5 Best Places to Live in Canada

Whether you’re looking for a new home to settle your family, a place to find new colleagues and peers, a comfortable town where amenities match your lifestyle, or an attractive city to build your new business, know that the answer to the question “is Canada a good place to live” is a resounding “yes.” 

If you’re looking for the best places to live in Canada, you wouldn’t be alone. Just under 22% of the country’s population were born abroad, and around 400,000 new immigrants arrive in Canada every year. Every one of them is looking for the best places to live in Canada. Canada is renowned for its high quality of life, safety, education, and thriving job market. 

 

Canada embraces multiculturalism in a way that is hard to compare, with cultural centers and what they call a “mosaic culture.”

If you’ve decided the Great White North is the place for you (and you can handle a brutal winter or two), then the next step is to decide which city you want to open your business in. This is also no easy prospect as most cities have similar tax laws regarding businesses, though some differences exist. Most cities in Canada offer business support as well, so the main consideration should be location, available workforce, and cost of opening a business. 

Toronto

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and one of the best places to live in Canada for immigrants and small wonders. Toronto is one of the world’s major cities for global finance and business operations, making it a great place for both business owners looking to tap into a large market and educated labor force and individuals looking to move to Toronto. The economic downfalls affecting the USA have had much less impact in Canada, which still enjoys a strong job market and economy. Taxes are low for the country due to the low net debt to GDP ratio, and this has earned Toronto the number 5 position for tax competitiveness in North America based on a report from auditing firm KPMG. 

Aside from this, Toronto has a high quality of life with prices well below that of comparable cities in America. Healthcare is inexpensive or free, public transit is effective and inexpensive, multiculturalism is everywhere and celebrated, and the city promotes a healthy lifestyle. It’s a great place to start a business, raise a family, or start your life as a digital nomad. 

Montreal

The second largest city in Canada is also the largest in the French-speaking province of Quebec. The city can be defined as in a growth period, coming out of nearly a decade of a poor business environment, so new business developers should look forward to “getting in on the ground floor.” Employment rates are rapidly growing in the city, as are productivity and wage compared to the cost of living. Speaking of the cost of living, Montreal boasts some of the lowest cost of living ratios of any large city in North America and includes numerous tax incentives to help get you off the ground. With exceptional education, you can also look forward to drawing from an educated and young labor force. 

Montreal is also an incredibly cultural city. Festivals are common, and the city features a vibrant arts scene, meaning creative entrepreneurs will find no lack of like-minded peers. Because of this, Montreal remains one of the best places to live in Canada. 

Vancouver

Far flung to the west of the country, Vancouver is in many ways the sister city of Seattle with the same pacific coast mindset. The sights are spectacular, with both mountains and beaches visible from most places in the city, while the local wildlife is truly something to behold. Outdoors enthusiasts will learn to love the region as there are numerous hiking and winter sports areas

The city is rebounding well from the COVID-19 pandemic as well, with the city ranking first for COVID economic recovery in Canada. The city’s GDP growth hovers around 5 to 4 percent annually, and venture capital came in at just above 800 million for 2021. Continuing business continues to improve and high impact investment topped 1.7 billion as of 2020. 

Education in the region is high quality which is good for families and businesses alike, and unemployment is at some of its lowest rates in the city’s history. One of the driving sectors was VFX and Animation, with the city being named as one of the best cities in the world for the industry by VEC. If you’re interested in a green city that favors video and effects industries and an economy that is going nowhere but up, Vancouver may be one of the best places to live in Canada for you and your business. 

Burlington

Maybe you’re looking for something close to a major metropolitan area, but you don’t want to live in a dense city. In that case, Burlington might be one of the best places to live in Canada for you. Situated about equidistant from both Toronto and Niagara, it is positioned in a way that gives its residents access to natural wonder and cityscape without having a large city feel itself.  

The city has many modern amenities to cater to young professionals, and the city itself says it “rolls out the red carpet” for new business ventures. They offer strategy assistance, networking opportunities, location management assistance, and team growth options, all of which add to a welcoming business environment. Add to this the proposed business incentives offered by the local government and the lower tax and development charges, and it becomes clear that Burlington is trying to attract up and coming industries in a big way. 

Add to this the numerous parks and the short distance to a more natural setting, and Burlington identifies itself as a great place to start a business for modern young professionals. 

Ottawa

The nation’s capital does not intend to be left behind in the quality of living or business development. The city was ranked as the number one city to live for newcomers to Canada and boasts a diverse private sector, high quality of life, and relatively low cost of living for North America. 

Their unemployment stands at just 4.5% as of 2022, which represents a strong rebound from the city’s 6% during 2020 in the midst of COVID. This indicates that Ottawa’s economy is in good shape and stands as an example of hybrid working models. Over 40% of companies based in Ottawa plan to offer hybrid working models, which is much more inline with studies showing that over 50% of workers prefer this work style.

Time to hire in Ottawa is also much lower than the average worldwide, with most jobs contacting potential applicants in under 30 days. 72% of professionals reported losing interest in a job offer if they did not hear back during this time, making the labor force in Ottawa not only competitive but eager and ambitious.

Tech skills and companies are currently in high demand in Ottawa, with demand greatly outpacing supply. Nearly 80% of businesses in the city claim they need new IT workers, while a whopping 68% have said that supply has gone unfulfilled. This has led to companies broadening their search. Current job demands include cyber security, data engineering, AI model and machine learning, SEO and technical marketing, cloud computing, and UI/UX development. 

Finally, temporary staffing continues to rise in Ottawa, with nearly 10% of the Canadian population saying they are working as full-time freelancers.

Conclusion

Canada, as a nation, is one to pay attention to for entrepreneurs and expats alike. The level of business opportunity is backed strongly by numerous and powerful governmental assistance programs, incentive offerings, investment availability, land development assistance, and an eager, intelligent, and educated workforce. Few countries have bounced back from the pandemic with such force, and while some work still has to be done, it is clear that Canadian cities are ready to reach for the torch of the best place for new businesses worldwide. 

The low tax rates should also not be ignored, especially because opening a business in Canada gives quick access to the largest economy in the world without having to deal with the higher prices of business. 

Aside from business, Canada offers a world class quality of life. Most cities are brimming with new cafes and restaurants, good public transit, fast internet capability, available and affordable offices and workspaces, parks and recreation, first class culture and diversity acceptance, and a wilderness that is second to few. Whether you’re a young entrepreneur out to make a name for yourself and your company, a digital nomad looking for the next big gig, or have a family and are looking for a new place to live, it’s clear that Canada is a great place to live, and a great place to do business