If you’re an new to Canada and looking to buy a home, chances are you’re wondering where the best place to live is. There’s no easy answer because it all depends on your individual needs and preferences. Canada has some of the most diverse cities and some of the safest cities too. However, we can give you some general advice on things to consider when choosing where you want to live in Canada, whether it be a big city or a small town. Keep reading to learn more!
So What is The Best City in Canada?
With new Canadians flocking to locations all over the country, it can be hard to figure out which bustling city would be the best place to settle down. To answer this question, you have to ask yourself what matters most for you in terms of lifestyle and affordability; this makes the answer unique for each individual.
While there are great Canadian cities all over that new Canadians have chosen as their new homes, there are some top contenders:
- Quebec City
And that’s just a few. There are some other places that might surprise you, like Boucherville in Quebec, or St. Albert in Alberta. One of the best cities on the up-and-coming list is Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island.
Related reading: Edmonton versus Calgary: Where Should You Choose to Live?
What Kind of Factors Should You Consider?
Making an important decision, like a move to a new city, can be overwhelming – especially in a new country. There are so many factors in play. When making this kind of life-changing decision, there are a lot of things you’ll want to consider:
- the climate you will be living in
- what kind of house you want
- the cost of living including housing and healthcare costs
- job opportunities in the area (and what that industry looks like now and into the future)
- as well as the quality of life, based on things like crime rate and access to parks or other recreational activities.
All these elements must be taken into account when making this kind of choice; researching each factor will be beneficial before taking a leap.
Some Statistics about Canada
Canada is a large and diverse country, and its population is no exception! The city of Toronto has the largest population with over 2.7 million people calling it home, which makes it Canada’s largest city. Following closely behind is Montreal, with almost 1.8 million residents. Coming in third is Calgary with just over 1.3 million people and the capital city, Ottawa is close with over one million people. To round that out, Edmonton’s population is just under Ottawa but still over one million.
As for the provinces, Ontario has by far the highest population, at over 14 million people – double that of British Columbia, Canada’s second most populated province! These demographics are always changing as people move from one area to another and new inhabitants arrive from all over the world.
Taking a look at the bigger picture, Canada currently has an estimated total population of around 37 million – providing endless opportunities to get out, explore and meet new people along the way!
So, let’s take a look at what some of Canada’s best cities have to offer and which ones could be a good fit for you!
Average Home Prices
A key metric in choosing a Canadian city is affordable housing. Housing prices vary across the country and depending on your budget, this could be a major factor in where you choose to settle down.
|Average House Prices by Province – December 2022|
|Newfoundland & Labrador||$281,200|
|Prince Edward Island||$352,300|
* Nunavut number is based on Alberta’s price +30%
Related article: Top Tips: Moving From BC to Alberta
With these numbers, BC has the highest median home price with Newfoundland & Labrador coming in as the province with the lowest. Now let’s take a look at the average house price by city:
|Average House Prices by City – December 2022|
As you can see, generally speaking, the east coast has a lower average price overall, while the two most expensive cities are Vancouver and Toronto, both of them with an average price that’s over one million dollars. The most affordable city on the list is Saint John in New Brunswick. When it comes to housing costs, it really is all about the location.
Buying Your New Home
With these costs in mind, it’s important to remember that you’ll still need to decide if you want to go with a resale home or build new. Take a look at this Buy vs. Rent Calculator tool to help with that decisions.
While there are pros and cons to both, there are some very good reasons to go with a new build home. These homes, once completed are move-in ready with no renovations needed, they require less maintenance overall, plus other benefits that work well with a family that’s new to Canada.
There are plenty of options and features when it comes to a new home build as well. Look at floor plans that offer a suite in the basement if you’re a multi-generational family or one that has a separate spice kitchen for your kitchen.
There is a lot to unpack when it comes to mortgages in Canada, especially as a new Canadian. There’s the down payment, what kind of mortgage you want, should you go for a fixed or variable rate mortgage, how does your credit score work, and much more.
We have a comprehensive guide specifically dedicated to this topic, you can check it out here – Mortgages: New To Canada
For other, more general questions and information in regards to mortgages, take a look at this guide – Mortgages: Everything You Need to Know
Cheapest Cities to Buy a Home in Canada
When it comes to finding the cheapest places to buy a home in Canada, there are several cities that stand out as particularly affordable places. In Alberta, for example, Edmonton is a great place for those looking for an affordable housing option with an average house price of $366,600. Similarly, Calgary has an average house price of just over $500,000.
In Saskatchewan, Regina and Saskatoon both boast an average house price of less than $400,000. While these cities may not be as glamorous as other Canadian cities, they do offer a more affordable option to those looking to purchase a home.
Other notable cities for affordability include Quebec City ($318,200), Ottawa ($610,800) and Halifax ($480,600). Although these cities may not be the absolute cheapest options available, they do offer great value for money compared to some of their more expensive counterparts.
Other affordable places would be Saint John coming in at $199,000, Thunder Bay for only $258,738 and Winnipeg at $320,814. All of these cities have lower housing costs, great for someone who is trying to be budget-conscious. No matter where you choose to purchase a home in Canada, it is important to take the time to research your options and ensure you are getting the best deal possible.
Average Rental Rates
Of course, some people choose to rent when they first come to live in Canada. It’s a much more affordable cost for them, while they adjust to the cost of living and save up for a new home.
As of January 2023, the average rental prices are a fairly reasonable cost considering the market:
|Average Rental Prices by City – January 2023
(from highest to lowest)
|City||One Bedroom||Two Bedroom|
It’s no big surprise at the high cost of Vancouver but it’s definitely nice to see Edmonton near the bottom!
Employment Opportunities Across Canada
Many people come to the great white north because of employment opportunities and with good reason. There are many major employers in the country in a variety of industries. Some of them are on the Fortune 500 list including the Royal Bank of Canada, Enbridge, Manulife, and Brookfield Asset Management. This offers a lot of job opportunities to new Canadians.
The average unemployment rate in Canada is 5.0% and most provinces are right within that range.
The cities you should look at will also depend on the type of work you’re looking for. For example, Calgary is more of a white-collar city, and some of the major employers there include Rogers Insurance Limited, WestJet, and Suncor. On the other hand, Edmonton has been called an industrial city; more blue-collar. Employment opportunities in the capital city of Alberta are generally dominated by the energy and oil & gas sectors – companies like Stantec Inc. and Enbridge have offices here. However, the top employer in Alberta is Alberta Health Services, which is located in Edmonton.
In British Columbia, you’ll find forestry, mining, and some agriculture at the top of the list. Across the prairies, the farming and local agriculture sector is the main source of job opportunities. Ontario is another white-collar province, as is a lot of Quebec. Heading out to the east coast, it’s no surprise that fishing plays a key part in how many people support their families.
What’s the Cost of Living in Major Canadian Cities?
When it comes to the cost of living in Canada, different locations have different factors. A hustling and bustling city can mean better transportation options, while a small town can give your family better access to local produce and farmer’s markets with peace and quiet away from the noisy city life.
As discussed, you need to ensure you have affordable housing and all the amenities your family needs. But the cost of living isn’t just about affordable places or the average price. You need to take other things into account as well, like groceries and meals out, transportation, utilities and much more. The numbers below give you a rough idea of the cost of living in some of the best cities in Canada.
Related resource: Cost of Living Calculator
Average Household Income
The average household wage (annually) in Canada is just over $75,000. To get an idea for your budget, here is the median household income in a few of the best cities in Canada:
|Average Household Wage (annual) by City – 2022
(from highest to lowest)
Schools and Education
Canada is home to a strong and vibrant education system, with high standards for students at all levels. From preschool to post-secondary, students are given ample opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in life.
Every province is responsible for its own education system, with different programs and curriculum requirements varying from one region to another. For example, Ontario has a four-year high school program, while Alberta offers a three-year option. It’s always best to check with the relevant authorities to understand the local requirements and standards for schooling.
The majority of cities have both public and private schools available due to their size. These schools can be found at all levels of the education system, from elementary to university. The quality and cost of these schools can differ greatly depending on the region and local market, so it’s important to do your research before making a decision.
Canada has its fair share of major universities as well, which bring in students from all over the country and some have international students moving here to attend:
- University of Toronto
- University of British Columbia
- McGill University
- University of Alberta
- McMaster University
- and more
University tuition fees in Canada are generally much lower than in other top study destinations like the United States or even some European countries. With a wide range of programs and institutions to choose from, students can find the perfect fit for their higher education goals.
Stand-Out Features and Activities
Something else to keep in mind when trying to decide where to live in Canada is the types of entertainment and amenities you want to be close to. For residents on the west coast, the close proximity to the Rocky Mountains offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities. Enjoy the natural beauty and tons of outdoor activities like exploring hiking trails and campgrounds with gorgeous views.
Average Home Price: $907,456
The Okanagan Valley is a stunningly beautiful region; with its rolling hills, lush vineyards and crystal-clear lakes, the Okanagan Valley has long been a popular destination for those looking for somewhere to live in Canada, And it’s very popular with tourists too! This area boasts some of the best wineries in North America with over 200 different wineries producing award-winning wines made from local grapes and is home to some of Canada’s most picturesque towns such as Penticton, Kelowna, and Vernon. Full of beautiful lakes, green space, and natural scenery, there are many that consider this area one of the best places to live in Canada.
Living in big-city Vancouver can be an incredibly rewarding experience. As the largest city in BC, Vancouver is a vibrant and youthful city and provides a wealth of amenities and activities for its residents. With plenty of public transportation and walkable neighbourhoods, getting around is easy and convenient, including in the downtown area. The mild climate allows for year-round outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing, and snowboarding. There are also plenty of cultural activities and attractions within the city, like Stanley Park, Granville Island, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and more.
Average Home Price: $429,496
Alberta is an amazing place to live with its spectacular natural beauty, booming economy, and plenty of activities for the whole family. As one of the best places to live in Canada, Alberta offers something for everyone: from the stunning Rocky Mountains in the west to vast prairies and rolling hills in the east.
You have bustling cities like Edmonton – also called the Festival city and home of West Edmonton Mall. In the south, there’s Calgary – named one of Canada’s most livable cities in 2022, which is where you’ll find Calaway Park, the largest outdoor amusement park in Western Canada, all the way to small towns that offer some peace and quiet away from city life. Don’t forget places like Drumelller; famous for the Royal Tyrell Museum and all those dinosaur bones; it also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site! There’s also Jasper and Banff; there are few cities in Canada like these two, both set in a national park at the base of the Rockies.
Sports fans love Alberta too; with their choice of the Flames in the NHL or the Stampeders in the CFL down in Calgary or you can root for the Oilers on the ice and the Elks on the field if you choose Edmonton.
From world-class ski resorts, renowned golf courses, scenic parks, forests and lakes – all these features give Albertans access to lots of recreational opportunities. Whether you’re looking for work or just want a change of scenery, Alberta has it all!
Related article: Edmonton versus Calgary: Where Should You Choose to Live?
Average Home Price: $316,100
Living in Saskatchewan is an incredibly rewarding experience. With its expansive prairies, rolling hills and lush, vibrant landscapes, the province offers a tranquil setting for its residents to enjoy. With natural magnificence like the Qu’Appelle Valley, Manitou Beach, and Grasslands National Park, nature lovers will adore this area.
The province has plenty of cultural events as well such as theatre performances, art galleries and museums. And for sports fans, the Saskatchewan Rough Riders football team calls the province home. With an exceptionally low cost of living, a thriving economy, and many job opportunities, Saskatchewan is the perfect place to call home.
Average Home Price: $336,485
Manitoba is a great place to live, with its diverse landscapes and vibrant culture. From the rolling hills of the Assiniboine River Valley to the northern boreal forests, Manitoba offers something for everyone. The province’s capital city Winnipeg has plenty of entertainment options from theatre performances and art galleries to sports teams like the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
There are also numerous outdoor activities available such as hiking in Riding Mountain National Park, kayaking on Lake Winnipeg or skiing at Falcon Trails Resort. With its low cost of living, attractive job market, and strong economy, Manitoba could be an ideal place for those looking for a new home in Canada.
Average Home Price: $812,338
The province of Ontario offers a unique blend of urban amenities and rural beauty. With bustling cities like Toronto and Ottawa, the province provides access to world-class cultural attractions like the Toronto International Film Festival, world-renowned museums and galleries, and much more. There are a few major sports teams as well, such as the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and NBA’s Toronto Raptors.
For those looking for more options outside, there’s plenty of that too. With its lush forests, breathtaking lakes and rivers, and miles of trails to explore, Ontario has something to offer to everyone who loves the outdoors. From kayaking on Lake Superior to mountain biking in Georgian Bay Islands National Park, or spending the day at Lake Ontario with the family to sightseeing at Niagara Falls, outdoor enthusiasts have a lot to love about Ontario.
Ontario also boasts some of the best parks in Canada such as Algonquin Provincial Park, Point Pelee National Park, and Lake Superior Provincial Park. You’ll also find the world’s longest skating rink – the Rideau Canal Skateway, located in Ottawa (confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records!). Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or vibrant city life, Ontario has something for everyone.
Average Home Price: $458,792
Living in Quebec is a truly unique experience. The province offers an exciting mix of vibrant city life and stunning natural beauty. The French culture here is alive and well, with the big city of Montréal being the largest French-speaking metropolis in all of North America. Quebec City offers the historic district of Vieux-Québec (Old Quebec) with its old stone buildings, cobblestone streets, and art galleries.
There are also numerous festivals taking place throughout the year including the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, Juste pour Rire (Just for Laughs) and the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. Or you can take part in other renowned festivals and events like Carnaval de Québec, which celebrates Francophone culture with music, parades, and ice sculptures.
For outdoor enthusiasts, there’s plenty to do from skiing in Mont-Tremblant to kayaking or canoeing on any of Quebec’s stunning rivers and lakes. There are also various national parks and protected areas such as Parc National des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie, where you can explore nature in its purest form. Whether it’s soaking up the culture or getting outdoors to enjoy nature, Quebec has a lot to offer.
Average Home Price: $265,800
New Brunswick is a charming Maritime province with an incredibly diverse landscape that includes everything from rugged coasts and sandy beaches to dense forests and rolling farmland. The province is also home to some of Canada’s oldest cities such as Fredericton, the provincial capital, and Saint John, which has been designated as a cultural capital in Canada.
Outdoor adventure lovers will find tons of activities, from swimming in the ocean to fishing, kayaking, and hiking on its many trails. There are also some of Canada’s most renowned national parks such as Fundy National Park – which is home to incredible geological attractions like the highest tides in the world – as well as a wide variety of wildlife.
Those looking for a slower pace can explore quaint villages and farmers’ markets, take in the breathtaking scenery, or relax on one of the many sandy beaches along the coastline. With its friendly people and small-town feel, New Brunswick is a great place to call home.
Prince Edward Island
Average Home Price: $352,300
Prince Edward Island (PEI) is an enchanting Maritime province located off Canada’s east coast. With its rolling green hills, sandy beaches, and quaint fishing villages, PEI is a true Canadian gem.
PEI has plenty of activities for outdoor lovers – from strolling along the boardwalk in Charlottetown to hiking up the Confederation Trail or simply relaxing on one of the many stunning beaches. There are also some great festivals and events, such as the Charlottetown Festival – a celebration of PEI’s culture, music, and theatre.
For those looking for a slower pace of life, PEI also has plenty to offer in terms of peaceful scenery and great food. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or a slower pace of life, PEI is one of the perfect places to live in Canada.
Average Home Price: $396,000
Many will tell you that Nova Scotia is one of the best places to live in Canada because it truly is an east coast paradise, with stunning beaches and lush forests that stretch all the way from its easternmost point at Cape Breton Island to its western border with New Brunswick.
The city of Halifax (the capital of this province) is a vibrant port city with plenty to do – from its lively waterfront and historic citadel to museums, galleries, and performing arts venues. There are also some breathtaking national parks such as Kejimkujik National Park, where visitors can explore deep lakes, old-growth forests, and unique wildlife.
For outdoor enthusiasts looking for something a little different, Nova Scotia is also known for its rich Celtic heritage and traditions. From traditional music festivals to Highland games and living history museums, it’s the perfect place to experience true Maritime culture. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure, cultural exploration, or just some peace and quiet – Nova Scotia has something for everyone.
Newfoundland & Labrador
Average Home Price: $281,200
Living in Newfoundland & Labrador provides a unique experience, unlike any other Canadian province. With its rugged coastline and beautiful nature, it is an ideal place for those looking to explore the great outdoors.
From whale watching to kayaking along its stunning coastlines, there are plenty of activities to be enjoyed here. The culture is also rich with traditional music, art galleries, festivals, and museums that will give visitors a glimpse into the local history and customs. And if you’re looking for some peace and quiet there’s always a cozy little fishing village or coastal town waiting to be explored. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation – Newfoundland & Labrador has something for everyone!
Average Home Price: $487,133
The Yukon is a beautiful and captivating province located in the northwestern corner of Canada. It’s well known for its stunning mountain ranges, rugged coastline, crystal clear lakes, and miles of untouched wilderness. The Yukon’s beauty is unparalleled and makes it an ideal destination for adventurers who are looking to explore nature and experience the outdoors.
From dog sledding and snowshoeing to fishing, canoeing, and hiking – the Yukon has plenty of activities for nature lovers. There’s also a vibrant cultural scene in the capital city of Whitehorse with many museums, galleries, festivals, and live music venues. With its stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife it is the perfect place to experience true Canadian adventure, making it one of the best places to live.
Average Home Price: $475,305
The Northwest Territories is an incredibly unique and beautiful part of Canada that offers a truly extraordinary lifestyle to those who choose to settle here. From its vast array of outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking, to the incredible wildlife that can be seen throughout its wild and untouched landscapes, the Northwest Territories is a pristine and rugged environment.
For those looking to explore, there’s plenty to keep you busy – whether it’s visiting the beautiful national parks or experiencing the traditional Indigenous culture. With its vastness and remote location, it is also a great place to find peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Average Home Price: $558,344
Nunavut is an incredibly unique and remote region of Canada located in the far north. It’s home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world, from lush tundra valleys to icy glaciers, rugged coastlines, and breathtaking mountains. It’s also a great place to explore traditional Inuit culture, as there are many local festivals, museums, and art galleries that showcase Nunavut’s rich history and traditions.
For outdoor enthusiasts looking for something truly unique – Nunavut is the perfect destination. There are plenty of activities such as dog sledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and whale watching to keep you busy. With its beautiful nature and vibrant culture it’s the perfect place to experience all that Canada has to offer.
We’ve focused on Canada’s metropolitan areas and major cities but there are plenty of other cities, surrounding suburbs, and small towns to take a look at as well. Canada is full of diverse communities and we just couldn’t possibly cover all of the best places to live in one article!
There’s no definitive answer to the question of where the best place to live in Canada is; it all depends on what you need. If you’re looking for a change of scenery, why not consider some of the places we’ve mentioned? Or, if you have your heart set on another part of the country, do some research to see which city or province might be a good fit for you. No matter where you decide to call home in Canada, we hope you enjoy exploring all that this beautiful country has to offer!