Ottawa: favorite city in Canada?

Ottawa-Gatineau tops in list of favourite cities to live

By Krystle Chow, Ottawa Business Journal Staff
Thu, Apr 16, 2009 11:00 AM EST

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(Darren Brown)

Popular urban studies theorist Richard Florida has named Ottawa-Gatineau as the best city in Canada for mid-career people, families and retirees to live in, as well as one of the top three cities for singles and empty-nesters, in his latest book.

Mr. Florida – widely cited for his work on the effect of creative and artistic workers on a city's economic development – said in the Canadian edition of his new book, Who's Your City?, that Ottawa-Gatineau is the most attractive place to live in the country for young professionals and families with children, while Calgary gets top billing for singles and recent university graduates. The National Capital Region took third place for the singles category, after Iqaluit.

In the "empty-nesters" group, Toronto was chosen as the top destination, with Ottawa-Gatineau named as the second-best city for that demographic.

The ranking takes into account the percentage of the city's population that fits a particular life stage, the regional economic growth and climate for creativity, talent and tolerance, the amenities and quality of life factors such as arts and culture, and the specific cost of living.

Despite Ottawa-Gatineau's reputation for being a "boring ... bureaucratic town," the city ranked more highly overall than Canada's three largest urban hubs: Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

While Mr. Florida named Toronto as the best city for younger baby boomers whose children have left the family home, as well as the second-best place for families with children and retirees, the city was surprisingly left out of the top 10 best places for singles.

Meanwhile, Mr. Florida's book called Montreal and Vancouver "best buy" locations, with the former cited as the eighth-best city for empty-nesters and only the 10th-best destination for all the other life stages.

Vancouver made an appearance on two of the categories – empty-nesters and retirees – taking seventh and sixth place for each respective demographic. It was outshadowed by the provincial capital Victoria, which was named as the fourth-best location for singles, empty-nesters and retirees, and eighth-best for young professionals.

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