Strategically located between some of Southwestern Ontario’s largest economic hubs such as Toronto, Waterloo, and Hamilton, the city of Guelph offers the perfect blend of city and small-town life away from the hustle-bustle of large cities. Commonly known as the Royal City of Canada, Guelph’s high employment rate, supportive community life, low crime rate, and cost of living makes it a city fit for royalty.
Despite its growing population, Guelph is the fifth most affordable large city in Ontario according to Zolo. Whether you are planning to relocate for the short term or thinking about settling down for good, we recommend going over the following list to help you make a balanced decision.
1. Consistently Low Crime Rates
Did you know that Guelph, Ontario was ranked as the tenth safest city in Canada by universitymagazine.ca? With a high safety index of 69.57 and a considerably low crime index of 30.43, the city is the most preferred destination for relocating families. The city has a longstanding trend of ranking in the top ten safest cities in Canada. Most recently in 2020, it was ranked the seventh safest city in the country. Whether you are planning on starting a family or relocating to lay down some roots, Guelph offers safe community living.
According to Statistics Canada, the city’s law enforcement agencies recorded no homicides for consecutively two years in a row. This means that despite its proximity to Toronto which had approximately 130 recorded homicides, the city is a haven for residents.
2. Easy Commute
One of the best features about living in Guelph, Ontario is that it is located within an hour’s distance from some of the most populous and major cities in the Greater Toronto area. In the west, the city of Toronto is only 70 kilometers from Guelph thus ensuring a short 45 to 60-minute one-way trip. In the east, it is only 23 kilometers from Waterloo or about 35 minutes from the car. Similarly, in the north, the city of Hamilton is only 46 kilometers or 40 to 45 minutes away from Guelph.
Its central location ensures easy access to a vast variety of employment opportunities. Despite this, Guelph is not primarily a commuter city as there are many local job opportunities for residents and recent graduates.
3. Low Cost of Living
With one of the highest employment rates in the country, the city of Guelph is a hub of growing economic activity. When it comes to job security, potential residents can rest easy knowing that the city’s high employment rate of almost 67% will provide them with many opportunities to grow and build a sustainable life. According to the Bank of Montreal (BMO), Guelph is one of the best cities to easily find employment.
With an unemployment rate of less than 2%, the city also boasts of a low cost of living. This means that on the affordability index, the city is a great place to invest in real estate. According to MoneySense magazine, the city of Guelph is the best place to buy real estate in Canada. You will also find that because of the high employment rate, the buying power has also drastically increased in the last decade. It is estimated that residents need almost 27% less monthly income to live comfortably in Guelph compared to Toronto’s high cost of living.
4. Top-notch Education System
Whether you are a concerned parent or someone thinking about returning to school in the near future, Guelph is a great place to consider. Other than a great variety of elementary, high, and catholic schools, the city is home to one of the best universities in Canada. According to Times Higher Education webpage, the University of Guelph is ranked in the top twenty universities in Canada. The university is most popularly known for its agricultural studies and Guelph Arboretum which was specifically modeled after the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University. The 165-hectare Arboretum is open all year round and is home to over 400 unique species of trees, the Frances Ball Rose collection, and the G. Porter Memorial Japanese Garden.
1. Drastically Changing Weather
If you are not a fan of drastically changing weather then Guelph, Ontario is perhaps not the place for you. On average the city remains considerably cold most months throughout the year. You will find that there are over 160 days of cold weather in Guelph with a high chance of rain or snow. Moreover, the highest temperatures during summer rarely exceed 26 degrees celsius. Yet, there are seven days on average per year where the weather may reach 30 degrees celsius. We also found that the city’s high humidity index may increase the chill factor during the cold season.
2. Unreliable Public Transit System
Although Guelph is well situated near many populous and high-traffic cities like Toronto and Waterloo, the public transit system is quite underdeveloped. Only recently the Guelph Transit system announced revamping their transit structure to incorporate additional routes and strengthen easy access around the city and to other neighboring municipalities.
Although many Guelph residents are commuting to Toronto for work, they are mostly dependent on private transportation. This is perhaps because only two Go Trains are running from Guelph to Toronto every day, each almost two hours long.
3. Increasing Student Population
One of the most common concerns among residents usually revolves around the increasing student population in Guelph and its neighboring cities of Kitchener and Waterloo. All of these cities are home to some of the best universities in Canada, therefore, attracting a high student population from across the country. With over 75,000 students combined in an academic year, many residents feel that the city is fast becoming a small university town.
Moreover, since many of the students at these universities are living and studying on campus, many student-level activities are happening all year long. Over the weekends, many of these students prefer partying in the city, thereby creating much ruckus for residents. On another concerning note, the city also experiences a high level of brain drain as many students graduate and move to larger cities such as Toronto for higher-paying jobs.