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
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.
Sources: Statistics Canada, the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, city workers, city websites, municipalities, meetup.com. All information is from 2006 or later, except for infant-mortality rates, which are a three-year average taken from 2005 to 2007.
Next slide: The 42 best cities in Canada to raise a family. Where does your city rank?
Cities #42 – 37
42. St. John’s, N.L. (pictured)
41. Lethbridge, Alta.
40. Whiterock, B.C.
39. Fredericton, N.B.
38. Kelowna, B.C.
37. Saskatoon, Sask.
Cities #36 – 31
36. Nanaimo, B.C.
35. Whitehorse, Y.T. (pictured)
34. Red Deer, Alta.
33. Sudbury, Ont.
32. Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.
31. Brantford, Ont.
Cities #30 – 26
30. Regina, Sask. (pictured)
29. St. Catharines – Niagara, Ont.
28. Saint John, N.B.
27. Chicoutimi – Jonquière, Que.
26. Thunder Bay, Ont.
Cities #25 – 21
25. Winnipeg, Man.
24. Barrie, Ont.
23. Victoria, B.C.
22. Yellowknife, N.W.T.
21. Charlottetown, P.E.I. (pictured)
Cities #15 – 11
15. Oshawa, Ont.
14. Halifax, N.S. (pictured)
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. (pictured)
6. Montréal, Que.
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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.
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.
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.
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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.