Best Places to Live in Canada as a Newcomer

Canada is a vast and beautiful country, making it quite appealing to those looking to make it home. Whether you prefer the busy city life or a more relaxed feel with mountain scenery. Here, our Ottawa and Orleans immigration physicians share some of the unique aspects of each province and share their thoughts on the best places to live in Canada as a newcomer.

One thing we can say for sure is that Canada is a very unique and wonderful place to live. Each province offers its own feel and benefits, which means that there is something for everyone. Here, we share some of the key information for each province and territory, and what you can expect if you choose to make it your new home.


Capital City: Toronto

When newcomers make their way to Canada, one of the most popular landing points is Ontario. The capital city, Toronto, is the largest and most populated city in Canada. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most expensive.

The goodness is that Toronto is easy to travel around without the use of a car. Toronto has a complete transit system and is considered a bicycle-friendly city.

As of the time this post was written, the average cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment in Toronto is about $3,300 CAD.

Ontario holds the largest economy in all of Canada in a variety of industries including finance, tourism, manufacturing, and arts and sciences.


Capital City: Edmonton

Alberta can be found on the edge of the Canadian Rocky Mountains which is the source of the beautiful views they are known for. Calgary is one of the largest cities in Canada, making it a hotspot for newcomers to Canada.

The average cost of living in Alberta is much cheaper than in other parts of Canada. As of the time this post was written, the average cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment in Calgary is about $2,200 CAD and $1,500 CAD in Edmonton.

Unlike other large cities in Canada, Calgary isn't very walkable it can take some time to get from one place to another, this makes it ideal to have a car when you live there. Having a car will also help you access nearby activities like hiking and skiing.

Alberta is also rat-free! One of the only regions in the world to have no rats. Alberta’s Rat Control Program has been active since 1950, keeping rats away to help prevent crop damage and the spread of diseases.

The Canadian energy industry is booming due to the massive Alberta tar sands. This makes Alberta an economic leader in Canada. Those who choose to work in Alberta as engineers, oil rig workers, or managers can expect to make a good salary.

British Columbia

Capital City: Victoria

British Columbia calls Canada’s Pacific coast home. Those living in British Colombia typically make the most of the outdoor atmosphere with beaches along the west coast and the Rockies to the east,

Because of its mild weather all year long, Vancouver has become a popular destination for those looking to make Canada their home. You can expect to have much warmer winters in BC than you would in the other provinces or territories.

Vancouver is home to lovers of technology and art with a focus on socializing. However, it is also known as being one of the most expensive areas of Canada to live in. As of the time this post was written, the average cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver is $3,900 CAD.

Vancouver's public transit is quite extensive, allowing citizens to live comfortably without the need for a car. A car may still be useful for those who wish to spend their free time exploring mountain ranges or scenery.


Capital City: Winnipeg

Manitoba is situated in the prairies, right between Ontario and Saskatchewan.

The economy in Manitoba is focused on natural resources exports, such as forestry and mining, and boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada.

You can also expect a lower cost of living compared to other parts of Canada. As of the time this post was written, the average cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment in Winnipeg is about $1,650 CAD.

The public transportation system in Winnipeg isn't as robust as other cities, mostly being made up of buses. Because of this, many people living in Manitoba choose to own a car.

Wintertime in Manitoba also brings a great deal of snow and cold.


Capital City: Quebec City

Did you know that Quebec is the only French province in Canada? This makes being able to speak French an asset if you choose to live in this province. Don't fret though, many people find that they live and work comfortably in Quebec without speaking French.

Montreal is a common point of arrival for those who are new to Canada, and along with Quebec City, makes for a great starting point for living in Canada if you do happen to speak French.

While the economy is similar to other Canadian cities, the cost of living is still reasonable. The average cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment in Montreal is about $1952 CAD.

Montreal is proud to have one of the best transit systems worldwide, making it very easy to live without a car. It is also easy and safe to use a bicycle around Montreal during the warmer months.


Capital City: Regina

Saskatchewan is a prairie province, located directly in the middle of Canada. They are Canada's largest producer of grains and oilseeds.

The capital of Saskatchewan, Regina, is considered to be quite affordable with the average cost of a two-bedroom apartment being $1,350 CAD. Because of the spacious environment, you will likely want to own a car to travel around.

While agriculture is an economic focus in Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, the largest city in the province, has the headquarters of the Canadian mining industry, which is crucial to mining research and technology.

Atlantic Provinces

Capital Cities: St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Fredericton, New Brunswick

Atlantic Canada is made up of three provinces - New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

These provinces are quite small but are still well-known for fishing, farming, forestry, and mining. One of the benefits of living on the East Coast is a lower cost of living compared to other parts of Canada.


Capital Cities: Iqaluit, Nunavut; Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

Canada has three territories - Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories. These territories are quite large with a lower population and a focus on natural resources.

Those living in the territories can expect to experience long, harsh winters.

Navigating Provincial Differences for Immigration

Once you've considered all of the best places in Canada to live, you will need to take some time to determine which province or territory of Canada you've decided is best suited to you and your needs. Once you know what province you are interested in living in, you can move on to the immigration process.

Provincial Nominee Programs

Each of the provinces in Canada has a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). You can apply for a provincial nomination if you’re eligible for one of these PNPs. Once accepted, you would then apply for permanent residence with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Most of the provinces and territories operate PNPs that require work experience in an occupation or industry that is considered to be 'in-demand'. This also means that there is likely a variety of employment opportunities in these fields.

Employment Opportunities

While having a job offer before you live in Canada would be ideal, it may not always be possible. 

Luckily, not all immigration programs have employment as a requirement but you may still want to focus on making this a priority.

The job that you wish to have, in the industry you want, affects how quickly and easily you may get a job offer. Some provinces have strong markets for specific industries, so you must do thorough research.

Candian Climate

One thing that everyone talks about is the Canadian weather. While it's a country known for cold, snowy winters, it also offers four distinct seasons that you can enjoy including warm summer months.

When you choose where in Canada you would like to live, be sure to consider the climate that you are comfortable with.

Health Coverage

Once you are settled in Canada, you will need to apply for health coverage with the province that you reside in. This is because each province manages their healthcare system and coverage.

You can apply once you become a permanent resident and in some cases, you may need to wait up to three months before your coverage becomes active.

Are you planning on applying to become a Canadian citizen? The panel physicians at Immigration Physician Ottawa's two locations are here to help you navigate the healthcare requirements for your application. Contact us today to learn more. 


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