Five Canadian Cities Ranked Among 100 Best In The World

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Resonance’s World’s Best Cities report for 2024 saw Toronto, the biggest city in Canada, rise one place to the 23rd spot.

In that report, the global consulting firm also included Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Montreal as among the top 100 cities on the planet.

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) boasts a population of almost 6.8 million people and is a magnet for immigration from throughout the world.

“All the buzz you’re hearing about North America’s second-largest financial centre doesn’t even come close to doing justice to what’s going on in Toronto right now,” reports Resonance in that report.

“The city is the welcoming front door to a country on the hunt for new skilled immigrants. Already, half of Toronto’s population was born outside of Canada and the city will blow past seven million by the time you read this on its way to trailing only Mexico City and New York in North American populations by the 2070s.”

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The report points out that Toronto’s construction scene is booming with 238 cranes, more than quadruple second-place Seattle’s count of 51.

“All that construction is optimizing and streamlining an emergent global destination city, from the reopening of its century-old Massey Hall to the massive new Renzo Piano-designed Ontario Court of Justice that combined six older buildings under one roof,” notes Resonance.

“Much-needed downtown green space has been added with Love Park, featuring a heart-shaped pond and built on the site of a former Gardiner Expressway off-ramp with access to the city’s lakefront. Coming up, the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts is getting a $400-million facelift and will be Canada’s first carbon-neutral theatre upon reopening in 2028.”

The second most-highly rated Canadian city in the report is the almost 2.5 million strong Vancouver which is described by Resonance as a panorama of ancient forests, totem poles, pan-Asian diaspora and hockey-loving hipsters.

“With its addictive views, mild climate and multiculturalism (it boasts the largest pan-Asian population outside of Asia), Vancouver is widely recognized as one of the most livable cities in the world,” notes Resonance.

“An elemental collision of urban velocity and timeless, serene nature means that epic skiing, mountain biking and hiking is just a half-hour’s transit or bike ride north, while the city itself is studded with sandy shorelines, verdant gardens and Canada’s urban green-space jewel: Stanley Park.”

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A destination for event planners, Vancouver is already set to host the Invictus Games, the Grey Cup, the Laver Cup international tennis tournament, the 90th anniversary of the first international Alcoholics Anonymous convention and part of the FIFA World Cup within the next three years.

The one fly in the ointment for Vancouver, ranked in the 50th spot in the Resonance report, is its paucity of housing.

“In the midst of rising real estate prices, the city is facing another challenge: fewer hotel rooms – a direct result of the government converting hundreds of rooms into social housing during the pandemic. That means the existing hotel rooms and vacation rentals are often too prohibitively priced to allow a new generation to fall in love with this special place,” notes the report.

In third place among Canadian cities included in the report, Montreal placed 60th and was described as laid-back and the most European of all North American cities. The Greater Montreal Area has a population of slightly more than 3.7 million.

Best Cities In The World Report Lauds Montreal’s Entrepreneurial Drive

“I don’t think there’s any city in the world that is more entrepreneurial than Montreal,” the report quotes Shopify president Harley Finkelstein as saying. “If you see a city with a disproportionate number of artists, musicians and chefs, that’s probably a city with great culture.”

Montreal is going to get an innovation hub called Ax-C downtown next year, uniting entrepreneurs, incubators, university researchers, management experts and investors under one roof.

“The hope is for it to reignite the downtown in a work-from-home reality,” notes the report.

“The city’s Top 20 global culture is also doing its part, with the 2025 opening of the massive Espace St-Denis in the Latin Quarter that will encapsulate the historic Théâtre St-Denis and create new performance spaces for the city’s smouldering arts scene and  … restaurants.

“There’s also a genuine effort to make the city more bike and pedestrian friendly, with this summer’s $22-million funding of 53 bike infrastructure projects and the move to close many streets to cars from spring to fall.”

Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, placed 90th in the rankings. It is noted for its high level of educational attainment and vibrant immigrant population with one in four residents there being an immigrant.

Low Cost Of Living

“All that brainpower has poured into almost 2,000 knowledge-based businesses – everything from cleantech and life sciences to aerospace,” notes Resonance. “Tens of thousands of new jobs are the result … In a city with a relatively low cost of living.”

Calgary, Canada’s energy capital boasts a population of more than 1.3 million and is increasingly a destination for immigrants.

“The city is now slowly emerging from a near decade of economic hardship (its fortunes rise and fall with the price of crude). The pandemic added to the misery, which manifested into high unemployment and sky-high downtown office vacancies,” notes the report.

“In typical Calgarian pragmatism, rapid residential conversions of office towers are today inspiring places like Manhattan, and the resulting housing affordability is driving a massive population boom as Canada jacks up immigration with chronically low supply in its urban centres.

The Resonance report highlights the emergence of new projects, like the recently opened Central Library in the burgeoning cultural hub of East Village, and the half-dozen new hotels in Calgary, which was given the rank of 93 out of the top 100 cities in the world.

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.