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Choosing a City

Moving to Canada is a time filled with excitement, hopes and dreams for your future. However, it also comes with making important decisions such as choosing where to live in Canada. Choosing a city can be tricky. And, the city you select can be a large determinant of your financial success. So, a smart step is to research Canadian cities so that you choose the best city that will meet your personal, professional, and financial needs.

Vital to your decision will be to assess the local:

1. Housing market, and
2. Job market.

Typically, newcomers land in Canada’s largest cities: Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary. These cities are attractive because of the support systems, jobs and services that they provide. And, while you may be most familiar with these cities, there are many others of varying sizes that welcome newcomers. Canadian cities range in size from large to mid-sized to small based on their population.

Large cities have a population of greater than 1 million people such as Toronto, Vancouver, or Calgary.

Mid-sized cities range in size from 100,000 to 1 million people such as Ottawa, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Regina, and Edmonton.

Small cities have a population of under 100,000.

Mid-sized and small cities have many of the same public and private amenities and services found in large cities but with a lower cost of living.

Canada is a vast country with regional, cultural, economic, and even weather differences. So take time to carefully consider your many options.

Housing in Canada

Fuelled by more employers shifting to a remote work model, many young, first-time homebuyers are looking beyond large cities for more affordable housing. Instead, they are choosing to live in smaller communities that are located near large cities. As prospective immigrants, you may want to pay attention to this trend and explore other cities beyond Toronto and Vancouver. For the same cost of renting an apartment in Toronto or Vancouver, you could rent a large house in a smaller city. With the high cost of living in major landing cities, many immigrants find themselves making a secondary move to a more affordable city. And this can be costly.

Canada's Job Market

In addition to housing affordability, it’s crucial to determine what cities have a demand for your labour skills and experience. Labour market needs can vary in regional and local markets. And, if there is a demand for your specific labour skills, it will be easier to secure a job and achieve financial success in Canada sooner.

Understanding the local labour market and the housing market go hand-in-hand. For example, while salaries can be higher in large cities, so too can the cost of housing. And, while jobs may be abundant in a large city, consider that there may be more competition for those jobs. So, assuming your skillset is in demand in a smaller city, you can set yourself up for improved financial ease where housing costs can be much lower than in a large city. With careful research, you may find it easier to find the right job in a smaller city depending on your field of work.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a City

Whether you’re moving to Canada on your own, or with a family, only you can decide if you want to live in a large or small city. In any case, other important factors to consider when choosing a city include:

Do you prefer to live in a densely populated large city, or a mid-sized or small city?

Lifestyle: Do you prefer a large, bustling city with lots of activity? Or, do you prefer a more relaxed pace of life? While not always the case, in general, smaller cities tend to have lower commute times, lower crime rates, and greater access to outdoor activities and open space.

Community support for newcomers: While you’ll find access to many settlement services in large cities, smaller cities offer the same services. Research what pre- and post-arrival support services exist to help you adapt to living in the city.

Entertainment: Small cities have theatres, museums, markets, festivals, restaurants, and many other attractions. But if you prefer the energy of a large city, your entertainment options are much larger. The downside is that so are the costs.

Ensuring your health and well-being is essential. Consider proximity and availability of family doctors, hospitals, and medical clinics.

Schools: Whether you have young children who will attend school, or you want to continue your education, schools may be a priority to you.

From large to mid-sized, to small cities right across Canada, you'll discover the best city for you!