Lacombe, Canmore and Red Deer rank among the top 20 best places to live in Canada in 2018, according to a recent study published by MoneySense.
Taking into consideration important lifestyle characteristics such as affordability, population growth, taxes, crime and weather, the study ranked 415 cities across the country. Alberta contributed 11 cities to the top 50:
- 5th – Lacombe
- 7th – Canmore
- 11th – Camrose
- 12th – Red Deer
- 19th – St. Albert
- 22nd – Bonnyville
- 29th – Lloydminster
- 30th – Calgary
- 39th – Grande Prairie
- 41st – Sylvan Lake
- 50th – Cold Lake
Edmonton, Okotoks and Airdrie placed 68th, 211th and 246th, respectively.
Although there are many intangible features that make a city attractive, the study noted that the following characteristics were essential in determining the results: wealth and economy; demographics; affordability; population growth; taxes; commute; crime; weather; access to health care and amenities; and culture. Data was based on figures as of March 2018.
“A livable city should be prosperous, but affordable. Safe, yet easy to get around. And it should have the type of weather that draws you outdoors,” states MoneySense editor Claire Brownell in an analysis of the ratings.
Lacombe, a city of 13,906 located just north of Red Deer, was valued for its wealth and economy, home affordability and demographics. Unemployment sits at 4.9 per cent in the region, and the average household income is upwards of $112,000. Primary real estate values average around $500,000.
In comparison, Canmore’s top features are its wealth and economy, demographics and low taxes. Economic factors in this community near Banff are slightly higher than Lacombe. With a population of 14,930, Canmore’s unemployment rate is 5.1 per cent. The average household income is $129,959, and primary real estate values average slightly below $1 million dollar.
Calgary made the Top 50, coming in at No. 30. The city’s top features are its amenities, demographics and accessibility by public transit, according to the report.
Oakville, Ont., took the number one spot this year, replacing Ottawa, which held the title in 2016 and 2017. Oakville was touted for its low unemployment rate, attributed partly to its proximity to the Toronto job market. Officially known as the Town of Oakville, it ranked in the top 25 per cent in six of the 10 categories above.
To create a customizable ranking of Canada’s top cities based on your own values, visit https://www.moneysense.ca/canadas-best-places-to-live-2018-create-your-own-ranking/
Kristen Spruit is a Calgary-based Troy Media business reporter.