The Best Canadian Cities to Raise a Family
From access to daycare to cost of food, there are plenty of factors worth considering when choosing where to start a home for your growing family. We’ve ranked the family-friendliness of our provincial capitals and cities with a population of more than 80,000 to come up with our countdown of the best Canadian cities to raise a family.
Ranking the 42 Best Cities in Canada to Raise a Family
Sources: Statistics Canada, the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, city workers, city websites, municipalities, meetup.com. All information is from 2006, except for infant-mortality rates, which are a three-year average taken from 2005 to 2007.
What makes one Canadian city better than another when it comes to raising a family? Often times, it’s the little things that count. We ranked 42 Canadian cities in each of the following 11 categories to judge their family appeal.
Transit: With kids in tow, parents need to get around with minimum hassle.
Median age: A young population is one measure of a kid-friendly city.
Infant mortality: The best benchmark for the overall health of a region.
Mat leave: An extra couple of weeks can make a difference to a new mom.
Daycare: Finding a daycare spot can be a pain, but some parents have it easier.
Cost of food: Getting healthy food into the mouths of babes is a parent priority.
Mom groups: The more clubs and support groups for moms, the more welcoming the area for kids.
Intimate-partner violence: High rates of domestic abuse have far-reaching societal consequences.
Child and youth victims of crime: How dangerous will the streets be for your kids?
Libraries: Libraries are a good place to connect with others; and the closer by, the better.
Park space: Playing and picnics mean quality time for families.
Next card: The best cities in Canada to raise a family. Where does your city rank?
Cities #42 – 37
42. St. John’s, N.L. (above)
41. Lethbridge, Alta.
40. Whiterock, B.C.
39. Fredericton, N.B.
38. Kelowna, B.C.
37. Saskatoon, Sask.
Find out why Saskatoon is Canada’s next great culinary destination.
Cities #36 – 31
36. Nanaimo, B.C.
35. Whitehorse, Y.T. (above)
34. Red Deer, Alta.
33. Sudbury, Ont.
32. Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.
31. Brantford, Ont.
Cities #30 – 26
30. Regina, Sask. (above)
29. St. Catharines – Niagara, Ont.
28. Saint John, N.B.
27. Chicoutimi – Jonquière, Que.
26. Thunder Bay, Ont.
Next, a newcomer to the Great White North reveals what he wishes he’d known before moving to Canada.
Cities #25 – 21
25. Winnipeg, Man.
Population: 671,551 (Check out these unforgettable things to do in Winnipeg.)
24. Barrie, Ont.
23. Victoria, B.C.
22. Yellowknife, N.W.T.
21. Charlottetown, P.E.I. (above)
Cities #20 – 16
20. Edmonton, Alta.
19. Abbotsford, B.C.
18. Québec, Que. (above)
17. London, Ont.
Population: 366,191 (Would you believe London is also the pet-pampering capital of Canada?)
16. Trois-Rivières, Que.
Cities #15 – 11
15. Oshawa, Ont.
14. Halifax, N.S. (above)
13. Kingston, Ont.
12. Moncton, N.B.
11. Kitchener, Ont.
Cities #10 – 6
10. Peterborough, Ont.
9. Hamilton, Ont.
8. Toronto, Ont.
7. Vancouver, B.C. (above)
6. Montréal, Que.
Don’t miss our countdown of the top 10 must-see Montreal attractions.
5. Windsor, Ont.
Median Age: 40
Why it’s great for families: Low cost of food, solid number of mom social groups, and among the lowest infant mortality rates in the country.
Median Age: 36
Why it’s great for families: Great access to park spaces and public transit, low violent crime rates, and one the youngest median ages in the country. Check out more amazing things to do in Calgary.
3. Guelph, Ont.
Median Age: 38
Why it’s great for families: Numerous mom groups, easy access to public transit, and among the lowest food costs in the country.
Psst—this is the province with the longest walk-in clinic wait times in Canada.
2. Ottawa-Gatineau, Ont./Que.
Median age: 39
Why it’s great for families: Easy access to libraries, the lowest violent crime rate in the country, and great public transit, with a fifth of the population taking buses to work. You can also enjoy these great day trips from Ottawa.
1. Sherbrooke, Que. – The Best City in Canada to Raise a Family
Median Age: 40
Why it’s great for families: Some of the lowest rates of child and partner crime in the country, great access to mom groups and daycares, and Quebec’s generous 18-week maternity leave policy.