Oh Canada! Over the past decade, Canada has become more populous and diverse as ever. With housing affordability and job creation at the forefront of important issues for Canadians (and immigrants alike) and the Canadian economy, here is a list of six of the best Canadian cities to live and work in (in no particular order):
1. Quebec City, QC
Where French is the official language, Quebec City recorded the second lowest unemployment rate in the country through to May 2019, at just 5.0 per cent. According to Bank of Montreal’s study, Quebec City also “boasts some of the most affordable housing in Canada”.
Although French is the official language in the city, English is very present as a result of being geographically situated near English-speaking areas. Quebec City is the second largest economic hub in the province of Quebec and the seventh largest in Canada. Since 2000, almost 66,100 jobs have been created, signalling a robust economy.
Quebec is internationally renowned for its ciders (an apple-based alcoholic beverage) as well as for its artisanal beers and gourmet cheeses, among several other local delicacies. From February 7th to 16th, 2020, be sure to take in the world-famous Winter Carnival, which is a family event that celebrates winter to the fullest with big events such as parades and outdoor concerts.
2. Oakville, ON
Located just outside of the downtown Toronto core, Oakville allows residents easy access to the amenities and job market in both Toronto and Hamilton. The city also offers the benefits of a suburban experience such as a tight-knit community with friendlier neighbours. Oakville is one of the best Canadian cities to live and work in, especially if you enjoy a suburban life.
Oakville is well-known for its many festivals, including the Downtown Oakville Jazz Fest, Rib Fest, and The New Art Festival. Similar to downtown Toronto, downtown Oakville stretches along the shore of Lake Ontario and is centred on Oakville Harbour.
Young professionals and Canadian immigrant families make up the majority of the city’s demographics with approximately 54,875 census families in private households. The local housing market remains steady with minimal price fluctuations this year.
3. Victoria, BC
Victoria presents millennials a more affordable alternative than West Vancouver while offering the same access to beautiful scenery. Youthful Cities, an organization aiming to lead urban regeneration towards youthfulness, ranked Victoria as the ninth-best city for young Canadians to work in its 2019 Urban Work Index survey.
Victoria offers young professionals a city where they can easily transition from education to high paying employment. Furthermore, the city is known for affordable education and good work-integrated learning so that youths can develop work-ready skills while studying.
According to the Youthful Cities’ survey, which looked at 21 different cities, Victoria has the second-lowest average student debt and the seventh-lowest tuition cost. It also has the best performance in year-over-year change in youth full-time jobs as a per cent of total jobs.
4. Calgary, AB
Affectionately known as “Cowtown”, Calgary is a bustling city that offers a mix of fun and work. The ying and yang of skyscrapers to farmlands exemplify the diverse mix of personalities and personnel in the city. The progressive school system and plethora of parks and playgrounds make Calgary a great destination for families to raise kids.
Calgary is home to many attractions including, but not limited to the Calgary Zoo, the Calgary Tower, the Heritage Park Historical Village, and the Glenbow Museum. Perhaps the most well-known attraction in the city occurs in July: the Calgary Stampede. Stampede is a rodeo and festival attended by people from all over the world.
The city’s oil industry is a key driver in fuelling Calgary’s rapid growth. The housing market is currently ideal for millennials with many investing early on in order to build up equity. Overall, Calgary is one of the best Canadian cities to live and work in.
5. Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
Situated only a quick transit ride away from Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo has not only been Canada’s most thriving tech hub for years, but also in recent years, has become a popular destination for Torontonians looking to settle in a more affordable housing market.
With two major university institutions (Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo) anchored in KW, many tech companies are setting up shop in the area to tap into the talent pool, which many consider as Silicon Valley 2.0. This strong reputation for tech innovation and education helps drive investments in the city such as infrastructure (GO Transit).
6. Ottawa, ON
The nation’s capital is home to the Ottawa River, Parliament Hill, and museums such as the National Gallery of Canada. The Rideau Canal is filled with boats during the warm months and is flowing with ice-skaters and warm pastries during the winter.
Listed number one on Bank of Montreal’s survey of best Canadian cities to work in, Ottawa’s robust economy was sparked by a wave of federal government hiring. The city boasts the highest median household income in the country and house prices remain affordable despite increasing recently. Due to stable employment numbers and an influx of people from less affordable cities, Ottawa is continuing to grow and develop.
Furthermore, Ottawa is known as one of the most educated cities in the country with numerous high-profile universities located in the city such as Carleton University and the University of Ottawa.