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Top 20 Welcoming Cities in Canada for Newcomers

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The Globe and Mail recently published a study that ranked the most attractive cities for newcomers in Canada. The evaluation considered community integration, accessibility to basic amenities, and affordable housing. The study focused on individuals who have immigrated to Canada within the last five years.

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Data from 439 cities with populations exceeding 10,000 were collected and analyzed. The assessment covered 43 variables categorized into 10 crucial aspects for those contemplating a move to a new city: economy, housing, demographics, healthcare, safety, education, community, amenities, transportation, and climate.

The resulting ranking is as follows:

  1. Pitt Meadows, BC
  2. Victoria, BC
  3. Winnipeg, MN
  4. North Vancouver, BC
  5. Saanich, BC
  6. Wellesley, ON
  7. Burlington, ON
  8. Regina, SK
  9. Delta, BC
  10. Maple Ridge, BC
  11. West Vancouver, BC
  12. Oak Bay, BC
  13. Abbotsford, BC
  14. Colwood, BC
  15. Norwich, ON
  16. Parksville, BC
  17. Fort St. John, BC
  18. Port Coquitlam, BC
  19. Middlesex Centre, ON
  20. Coldstream, BC


Specific categories, like housing, were deemed more significant in community selection and were given greater weight in the evaluation compared to less critical factors, such as climate.

The study acknowledged that every city could have been more flawless; even top-ranked Victoria received average scores in housing and healthcare. Nevertheless, the ranking provides a comprehensive overview of each city’s strengths and livability.

Unveiling the Nuanced Criteria: A Deep Dive into Study Categories and Variables

The analysis delved into a city’s financial well-being in the economy category by scrutinizing the job market, income levels, taxes, and overall economic stability. Noteworthy were cities like Oak Bay, Colwood, Norwich, Middlesex Centre, and Port Coquitlam, which boasted an unemployment rate below 6%.

For the housing category, the assessment focused on the affordability of housing and its accessibility for seniors. Factors considered included the average value of primary real estate, property tax, household dwelling expenditure, and senior housing per capita.

In the demographics category, the study examined a city’s stability and sustainability in terms of population growth, diversity, and cultural richness. The Globe employed a diversity indicator index based on three variables: the percentage of the population whose mother tongue is not English or French, the percentage of the population consisting of first- or second-generation immigrants, and the percentage of the population categorized as visible minorities.

Cities like Port Coquitlam, Abbotsford, West Vancouver, Delta, North Vancouver, and Winnipeg were identified as having a higher diversity level than the Canadian average.

Analysis of Key Factors: Health, Safety, Education, Community, Amenities, and Transportation in Canadian Cities

The Globe scrutinized the accessibility and quality of healthcare services, along with residents’ general perception of their health status. Indicators such as the proportion of the population able to receive immediate care for minor problems within three days and the percentage with a regular health care provider were considered. Notably, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, and North Vancouver had over 88% of their population with a regular healthcare provider.

In addition, the safety category assessed the likelihood of crimes and residents’ confidence in public safety. Wellesley had a crime rate 88% lower than the Canadian average, the lowest among all cities. Other cities with lower crime rates than the Canadian average included Pitt Meadows, North Vancouver, Saanich, and Burlington.

The education category evaluated the educational qualifications of the community and the availability of schools, universities, and other educational institutions.

Concerning the community, the category examined social engagement venues, community events, volunteer opportunities, and the sense of belonging within the city. West Vancouver and Coldstream had the highest sense of community belonging at 74% of the population.

The Globe assessed the number of recreational facilities, entertainment options, shopping centers, and other leisure opportunities in the amenities category, including proximity to essential services.

Furthermore, regarding transportation, the category analyzed the public transit system, accessibility, and overall ease of getting around the city. The only cities more walkable than the Canadian average were North Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Victoria.

Finally, The Globe considered the climate of each city, cataloging extreme conditions and overall seasonal patterns. The analysis included the number of days with a humidex over 35 and days with a daytime low temperature colder than -15 degrees Celsius. Winnipeg and Regina had the most days with temperatures colder than -15 degrees Celsius.

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