OTTAWA — For the third year in a row, Ottawa was named the best place to live in MoneySense magazine’s annual ranking of Canadian cities.
The magazine ranks 190 cities and towns based on 22 categories. Ottawa’s spot at the top of the list can be attributed to high scores in such categories as culture, household income, population growth, low crime rates, transit and doctors per capita.
“It doesn’t get super awesome scores in any single category, but what Ottawa does well is score better than average in every category,” said Sarah Efron, managing editor of MoneySense.
Efron said housing affordability, unemployment rates, population growth and household income are the factors that carry the most weight in the overall ranking, but no single category makes or breaks a city’s score. One of the city’s weaknesses is the price of housing, where it ranked 139th in Canada.
Seeing Ottawa at the top of the list for the third consecutive year didn’t surprise Mayor Jim Watson. “When I see the MoneySense report, it doesn’t come as a surprise because we know — those of us who have the honour and privilege of living right here in Ottawa — know basically for decades, that this is the best place to live or raise a family,” Watson said Tuesday.
Jo-Anne and Michel Gosset have lived in Ottawa all their lives and, to them, the ranking is well deserved. For the couple, the marriage between urban development and natural landscape is what makes Ottawa the best place to call home.
“You’ve got everything you need here,” said Jo-Anne, 48. “There are a lot of parks, you can go to the beach yet you’re still in the city.”
“You don’t get that in most places.”
The Gossets live near a bicycle path and they believe that kind of infrastructure is an essential part of the city.
“We bike all the time,” said Michel, 52. “There are paths all over the city. You can get anywhere.”
For Robert Rooney, 61, the city’s cultural diversity and relaxed atmosphere are what make it so livable.
“It’s a very laissez-faire city,” said Rooney, who has been living in the region for 17 years.
Ottawa’s size could be partially behind its high score as a livable city. Efron said medium-sized cities do best in these types of rankings because they generally have relatively high household incomes while boasting lower crime rates and housing prices compared with larger cities. “The biggest cities tend not to do too well.”
(Toronto ranked 47th. Montreal is in 149th place.)
The worst place to live, according to the magazine, is Hawkesbury, about an hour and a half east of Ottawa. Efron said the city’s negative population growth and its household income — the lowest in the country — made it the least livable city in Canada. Efron also noted that another trend has emerged, as a number of cities in Alberta and Saskatchewan have gained momentum in the ranking. “That’s mainly due to the fact that the economy is hot, unemployment is low and the prices are still much lower than in bigger centres.”
Western cities in the top 10 include Regina and Brandon (5th and 6th) and Red Deer and Winnipeg (9th and 10th).
The list ranks all cities with a population over 10,000 using numbers compiled by Statistics Canada, Real Estate Boards and other agencies providing census data. This year, the ranking added 10 new cities to the list and broke up larger metropolitan areas like Ottawa-Gatineau and the Greater Toronto Area into separate components. Gatineau came in at No. 28.
Ionova, Mariana. "‘Ottawa ranked best place to live in Canada, again" The Ottawa Citizen. 20 March 2012. Web.
View original article at ottawacitizen.com: