Best mid-sized city ranking overlooks areas for improvement, like transit

Factors: low crime, great weather, high wealth and incomes

MoneySense Magazine has named the Burlington the best mid-sized city in Canada and the second best city in Ontario in which to live, according to Best Places to Live 2017.  Burlington ranks 9th overall of best places to live in Canada of 417 cities of all sizes.

The MoneySense ranking for the top places to live in Ontario in 2017 are:

  1. Ottawa
  2. Burlington
  3. Stratford
  4. Oakville
  5. Saugeen Shores
  6. Russell
  7. Halton Hills
  8. LaSalle
  9. Kincardine
  10. Waterloo

Burlington scored high with low crime, great weather and high wealth and incomes. The city ranks 7th on best places to retire, 7th for good weather, 14th for best places for new Canadians, and 20th for best place to raise a child.

Rankings of the best places of any size to live in Canada are:

  1. Ottawa, Ont
  2. Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Que.
  3. Oak Bay, B.C.
  4. North Saanich, B.C.
  5. Weyburn, Sask.
  6. Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Que.
  7. St. Albert, Alta.
  8. Mont-Royal, Que.
  9. Burlington, Ont.
  10. Lévis, Que.

Of Halton municipalities, Oakville is listed as the top place in Ontario to raise kids, and the third best place for good weather. Oakville ranks 15th overall of best places to live in Canada, Halton Hills 24th, and Milton 151st out of 417 cities of all sizes across the country. .

According to Moneysense Burlington, Oakville and Halton Hills all consistently do well on the rankings and share a number of similarities: “they’re all very safe, they tend to be wealthier, and they’re in a sweet spot when it comes to nice weather. These factors not only make these cities great places to live, but it also makes them highly attractive as a places to retire, raise a family or start a new life.”

This is the 14th edition of MoneySense’s Best Places to Live. It is a comprehensive data-driven snapshot of Canadian cities and towns, ranking 417 cities in 2017, which is nearly double the number of communities looked at last year. The 2017 report captures cities as small as 9,000 residents.

See the MoneySense full ranking.

My Take:

We all love Burlington and think it’s the best place to live in the country – but not for the reasons Moneysense ranks us highly, like great weather. Residents mention the great people, friendly small-town atmosphere with big-city amenities, fabulous natural environment with the waterfront and the escarpment, and accessibility to larger cities and the border, with all the amenities they offer from universities to world-class entertainment.

Burlington rates highly on the Moneysense rankings for reasons that aren’t within the city’s control. Our opportunity is to focus on the things we can improve that are within council control or influence – and we have our work cut out for us: things like attracting more families with children through family-friendly developments that are also affordable (we rank 373 nationwide on housing affordability); like attracting more jobs so our residents don’t have to work outside Burlington (we rank 56th on robust economy); like improving transit so not everyone needs to use a car, and has options if they don’t drive (we rank 100th on transit friendly); like supporting independent festivals and events to promote arts and culture (we rank 54th on arts and community).

The rankings are largely a measure of wealth, something Moneysense freely acknowledged at a lunch session hosted by the Burlington Chamber of Commerce last spring. We also need to ensure that our low-income residents are included in our planning and taken care of, so people of all incomes can find a home here.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful.

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  1. Marianne, I saw this article in the newspaper this morning. I love living in Burlington, however, there is much needed to make this City live up to the reputation of being the 2nd best or 1st best place to live in. Every time I hear this I think, but we have a public transit system that doesn’t work for the residents. We need more subsidized housing and affordable housing ( not a 900 sq foot condo that costs $650,000.00).

    Always feel that the City and councillors are patting themselves on the back for a job well done, when in fact so much more is needed, especially for the growing senior population.

    • Agree, much more needs to be done on these issues. The Moneysense survey is mostly a measure of wealth, with a few things thrown in we don’t control (like weather). When you look deeper into the numbers and where we rank low, it is on items like transit and affordable housing. Much more work needs to be done on these issues.

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