Canada ranks as one of the best places to live in the world. There is free universal healthcare for all residents, high average salaries, and world-class education all the way through to higher education institutes. Even most of the large Canadian cities are safe places to live and to top it all off there is stunning scenery wherever you go.
With so much to choose from it can be difficult to decide where to settle with your family. Important factors to consider where to move with a family include the cost of living and property prices, whether renting or buying, availability of jobs in your field, and access to schools and childcare facilities.
To help you get started, we have compiled a list of the places considered the best places for families in Canada.
Best Provinces for Families in Canada
What are considered the best provinces for families to live in Canada? While you will find free healthcare and great public education in whichever province you are in, some provinces are considered better for families. Here is the list of the top three provinces for families in Canada.
Manitoba is the third-best province for families in Canada with fantastic public schools for younger children and world-class universities for post-secondary education students. Universities in Manitoba include the University of Manitoba, Brandon University, and the University of Winnipeg.
There is a lot less traffic in Manitoba than in the more populated provinces so taking the kids to school and commuting to work will be faster. In Manitoba, there are plenty of job opportunities, especially in trade, technology, healthcare, education, and finance industries. Some of the most in-demand jobs in Manitoba include architects, human resource managers, computer network technicians, pharmacists, welders, and machine fitters.
Manitoba is one of the more affordable provinces in Canada to get on the property ladder. People moving from more expensive provinces already on the property ladder will be happy to see how further their money will go in Manitoba where the average house cost $348,700 in May 2023.
Alberta is the second-best province to raise a family for its affordability and incredible opportunities for an active healthy lifestyle. The public schools in the province are excellent. However, many schools in Calgary are overcrowded because the city has not been able to keep up with the influx of new residents.
For families with older children who are entering higher education, there are great options without having to leave the province. Some of the great higher education institutes in Alberta include the University of Alberta, Mount Royal University, and the University of Calgary.
The best job opportunities within Alberta are in the larger cities of Edmonton and Calgary and some of the most in-demand jobs are general practitioners, dentists, retail managers, mechanical engineers, web designers, electricians, and transport truck drivers.
The average household income has fallen in Alberta, but it is still among the highest in the country. The property prices depend on where in Alberta you are looking with Calgary having the highest property prices. The average house price in the province was $465,198 in May 2023.
Ontario is the best province for families in Canada because it has some of the best post-secondary education facilities as well as excellent job opportunities. It also has more moderate winters than Manitoba and Alberta.
Ontario has a great public education system and you will find plenty of private school options, too. Higher education facilities to choose from include the University of Toronto, McMaster University, and The University of Waterloo just to name a few.
Importantly, for the parents, there are plenty of job opportunities in Ontario. Some of the most in-demand jobs in the province include software engineers, computer engineers, web designers, home support workers, transport truck drivers, and nurse aides.
The property prices vary hugely depending on where you want to live in Ontario with the average houses selling for over a million dollars in Toronto and in popular suburbs of Toronto and Ottawa. In May 2023, the average house in Ontario cost $922,700.
Best Cities for Families in Canada
When looking at the best place for families, important criteria include safety, affordability, access to schools, and a healthy job market. While some places on the list have expensive property prices, these are usually compensated by other factors such as lower costs of household bills and groceries and higher salaries.
London is a great place for families with good schools and plenty of recreation opportunities during all seasons. The city also has great hospitals and higher education facilities. London also benefits from its proximity to Toronto for additional amenities.
The average house in London cost $642,693 in July 2023. There are plenty of job opportunities in the city with a population of 404,699. Job opportunities range from entry-level roles to high-paying senior roles. With many universities and hospitals in town, the education and healthcare sectors are among the main employers in London.
Milton is on the commuter belt for Toronto with many people choosing it to settle in with their families. They prefer the quieter surroundings of Milton but living here comes with a large price tag with the average house costing around $1.1 million in August 2023.
The public schools in Milton are excellent and it is a quiet and safe suburb to raise children. There is plenty of green space and the locals are friendly and welcoming. The population of Milton is 110,128.
Guelph is a great place for families who are looking for a mix of urban and rural life. The city in some parts has a relaxed small-town feel, yet the downtown has all the amenities you would expect to find in a bigger city. The city is home to 135,474 people.
Families with younger children benefit from the great public schools in Guelph and older children and young adults from the great colleges and universities. Guelph has some of the best job opportunities in Canada with the education sector being one of the major employers in the city. You can still find plenty of houses below the million-dollar mark, with the average house costing $883,900 in Guelph.
Saint John, New Brunswick
Saint John is a port city on the Atlantic Ocean and a popular choice for many newcomers to Canada. Compared to some of the other locations on the list of best places to bring up a family in Canada, Saint John has affordable real estate with the average house costing around $315,500 in June 2023. There are also plenty of job opportunities in town, especially in the retail and service economies.
Saint John’s population is 70,785 but despite being a smaller city, it has all the amenities you will need. Schools in Saint John are good and there is plenty to do to keep your children entertained during their free time.
Even though it has expensive real estate and is the most populated city in Canada, Toronto is still a great place to bring up children. Some very expensive properties raise the average house price in Toronto to $1,118,374 (July 2023), but it is still possible to find more affordable homes in less sought-after areas.
For families wanting to bring their children up in a multicultural, diverse city, Toronto is a great choice. Toronto is a safe city and you will never run out of things to do and ways to entertain your children. The city has excellent schools for the families’ youngest children and some of the best universities in the country. The job opportunities are some of the best in Canada as are the average salaries.
With over 1.3 million residents, Calgary is the largest city in Alberta and the second largest city on our list of best cities to live in Canada. Calgary has great schools, but many of them, especially in popular neighbourhoods, are overcrowded. Because the city has been so popular with newcomers, the education system hasn’t been able to provide new school places fast enough.
The average household income in Calgary is among the highest in Canada and the city has a strong economy with plenty of job opportunities, especially in the oil and gas industries. Calgary is close to three national parks with stunning scenery and nature to explore in your family’s free time. In May 2023, the average house cost $540,700 in Calgary.
Although Calgary is the bigger city in Alberta, Edmonton is the capital of the province. Here, the average home cost $409,986 in July 2023. Edmonton has a very diverse population with over 60% of the population coming from other countries, making it a great place for families looking for a multicultural location. The education system in Edmonton is great and not as crowded as in Calgary. The city is also home to one of the best universities in Canada, the University of Alberta.
Edmonton is also the place to be for festivals. It hosts more festivals than any other city in the country and has been nicknamed the festival city of Canada. The city is also known for the biggest shopping mall in North America, the Edmonton West Mall. You could spend days there without running out of things to do with several cinemas, a water park, a bowling alley, and a plethora of shops and restaurants to keep you and the family occupied.
Ottawa is the capital city of Canada and as such has plenty of job opportunities within the federal government offices. However, there are opportunities in other sectors, too, including, retail, tourism, education, and technology. It is the sixth largest metropolitan city in Canada, yet the property prices are still reasonable especially compared to Toronto. In July 2023, the average home cost $682,436.
Ottawa has a low crime rate so it is a safe city to bring up a family and it has great schools from the youngest to the oldest children in the family. The residents of Ottawa are some of the best educated in Canada and the city has the highest percentage of university graduates in Canada.
St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
St John’s has a higher cost of groceries and household bills compared to many other places on the list of best places to live in Canada for families. However, these are compensated by the lower cost of property and the high quality of life. In July 2023, the average house cost $332,800 in St John’s.
The city, home to 113,948 residents, is the oldest city founded by the English in North America. You will find all the amenities you need in St John’s and it has one of the best public school systems in Canada.
Burlington is ideal for families because of its proximity to Toronto with additional job opportunities, amenities, and fantastic higher education institutes. Residents of Burlington also benefit from an excellent public transit system, high quality of life, low crime rate, strong economy, and high employment rate. However, this all comes at a cost with the average house in Burlington costing $1.15 million in April 2023.
It is in the central region of Ontario and is home to 205,960 people. Burlington has stunning natural scenery, which makes it an attractive place to live in and provides plenty to explore in your free time. The city is very family-friendly and has a high percentage of families among its population.
With so many great places to choose from, you will be spoilt for choice when deciding on a new place to live in Canada to bring up a family. The places on this list are great for families because they are safe, have great employment opportunities, have good education systems, and have plenty for families to do in their free time.
However, there are plenty of other wonderful places in Canada that are also good for families. When making such a big decision, it is best to search the location thoroughly to narrow down your options, visit, if possible, your short-listed locations, and speak to the families living there already.
Frequently Asked Questions
This depends on what you prefer, whether you want to live in a city or in a more rural area. It also depends on how you feel about cold winters. Saskatchewan and Alberta are considered to have the most stunning scenery, but also have some of the coldest winters.
La Salle, Ontario is the safest city in Canada based on the Crime Severity Index. The CSI for La Salle is 19.15 compared to 41.89 for the country as a whole.
Sherbrooke, Quebec is the cheapest city in Canada with the cost of living around $924 per person not including rent or mortgage. The average home in Sherbrooke costs $249,000.
Canada is considered one of the best places to raise a family with an excellent education system, free healthcare for all, and high standard of living.
Raising children in Canada is quite different compared to the United States mainly because hospital and medical costs are covered by the universal healthcare system in Canada. Many parts of Canada also have lower crime rates than in the United States. University fees are also generally lower in Canada than in the States.