While Vancouver is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities, a new domestic list has placed the city at the 39th spot – largely because of high housing costs.
According to MoneySense Magazine’s 2014 rankings, Canada’s best place to live is St. Albert, Alberta: a town of 64,000 near Edmonton with an unemployment rate of just 4 per cent and where incomes are among the highest in the country. While it is skin-splittingly cold, there is plenty of sun year-round and the city has ample green space, an abundance of outdoor rinks, 85 kms of bike trails, and a large annual festival that brings the entire community together.
Coming close in second place is Calgary, which can be attributed to the city’s plentiful jobs, high incomes, and the large municipal spending power being used to further develop and mature the city. “In addition to offering plenty of opportunities to land high-paying jobs, the city is rapidly expanding its transit system and growing its cultural scene,” said Mark Brown of MoneySense.
The magazine claims it also marks a westward shift in livability with nearly half of the Top 20 cities located west of Winnipeg.
While Vancouver came in at 39th, it represents a significant improvement from last year’s 52nd placement. This was MoneySense’s description of Vancouver:
While the city always scores well in international rankings, high living costs and modest incomes levels—especially for a city its size—and the rain, to a certain extent, have held it back on our ranking. But improvement in the unemployment rate and a drop in the crime rate helped boost this city to eighth amongst the large cities and to 39th overall from 52nd a year ago. There is also one category where Vancouver comes out on top: culture. More than 4% of the city’s population are employed in the arts, culture and recreation sector. In Toronto, a city full of museums and theatres, only 3.3% of the city works in this sector.
It will take Vancouverites an average of 9.1-years to buy their first home, but for both Torontonians and Montrealites it will take 6.37-years. For Calgarians, that number is shaved down to just 3.64-years.
Meanwhile, Toronto was ranked at 32nd while Montreal hit a low of 169th. Rapid housing price increases in Canada’s three largest cities are to blame, and the problem is further compounded by how average family incomes have remained the same or even fallen in some cases.
Montreal’s issues went a step even further – it sank near the bottom as its salaries are much lower than other major Canadian urban centres and its unemployment rate remains high.
Within British Columbia, Vancouver was only bested by Saanich (#14), North Vancouver (#28), and West Vancouver (#36).
For the full ranking of 201 Canadian cities and towns, click here.
Featured Image: Vancouver Skyline via Shutterstock