24 September 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Best Cities to Live in: Ottawa and London Make the Top 20 in MoneySense Magazine National Survey Part1

How do you decide on the best places to live in Ontario? The reports of numerous surveys are available to help answer this but we find they throw up oddly conflicting results. In this two-part series of blog posts we will look at the Ontario cities of London, Oakville, Ottawa, Mississauga and Toronto and see how they performed in various nation-wide studies.

One of the best known and most comprehensive surveys is “Canada’s Best Places to Live”, a review carried out each year by MoneySense magazine. The 2011 study was based on data compiled from 180 Canadian towns and cities with populations of more than 10,000 people. The cities were ranked on criteria such as access to health care, crime rates, employment prospects, household income, housing affordability, sustainable population growth and weather. Aspects such as transport, amenities and culture were also taken into account.

For the second year running Ottawa came out top in the survey. The nation’s capital is all round good news with a strong economy, low crime rate, accessible medical care and steady population growth, as well as a reasonable climate and wide range of amenities. This is the fourth time since 2006 that Ottawa has won the accolade of being the best place to live in Canada. It lost the crown to Victoria in 2009 but got it back in 2010 on account of its greater affordability; Victoria is just too expensive for average Canadians.


From the cities under the radar in this article – London, Oakville, Ottawa, Mississauga and Toronto – only London joined Ottawa in the top 20 of the MoneySense Magazine 2011 list. London came in at number 14, scoring particularly highly on affordability and access to healthcare.

As well as the MoneySense magazine surveys, Ottawa and London have also performed well in various national surveys of family friendly cities. Ottawa has plenty of civic attractions and parks and low crime figures. London is an attractive prospect because of its excellent health care.


But in spite of their good quality of life, neither Ottawa nor London featured in a 2007 project by the University of British Columbia to identify the 10 happiest cities in Canada. The only city in Ontario to make it onto this list, headed by Saint John (New Brunswick), was Kitchener. The authors of this study concluded that the source of satisfaction and happiness for citizens was not wealth but a sense of community involvement and trust in neighbours.


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