Best cities to live in Ontario 2022 – Top choices

Are you thinking of moving to Canada?  The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ranked Canada as the 4th best country to live in the world. They found the country to have the best quality of life compared with a list of 40 other countries.

Canada was recognized to offer greater access to housing, food, healthcare, employment, and quality of education. At the same time, living in Canada assures you of individual freedom, political stability, a quality environment, as well as job security.

Ontario is one of the provinces in Canada where people enjoy living. It is a beautiful place with many amazing cities to choose from and make your home.

Out of the best 9 cities to live in Canada, Ontario houses 9 of them. In 2019, there was a comparison of 415 communities to identify the best ones.

The cities were compared based on economy and wealth, affordability, transport, population growth, wealth, taxes, culture, the weather, and access to amenities and healthcare.

Although the whole of Canada is fantastic, it is best to live in Ontario. Ontario, as a province, has been one of the places most people want to live.

Everyone wants to live the best life when they decide to settle in an area. I have sampled 9 of the best cities in Ontario; Let’s get started because you’ll be spoilt for choice.

1. Toronto

Population: 2.93 million

Toronto is Ontario’s capital city and home to over 2.9 million residents. It is the most populated city in Canada. If you are someone that appreciates living with different kinds of people from every race, this is the place. Its economy is very stable, thereby making it conducive for business.

The rate of unemployment is low, with an approximately $98,174 average household income.

This allows families to live a very comfortable life. Living in Toronto allows you to enjoy and learn about different cultures without having to travel to other countries.


  • High Standard of Living
  • Job opportunities
  • Diverse
  • Beautiful
  • Safe
  • A lot of things to do


  • Expensive
  • Crowded
  • Bad Weather
  • Expensive

If you want to know more about the pros and cons of living in Toronto, you can read more detail on that in this post.

2. Ottawa

Population: 994,837

This is the capital city of Canada. The city is rich in history that can be seen in its buildings. Although highly populated, it has small towns for those that do not want the hectic life of the city.

The good thing about the city is that it is favorable in all seasons.

If you are a fan of outdoor activities, it is the best place for you. It has a rich and beautiful nature ideal for walks, skating, as well as hiking.

The atmosphere is warm and friendly. As a capital city, there are very many opportunities, especially for those starting their careers and in business.


  • Low crime rates
  • high employment rate
  • Great healthcare services
  • High graduation rate
  • Low crime rate
  • Plenty of different job opportunities
  • Ideal for immigrants with families


  • Lack of exciting nightlife
  • Long winter and very hot summers
  • The housing is expensive if compared to other cities like Edmonton and Montreal

If you want to know more about the pros and cons of living in Ottawa, you can read more detail on that in this post.

3. Waterloo

Population: 113,520

Waterloo City is located in the Southern region of Ontario with about 25% of immigrants living there. This City is ideal for people who want to be close to Toronto and have a more affordable life.


  • Employment opportunities for the manufacturing and tech industry
  • Good universities and Colleges
  • Has a mix of rural and urban lifestyle
  • Less crowding
  • More affordable than Cities like Toronto and Ottawa


  • Bad winters
  • Can be hard to make new friends
  • Public Transportation is not always reliable

4. Burlington

Population: 205,960

Burlington is a great city to live in, just about 45 to 60 minutes drive from Toronto, this city offers a good location, amazing natural scenery, and nice neighborhoods for families.


  • Good options for hiking activities
  • Huge parklands
  • Affordable housing


  • Does not have many amenities
  • Has very humid summers and dry winters

5. Guelph

Population: 135,474

Guelph is known as the Royal City and is located in the Southwestern area of Ontario with around 135,474 people.

This city is close to downtown Toronto and the Waterloo area.

Most people choose to live in this location because it’s affordable and has low unemployment rare even with a small population.


  • Low Crime rates
  • Has a diverse population
  • Clean environment
  • Has good options for outdoor activities


  • Does not have many amenities
  • Has very humid summers and dry winters
  • The local public transportation is not always reliable

6. Oakville

Population: 211,382

According to the 2018 ranking by MoneySense Magazine, it was established to be the best city in Canada. It is a suburban town within the Halton Region and is a part of the Greater Toronto Area.

Since it is very close to Toronto, it is better placed as compared to other cities in Ontario. It is known for its beauty, cleanliness, and safety. It has green recreational spaces and several parks in case you have children.

In addition to these marvelous features, its homes are designed beautifully. Oakville is the destination for any person or family that desires to have a life away from the city life of Toronto.

The population of the city is a little over 200,000 residents. It has $161,540 average income per household. Housing is also affordable with a two-bedroom house going for about $1500.


  • Beautiful Scenery
  • Affordable houses
  • Walkable downtown area
  • Good choice of restaurants


  • Construction everywhere in the downtown area
  •  Overpriced eatery places

7. Kingston

Population: 136,685

Kingston is a small town that has the characteristics of a big city. It is located in the east of Ontario and is fondly known as the Limestone City. The place is family-friendly and thus suitable for anyone that wants a peaceful life for their children.

The city has a vibrant cultural community, therefore ideal for someone with an interest in theater, arts, or music. Additionally, it has a good foodie scene in Canada with all its great restaurants. If you love to be outdoors, Kingston is surrounded by beautiful views that will captivate you, especially during summer.


  • Nice place with  nice with a lot of history
  •  Great access to thousand of islands
  • Affordable housing compared to other cities


  • High taxes
  • Long winters
  •  Has a higher crime rate than other cities in Ontario like Ottawa

8. Barrie

Population: 153,356

Looking for a place to stay for the long-term? Barrie is the city you are looking for. The City is small but has every amenity you need to live a happy and fulfilled life. It is also only one hour from Toronto.

For outdoor lovers, Barrie has good options. It has an abundance of nature, sports, and many activities happening all year round. The culture is also incredible especially after sunset because of the craft beer market, restaurants, and music concerts.


  • Centrally located with multiple ski hills
  • Good options of cottages
  • Close to Toronto


  • Small job opportunities
  • Long winters
  • There are not many things to do at night

9. Thunder Bay

Population: 110,172

It is the largest city located in northwestern Ontario just near Lake Superior. It has some amenities, including an airport. Those that love outdoor activities may want to live here due to the nature that you are freely exposed to. Its location on a freshwater lake makes it absolutely spectacular.

There are, therefore, many outdoor adventures for the dwellers. If you are a person with the spirit of adventure, this can be a  good city for you. The housing is also affordable, and security levels are quite high.


  • Nice place for people who enjoy fishing, hunting, and hike
  •  Reasonable housing prices
  • Many recreational areas


  • High crime rate
  • Very cold in winter
  •  Has a higher crime rate than other cities in Ontario like Ottawa
  •  If you enjoy big events you will need to go somewhere else

If you are looking for small towns instead of cities, here are a few  good options for you;

Best small towns to live in Ontario

Halton Hills


This is a good community to live in Ontario and the whole of Canada. Halton Hills is known for its vibrant culture, art, and heritage of scenes. It is made of two urban centers; Action and Georgetown. Halton Hills has an active agricultural community, a high-quality life, and natural beauty.

Halton Hills also has a modern infrastructure that is close to Toronto, which gives its residents quick access to the services and amenities of Toronto.

In Halton Hills, the average family income is approximately $131, 026. Housing is also quite cheap because each family spends $1,394 on average.

The Nation


It is located within Canada’s National Capital Region and comprises the townships of Caledonia, Cambridge, and South Plantagenet.

It is mostly the French that stay in The Nation. It is characterized by affordability in most of its areas. Housing in The Nation is very affordable as well.

If you are just starting life or want something that does not break your pocket, this is the place to go and start your life. Most importantly, you are assured of security because the crime rates are low.


Population: 84,224

According to MoneySense Magazine, Newmarket has been identified as one of Canada’s best places to live. It is known to have high-quality programs and services for the residents.

Additionally, it comes with many amenities, thereby maintaining the high quality of living for its people.

When it comes to healthcare, it is home to Southlake Regional Health Center, one of Canada’s best hospitals. With its world-class services, the people of Newmarket are sorted.

Houses in this city are affordable due to the low property tax. It has more than 6000 recreational programs in addition to the 300 special events that take place there annually.


Population: 110,128

This Town is located south of Ontario, just behind the Niagara Escarpment. Due to its location, it benefits from the best transport and logistics.

Additionally, it offers a good quality of life for its residents. The economy of Milton is growing fast and becoming diverse.

This provides an excellent opportunity for new investments and businesses.

One of the factors that make it ideal is that it has many amenities to serve its residents. It is also safe and a lively place. The city is characterized by a blend of urban and rural experiences.

The residents also enjoy low property taxes making housing significantly affordable.


Population: 16,520

This township is located on the South-east side of Ottawa. Most of the population in the township live in urban areas. The township is characterized by a low crime rate.

At the same time, the township is known for its affordability in housing, which makes it possible for even those starting their professions to live comfortably.


Moving to a new city is a significant change in a person’s life. It is therefore advisable that adequate research is carried out prior to ensure you understand what you are getting yourself into.

In a country that has been praised for offering a high quality of life, like Canada, one may overlook some important things.

Ontario is a province that stands out in Canada due to the things it offers to its residents. However, living in all of the cities may not be conducive to everyone.

Although there are many other amazing cities in Ontario, these are the ones I think are the best to live in Ontario. Based on your tastes and preferences, examine each of the above cities in detail.

This will allow you to make the best decision. I hope you enjoy your life in Ontario.

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