Best communities in Canada for immigrants 2019

Best communities for new Canadians 2019

Our ranking suggests there are many small towns that offer the same benefits and a more affordable cost of living than bigger cities

by
Grimsby

As Hania Abbasi searched for a place to settle with her family in Canada, access to good schools and jobs were her top priorities. Grimsby, Ont., a town of 29,000 on Lake Ontario between Hamilton and St. Catharines, offered all that plus affordable housing prices.

“We are basically surrounded by universities,” says Abbasi, who moved to Grimsby six years ago from Pakistan. “Canadian experience is a requirement to land a well-paying job, and often, you have to go back to Canadian school to be taken seriously.”

GALLERY: 10 best communities for new immigrants in Canada

Living in Grimsby allowed Abbasi’s husband, an engineer by trade, to land a job in manufacturing in Hamilton and helped her continue her education in health and nursing at Mohawk College while her kids started to apply for McMaster University.

Historically, immigrants have flocked to Canada’s biggest cities because they offer the best job opportunities and the most diversity, but our ranking suggests there are many small towns like Grimsby that offer the same benefits, plus a more affordable cost of living.

Over the past five years, the population of Grimsby has shot up by seven per cent, and 12 per cent of the locals in this Ontario town speak a language other than English or French. And the Hamilton-Niagara region’s unemployment rate is 4.7 per cent, the sixth lowest in the country.

MORE: See the full ranking of the best communities in Canada

Grimsby is within one-hour travel time of Toronto, Hamilton and Niagara Falls. It is within easy access to three international airports in Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo.

“Grimsby offers many beautiful parks, swimming pools, and clubs for us newcomers,” Abbasi says. “The starting process was difficult but happy to be here in Canada now that we’re settling in.”

To find the best communities for new Canadians, we used the same 10 categories as the main Best Communities ranking, adjusting the weighting of some categories based on what we think immigrants would find particularly important. We added a linguistic diversity category, awarding points to communities with lots of residents speaking languages other than English or French, and bumped up the importance of a strong labour market, affordable rents and access to an airport. For more information, please see the methodology page.

Canada’s best communities for new Canadians: By region

Atlantic Canada: Halifax (no. 136)

Quebec: Westmount (no. 21)

Ontario: Grimsby (no. 1)

Prairies: Regina (no. 38)

Alberta: Calgary (no. 24)

B.C.: West Vancouver (no. 5)

Search to filter by city or province:

Rank City Province Population 5-year population change March 2019 economic region unemployment rate Median household income Average household discretionary income Average household net worth Average value of primary real estate Average rent for a two-bedroom apartment (note: some cities use an estimate where data is not available) Average one-year rent increase for a two-bedroom apartment (note: some cities use an estimate where data is not available) Home price to income ratio Percentage of population that takes transit to work Percentage of population speaking a language other than English or French
1 Grimsby ON 28631 6.80% 4.7% $98,669 $60,242 $880,615 $682,614 901 0.0% 5.95 0.9% 12.0%
2 Niagara-on-the-Lake ON 18652 10.90% 4.7% $93,425 $62,754 $1,255,495 $738,139 1127 3.8% 6.51 0.3% 20.4%
3 Oakville ON 210350 7.30% 6.4% $122,584 $78,388 $1,737,882 $1,243,760 1509 3.2% 7.49 8.6% 33.1%
4 Ottawa ON 1019693 7.60% 5.1% $92,579 $56,501 $721,100 $543,814 1307 5.8% 4.75 12.3% 22.0%
5 West Vancouver BC 44048 1.80% 4.9% $106,995 $109,322 $4,454,424 $2,765,075 2408 -1.9% 12.67 4.6% 37.8%
6 Burlington ON 197381 5.40% 4.7% $101,448 $63,511 $1,099,461 $887,657 1403 4.0% 7.08 5.0% 19.1%
7 Hamilton (City) ON 579105 5.10% 4.7% $76,193 $48,102 $625,005 $595,593 1085 3.6% 6.54 5.0% 22.9%
8 Oak Bay BC 18233 1.20% 3.6% $106,589 $82,797 $2,314,752 $1,278,880 1615 7.2% 8.23 3.9% 11.5%
9 Toronto ON 2988140 6.40% 6.4% $71,324 $53,834 $941,973 $963,076 1492 5.2% 8.76 20.8% 43.4%
10 Saanich BC 117340 3.00% 3.6% $87,186 $54,040 $1,069,875 $867,176 1367 5.7% 8.28 6.7% 20.6%
11 West Kelowna BC 34392 6.50% 5.3% $96,933 $58,723 $1,016,369 $735,983 1126 7.4% 6.71 1.9% 9.8%
12 Delta BC 108065 4.30% 4.9% $104,554 $61,664 $1,263,460 $1,146,307 1185 4.0% 9.65 6.6% 30.8%
13 Milton ON 132508 27.80% 6.4% $114,275 $60,734 $1,188,971 $1,229,291 1269 0.0% 9.42 5.2% 34.4%
14 Tecumseh ON 24277 2.20% 6.5% $102,159 $64,093 $815,306 $426,474 915 4.1% 3.62 0.6% 15.7%
15 Waterloo ON 112385 6.90% 5.0% $89,568 $57,384 $910,103 $677,337 1463 4.0% 5.9 5.0% 28.2%
16 Lincoln ON 24891 5.80% 4.7% $96,064 $56,048 $975,321 $780,608 918 3.8% 7.56 0.8% 11.6%
17 Niagara Falls ON 91908 5.50% 4.7% $66,801 $43,143 $517,484 $475,972 991 2.8% 5.91 1.1% 18.0%
18 Summerland BC 11348 0.90% 5.3% $77,360 $48,199 $836,497 $568,580 854 2.3% 6.41 0.4% 9.9%
19 Markham ON 356416 7.20% 6.4% $94,086 $61,170 $1,594,766 $1,407,357 1408 0.0% 11.4 7.9% 61.8%
20 Kelowna BC 136579 8.90% 5.3% $79,428 $50,516 $887,998 $682,164 1247 9.8% 7.09 2.5% 12.6%
21 Westmount QC 21219 3.80% 7.4% $109,019 $120,053 $3,653,100 $1,600,094 820 0.0% 6.32 10.1% 22.7%
22 LaSalle ON 31868 6.00% 6.5% $109,208 $61,822 $783,274 $407,888 915 4.1% 3.52 0.5% 16.0%
23 Guelph ON 141125 8.10% 5.0% $85,416 $49,697 $683,821 $678,849 1159 3.8% 6.82 5.1% 20.3%
24 Edmonton AB 1035298 11.20% 7.3% $88,797 $57,414 $565,643 $483,506 1253 1.5% 4.59 9.4% 32.7%
25 North Vancouver BC 57278 9.30% 4.9% $76,138 $43,928 $862,344 $1,190,600 1648 5.5% 13.48 13.8% 32.6%
26 Calgary AB 1372193 10.00% 7.9% $98,309 $72,258 $838,640 $540,492 1223 1.4% 4.09 9.7% 31.1%
27 North Saanich BC 11395 2.30% 3.6% $119,784 $76,215 $2,028,871 $1,173,815 1256 7.2% 8.13 2.7% 8.8%
28 Coldstream BC 10937 4.00% 5.3% $109,752 $71,003 $1,238,512 $796,741 1126 7.4% 6.06 0.6% 9.5%
29 Sidney BC 12105 5.70% 3.6% $70,547 $44,619 $1,008,780 $718,024 1273 7.2% 8.59 3.1% 10.0%
30 Vancouver BC 670642 3.50% 4.9% $73,946 $47,841 $1,220,613 $1,709,754 1964 5.3% 17.63 17.6% 44.8%
31 Prince Rupert BC 12541 -1.40% 3.8% $84,518 $53,134 $324,824 $303,883 873 0.0% 3.22 2.7% 13.3%
32 London ON 414219 6.10% 5.3% $66,821 $47,050 $527,748 $422,045 1098 4.1% 4.72 5.0% 21.1%
33 Vernon BC 41659 5.60% 5.3% $68,668 $43,702 $660,778 $508,650 944 2.6% 6.22 0.8% 9.7%
34 Central Saanich BC 17310 4.90% 3.6% $99,332 $59,060 $1,176,930 $905,927 1522 7.2% 8.06 2.9% 8.9%
35 Kingston ON 135220 4.50% 5.5% $73,007 $47,840 $573,435 $427,733 1202 2.0% 4.66 5.3% 10.4%
36 St. Catharines ON 135948 0.40% 4.7% $64,260 $44,664 $535,987 $471,845 1112 5.8% 5.75 1.8% 15.9%
37 Lake Country BC 13972 11.00% 5.3% $96,811 $54,975 $972,810 $811,912 1126 7.4% 7.82 1.1% 9.1%
38 Regina SK 242479 12.30% 4.7% $85,403 $56,685 $491,066 $402,703 1131 -0.5% 3.79 3.9% 20.0%
39 Port Moody BC 34898 1.90% 4.9% $104,437 $60,532 $1,193,348 $1,228,701 1266 6.0% 10.06 9.7% 30.0%
40 Richmond Hill ON 209207 5.50% 6.4% $93,500 $58,385 $1,486,850 $1,317,026 1363 3.8% 11.05 7.6% 60.6%
41 Richmond BC 213474 6.30% 4.9% $72,542 $50,092 $1,271,200 $1,247,480 1466 8.5% 13.05 10.1% 63.4%
42 St. Albert AB 70213 4.00% 7.3% $123,659 $81,042 $843,729 $426,257 1301 0.9% 2.91 2.8% 10.0%
43 Mont-Royal QC 21613 6.60% 7.4% $118,728 $92,563 $2,588,821 $1,209,586 1076 5.5% 5.99 13.0% 31.7%
44 Surrey BC 561574 9.40% 4.9% $87,247 $54,472 $1,079,951 $1,261,930 1151 4.2% 12.01 8.8% 47.6%
45 Coquitlam BC 150891 9.40% 4.9% $82,714 $53,434 $1,095,819 $1,180,339 1290 7.7% 11.36 10.2% 46.4%
46 Tillsonburg ON 16715 4.70% 5.3% $63,811 $45,236 $601,075 $434,086 877 0.0% 5.19 0.6% 10.0%
47 Saskatoon SK 283941 12.70% 5.8% $83,053 $54,010 $512,233 $405,333 1112 0.4% 3.88 3.3% 20.3%
48 Wilmot ON 22017 7.60% 5.0% $103,877 $58,993 $902,570 $690,726 840 0.0% 6.15 0.5% 8.3%
49 Kamloops BC 94054 5.50% 5.3% $85,248 $49,835 $582,326 $474,829 1084 6.3% 4.99 2.4% 8.8%
50 Boisbriand QC 27902 2.10% 4.7% $77,514 $45,189 $374,075 $313,662 726 0.0% 3.49 4.0% 14.8%
51 Terrace BC 11935 0.40% 3.8% $88,018 $51,378 $365,498 $257,965 898 0.0% 2.77 0.8% 11.3%
52 Leamington ON 28984 1.90% 6.5% $68,120 $42,637 $437,576 $325,763 910 3.6% 4.19 0.5% 33.6%
53 Langford BC 39476 18.10% 3.6% $90,334 $51,000 $625,089 $748,387 1508 5.3% 7.33 4.0% 9.7%
54 Victoria BC 91152 6.80% 3.6% $60,288 $35,626 $552,513 $705,871 1438 7.3% 9.75 8.8% 14.5%
55 Burnaby BC 247940 4.40% 4.9% $72,547 $46,517 $1,002,938 $1,208,344 1466 4.6% 13.38 16.8% 56.7%
56 Thames Centre ON 14046 5.10% 5.3% $102,267 $62,084 $861,106 $513,652 773 1.9% 4.43 0.3% 9.0%
57 Vaughan ON 330195 6.50% 6.4% $112,903 $64,067 $1,767,338 $1,474,066 1457 5.3% 11.07 6.8% 51.4%
58 Greater Vancouver BC 18851 21.20% 4.9% $53,475 $53,846 $1,778,235 $1,982,407 2259 4.7% 18.78 10.3% 61.5%
59 Kitchener ON 250274 6.70% 5.0% $76,800 $45,501 $562,295 $631,282 1129 4.2% 6.98 4.8% 26.6%
60 King ON 27170 11.80% 6.4% $131,084 $94,638 $2,792,290 $1,575,440 1457 5.3% 8.03 2.7% 27.8%
61 Middlesex Centre ON 18621 7.90% 5.3% $117,724 $67,418 $1,109,584 $582,446 1077 4.3% 4.37 0.6% 8.5%
62 New Westminster BC 76759 8.00% 4.9% $73,250 $43,517 $632,933 $934,680 1476 7.5% 10.85 19.3% 35.7%
63 Colwood BC 17672 5.60% 3.6% $103,632 $53,740 $766,527 $785,223 1257 7.2% 7.39 4.3% 7.5%
64 New Tecumseth ON 38504 14.70% 5.0% $95,385 $57,797 $845,233 $642,416 987 4.0% 5.75 0.8% 11.6%
65 Pelham ON 17668 3.60% 4.7% $102,875 $64,775 $1,171,714 $681,857 1127 3.8% 5.6 0.3% 9.6%
66 Aurora ON 60042 6.30% 6.4% $115,191 $69,007 $1,580,178 $1,192,155 1347 0.0% 8.1 5.8% 30.5%
67 North Vancouver BC 90103 3.30% 4.9% $117,581 $72,800 $1,996,489 $1,668,988 1833 6.2% 11.66 7.5% 25.2%
68 Penticton BC 33549 2.00% 5.3% $64,389 $41,762 $576,413 $445,998 1059 7.4% 5.71 0.9% 10.4%
69 Brandon MB 52318 7.10% 4.3% $73,957 $49,158 $396,001 $351,264 866 2.7% 3.92 2.3% 17.3%
70 Rosemère QC 14169 -0.70% 4.7% $109,680 $65,973 $1,002,384 $451,391 738 1.8% 3.45 6.5% 10.0%
71 Deux-Montagnes QC 18049 0.90% 4.7% $76,065 $42,762 $286,152 $285,786 765 0.0% 3.35 16.2% 7.3%
72 Strathroy-Caradoc ON 22210 4.00% 5.3% $76,953 $47,472 $475,312 $350,604 826 6.7% 3.95 0.3% 11.1%
73 Wellesley ON 11915 5.60% 5.0% $107,385 $58,439 $981,400 $699,158 1196 4.0% 6.13 0.3% 37.6%
74 Salmon Arm BC 19153 8.70% 5.3% $76,048 $45,436 $711,346 $428,517 845 2.5% 5.11 0.8% 7.1%
75 Woolwich ON 27083 9.10% 5.0% $108,938 $74,307 $1,300,121 $766,279 959 4.0% 5.47 0.6% 20.2%
76 Brossard QC 92347 9.40% 5.3% $77,110 $50,626 $619,834 $445,786 889 0.0% 4.45 14.4% 38.9%
77 Abbotsford BC 152267 7.60% 4.9% $83,990 $49,474 $741,809 $736,968 1035 8.3% 7.88 1.4% 32.4%
78 Kingsville ON 22412 2.60% 6.5% $84,104 $49,976 $605,817 $388,239 915 4.1% 4.28 0.3% 14.3%
79 Windsor ON 226508 3.00% 6.5% $59,361 $40,296 $353,367 $291,007 906 4.4% 3.95 2.8% 27.3%
80 Haldimand County ON 47635 3.70% 4.7% $84,225 $52,322 $629,581 $487,655 781 1.2% 5.21 0.5% 5.2%
81 Brantford ON 104537 5.40% 4.7% $68,639 $43,823 $433,504 $427,546 1007 5.0% 5.25 1.9% 10.5%
82 Pitt Meadows BC 19550 4.60% 4.9% $100,404 $53,619 $941,009 $941,962 1270 3.2% 8.88 6.8% 18.5%
83 Norfolk County ON 65463 1.40% 4.7% $73,161 $48,333 $604,291 $435,509 733 0.0% 5.04 0.4% 11.4%
84 Chestermere AB 23360 25.00% 7.9% $133,117 $89,096 $1,039,118 $538,815 1265 1.4% 3.24 1.4% 26.8%
85 Bradford West Gwillimbury ON 41055 22.90% 5.0% $103,029 $57,911 $847,902 $861,916 1306 -1.1% 7.38 3.1% 29.5%
86 Squamish BC 22328 14.30% 4.9% $103,308 $57,023 $813,866 $836,807 1219 1.7% 7.46 1.7% 14.8%
87 Halton Hills ON 65236 4.40% 6.4% $115,963 $65,571 $1,300,762 $1,182,809 1197 3.0% 8.78 2.5% 13.6%
88 Cranbrook BC 20020 1.50% 4.7% $81,163 $51,707 $484,131 $330,011 828 4.3% 3.49 0.8% 6.2%
89 Blainville QC 60530 7.40% 4.7% $95,907 $55,086 $642,113 $434,311 823 1.8% 3.87 4.9% 7.0%
90 Brampton ON 691957 16.60% 6.4% $94,185 $51,206 $904,562 $1,112,209 1334 5.2% 10.78 7.7% 46.8%
91 Welland ON 54080 3.40% 4.7% $61,753 $41,380 $411,078 $388,625 957 4.9% 5.11 1.0% 9.6%
92 Taché MB 12574 11.10% 4.4% $103,200 $56,691 $467,456 $363,480 793 1.3% 3.36 0.6% 12.0%
93 Nelson BC 10833 4.30% 4.7% $62,504 $42,127 $558,472 $400,943 936 4.2% 5.25 1.1% 7.7%
94 Port Coquitlam BC 62212 5.30% 4.9% $95,061 $57,183 $850,383 $929,866 1472 9.5% 8.39 7.7% 30.7%
95 White Rock BC 20794 3.90% 4.9% $70,882 $48,477 $1,179,025 $946,780 1280 8.6% 10.14 3.5% 19.4%
96 West Lincoln ON 14957 3.80% 4.7% $96,211 $55,283 $866,767 $735,334 1127 3.8% 7.39 0.3% 8.6%
97 Dorval QC 20202 6.20% 7.4% $71,935 $48,253 $663,445 $524,361 903 2.4% 5.31 13.2% 23.8%
98 Esquimalt BC 18528 6.80% 3.6% $68,542 $38,331 $448,953 $652,518 1210 10.1% 8.32 8.7% 9.9%
99 Vaudreuil-Dorion QC 41486 13.10% 5.3% $83,631 $43,630 $437,536 $411,735 826 0.0% 4.58 4.0% 17.7%
100 Guelph ON 13384 4.20% 5.0% $117,863 $64,687 $1,349,216 $856,077 1157 3.9% 6.68 1.1% 9.3%