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The 5 Best Cities To Live In Canada

The 5 Best Cities to Live in Canada

Canada, the second-largest country in the world, has some of the best places to live in. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when choosing the best place to move to because of the many choices of beautiful cities.

So, if you’re looking to move to the Great White North, here are our picks for the best cities based on the cost of living, crime rate, and social activities.

Which city is best in Canada for living?

Canada’s best cities to live in are Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton, Quebec City, and Saskatoon. These cities are more affordable than others in the country, offer quality education, have higher salaries, and are great for families.

Canada’s Best Cities for Living In

OttawaLow crime rate and generally young population
MontrealOutdoor activities and architectural buildings
EdmontonAffordability and low costs
Quebec CityHistoric place and low crime rate
SaskatoonGrowing economy and outdoor activities

Canada has an excellent healthcare system because it gets its funding through taxes. It’s also known for quality education and provides most areas with free primary and secondary schooling.

Additionally, it’s known for its quality of life. In fact, it’s considered one of the top countries to live in because its citizens generally enjoy their life because of the social safety net.

And while Canada isn’t exactly cheap to live in, it isn’t the most expensive either. But compared to the United States, it is more affordable.

However, it isn’t for people who prefer sunbathing on the beach because it’s a cold country. Its position is in the north, resulting in freezing temperatures in the winter.

So, here is our list of the best cities in Canada to live in based on several categories.

1. Ottawa, Ontario

Ottawa, Ontario's Homepage
LanguageEnglish and French
Cultural Diversity32% (minority groups)
Average Yearly Median Income$60,400
Average Monthly Living Cost$4,714.60 (family of four)
$1,301.80 (single person)
Average Home Cost
(single detached)
Average Rent
(1 bedroom, in the city centre)
TransportationLRT, bus, taxi
Accessible for bikes and walks
Crime Index27.06
Average Temperature21.2°C (70°F) (summer)
-9.8°C (14.3°F) (winter)

The country’s capital city, Ottawa, is a popular choice amongst immigrants. It’s known for being multicultural due to a large number of expatriates, which continues to rise to this day.

Many immigrants may find it challenging because many job positions in the public sector require bilingual employees – primarily in English and French.

Also, many Franco-Ontarians live in the city, which can block some immigrants from daily conversations.

According to Resonance’s 2023 World’s Best Cities Report, it ranks as the 93rd best city because of its affordability and job opportunities (despite the current economic uncertainty).

It’s also known for its vibrant social scene, which attracts many young people. In fact, it draws in many local and international students because it has one of the best universities in Canada, the University of Ottawa.

Another aspect that draws in the young crowd is the abundance of museums, galleries, and festivals around the city. There are plenty of live performances, adding to the rich arts and culture scene.

Apart from young people, many families move to Ottawa because of the low crime rate. It’s quite popular for being a relatively safe place.

According to Numbeo’s gathered data, as of January 2023, Ottawa’s crime index is 28.65. Moreover, the safety index is 71.35.

In addition, many residents feel safe walking alone, even at night, despite increased crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a relatively young city, it offers plenty of parks and paths for cycling, walking, jogging, and hiking. Many choose to bike or walk to their destinations, providing a healthier lifestyle.

Furthermore, Ottawa’s public transportation – OC Transpo – is reliable albeit some improvement is needed. But in 2019, Redfin still ranked the city as one of the best in Canada’s public transit system.

Ottawa’s winter season can be extreme, being one of the world’s coldest capital cities. The cold temperature and winds can lead to severe injuries, and the city usually issues a frostbite warning in the winter.

In contrast, summers are great for outdoor activities, which the city is famous for. And all year round, Ottawans experience the four seasons.


  • Vibrant arts and culture scene
  • Low crime rate
  • Walking and cycling accessibility
  • Plenty of job opportunities


  • Extreme winter season
  • Some jobs require English and French languages
  • Public transit system improvement is needed

2. Montreal, Quebec

Montreal, Quebec's Homepage
LanguageFrench and English
Cultural Diversity31% (visible minority)
Average Yearly Median Income$48,000
Average Monthly Living Cost$4,729.80 (family of four)
$1,160.70 (single person)
Average Home Cost
(single detached)
Average Rent
(1 bedroom, in the city centre)
TransportationMetro, bus, taxi
Accessible for walks
Crime Index31.77
Average Temperature33°C (91°F) (summer)
-9°C (16°F) (winter)

Montreal is the nation’s second-largest city. It’s known for its rich and unique culture and has a distinct personality compared to the rest of Canada.

It’s one of the best cities in the world, with a perfect blend of old and new cultures. It’s also famous for having many memorable festivals, including the Montreal Jazz Festival, which earned the 2004 Guinness World Record for the largest jazz festival in the world.

In addition, it has many architectural wonders, like Habitat 67, Olympic Park, Maison Saint-Gabriel, and the Notre-Dame Basilica. Many residents get to see these marvels because Montreal is a walkable city.

Moreover, it’s great for cyclists, even those without a bike, because bike share services are available near metro stations. Aside from that, the Montreal Metro covers most of the city, allowing people to visit different areas easily. 

But lots of architecture results in many construction projects, which can pose a problem due to repetitive and excessive noise. As a matter of fact, it has around 500 projects every year.

The cost of living is relatively affordable, too, compared to Toronto. Consumer prices are 10.2% lower in Montreal.

However, the average salary is about 8% lower than a Canadian’s average salary. On the other hand, it’s a reasonably affordable city which balances the lower income.

The crime rate is low, too, with a crime index of 31.77. According to Numbeo, people in Montreal feel safe walking at night. 

One of the most famous aspects Montreal is known for is its iconic dishes. The abundance of shops, restaurants, and outdoor events will give everyone a taste of delicious food.

Montreal’s Must-Try Foods
• Bagels
• Smoked meat
• Orange julep
• (look for the giant orange along Decarie Boulevard)
• Wilensky’s Special
• Poutine

However, living in Montreal might be challenging for some immigrants because French is the primary language spoken in the city. Around 70% of its population speak French at home, and many are fluent.

It’s also good to know that summers, while warm and humid, need to stay longer in a year. Montreal’s winter tends to stay too long, up until March, so the cold is one of the factors immigrants need to get used to.


  • Great architecture
  • Plenty of outdoor activities
  • Good public transit system
  • Walkable city
  • Famous for delicious food


  • Lower average median income
  • Construction noise can be bothersome
  • One may need to learn French for job opportunities
  • Winters are long and harsh

3. Edmonton, Alberta

Edmonton, Alberta's Homepage
Cultural Diversity40.3% (visible minority)
Average Yearly Median Income$57,523.20
Average Monthly Living Cost$4,663.80 (family of four)
$1,312.50 (single person)
Average Home Cost (single detached)$457,371
Average Rent (1 bedroom, in the city centre)$1,234.83
TransportationLRT, bus, taxi
Downtown area is accessible for walks
Crime Index45.94
Average Temperature35°C (95°F) (summer)
-30°C (-22°F) (winter)

One of the best things about living in Edmonton is its affordability, considering Alberta has one of the lowest tax rates in the country. Compared to Toronto, it’s cheaper by around 26%.

The cost of living is moderately affordable for single people and families. One person has an average monthly expense of $1,312.50, about 5.5% lower than Toronto’s.

Edmonton offers many employment opportunities because there are plenty of small and large companies. In addition, there are many in-demand jobs due to a labour shortage in the province.

Further, the average salary is higher at over 4% than the Canadian average wage. Adding to the low cost of living and low taxes, many families can save more money than in other provinces.

Another reason why Edmonton is one of the best cities is that it has cheaper housing costs. It’ll only take an average price of $207,114 for a condo apartment, which is less than half of the average cost in Toronto.

It’s no secret that Alberta has plenty of breathtaking views due to its natural resources like grasslands, forests, and lakes. Consequently, outdoor activities are famous in the city.

But there’s a nuisance that comes with natural resources. There are over 30 native species of mosquitoes in the city, which poses a huge problem in the summertime.

Despite being known as a nature city, it has well-maintained roads and lots of walkable neighbourhoods, especially in the downtown area. However, the Edmonton LRT has a limited network, making travelling to other city regions difficult.

The disadvantage of living in Edmonton is the slightly higher crime rate, which is a 51% increase than the national average, according to Statistics Canada, in 2020.

As far as the weather goes, summers can get hot, but nights are usually cooler. In contrast, winters can be harsh with temperatures dropping as low as -35°C.


  • Low cost of living
  • High average salary
  • Low housing costs
  • Abundance of natural resources
  • Many job opportunities


  • Higher crime rate than the national average
  • LRT has a limited network
  • Harsh winters
  • Mosquito bites are common during summer

4. Quebec City, Quebec

Quebec City, Quebec's Homepage
Cultural Diversity16.1% (visible minority)
Average Yearly Median Income$49,920
Average Monthly Living Cost$4,455.80 (family of four)
$1,228.10 (single person)
Average Home Cost (single detached)$340,000
Average Rent (1 bedroom, in the city centre)$1,025.56
TransportationBus, shuttle, taxi
Accessible for walks and bikes
Crime Index16.03
Average Temperature30°C (85°F) (summer)
-27°C (16.6°F) (winter)

Quebec City is a beautiful and historic place that offers picturesque views and beautiful architecture. There are many heritage homes and stone buildings that impress many tourists that visit.

Since 1985, the city has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List because of the historic Old Quebec. It also has a mix of French and British architectural buildings, which adds to the historic atmosphere.

As a French-speaking city, people living outside tourist spots and the hinterlands may not speak English. And this can pose a disadvantage for English-speaking tourists.

But since Quebec is a famous tourist destination, people from urban areas will most likely speak fluent English. The downside is the division which some residents experience on a daily basis due to the language difference.

It has a rich arts and culture scene, hosting the country’s biggest musical event – the Québec City Summer Festival. In addition, there are plenty of shops, restaurants, and activities in the city.

It has the lowest crime rate in Canada and one of the lowest in North America. Many families looking for a safe place for children find Quebec appealing because of the crime index of 16.03.

Moreover, Numbeo’s data lists violent crimes and robberies as very low to occur in the city. And many people feel safe walking alone on the winding streets, even at nighttime.

Another category is the living cost, in which Quebec ranks as one of the most affordable cities in Canada. Even electricity rates are lower than the national average at only 7.3 cents per kWh.

Meanwhile, the salary is lower compared to other cities at $49,920 annually. But it provides a better opportunity to purchase a home because it’s more affordable than in other cities at an average of $340,000.

Quebec City provides a more forgiving climate in the summertime because it’s usually comfortable but wet. Also, it has partly cloudy weather most of the year. 

And while it does get cold in the winter, it adds a picture-perfect view because the snow covers the streets of Old Quebec. 


  • Picturesque views
  • Rich arts and culture scene
  • One of the lowest crime rates in the country
  • Affordable cost of living
  • Accessible for bikes and walks


  • Low average salary
  • French may be required on a daily basis
  • Small number of visible minority

5. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan's Homepage
Cultural Diversity6.3% (visible minority)
Average Yearly Median Income$54,700
Average Monthly Living Cost$4,330.40 (family of four)
$1,253.80 (single person)
Average Home Cost
(single detached)
Average Rent
(1 bedroom, in the city centre)
TransportationTaxi, bus
Not many bike lanes
Crime Index49.45
Average Temperature26°C (78°F) (summer)
-9°C (16°F) (winter)

Saskatoon is a beautiful city with a rich cultural heritage and a growing agricultural economy. It provides many employment opportunities across its different industries.

It’s a beautiful city as well. There are plenty of hidden spots untouched by construction and many hiking areas for outdoor adventure.

Despite the nature walks, it isn’t quite lively in terms of nightlife or social scene. It’s a more relaxed place because it isn’t densely populated.

The city has a low cost of living and housing, too. Many will find one-bedroom apartments for less than $1,000, which will double or triple in other urban cities.

Furthermore, the average yearly income in Saskatoon is higher than the national average in Canada at 0.5%. The higher salary and generally low cost of living make the city attractive to those looking to save on day-to-day costs.

But concerning safety, some families may find the higher crime rate a deterrent when choosing the city. It has a crime index of 49.45, according to Numbeo, and is one of Canada’s cities with the highest crime rates.

Much like the rest of the country, Saskatoon has a generally cold climate. But in the summer, it typically gets hot and dry since there are no nearby bodies of water to balance the temperature.

Additionally, residents experience a few summer days with extreme heat reaching up to 35°C. And in 2022, Saskatchewan broke its own heat records.


  • Growing agricultural economy
  • Plenty of outdoor activities
  • Low cost of living and housing
  • Higher salary than the national average
  • Not densely populated


  • Higher crime rate
  • Not a lot of social scenes
  • A few days of extreme heat in the summer
  • Small number of visible minorities
  • Not many bike lanes

FAQs about the Best Places in Canada to Live In

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