Canada’s Best Small Cities – RE/MAX Canada
Whether you are looking for a small city to visit for a day or want to settle down in a location with a smaller population than your current large city, some of Canada’s best small cities have a lot to offer, known for their temperate climates, attractions and activities, and their contribution to the economy. Global marketing firm Resonance Consultancy ranked Canada’s small cities (those with 200,000 residents or less) based on several factors, including weather, outdoor space, safety, employment rate, and income equality. According to Resonance, here are Canada’s best small cities, and why they ranked.
Canada’s Best Small Cities
Canada’s best small city is known for its temperate climate, attracting tourists year-round to its parks and trails. Since it is the mildest part of Canada in terms of annual average temperature, snowbirds from other parts of the country that can’t make it to the southern United States have tried out Victoria for some winter respite and found it a desirable getaway. But for all its tourism attraction, what makes Victoria really stand out is its leading industry. The city is known as a home for influential technology leaders that have built some of Canada’s leading companies and has annual tech revenues approaching $3.5 billion.
Kelowna is the third largest urban centre in British Columbia (following Vancouver and Greater Victoria). Its population has skyrocketed in the past few years, earning it the title of the fastest-growing metropolis in Canada. Kelowna boasts more distinct summer and winter seasons than Victoria and features dozens of local lakes, parks, golf courses for summer tourists, and three major ski resorts within an hour’s drive for winter fun. Kelowna also ranks highly for various cultural factors, including shopping, restaurants, and nightlife.
Situated along the shores of Lake Ontario, Kingston was our nation’s first capital between 1841 and 1844, giving it a “big city in a small town” feel. It is chock-full of historical landmarks and cultural features such as Fort Henry, one of Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage sites, rides aboard the Island Queen, and easy access to Thousand Islands National Park. The city also boasts a wide variety of independent boutiques and retailers alongside more generic stores, earning it a top ranking for shopping.
Niagara Falls, ON
Canada’s honeymoon capital isn’t only a major tourist attraction – it’s also a great place to raise a family. Niagara Falls ranks #1 among small cities in Canada for family-friendly activities and in the top five for other features, such as theatres and landmarks. The new Niagara Falls Cultural Hub & Market (also known as Niagara Falls Exchange or NFX) is projected to open next year in the historic Main and Ferry district. It plans to provide a vibrant shared space where artists, musicians, food vendors, patrons, and local businesses can come together and create. Niagara Falls also ranks top in the overall promotions category, with the most hashtags and reviews of any small Canadian city.
Known as the Silicon Valley of Canada, Waterloo has produced dozens of globally dominant companies, including Blackberry and OpenText. In fact, over 1000 companies have been founded by graduates from the University of Waterloo, and its residents rank among the smartest in Canada. This means that Waterloo is filled with students attending local or nearby post-secondary institutions and young professionals beginning their working lives.
North Vancouver, BC
With approximately 60,000 residents, North Vancouver has the smallest population on the list. It provides a gateway into the city of Vancouver, just 15 minutes away by Seabus. The city’s south offers one of the best big-city views in Canada, displaying Vancouver’s skyline flanked by Stanley Park and the Port of Vancouver. Locals are known for being self-employed or working from home, but when they go into the city for work, they often commute by bicycle, even in winter.
Named the “Best Community in Canada” by MacLeans in 2019, Burlington is a quaint, serene city. Although technically in the Greater Toronto Area, Burlington is one of the safest cities in Canada, meaning that residents can take advantage of safer opportunities to be out and about in its 1400+ acres of parkland. Burlington has many clear, sunny days compared to other Ontario cities and boasts Canada’s largest botanical gardens (designated as a national historical site) with 27 kilometres of walking trails.