Best communities in Canada to retire 2019

Best communities to retire in Canada 2019

This city’s vast network of health care services and robust public transportation offerings make it a top spot for retirement

by
Toronto, Ont. (Peter Spiro/iStock)

Jila Jalali moved to downtown Toronto after her kids graduated from university, and the 68-year-old retired piano teacher has no regrets about choosing Canada’s largest metropolis as her retirement spot.

“My closest relatives live downtown, and when you’re older, you need family around you,” Jalali said. “Of course, it’s ideal to spend your retirement days on some sandy beach or low-key, cute little town, but your priorities differ when you get older.”

Jalali said that one of the most important factors for her choosing Toronto was access to health care. The results of this year’s Maclean’s ranking for the best communities for Canadians to retire suggest she made the right decision.

PHOTOS: Top 10 best communities for retirement in Canada

Bustling Toronto may not be the picture-perfect hamlet in the countryside that many imagine as a dream place to relax in their golden years, but when it comes to practicality, it has a lot going for it. The city shot to the top this year, thanks to its vast network of health care services, robust public transportation and ease of getting around by walking. Small-town living might be attractive in theory, but as we get older, these are some crucial factors to consider.

Toronto has top health care professionals and hospitals, including specialized centres, like the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. It has the highest concentration of family doctors in the nation, with 3,145 offices.

Seniors who move to small towns might find the lifestyle alienating. That’s because it can be hard to get from one place to another, especially when you’re too old to drive. Conversely, Toronto offers an excellent public transportation system, making it easier for seniors to get around.

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

Toronto’s retirees benefit from the city’s limitless recreation capacity. Indeed, Toronto is among the top 10 cities in our list for the percentage of its population that is employed in the arts and culture industry.

For Jalali, Toronto offers a perfect balance. She often gets to see her kids, and also she can do volunteer work, which she says is critical for her mental health.

“I can’t imagine what I would do now that I’m not working full-time. Loneliness is a huge problem for people my age,” she said. “Humans are social creatures, and I think to survive old age, you need to stay active and be around people. Toronto is a perfect spot for that.”

Our ranking of the best communities to retire is based on the same 10 categories as the main Best Communities ranking, but with the weightings adjusted based on what we think is most important to retirees. We bump up the importance of the weather and health care and eliminate labour market statistics. For more information, please see the methodology page.

Canada’s best communities to retire by region

Atlantic Canada: Halifax (no. 61)

Quebec: Westmount (no. 56)

Ontario: Toronto (no. 1)

Prairies: Saskatoon (no. 161)

Alberta: Calgary (no. 84)

B.C.: Langford (no. 5)

Search to filter by city or province:

Rank City name Province Property tax as percent of average income Family doctors per 100,000 population in health region Population Average value of primary real estate Average annual property tax bill Percentage of population that walks to work Percentage of population that bikes to work Percentage of population that takes transit to work Days per year with rain or snow Days per year above 0C Days per year above 20C 5-year average of Crime Severity Index in area covered by local police service (lower is better, national average = 73) Doctors' offices Percentage of population employed in arts and recreation Community index (higher is better)
1 Toronto ON 1.9% 195 2988140 $963,076 $2,401 5.0% 1.6% 20.8% 145.49 264 117 58 3145 3.5% 110
2 Ottawa ON 2.3% 145 1019693 $543,814 $3,189 4.6% 1.6% 12.3% 160.65 216 117 49 779 2.6% 108
3 Burlington ON 2.4% 102 197381 $887,657 $3,777 1.9% 0.5% 5.0% 135.77 239 125 25 197 2.3% 111
4 Oakville ON 2.5% 94 210350 $1,243,760 $5,382 1.8% 0.4% 8.6% 117.55 222 107 25 220 2.5% 111
5 Langford BC 1.2% 174 39476 $748,387 $1,580 2.6% 1.5% 4.0% 148.6 347 57 61 30 1.5% 91
6 Colwood BC 1.5% 174 17672 $785,223 $2,019 1.8% 2.1% 4.3% 148.6 347 57 35 7 1.4% 102
7 Central Saanich BC 1.7% 174 17310 $905,927 $2,512 2.0% 1.2% 2.9% 158.5 334 71 34 13 2.1% 112
8 North Vancouver BC 1.2% 160 57278 $1,190,600 $1,276 6.7% 1.6% 13.8% 181.2 297 81 75 162 4.1% 94
9 Kingston ON 2.3% 138 135220 $427,733 $2,506 5.2% 1.4% 5.3% 159.06 223 99 63 189 1.6% 106
10 New Tecumseth ON 2.5% 97 38504 $642,416 $3,495 2.7% 0.5% 0.8% 154.6 216 122 33 13 1.7% 114
11 Vancouver BC 1.2% 179 670642 $1,709,754 $1,426 8.1% 3.7% 17.6% 171.12 331 53 109 958 5.3% 119
12 Whitchurch-Stouffville ON 2.0% 97 51376 $2,263,573 $4,904 1.3% 0.3% 3.8% 165.19 221 119 34 10 2.1% 111
13 Saanich BC 1.7% 174 117340 $867,176 $2,230 3.4% 3.4% 6.7% 158.51 334 71 40 127 2.2% 102
14 Sidney BC 2.0% 174 12105 $718,024 $2,021 5.7% 1.7% 3.1% 155.1 319 79 39 25 1.3% 103
15 Squamish BC 1.5% 160 22328 $836,807 $2,105 3.7% 2.4% 1.7% 178.4 299 93 83 29 4.1% 99
16 Victoria BC 1.0% 174 91152 $705,871 $840 13.8% 6.7% 8.8% 155.05 319 79 118 318 3.2% 101
17 Whistler BC 0.9% 160 13613 $1,891,866 $1,591 10.8% 6.6% 9.3% 179.7 218 83 105 13 5.7% 107
18 Esquimalt BC 1.2% 174 18528 $652,518 $1,144 6.2% 5.1% 8.7% 148.6 347 57 118 7 2.1% 100
19 Tecumseh ON 3.0% 95 24277 $426,474 $3,960 1.0% 0.4% 0.6% 149.5 249 139 24 38 1.6% 114
20 Aurora ON 2.7% 97 60042 $1,192,155 $5,188 1.8% 0.2% 5.8% 165.19 221 119 34 31 2.0% 109
21 Oak Bay BC 1.9% 174 18233 $1,278,880 $3,845 4.3% 5.2% 3.9% 175.6 293 86 31 6 3.2% 113
22 North Saanich BC 2.0% 174 11395 $1,173,815 $3,954 1.4% 0.9% 2.7% 158.5 334 71 27 1 1.8% 124
23 West Vancouver BC 1.9% 160 44048 $2,765,075 $5,395 2.1% 0.8% 4.6% 168.94 324 77 49 57 3.5% 117
24 Collingwood ON 2.4% 105 24127 $557,988 $2,542 4.5% 1.4% 1.4% 163.02 216 101 47 44 2.3% 105
25 Whitby ON 2.7% 83 138563 $771,442 $4,103 1.5% 0.2% 6.8% 145.68 239 100 40 81 2.0% 106
26 Markham ON 2.6% 97 356416 $1,407,357 $4,492 1.0% 0.2% 7.9% 165.19 221 119 34 238 1.8% 112
27 Ajax ON 2.6% 83 132250 $916,990 $4,017 1.4% 0.3% 9.4% 145.68 239 100 40 80 1.7% 98
28 Milton ON 2.0% 94 132508 $1,229,291 $3,870 1.3% 0.3% 5.2% 138.86 196 120 25 63 1.7% 104
29 Newmarket ON 2.6% 97 89272 $879,204 $3,866 2.3% 0.3% 4.9% 129.52 211 107 34 131 2.2% 108
30 West Kelowna BC 1.4% 137 34392 $735,983 $2,113 1.3% 0.5% 1.9% 119.9 246 124 63 20 1.7% 104
31 Leamington ON 2.2% 95 28984 $325,763 $1,948 2.7% 0.8% 0.5% 129.33 246 124 48 36 0.8% 105
32 Richmond Hill ON 2.5% 97 209207 $1,317,026 $4,068 1.3% 0.2% 7.6% 165.19 221 119 34 184 2.1% 107
33 Salt Spring Island BC 1.6% 174 10734 $1,151,782 $1,904 4.0% 1.3% 1.3% 178 278 70 34 10 4.9% 109
34 Grimsby ON 2.5% 102 28631 $682,614 $3,614 1.6% 0.3% 0.9% 162.8 244 121 53 17 1.6% 114
35 Belleville ON 2.3% 138 53111 $377,571 $2,171 3.1% 0.7% 2.4% 148.62 229 117 87 98 1.0% 105
36 Nelson BC 1.3% 182 10833 $400,943 $1,141 12.6% 2.5% 1.1% 162.53 262 115 89 33 3.4% 101
37 Cornwall ON 2.4% 145 47307 $214,068 $1,765 3.4% 0.6% 2.0% 150.11 224 120 82 74 0.9% 102
38 Kamloops BC 1.5% 128 94054 $474,829 $1,741 3.3% 0.8% 2.4% 105.58 246 132 114 132 1.3% 101
39 East Gwillimbury ON 2.6% 97 28053 $1,026,055 $4,410 0.9% 0.1% 2.7% 129.5 211 107 34 4 2.2% 113
40 New Westminster BC 1.4% 93 76759 $934,680 $1,311 4.0% 0.7% 19.3% 183.1 320 57 90 151 3.1% 97
41 Delta BC 1.9% 88 108065 $1,146,307 $2,921 1.9% 0.5% 6.6% 155 344 64 54 72 2.1% 114
42 Uxbridge ON 2.6% 83 22590 $1,058,486 $4,223 2.3% 0.3% 1.8% 143.1 221 119 40 11 2.3% 123
43 Hamilton (City) ON 2.4% 102 579105 $595,593 $2,649 2.1% 0.5% 5.0% 156.23 227 120 63 569 1.6% 104
44 Comox BC 1.9% 185 14150 $591,973 $2,274 2.4% 2.3% 1.0% 172.56 316 76 31 48 1.6% 109
45 Kelowna BC 1.3% 137 136579 $682,164 $1,609 3.4% 2.2% 2.5% 136.64 215 123 109 262 2.1% 103
46 Oshawa ON 2.5% 83 173120 $569,141 $2,669 2.0% 0.2% 4.8% 145.68 239 100 40 115 1.3% 101
47 Kingsville ON 2.4% 95 22412 $388,239 $2,591 1.9% 0.3% 0.3% 129.3 246 124 23 0 1.0% 107
48 Clarington ON 2.5% 83 101237 $677,003 $3,526 1.4% 0.2% 3.2% 146.36 219 111 40 17 1.5% 96
49 Niagara-on-the-Lake ON 2.6% 102 18652 $738,139 $3,644 1.3% 0.5% 0.3% 150.7 238 128 53 4 1.6% 117
50 Cobourg ON 2.6% 83 20094 $464,476 $2,723 3.5% 0.6% 1.4% 123.57 224 96 47 20 1.3% 107
51 Salmon Arm BC 1.7% 128 19153 $428,517 $1,711 4.0% 0.5% 0.8% 137.96 214 105 53 42 1.5% 108
52 Carleton Place ON 2.4% 145 11039 $349,851 $2,629 3.6% 0.5% 1.3% 153.8 198 117 51 8 1.4% 93
53 Windsor ON 2.6% 95 226508 $291,007 $2,090 2.3% 0.8% 2.8% 149.54 249 139 85 378 1.2% 102
54 Russell ON 2.2% 145 17391 $419,917 $3,544 1.9% 0.2% 2.4% 163.6 210 78 26 4 1.6% 98
55 Brant ON 2.3% 102 39263 $572,728 $2,956 1.5% 0.2% 0.6% 135.6 218 125 39 13 1.3% 119
56 Westmount QC 2.8% 127 21219 $1,600,094 $7,506 8.5% 1.9% 10.1% 163.3 218 117 75 78 5.1% 139
57 Port Moody BC 1.6% 93 34898 $1,228,701 $2,419 1.8% 0.5% 9.7% 170.41 304 72 41 9 3.5% 109
58 St. Clair ON 2.3% 95 14488 $327,983 $2,995 1.3% 0.3% 0.3% 137.6 234 129 37 8 0.9% 116
59 Burnaby BC 1.6% 93 247940 $1,208,344 $1,705 2.7% 0.8% 16.8% 178.27 326 83 80 188 2.8% 100
60 Chatham-Kent ON 2.5% 95 105118 $259,647 $2,172 2.3% 0.5% 0.7% 137.07 247 132 67 75 0.9% 114
61 Halifax NS 1.6% 145 442442 $378,512 $1,623 4.8% 0.6% 6.9% 161.79 234 78 65 453 1.9% 102
62 Coquitlam BC 1.7% 93 150891 $1,180,339 $2,231 2.1% 0.5% 10.2% 184.02 296 92 70 84 2.5% 92
63 Loyalist ON 2.6% 138 17817 $414,598 $3,261 1.4% 0.1% 1.7% 147.2 239 103 36 9 1.1% 102
64 Mont-Royal QC 3.2% 127 21613 $1,209,586 $7,403 2.4% 1.3% 13.0% 163.3 218 117 75 25 3.4% 130
65 Middlesex Centre ON 2.8% 111 18621 $582,446 $4,546 1.2% 0.2% 0.6% 156.6 226 125 31 4 1.5% 129
66 Waterloo ON 2.4% 100 112385 $677,337 $3,375 4.0% 1.3% 5.0% 165.97 208 116 61 86 2.2% 107
67 Prince Edward County ON 2.4% 138 25460 $528,974 $2,810 2.4% 0.4% 0.5% 153.4 224 119 41 26 1.6% 118
68 Lincoln ON 2.3% 102 24891 $780,608 $3,135 1.7% 0.3% 0.8% 162.8 244 121 53 13 1.1% 112
69 Quinte West ON 2.3% 138 45338 $358,927 $2,332 2.0% 0.4% 0.6% 153.4 217 118 39 21 0.8% 110
70 North Grenville ON 2.6% 145 17316 $372,821 $3,278 1.6% 0.2% 1.0% 162 202 111 31 6 1.7% 79
71 St. Thomas ON 2.7% 111 41108 $285,748 $2,359 2.8% 0.8% 0.6% 159 230 128 40 45 1.1% 101
72 London ON 2.5% 111 414219 $422,045 $2,484 3.1% 0.7% 5.0% 168.02 223 122 76 446 1.8% 104
73 Sooke BC 1.4% 174 13960 $681,289 $1,691 2.5% 0.7% 5.6% 158.6 347 57 66 6 1.6% 90
74 Pickering ON 2.9% 83 97726 $770,088 $4,279 1.3% 0.2% 8.2% 145.68 239 100 40 50 2.0% 104
75 Guelph ON 2.2% 100 141125 $678,849 $2,668 3.8% 1.1% 5.1% 167.01 206 113 53 158 2.0% 101
76 Richmond BC 2.0% 88 213474 $1,247,480 $2,213 2.4% 0.8% 10.1% 183.84 305 100 79 202 2.1% 105
77 LaSalle ON 3.0% 95 31868 $407,888 $4,056 0.8% 0.2% 0.5% 149.5 249 139 21 12 1.2% 108
78 Brockville ON 2.3% 138 21854 $300,591 $2,039 5.1% 0.6% 0.9% 154.9 227 111 79 48 0.8% 105
79 Powell River BC 1.8% 160 12893 $450,258 $1,592 3.9% 0.8% 1.3% 179.13 323 78 64 29 1.5% 110
80 Vernon BC 1.6% 137 41659 $508,650 $1,592 3.5% 0.8% 0.8% 135.78 249 108 138 102 1.2% 102
81 Summerland BC 1.6% 137 11348 $568,580 $1,845 2.8% 0.6% 0.4% 119.2 255 129 53 10 1.6% 109
82 Penticton BC 1.6% 137 33549 $445,998 $1,422 6.2% 1.4% 0.9% 119.22 255 129 132 92 1.4% 103
83 White Rock BC 1.9% 88 20794 $946,780 $1,881 4.2% 0.4% 3.5% 157.4 344 64 72 32 3.1% 105
84 Calgary AB 1.4% 143 1372193 $540,492 $1,928 3.2% 1.1% 9.7% 111.77 171 87 71 1430 1.9% 102
85 Prince Rupert BC 1.3% 167 12541 $303,883 $1,477 6.9% 0.9% 2.7% 243.8 286 6 142 14 1.3% 101
86 Nanaimo BC 1.7% 145 95688 $611,393 $1,722 3.3% 0.9% 2.0% 175.64 294 97 108 146 1.6% 102
87 Brampton ON 2.1% 77 691957 $1,112,209 $3,142 0.9% 0.2% 7.7% 145.94 229 122 42 343 1.1% 96
88 Haldimand County ON 2.3% 102 47635 $487,655 $2,596 2.0% 0.1% 0.5% 153.23 245 117 42 10 0.8% 124
89 Pitt Meadows BC 1.7% 93 19550 $941,962 $2,307 2.1% 0.4% 6.8% 184 296 92 69 18 1.9% 102
90 Niagara Falls ON 2.6% 102 91908 $475,972 $2,483 2.0% 0.4% 1.1% 170.66 241 124 53 94 1.1% 103
91 Saugeen Shores ON 2.3% 111 14244 $572,926 $3,813 3.5% 0.9% 0.8% 163.3 209 110 55 7 1.2% 121
92 South Dundas ON 2.3% 145 10909 $265,114 $2,209 2.0% 0.4% 0.4% 170.7 209 118 34 5 1.1% 106
93 Terrace BC 1.4% 167 11935 $257,965 $1,649 5.8% 2.0% 0.8% 206.84 248 55 143 23 1.5% 101
94 Courtenay BC 1.8% 185 26467 $536,928 $1,605 3.4% 1.5% 1.6% 172.56 316 76 96 51 1.1% 104
95 Sarnia ON 2.6% 95 74145 $307,947 $2,784 1.8% 0.7% 1.7% 149.98 233 121 79 80 0.8% 109
96 North Vancouver BC 1.7% 160 90103 $1,668,988 $3,301 2.3% 1.4% 7.5% 175.09 212 31 41 18 4.2% 106
97 Maple Ridge BC 1.7% 93 88611 $1,036,416 $2,380 2.2% 0.4% 4.7% 188.1 298 94 87 56 2.1% 97
98 Langley BC 1.7% 88 128154 $1,342,970 $2,689 1.7% 0.5% 2.5% 194.47 312 109 93 92 2.1% 105
99 St. Catharines ON 2.5% 102 135948 $471,845 $2,383 2.1% 0.4% 1.8% 150.68 238 127 53 201 1.3% 106
100 Vaughan ON 2.4% 77 330195 $1,474,066 $4,626 1.0% 0.2% 6.8% 137.43 212 117 34 222 1.8% 106