The 7 Best Places to Live in Canada
Canada is massive – second only to Russia when it comes to landmass. With a country this size, you could see how there might be at least a couple of different options when it comes to deciding where you’d want to live.
If you’re planning on moving to Canada – a stellar decision, we assure you – you might be overwhelmed by the size of it all. Well, we’re here to supply a breath of cool, fresh Canadian air, and make the decision a bit easier.
We’ll be looking at the best places to live in Canada – whether you’re concerned with food, climate, or a career, we’ll have you covered.
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On this page:
01 | Best for food and drink: Montreal, Quebec
02 | Best for rural escapes: Boucherville, Quebec
03 | Best for families: Edmonton, Alberta
04 | Best for affordable property: Halifax, Nova Scotia
05 | Best for culture: Quebec City, Quebec
06 | Best for climate: Burlington, Ontario
Best places to live in Canada – at a glance
If you don’t have time to read the whole article, but your passion to know about the best places burns fiercely enough to melt all the snow in Canada, here’s a quick run-down.
|Montreal||Quebec||Food and drink|
|Halifax||Nova Scotia||Affordable property|
Best for: food and drink
Montreal looks lovely, but the real delights are in its cuisine
Canada has some iconic foods – think maple syrup, poutine, and smoked meat – and they’re all apparently done to their best in Montreal. But this isn’t just the opinion of Montreal’s citizens – legendary chef Jamie Oliver chose this city for his first North American restaurant outing.
Similarly, Montreal makes the cosmically gargantuan claim that their bagels are better than those from New York or New Jersey. With fighting words like those, it’s surprising that Canada and the US are still allies.
|Outstanding food||You might have to learn French|
|Very low cost of living||Often under construction|
|High population of young people|
Best for: rural escapes
This is one of the many paths you might take in your Boucherville excursions
Due to Canada’s sheer enormity, there’s plenty of untamed wilderness to fight your way through, surviving the biting winds and feral wildlife and overcoming the limits of your own physical form. There’s also some calm casual hikes, if that’s more your speed. Either way, if it’s the great outdoors you’re seeking, Boucherville is the choice for you.
At most a three hour drive from a multitude of national parks, a short trip away from the US border, and a small bridge across from Montreal, it’s in a great spot for almost any kind of adventure.
|Close to national parks||Not much to do in the town itself|
|Close to America|
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Best for: families
Unfortunately for any adventurous children, you can't climb on this bridge
Edmonton is a great place for anyone looking to start a family. Firstly, as far as the boring but essential stuff goes, Edmonton public schools do very well when compared to others in the country, so your child will be well taken care of in that regard.
Onto the more fun stuff – for starters, there is a giant mall in Edmonton adored by kids of all ages. Why is it so adored? And why is it so big? Because the mall houses bowling, mini golf, escape rooms, an aquarium, an ice rink, an amusement park, and a waterpark! Some people may think that’s too much. Most kids would say it’s not enough!
|Enormous mall||Subpar public transport|
|Plenty of film and music festivals||Questionable infrastructure (roads, streetlights)|
|Good education systems|
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Best for: affordable property
There's plenty of fish in this sea!
Well known for its coastal position on the Canadian peninsula of Nova Scotia, Halifax is actually bigger than you’d think – especially when you hear that it used to be a fishing town. With a population of over 400,000, it’s not like you’d be moving into an abandoned village.
Halifax has been called “the least expensive city in Canada,” and with it costing only $500,000 for a three bedroom apartment in the city center, you can see how this stands true.
|Cheap housing||A bit isolated|
|Decently-sized city with beaches||Very cold|
|Some interesting history|
Quebec City, Quebec
Best for: culture
There's always some kind of festival or celebration going on in Quebec City
If you were dropped into the historic district of Quebec City, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were wandering around an old French village. The small stone shops and quaint environments are reminiscent of old markets, and are a great cultural touchstone.
Parts of the city have been declared as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, which means they’re historically significant enough to be thoughtfully preserved. There are also festivals all year round, like the Summer Festival, New France Festival, and Winter Carnival.
|Loads to see and do||Quite cold|
|Close to nature||You may have to learn French|
|Good public transport|
Best for: climate
This looks chilly, but it's as warm as you're going to get in Canada
Let’s be honest here – anywhere in Canada is going to be cold. If you hate the cold, all you can do is minimize your exposure, and try to stay as south as possible. The best bet for getting south would be Burlington, Ontario.
It’s on roughly the same latitude as New Hampshire – definitely one of the colder American states, but nothing compared to the “real Canadian winter.” Burlington reaches some snowy negatives, certainly, dropping to almost -16 °C this past January, but that was an extreme outlier in a season that hovered mostly in the positive figures. The summer ranges mostly within the mid 20s, offering some truly lovely weather.
|Warm weather (by Canadian standards)||Public transport issues|
|Great outdoor activities (parks, bike trails)||Some issues with cultural heritage preservation|
|Suited for any age and lifestyle|
Best for: job opportunities
As you can see from this busy skyline, there's plenty of jobs to be had in Toronto
Finally, the city that everyone thinks is the capital of Canada* – Toronto. Perhaps the reason that people think of Toronto as the capital is the fact that it’s Canada’s financial and cosmopolitan hub. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s the most populated city in the country, and is home to the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, the CN Tower!
As far as careers go, as you can expect from being Canada’s most populous city, there’s no shortage of business and jobs for you to sink your teeth into. It’s home to the Big Five, Canada’s biggest banks, and the Toronto Stock Exchange. Plenty of money to be made!
*The actual capital of Canada is Ottawa.
|Lots of business||Subpar air quality|
|Plenty to do (museums, galleries, etc)||High cost of living|
|Short drive to America|
Best places to live in Canada: the verdict
If you’re in the mood for some poutine and hockey, you’ve got plenty of options on your plate. Whether you’re a young bachelor, a settling family, or an intrepid cultural explorer, anyone can find a nice spot to put down some roots in Canada.
As a recap, the best cities are:
- Montreal, Quebec: best for food and drink
- Boucherville, Quebec: best for rural escapes
- Edmonton, Alberta: best for families
- Halifax, Nova Scotia: best for affordable property
- Quebec City, Quebec: best for culture
- Burlington, Ontario: best for climate
- Toronto, Ontario: best for career opportunities
So now you know where you’re going, you just need to know how to get there. If you’re unsure, hand the reins over to MoveHub by filling in this short form. You’ll be given some free quotes on how much it will cost to ship your belongings abroad, which should make it easier… Eh?