Canada’s top cities
Published on September 28, 2020 / Updated on January 10, 2024
Not all cities are created equal. While many are fantastic tourist attractions, you wouldn’t want to stay longer than a few days. Some cities are different, though: Certain ones just feel like they’d be great places to live. Take a look at five Canadian cities – from west to east – that are sure to make you say, “Yeah, I could live there!”
Location: Province of British Columbia (western)
The third-largest city in Canada, Vancouver is known as a beautiful, multicultural, laid-back and health-conscious place with a high quality of life.
Vancouver is a diverse and tolerant place. More than 50% of the population speaks a language other than English. The city’s LGBTQ+ community is strong as well; Vancouver’s annual pride parade is one of the largest in the country.
Situated next to the Pacific Ocean and close to several mountains like Whistler, you’ll never run out of outdoor activities like camping, cycling, hiking and snowboarding. If outdoor fitness doesn’t thrill you, there’s also a thriving food scene, as well as various bars, breweries, museums, cultural activities and sporting events like hockey, soccer and American football.
Location: Province of Alberta (western)
Something you’ll notice about Edmonton is its rich, beautiful surroundings: It’s located on the boundary between the Rocky Mountains and the boreal forest and has the longest stretch of connected parkland in Canada.
And although it has cold winters (-11 degrees Celsius, on average), it’s also one of the sunniest cities in Canada with up to 17 hours of sunlight in the summer months.
Edmonton has the highest average household income in Canada. Because of its job opportunities (especially in the oil and gas industry), many foreign workers come to Edmonton, so it has quite a multicultural population.
With so many celebrations such as the world’s second-largest Fringe Festival (after Edinburgh) Edmonton is called the “Festival City.” It’s also got a variety of art galleries, restaurants, theatres, live music venues and shopping centres, such as West Edmonton Mall with its indoor amusement park.
Location: Province of Ontario (central/eastern)
Toronto is Canada’s largest city (as well as one of the safest), and its business and financial centre. It’s also the most multicultural city in Canada (and one of the top 10 most multicultural cities in the world), with more than 230 nationalities.
Whether by car, on foot or by public transport, it’s not hard to travel through the city’s diverse neighbourhoods on your way to enjoy some world-class international food, an art show or a baseball game (Toronto is home to Canada’s only major-league baseball team, the Blue Jays). And, of course, you can’t forget Toronto’s music scene – this city is the birthplace of musicians like The Weeknd and Drake!
Location: Province of Québec (central/eastern)
This Francophone city is the second-largest in Canada and has a low cost of living (about CA$28,000 per year compared to CA$40,000+ in Vancouver and Toronto). That includes affordable housing and childcare, making it a great place to raise a family. It was also named the fifth-best city for expats with a high quality of life.
Montréal is internationally known as a major cultural centre; there’s always something to do here in its unique, vibrant and historic neighbourhoods. You can enjoy more than 380 annual festivals including the Montréal World Film Festival. This city is also the home of Cirque du Soleil.
There are typically a lot of job opportunities in Montréal (more than 19,000 at the beginning of 2019) and it’s a great place for entrepreneurs and startups. Just be sure to learn some French first!
Location: Province of Nova Scotia (eastern)
Halifax, Nova Scotia is in eastern Canada, by the Atlantic Ocean. With a low crime rate and affordable housing (about one quarter of Vancouver prices), it’s a good place for families. Halifax offers a simpler and more relaxed pace of life and has been called one of the friendliest cities in the world.
Winter in Halifax is milder than in some Canadian cities because of the city’s location on the Atlantic coast. No matter the season, there are always outdoor places to enjoy – like ski hills, hiking trails and beautiful beaches.
Whether you’re into arts and culture, the outdoors or delicious food and drinks, these five cities have something for everyone. Which one would you like to call home?