Best Places to Live in Ontario - I Love International Moving

Best Places to Live in Ontario

Posted Country Guides / May 24, 2020
Hannah Michaelson

Hannah is a freelance relocation writer from NYC that has become an expert on packing and unpacking.

Did you know that Ontario’s license plates had once featured a slogan that said: “Keep It Beautiful,” that was later replaced with “Yours to Discover”? And that the song used to advertise Canada’s most populous province is called “There’s No Place Like This”? If you’re planning to make this incredible land your new home and discover it yourself, you might need some help with finding the best places to live in Ontario. That’s where we step in.

Known as one of the most liveable regions in the world, Ontario is Canada’s leading manufacturing, tech, and financial hub. It is also a place of breathtaking natural beauty, with more than 250,000 lakes containing about one-fifth of the world’s freshwater. And with a population of more than 13.5 million, Ontario’s home to about 2 in 5 Canadians. They mostly reside in urban centers (more than 85%), on the shores of the Great Lakes.

If you’re wondering where to settle down, there won’t be any straightforward answer. With so many incredible options, your choice won’t be so easy. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the most wanted places to reside in, apart from Ottawa, the nation’s capital. Keep reading and find your future home in the Great White North.

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What Criteria Should You Apply When Searching for the Best Places to Live in Ontario

When choosing a perfect place to call home and settle down for good, we all have specific standards that should be met. Some things matter more to us than others, depending on our age, family situation, interests, and preferred lifestyle. Still, there are a few generally recognized criteria for measuring the liveability of a particular city. According to some research, these are the following:

  • Wealth and economy
  • Affordability
  • Population growth
  • Commute
  • Crime rate
  • Weather
  • Access to healthcare
  • Amenities and culture

Luckily, Canada and its province Ontario feature many cities appealing not only for Canadians but also for people from all over the world. So, let’s find out what you can expect from Ontario’s well-known cities and its hidden gems.

#1 With a Much Different Vibe From Ottawa and Toronto, Peterborough Offers Peace and a Rural Feel

It’s said that if you move to Peterborough, you will find that often elusive work-life balance that everyone is striving for. That’s possible due to the city’s mind-boggling nature, vibrant community, and friendly people. There’s plenty of amenities you should have in mind when choosing Peterborough for your future home:

  • Affordable living
  • Shorter commute time
  • Healthcare is excellent and available to you and your family (Peterborough Regional Health Centre – PRHC)
  • This place offers an outstanding education (Trent University, Fleming College, Seneca College)

If you’re in doubt whether relocation to Peterborough is the right choice compared to some bigger cities, such as Toronto, Vancouver, or Ottawa, you can rest assured that it will provide the necessary quality of life. That includes year-round entertainment, shopping and dining, sports and outdoor activities, music scene, arts, culture, and rich heritage.

Check Out Peterborough’s Attractions in This Video

#2 Toronto – The Big-City Feel Similar to New York and LA

Known as Canada’s largest city and North America’s fifth-most populous metropolis (2.8 million people), Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities worldwide. It takes pride in a wide variety of cultures, arts, languages, and cuisines. If you prefer the big-city feel of the prominent urban areas in the US, such as LA or NYC, but with less crime, living in Toronto might be a great fit.

According to, foreign-born people account for nearly half of Toronto’s population, so it’s hard to feel like a complete stranger. Here are the most common ancestry groups:

  • English (12.9%)
  • Chinese (12.0%)
  • Irish (9.7%)
  • Scottish (9.5%)
  • East Indian (7.6%)
  • Italian (6.9%)
  • Filipino (5.5%)
  • German (4.6%)
  • French (4.5%)
  • Polish (3.8%)

One of the Best Areas to Live in Canada, But Also It’s Most Expensive One

It’s common knowledge that Toronto is a very pricey area, but if you live with your partner or roommates, your expenses can be significantly lower. Based on Business Insider data, the average Torontonian can expect to budget the following amounts for essential costs:

  • Homeowner housing: approx. $3,000/month
  • Renter housing costs: approx. $1,700/month
  • Public transit costs: approx. $190/month
  • Driver costs: approx. $400/month
  • Food costs: approx. $385/month
  • Cell phone and Internet costs: approx. $115/month
  • Entertainment costs: approx. $130/month
  • Health and fitness costs: approx. $45/month

But, the average annual salary is quite enough to cover all the expenses, and the yearly income: from $18,350 to $600,000.

#3 Burlington Is an Excellent Choice for Family People

Are you looking for a small and clean place to raise a family? If so, Burlington might be the best choice for you, primarily due to its location – it’s right on Lake Ontario. It takes pride in 115 parks, which occupy an area of 580 hectares. This city likes to celebrate, and festivals are fantastic here. Some of the most popular include:

  • Taste of Burlington
  • Kite Festival
  • Children’s Festival
  • Sound of Music Festival
  • RibFest

Burlington is also an excellent choice if you’re in search of new job opportunities or looking for world-class amenities. Also, you can enjoy some outdoor activities, including a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Burlington Performing Arts Center.

If You’re Looking for a Safe Community, Burlington Is the Place to Be

Burlington is considered one of the top 10 cities in Canada with the lowest crime rate. That being said, if you have kids or plan any, this is a perfect environment to raise children, with good schools, all the necessary amenities, green spaces to play, events, and festivals. And don’t worry about jobs and earning, since parents have the opportunity to build great careers close to home, or commute to Toronto and make their money there.

#4 Windsor Is a City of History and Culture

This mid-sized city, which sits right along the Detroit River, is an area packed with historic architecture, modern towers, and multicultural residents. With tourism as its primary industry, it’s home to plenty of fabulous attractions. Windsor is a mecca for outdoor aficionados, those who enjoy lively downtown entertainment, and festival-goers. Besides, if you can’t imagine your leisure time without your bike, this is the spot to be.

Windsor Is a Mecca for Bike Riders

Have you ever cycled through streets sampling beers at local pubs and breweries? This Bikes & Beers cycling tour is something you shouldn’t miss after moving to Windsor. The average distance traveled is 12.5 miles, and you can enjoy some tasty treats along the way, too. Besides, a scenic cycle along Windsor’s breathtaking riverside and some attractive neighborhoods will definitely make your day.

#5 Guelph – Small, but With a High Standard of Living

Despite its population of about 150,000, this is a town that has it all. Ranked as the best location to buy real estate in Canada in 2017, it’s a perfect spot for families, young professionals, and retirees alike. So, if you’re wondering where to settle down in 2020, there are plenty of reasons to choose Guelph as your new home. One of the most important is its low crime rate: it has ranked for many years as one of the top 10 safest urban areas in Canada. It also boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, first-class education, and a business-friendly environment.

Downtown Is a Stunning Part of the City

Guelph is a community that can please even the pickiest newcomers. If you think that a small community lacks the downtown vibes of bigger cities, you’re mistaken. Downtown Guelph is a fantastic part of this small town that is jammed with numerous Victorian-era buildings. You can take a stroll along Douglas Street with a lot of boutique shops, the River Run Centre, and the Sleeman Centre.

Moving to Ontario Is All About Natural Beauties and Standards of Living

When looking for the perfect community to move abroad, it might be tricky and scary at the same time due to different cultures and languages. But if you’re moving to Canada, you can rest assured that this country is planning a warm reception for you and your family since it’s known as one of the friendliest countries in the world.

Whether you’re looking for a great job, homes at an affordable price, good healthcare, and schooling options, or even a tight-knit community, you will find everything you need here.

So, you shouldn’t sit on the fence anymore and wait for the right moment to book your international move to Canada. Some of the best places to live in Ontario are Yours to Discover.

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