Calgary or Halifax: Who's Number One?

Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver, St. John's, Waterloo, ON and the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill - hard to imagine what they could have in common given their differences. Turns out, these six cities top the list of all Canadian cities for drawing new residents - according to a January 2010 study by the Conference Board of Canada.

Funded by 15 municipal and regional organizations, the study looked at 41 indicators of attractiveness - grouped into the categories of housing, innovation, society, health, economy, environment and education.

In housing, small and mid-sized cities scored the best results because of affordability. The Quebec City suburb of Levis received the top score in housing.

Reasons for Making the 'A' List:

  • Calgary: Strong economic performance during the last decade, and for ranking first in innovation and second in housing
  • Ottawa: Did well in innovation and education and had good marks in all categories except health
  • Richmond Hill: Fast-growing, well-educated workforce; scored high in education and innovation
  • Vancouver: Temperate climate and young, diverse, multicultural population

The 'B' List of Cities:

  • Toronto
  • Edmonton
  • Victoria
  • Halifax
  • Regina, Saskatchewan
  • Quebec City
  • Levis, QC
  • Markham, ON
  • Vaughan, ON
  • Kingston, ON
  • Oakville, ON
  • Guelph, ON
  • London, ON
  • Burlington, ON

No, Wait - Halifax is Number One

The December 2009 "Metro Monitor" Report by CIBC World Markets paints quite a different picture as to Canada's Top Cities.

Its list of six top-performing Canadian cities didn't even include Calgary (although until recently they were the stars of this quarterly index by the bank). In fact, the only city that was ranked highly by both studies was St. John's, Newfoundland.

CIBC's top picks were:

  • Halifax
  • Regina
  • Saskatoon
  • Sherbrooke
  • St. John's
  • Saint John

This study assessed the following factors in deciding Top Cities:

  • MLS Housing resales
  • Housing starts
  • Non-residential building permits
  • Population growth
  • Employment growth
  • Unemployment rate
  • Full-time share in total employment
  • Personal bankruptcy rate
  • Business bankruptcy rate

Halifax, Nova Scotia moved up from fifth place six months ago to the first spot in the CIBC's third-quarter ranking - a notable improvement from its fifth spot six months ago.

What do you think? Tell us which Canadian city or cities you think should get the 'A' grade; leave your comments below.

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