Written by Scarlett Murray,
25th July 2023

Are you planning to move or buy in Canada for an improved quality of life? The results of the Global Liveability Index suggests that Canada offers a brilliant quality of life to those that move there, as it is home to three of the most liveable cities in the world. Learn about what makes Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto such fantastic places to live.   

Vancouver skyline at sunset as seen from Stanley Park, British Columbia, Canada

Vancouver secured 5th place.

Every year, the Global Liveability Index declares which of the world’s cities are the most liveable. Their judgements are based on: stability, healthcare, culture & environment, education and infrastructure.

While Vienna secured first place, Canada impressively had three cities featured in the top ten. Unfortunately for the UK, Edinburgh, Manchester, and London featured on the list of the cities to fall the most in liveability in the last twelve months.

Two other countries had two cities listed: Australia had Melbourne (3rd) and Sydney (4th) while Switzerland had Zurich (6th) and Geneva (8th). For Canada, Vancouver secured 5th place, while Calgary was in at 7th and Toronto at 9th. All of these cities improved from last year when anti-vaccine protests disrupted stability in Canada.

Healthcare in Canada

Calgary is the 7th most liveable city in the world.

On the Global Liveability Index, all three cities received a score of 100.0 for their healthcare. Canada has a decentralised, universal and publicly funded healthcare system called Canadian Medicare. However, there are differences in how Canadian Medicare is managed and administrated across the thirteen provinces and territories. All citizens and permanent residents receive necessary hospital and physician care free at the point of use. Prescriptions and dental care are not included in this, although some groups can receive these for free.

For non-residents in Canada, if you are working there temporarily, it could be that your employer has a healthcare arrangement in place for you. Otherwise, it is advisable to seek out private health insurance.

Education in Canada

Aerial view of Toronto city

Toronto came in at number 9.

Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary all received 100.0 for education. The Canadian education system is known as one of the best in the world. It is mostly publicly funded and starts from six to eighteen. In the Times World University Rankings 2023, Canada had seven universities placed in the top 200 worldwide.

Culture & environment

Undoubtedly, healthcare, stability and education are essential to the liveability of a city, but it’s the environment & culture of a place that can make you happy to call it home. Take a look at how Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary scored for environment & culture and see what each area has to offer.

Highest scoring: Vancouver: 97.2

Stanley Park

Stanley Park.

Vancouver is home to the largest theatre in all of Canada, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, with close to 3,000 seats. Here, you can watch famous names like Ed Sheeran, plays like Aladdin and the ballet around Christmas. The Jericho Arts Centre, Moberly Arts and Cultural Centre and the Roundhouse are also fantastic for live performances.

Film buffs will enjoy Vancouver International Film Festival, held over seventeen days in late September and early October. Whether you love big budget films or tiny indie ones, there will be a lot to enjoy. Vancouver also has a great comedy scene with many dedicated clubs and an annual festival, Just for Laughs, held in February.

Additionally, there is loads of opportunity to get involved with the arts yourself, whether that be through singing classes, woodwork workshops, ceramics or even performing poetry in the park.

Vancouver has plenty of inviting nature to explore. Stanley Park is a big attraction: a 1,000 acre stretch with a diverse range of fauna and flora. It is super appealing to kids thanks to its playgrounds and miniature railway. Right next door, you’ll find English Bay, a great urban beach.

Read more about what makes Vancouver a wonderful place to live.

Second highest scoring: Toronto: 94.4

Wall art along Queen Street West in Toronto

Queen Street West, Toronto.

Theatre is big in Toronto with the must-go spots being the Royal Alexandra and the Princess of Wales, where you can watch major musical theatre productions. While The Second City is a famous comedy and improv bar that has kicked off the careers of many, such as Mike Myers and John Candy.

Like Vancouver, Toronto has its own international film festival, as well as a host of smaller and more specific ones, such as Toronto After Dark for niche genre films.

Art is a driving force in Toronto and that is felt in Queen Street West, once declared by Vogue as the world’s second coolest neighbourhood. Its Graffiti Alley is a must-see, several blocks long, it is colourful and lively demonstration of local Toronto talent.

Museum wise, there’s contemporary art, textiles, the country in miniature at Little Canada and even the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Toronto has a host of green spaces. In the west end, you’ll find 400-acre High Park with a mix of forest and manicured stretches of green. Plus, Trillium Park is a new man-made park constructed from a parking space on the waterfront. Its paths are perfect for jogging, cycling and a leisurely stroll.

Discover more about Toronto and if it would suit you to call it home.

Calgary: 87.3

Heritage park in Summer, Calgary, Canada. July

Calgary’s Heritage Park, the largest of its kind in Canada.

Although Calgary does not quite have the international status of Toronto or Vancouver, it is the third largest city in Canada and an amazing place to live. Calgary does not have a theatre scene equivalent to the West End in London, but it does have the Big Secret Theatre, a 200+ seater, superb for cabaret shows. Plus, the Lunch Box Theatre, you can break up the day by watching a spot of theatre in your lunch hour. Additionally, art can be found in Contemporary Calgary and CSpace, a historic building turned creative hub.

Meanwhile, Calgary has lovely green spaces. Prince Island’s Park is often used to host Canada Day celebrations, the Calgary Folk Music Festival and the Great Outdoors Comedy Festival. While Prairie Winds Park is fabulous for activities with basketball courts, cricket pitches, tennis and skate parks. Moreover, there’s also the Heritage Park, the largest historical village in Canada with over 100 exhibitions. Calgary is often referred to as the “getaway to the rocky mountains”, as it is a short distance away from the Banaff National Park, which is famous for its beautiful fauna and flora.

You might also enjoy reading:

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