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What is the Best City to Move to in Canada? A Ranked Guide


Canada, the land of maple syrup, hockey, and breathtaking landscapes, has consistently ranked among the top countries for quality of life. Canada has become a popular destination for immigrants and expats, boasting a diverse population, strong economy, and social safety nets. But with so many cities to choose from, which one is the best fit for you? This comprehensive guide will explore various Canadian cities to help you make an informed decision.

1. Toronto, Ontario: A Multicultural Metropolis

Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is known for its diverse population and thriving economy. As the country’s financial and cultural hub, Toronto offers numerous job opportunities, world-class dining experiences, and endless entertainment options.

  • Vibrant job market
  • Cultural diversity
  • Countless entertainment options
  • High paying jobs in prestige professions like, just two examples, finance and law
  • Major international airport (no multi-stops trips)
  • Elite restaurants and bars
  • Close to skiing (Collingwood) and cottage country (Muskoka, Kawarthas, Prince Edward County, Niagara).
  • Close to US border cities (Buffalo (2hrs away) and Detroit (4 hours away))
  • High cost of living
  • Traffic congestion / Poor public transport
  • Expensive housing market
Photo by Luis Ruiz on

2. Vancouver, British Columbia: Nature Lover’s Paradise

Vancouver, nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountains, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With a temperate climate, beautiful parks, and a stunning waterfront, this city is perfect for those who value an active lifestyle.

  • Breathtaking scenery
  • Outdoor recreation opportunities
  • Mild climate (but its cloudy a lot)
  • Green initiatives and eco-friendly living
  • Close to the best skiing in the world (Whistler)
  • International airport with many direct flights to the far east
  • High cost of living
  • Limited job market
  • Housing affordability issues
  • Crime and vagrancy in downtown east side
Photo by Brayden Law on

3. Calgary, Alberta: A Growing Economy and Family-Friendly Community

Calgary, located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, is known for its boom and bust economy driven by the energy (oil and gas) sector. Calgary attracts families and young professionals with affordable housing, excellent schools, and a safe, family-friendly environment.

  • Affordable housing
  • Periods of strong economy
  • High quality of life
  • Family-friendly amenities
  • Low taxes
  • Close to many world-class outdoor attractions and resort areas
  • Did I mention that you can float on a lazy river through the city in the summer
  • Cold and long winters
  • Limited cultural and entertainment options
  • Dependence on the energy sector (boom and bust economy)

4. Montreal, Quebec: A Unique Blend of European Charm and North American Innovation

Montreal, a predominantly French-speaking city, is renowned for its European charm, vibrant arts scene, and world-class universities. Offering a unique cultural experience, Montreal is an ideal choice for those who appreciate history, art, and gastronomy.

  • Rich culture and history
  • Affordable cost of living
  • Renowned universities
  • Bustling arts and entertainment scene
  • Close to top winter and summer resort towns
  • Airport is a hub for European travel
  • Language barrier (French-speaking majority)
  • Harsh winters
  • Limited job opportunities outside of the tech and creative industries
  • Oftentimes bizarre local politics (they had a curfew during covid-19; they ban religious garments for public servants; and they made language laws that make it challenging for English businesses to operate)
Photo by Céline Chamiot-Poncet on

5. Ottawa, Ontario: The Nation’s Capital

Ottawa, Canada’s capital, is home to national institutions, museums, and a stable job market. With a high quality of life, affordable housing, and decent public services (relative to its size), Ottawa is an excellent choice for those seeking a balanced lifestyle.

  • Stable job market
  • Affordable housing
  • A rich history and cultural attractions
  • Strong public services
  • Smaller city with limited entertainment options
  • Cold winters
  • Limited public transportation
  • Sort of a boring city because everyone makes the same income. There’s few fancy things that cater to the rich and there’s few organic arts and creative scenes because everyone has the same job working for the government, draining a lot of the soul and grit from the city IMHO
snow covered signage outside a tavern
Photo by Twelve Visualz on

6. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Coastal Living and a Growing Economy

Halifax, a coastal city on the Atlantic Ocean, offers a rich maritime history, friendly people, and a growing economy. With an affordable cost of living and a strong sense of community, Halifax is an excellent option for those looking for a smaller city with a slower pace.

  • Affordable cost of living
  • Coastal lifestyle
  • Friendly community
  • Growing economy
  • Cool downtown bar and nightlife scene
  • Has some good universities in the area and has sort of a college town vibe to it
  • Limited job opportunities
  • Isolated location (even the airport is far away from the city)
  • Harsh winters
Photo by Elgin Carelock on

7. Winnipeg, Manitoba: Affordable Living and a Thriving Arts Scene

Winnipeg, situated at the heart of the Canadian Prairies, is known for its affordable housing, diverse population, and flourishing arts scene. With a low cost of living and an emerging economy, Winnipeg is an excellent option for budget-conscious individuals and families.

  • Low cost of living
  • Diverse population
  • Thriving arts and cultural scene
  • Growing economy
  • Good sports fan options for such a small town (NHL team and beloved CFL team)
  • Cold winters
  • Limited job opportunities
  • Isolation from other major cities
Photo by Nicolás Jaramillo on

8. Victoria, British Columbia: Scenic Beauty and a Relaxed Atmosphere

Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, boasts a picturesque waterfront, charming architecture, and a relaxed pace of life. With a mild climate and a strong focus on eco-friendly initiatives, Victoria is an excellent choice for those seeking a smaller city with a strong community.

  • Beautiful scenery (tops in Canada)
  • Mild climate
  • Eco-friendly initiatives
  • Relaxed atmosphere
  • Good university and college town vibe
  • If you have a lot of cash and don’t need to work, this is probably the best place to move to in Canada IMHO
  • High cost of living
  • Limited job market
  • Isolation from mainland British Columbia
Victoria bc
Photo by Adi K on

9. Edmonton, Alberta: A City of Opportunity and Festivals

Edmonton, Alberta’s capital, is known for its expanding economy, vibrant arts scene, and numerous festivals. Offering affordable housing and a diverse population, Edmonton is an attractive option for young professionals and families.

  • Affordable housing
  • Expanding economy
  • Vibrant arts and cultural scene
  • Numerous festivals and events
  • Lots of things to do: booming restaurant scene, cool NHL experience downtown and of course the famous West Edmonton Mall.
  • Cold winters
  • Limited public transportation
  • Dependence on the energy sector
architecture bridge building buildings in edmonton
Photo by Pixabay on

10. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: A Growing City with a Small-Town Feel

Saskatoon, located on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River, offers a small-town atmosphere with big-city amenities. With a growing economy and affordable housing, Saskatoon is an appealing choice for those seeking a slower pace of life.

  • Affordable housing
  • Growing economy
  • Small-town feel
  • Natural beauty
  • CFL fandom (which is rare in Canada – most people don’t care about the CFL).
  • Limited job opportunities
  • Cold winters
  • Limited cultural and entertainment options
the university bridge in saskatoon
Photo by Mukesh Tanna on

Honorable Mentions

  • Kelowna, BC
  • Collingwood, Ontario
  • Oakville, Ontario

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the best city to move to in Canada depends on your unique needs, preferences, and priorities. Factors such as job opportunities, cost of living, climate, and lifestyle should all be considered when deciding. By exploring the highlights and drawbacks of each city in this comprehensive guide, you’ll be one step closer to finding the perfect Canadian city for you.

Employment Lawyer in Toronto Ontario

Jeff is a lawyer in Toronto who works for a technology startup. Jeff is a frequent lecturer on employment law and is the author of an employment law textbook and various trade journal articles. Jeff is interested in Canadian business, technology and law, and this blog is his platform to share his views and tips in those areas.