So, what’s the best Canadian city to live in? If you said that rhinestone in a diamond setting, Vancouver, you would be dead wrong. You would also be wrong if you chose that self-appointed centre of the universe, Toronto.

According to a recent article in MoneySense magazine, the best city to live in Canada is — wait for it, wait for it — Ottawa/Gatineau. I don’t know about you, but that came as a complete and utter surprise. But how you decide which city is better than another depends on the criteria you use. MoneySense used climate, prosperity, access to health care, home affordability, crime rates and lifestyle. Such things as mountains, beaches and sunsets weren’t factored in. No argument from me there. It’s hard to live in a view.

So where does Edmonton rank on the list? Not surprisingly it isn’t first. It’s No. 16. That puts us behind such cities as London, Ont., Moncton, N.B., and horror of horrors, Winnipeg. Why, oh why, is this so? Let’s look at how Edmonton was rated.


According to MoneySense’s research, Edmonton gets low marks because of its climate. We have almost 179 days of below-zero temperatures each year compared to Ottawa/Gatineau’s 163. Apparently, the fact that we are blessed with a “dry cold” doesn’t matter.

Affordability of housing is one of our strengths. The average house price in Ottawa/Gatineau is about $288,000 as opposed to $319,000 in Edmonton. It takes an average of about 3.23 years to buy a house in Edmonton and an average of 3.16 years in Ottawa Gatineau. However, we pale by comparison with Vancouver, where according to MoneySense, the average house price is $762,000. That’s about 10 times the average household income.

But let’s get to what we all want to know. How did we compare to Calgary? Well, pretty good actually. Calgary ranked 27th. Given that Calgary sees itself as the centre of the Alberta universe, how can that be? Apparently, Calgary has more days of below-zero temperatures than we do. And it should come as no surprise that we outrank it by quite a margin when it comes to cultural activities.

I am sure none of this bothers Calgarians in the least. The average household income in Calgary is $122,459 versus $98,857 in Edmonton. Counting their money should distract them from the fact that they placed 16 points behind Lethbridge.

Terence Harding is a corporate communicator. He’s a keen observer of all things Edmonton;

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