Canada. New immigrants’ main concerns usually include the following, when deciding on a place to live in Canada:

1. Safety

Besides being the #1 country in the world for quality of life, Canada is also ranked as one of the safest places to live, globally. Crime rates across the country are low, with the safest cities being in Ontario and Quebec. The police agencies in Canada are trusted, are easy to contact, and are quick to respond, meaning that Canada;s residents can be confident in those agencies tasked with protecting them.

2. Affordability

While Canada consistently ranks as one of the best countries to live in, it is not necessarily one of the most expensive countries to live in. When comparing the cost of living between Canada and other first-world countries like the United States,  most goods and services are cheaper in Canada. Another benefit for some is the low-interest rates offered in Canada when compared to their home country where interest rates may be quite high, making it more difficult for them to own a home.

3. Job Opportunities

Canada has an average unemployment rate of 6.5% which is quite low for its size and population. Canada is known for being an immigrant-friendly country, mainly because Canadians are welcoming of immigrants and Canada has a large number of job opportunities for new immigrants as well as entrepreneurship opportunities. Canada simply cannot keep up with the demand for skilled workers as they have an aging population, low birth rate, and not enough residents coming up in the workforce to fill these positions being left open.

4. Public Education System

Canada is one of the most educated countries in the world. The government subsidizes education from junior kindergarten through to the completion of high school, which means that public schooling is free of charge. The public education system is funded by Canadian taxpayers. Canada offers public schooling with English or French as the first official language depending on the province or territory, as well as bilingual programs where children can learn both French and English.

5. Weather

Canada is typically associated with heavy snow and cold weather; however, Canada’s climate is as diverse as its landscape. Canadians generally experience four distinct seasons, especially in the more populated regions along the Canada / US border. Spring is typically pleasant across the whole country with temperatures starting to increase after winter. Summers can be hot and humid in central Canada, and milder on the coasts. Bright orange and red leaves signal a cool and fresh autumn and winters are generally cold with mild to moderate periods of snow. Canadians stay warm with an infrastructure of heated homes, cars, and public transportation systems.

With all of these factors in mind, new immigrants tend to relocate to a handful of specific cities in only a few provinces:

Ontario

Ontario is the largest English speaking province in Canada and borders Manitoba, Quebec, the United States and the Great Lakes. Besides being Canada’s main economic hub, Ontario is also known for its natural diversity, including old forests, breath-taking provincial parks, four of the five Great Lakes and the world-famous Niagara Falls.

Although Ontario is a manufacturing powerhouse, the services sector is the largest part of Ontario’s economy. Ontario’s major services sector includes business and financial services, professional and scientific-technical services, and arts, and culture.

Most cities and towns in Ontario have carefully preserved historic buildings as well as rebuilt forts and pioneered villages. Sight-seeing in Ontario is easy by road, boat or rail. You can visit attractions throughout the province, including fairs, museums, art galleries, zoos, floral gardens, theme parks and special seasonal events.

Ottawa, Ontario

Ottawa is the Capital City of Canada and has a population of more than 1 million. Ottawa has the most educated population among Canadian cities and is home to a number of post-secondary institutions, research institutions, and cultural institutions. The city has a reputation for being family-oriented, quiet, and reserved. Residents are said to be laid-back and more into sports rather than nightlife. The city also hosts many festivals each year including Canada Day, the Winterlude Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival, the Canadian Tulip Festival, and the International Jazz Festival.

Located in eastern Ontario on the Quebec border, Ottawa sits on the side of the huge Ottawa River.  It is also bordered by the Rideau River.  During part of the winter season the Ottawa section of the canal forms the world’s largest skating rink, thereby providing both a recreational venue and a 7.8 km (4.8 mi) transportation path to downtown for ice skaters (from Carleton University and Dow’s Lake to the Rideau Centre and National Arts Centre). On its north side is French-speaking Gatineau, Quebec.

Ottawa also offers a wide variety of employment opportunities. Ottawa also has the highest household incomes in the country. Its biggest employer is the Federal Government of Canada while thousands of others work in hospitals, schools, universities, and tourism. The national headquarters for many federal departments are in Ottawa.

In addition to the economic activities that come with being the national capital, Ottawa is an important technology centre. The concentration of companies in this industry earned the city the nickname of “Silicon Valley North”.

Another major employer is the health sector, four general hospitals are in the Ottawa area: Queensway Carleton Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital, Montfort Hospital, and Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Business, finance, administration, and sales and service rank high among types of occupations.

The city has two main public universities, Charleton University and The University of Ottawa. Ottawa also has two main public colleges – Algonquin College and La Cité collégiale and two Catholic universities – Dominican University College and Saint Paul University.

Four main public school boards exist in Ottawa: English, English-Catholic, French, and French-Catholic. Ottawa also has numerous private schools which are not part of a board.

Ottawa has four distinct seasons which means its climate is sunny although it has cold and snowy winters.  It can also have drastic temperature swings in the spring and fall.

Summers are warm and humid in Ottawa. Snow and ice are dominant during the winter season.

Spring and fall are variable, prone to extremes in temperature and unpredictable swings in conditions.

Toronto, Ontario

Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the most populated city in Canada. Toronto is an international centre of business, finance, arts, and culture, and is recognized as one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world. The diverse population of Toronto reflects its current and historical role as an important destination for immigrants to Canada. More than 50 percent of residents belong to a visible minority population group, and over 200 distinct ethnic origins are represented among its inhabitants.

Toronto is one of the leading economic sectors including business services, finance, aerospace, telecommunications, media, transportation, arts, film, television, production, publishing, media research, education, software production, engineering, sports industries, and tourism.  The large growth in the Toronto metropolitan area is attributed to international migration to Toronto.

The city has four public school boards who operates more than 600 elementary schools, almost 200 secondary schools and a handful of combined institutions, even adult learning centres. Five public universities are based in Toronto. Four of these universities are based in downtown Toronto, OCAD University, Ryerson University, the Université de l’Ontario français, and the University of Toronto. York University is the only Toronto-based university not situated in downtown Toronto, operating a campus in the north-western portion of North York, and a secondary campus in midtown Toronto. The city is also home to several supplementary schools, seminaries, and vocational schools.

In Toronto, the summers are comfortable; the winters are freezing, dry, and windy; and it is partly cloudy year round. Toronto’s climate is modified by its location on the shores of Lake Ontario. The water in the lake ensures Toronto is warmer in winter and cooler in summer than it would otherwise be

Burlington, Ontario

Burlington is part of the Halton Region which is just an hour away from Toronto. The city is known for its high safety index, friendly neighbourhoods, central location, and breath taking landscapes, the city has over 580 acres of park lands and offers a high quality of life. Burlington lies between Lake Ontario’s north shore and the Niagara Escarpment. Some of the best hiking in the world is done here along the Niagara Escarpment and Bruce Trail.

Burlington’s economic strength is the diversity of its economic base, the local economy relies on manufacturing and automotive sectors. No single employer or job sector dominates Burlington’s economy. The leading industrial sectors, in terms of employment, are food processing, packaging, electronics, motor vehicle/transportation, business services, chemical/pharmaceutical and environmental.

There are 29 public elementary schools and 14 Roman Catholic elementary schools in Burlington. There are also 13 private schools in Burlington. The city also has an Oxford College of Arts, Business and Technology. Post-Secondary education includes McMaster University DeGroote School of Business opened in September 2010 and offers MBA and Executive Management programs. The Australian university Charles Sturt University had also opened a study centre in Burlington in 2005 and this institution offers programs in Master of International Education, Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies and Master of Business Administration.

Weather in Burlington is typical for the region, the summers are comfortably warm and somewhat humid and the winters are freezing, dry and windy. This region is typically partly cloudy year round.

Waterloo, Ontario

The city of Waterloo in Southern Ontario is the smallest of 3 cities in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. It has many nations representing its immigrant population which makes possible one of the most authentic and biggest cultural experiences – the Oktoberfest.

Waterloo has a strong knowledge- and service-based economy with significant insurance and high-tech sectors as well as two universities. Waterloo has a vast technology sector with hundreds of high-tech firms. Before it became known for technology, Waterloo was sometimes referred to as “the Hartford of Canada” because of the many insurance companies based in the area. The city encourages location filming of movies and TV series and many have taken advantage of Waterloo locations.

It is also a great place to study with highly respected institutions, world-class colleges and universities, and quality education for children.  It is also home to the University of Waterloo, one of Canada’s most modern universities. The main campuses of the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University are in Waterloo. This includes the many associated universities and colleges, including St. Jerome’s University, St. Paul’s University College, Conrad Grebel University College, Renison University College and the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

Waterloo has a humid continental climate of the warm summer subtype; this means that there are large seasonal differences, usually very warm to hot (and humid) summers and cold (to very cold) winters. Compared to the rest of Canada, it has moderate weather. Winter temperatures generally last from the middle of December until the middle of March, while summer temperatures generally occur between the middle of May to close to the end of September.

British Columbia

On the other side of the country lies Canada’s most western province, British Columbia, on the Pacific Coastline. From massive mountain ranges and windswept beaches to rainforests overflowing with life, thee landscape in British Columbia is nothing like the rest of the country. Half of all British Columbians live in the metropolitan area of Vancouver. The province occupies about 10 per cent of Canada’s land surface.

More than 200 different commodities are produced on about 22,000 agricultural farms across the province. British Columbia has the second largest parks system in Canada, after Canada’s National Parks. The largest intact coastal temperate rainforest in the world is protected in BC’s Kitlope Heritage Conservancy.

Saanich, British Columbia

Saanich is bordered by 6 municipalities, including the capital, Victoria.  It has varying rural and urban landscapes, a number of ocean bays with a long stretch of shoreline of sandy beaches.  Its most popular parks are Mount Douglas Park, Gyro Park, and Mount Tolmie Park. If you like the idea of living in paradise then you will definitely like Saanich. And if this is what you are going for you would not mind forking out the additional dollar.

The Vancouver Island Technology Park can also be found in Saanich.  It is one of the key drivers of its local economy. It has a diverse community of artists, entrepreneurs, builders, and families. Saanich takes a leadership role in promoting and supporting community economic interests and actively participates in regional economic development strategies. It pursues growth in clean economic sectors and expands commercial opportunities focused on village centres. It is proud of its reputation for preservation and promotion of its key economic advantages and high quality of life in an environment that appeals to citizens and businesses

Saanich is the proud location of the University of Victoria and the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. Saanich is also home to both major campuses of Camosun College, the original Lansdowne campus, and the Interurban campus.

In Saanich the summers are comfortable, dry, and partly cloudy and the winters are long, very cold, wet, and mostly cloudy.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver is a seaport city in West Canada located in the region of British Columbia. Vancouver is typically named as one of the top five worldwide cities for abundance and quality of life. Vancouver is a centre for film and television production. Nicknamed Hollywood North, a distinction it shares with Toronto, the city has been used as a film making location for nearly a century, beginning with the Edison Manufacturing Company.

With its location on the Pacific Rim and at the western terminus of Canada’s transcontinental highway and rail routes, Vancouver is one of the nation’s largest industrial centres. Vancouver is also the headquarters of forest product and mining companies. In recent years, Vancouver has become a centre for software development, biotechnology, aerospace, video game development, animation studios and television production and film industry. Vancouver’s scenic location makes it a major tourist destination.

The Vancouver School Board enrols more than 110,000 students in its elementary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions, making it the second-largest school district in the province. The district administers about 76 elementary schools, 17 elementary annexes, 18 secondary schools, 7 adult education centres, 2 Vancouver Learning Network schools, which include 18 French immersion, a Mandarin bilingual, a fine arts, gifted, and Montessori schools. There are five public universities in the Greater Vancouver area, the largest being the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Simon Fraser University. Other public universities in the metropolitan area around Vancouver are Capilano University in North Vancouver, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Vancouver is one of Canada’s warmest cities in the winter. During summer months the inland temperatures are significantly higher, Vancouver has the coolest summer average high of all major Canadian metropolitan areas. The summer months are typically dry, with an average of only one in five days during July and August receiving precipitation. In contrast, there is some precipitation during nearly half the days from November through March. Vancouver is also one of the wettest Canadian cities. However, precipitation varies throughout the metropolitan area.

Delta, British Columbia

This city is in the municipality of British Columbia and is part of Greater Vancouver.  It is located south of Richmond and is bordered on the north by the Fraser River and the Point Roberts, Washington on the south. The city offers an extraordinary quality of life with its wide open spaces and abundant recreational opportunities.

It is the biggest municipality in the Greater Vancouver Region and has one of the most significant agricultural areas in Vancouver.  It is home to people who want to raise their families in quiet and safe neighbourhoods surrounded by nature.  The city is perfect for those who love the outdoors as it has plenty of parks, bike and walking paths, islands, and wildlife.

It has 180 square meters of farmland, wetlands, commercial districts, industrial areas, and residential neighbourhoods with historic homes.  It also produces some of the best vegetables and nursery plants.  Its fertile soil is ideal for farming but the city is also home to important industries such as communication, tourism, energy, transportation, and manufacturing.  Delta port is the largest container terminal in Canada.

Many immigrants like the weather, it being the mildest in the country, one of the sunniest and driest spots in the British Columbia Lower Mainland.

Winters are not as cold compared to other cities in Canada and it has very little snow. Delta is known for its relatively dry and sunny climate compared with other locations in Metro Vancouver.

Quebec

Québec is a mainly French-speaking province in eastern Canada. Known for the world-famous Château Frontenac, Québec City is also known for its rich history, cobblestone streets, European architecture and fortifications. Quebec is culturally different from the rest of Canada because it has a strong French influence. It’s a piece of Europe in Canada. Quebec is the second-most populated province of Canada, after Ontario. The climate around the major cities is four-seasons continental with cold and snowy winters combined with warm to hot humid summers, but farther north, long winter seasons dominate and as a result the northern areas of the province are marked by tundra conditions.

While the province’s substantial natural resources have long been the mainstay of its economy, sectors of the knowledge economy such as aerospace, information and communication technologies, biotechnology, and the pharmaceutical industry also play leading roles. These many industries have all contributed to helping Quebec become an economically influential province within Canada, second only to Ontario in economic output.

Brossard, Quebec

Brossard is across from Montreal, with the St. Lawrence River separating the two cities. Brossard is a municipality in the Montérégie region of Quebec, Canada and is part of the Greater Montreal area.

Brossard offers high-paying jobs, low unemployment rates, affordable housing, and cultural diversity.  It also boasts of a huge immigrant population which is estimated at 36%.

Brossard is the commercial hub in Montreal’s south shore and has one of the most highly diverse municipalities in the country.  Brossard offers a host of sports, recreational, cultural and tourist activities. Entertainment, attractions and shopping areas will bring smiles to the faces of kids and adults alike.

The Ministere de l’Immigration, de la Diversite et de l’Inclusion offers specialized courses in engineering, health, applied sciences, law or business at intermediate and advanced levels.

In Brossard, the summers are long and warm; the winters are freezing, snowy, and windy; and it is partly cloudy year round.

Alberta

Alberta is a province in Western Canada. Alberta is bordered by the provinces of British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories to the north, and the U.S. state of Montana to the south. Its landscape offers mountains, prairies, desert and vast coniferous forests. It has more than 600 lakes, and rich mineral deposits. In the west, the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks have glaciers in the Columbia Icefields.

Alberta’s economy was one of the strongest in the world, supported by the burgeoning petroleum industry and to a lesser extent, agriculture and technology. The Fraser Institute states that Alberta also has very high levels of economic freedom and rates Alberta as the freest economy in Canada, and second-freest economy amongst U.S. states and Canadian provinces.

Alberta is primarily known for oil, and secondarily for cattle. It is also known for its vast farming and cattle ranching areas, vast northern forests, the Rocky Mountains, cold winters, and excellent skiing.

Calgary, Alberta

Calgary offers a high quality of life, ranked among the world’s cleanest, safest, and healthiest cities. The city is rich in historical and iconic architecture.  The Husky Tower is the tallest building in Canada outside of Toronto.  Its rotating restaurants and impressive view is a must see for all residents and visitors alike. Calgary Stampede is also a world-renowned landmark in the city.  Spruce Meadows is an equestrian facility that has earned national and international respect for show-jumping contests. The city also boasts of its International Avenue where you can see the world in just 35 blocks.  Complete with authentic Asian restaurants, sari shops, and acupuncture clinics, you’ll see many amenities right here in the city. Being so close to Banff and Canmore gives you access to the wonderful views of the Rocky Mountains.  These famous mountain destinations are a mere 60-90 minutes away where you can ski, snowboard, or go ice climbing at world class resorts.

The city of Calgary has the highest number of immigrants than any other city in Alberta. Calgary is recognized as a leader in the Canadian oil and gas industry, and its economy expanded at a significantly higher rate than the overall Canadian economy. The economy in Calgary is diverse and includes financial services, transportation and logistics, technology and energy. The Calgary CMA is home to Canada’s second-highest number of corporate head offices among the country’s 800 largest corporations.

There are five public post-secondary institutions in Calgary, including two major universities: The University of Calgary and Mount Royal University. Calgary also offers 142 elementary schools (Kindergarten – Grade 6) There are 28 elementary/junior high schools combined. There are 51 junior high schools (Grades 7 – 9) There are six junior/senior high schools; combined.

In Calgary, the summers are comfortable; the winters are long, freezing, and dry; and it is partly cloudy year round.

With more sunny days than any other major city and being less than an hour away from the Rockies, Calgarians surely enjoy healthy and active lifestyles.

St. Albert – Alberta

St. Albert is a flourishing city located just minutes from northwest Edmonton on the Sturgeon River. St. Albert is known for their rich history, a wide array of arts, their botanical arts nature and vibrant culture.

The city offers a family-friendly lifestyle complete with all the amenities you could ever want. The city is happy to receive new residents and help them transition into the community.

St. Albert is committed to creating an attractive environment for entrepreneurs, developers, investors and local operators to do business. In addition to high incomes and low crime, the city also boasts of clean air.  It also has plenty of doctors that make access to good healthcare easy.

The city has 3 school districts that provide learning opportunities for children.  Opportunities for studying include Francophone studies, French immersion, university degrees, sports academies, Integrated Digital Technology, and many registered apprenticeship programs.  Post- secondary institutions in the area also include MacEwan University, the University of Alberta, and Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Although winters are cold, there is much sunshine all year round. In St. Albert, the summers are long, comfortable, and partly cloudy and the winters are freezing, snowy, windy, and mostly cloudy.

Immigrants living in Canada are very happy. In fact, these migrants are so happy with their new country and their decision to immigrate that they have voted Canada the seventh-best place in the world to be an immigrant. Canada has a long-standing reputation for being a society welcoming of immigrants and as such Canada has one of the most sophisticated immigration systems in the world.

Fill out our FREE assessment to find out how Canada Abroad can assist in making your Canadian dream a reality. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants are experienced professional who will help you to explore every available avenue.

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