Forget the hustle and bustle of the big city. If you're looking for the best place to live in Canada, head for the suburbs.
The Montreal suburb of Boucherville, Que. is the best place to live in the country, according to aMoneySense list ranking quality of life in 209 Canadian cities. Ottawa was the highest-ranked major city at No. 2 on the list, with Quebec City ranked 10th, followed by Calgary at No. 19, Winnipeg at No. 24 and London, Ont. at No. 31.
MoneySense assembled its 2015 ranking by combining census data and Statistics Canada information to rank cities using a number of different factors. Those factors include everything from average income and crime rates to the number of people who own cars made in 2012 or later. Other factors include the length of commute to work, value of real estate, number of doctors in the community and the number of hot days per year.
Perched on the east bank of the Saint Lawrence River, Boucherville satisfied most of the desirability criteria on the list, with low unemployment, high average income, affordable housing, high population growth, bike-friendly streets and a strong arts and sports community. The town of approximately 43,000 citizens rose up to top spot this year after ranking sixth in 2014.
Several suburb communities ranked high on the list. The medium-sized, Toronto-area cities of Burlington and Oakville were third and sixth on the list, respectively. The Edmonton suburb of St. Albert placed fourth, while the Montreal suburb of Blainville ranked fifth and Levis, near Quebec City, placed eighth. North Vancouver was ninth on the list.
The MoneySense ranking considers communities with a population below 100,000 to be small. Medium cities have a population between 100,000 and 400,000, while large cities had a population larger than 400,000.
These were the top 10 large cities in the country:
  1. Ottawa (No. 2)
  2. Quebec City (No. 10)
  3. Calgary (No. 19)
  4. Winnipeg (No. 24)
  5. London (No. 31)
  6. Edmonton (No. 33)
  7. Toronto (No. 35)
  8. Hamilton (No. 41)
  9. Vancouver (No. 46)
  10. Laval (No. 60)
The list included several new additions that were not in the 2014 rankings. Comox, B.C. had the best debut at No. 25 on the list, followed by Erin, Ont. (No. 76) and Port Credit, Ont. (No. 87).
Here's the complete list of new additions:
  • Comox, B.C. (No. 25)
  • Erin, Ont. (No. 76)
  • Port Credit, Ont. (No. 87)
  • Spruce Grove, Alta. (No. 96)
  • Orangeville, Ont. (No. 97)
  • Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ont. (No. 124)
  • Nelson, B.C. (No. 125)
  • Selkirk, Man. (No. 155)
Ontario had 68 communities ranked on the list, more than any other province.
Here's how the 209 cities break down by province:
  • Ontario – 68 cities
  • Quebec – 44 cities
  • British Columbia – 42 cities
  • Alberta – 21 cities
  • Saskatchewan – 8 cities
  • New Brunswick – 7 cities
  • Manitoba – 6 cities
  • Nova Scotia – 5 cities
  • Newfoundland and Labrador – 4 cities
  • Prince Edward Island – 2 cities
  • Northwest Territories – 1 city
  • Yukon – 1 city
  • Nunavut – 0 cities
Calgary had one of the most noticeable year-to-year drops on the list, going from second overall in 2014 to No. 19 this year. Strathcona County, Alta. also dropped precipitously, falling out of third spot to 18th this year. Edmonton tumbled from eighth to 33rd, Kingston, Ont. fell from 11th to 37th and Regina, Sask. plummeted from ninth all the way to 44th.
Victoriaville, Que. had the most dramatic drop, falling from 57th last year to 156th this year.
Ontario communities generally climbed up the rankings, while Alberta saw several communities on the decline.