Vancouver may be the best place to live in North America, but it has yet to recover from a Vancouver Island highway closure that dropped it to third in the world in 2011.

The West Coast city ranked below Melbourne, Australia and Vienna, Austria in the Economist Intelligence Unit's liveability survey, which assigns cities a score out of 100 based on factors such as stability, health care, culture and environment.

Vancouver had an overall score of 97.3, with perfect marks for health care, education, culture and environment, though it also scored 92.9 in infrastructure, while Melbourne and Vienna scored 100 in that category.

The survey paid particular attention to infrastructure, saying that improvements have prompted rises in some cities.

The report made particular note of Metro Vancouver's Evergreen Line project, noting that the new SkyTrain line through Burnaby, Coquitlam and Port Moody could have long-term benefit for residents, though it could be disruptive in the short term.

The city has ranked third in the world since 2011, when the Economist downgraded it due to a closure on Vancouver Island's Malahat Highway. Vancouver had previously held the number one title since 2002.

Toronto ranked fourth in the survey with a score of 97.2, while Calgary ranked fifth with a score of 96.6.

Damascus, Syria ranked last on the list with a score of 38.4.

Check out the world's most livable cities:

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  • 10) Auckland, New Zealand

  • 9) Perth, Australia

  • 8) Helsinki, Finland

  • 7) Sydney, Australia

  • 6) Adelaide, Australia

  • 5) Calgary, Canada

  • 4) Toronto, Canada

  • 3) Vancouver, Canada

  • 2) Vienna, Austria

  • 1) Melbourne, Australia

  • NEXT: What To Do In One Of Canada's Most Livable Cities

  • Day 1: Dabble In The Downtown

    On Vancouver's North Shore, the city blurs into wilderness. One of the best places to get a feel for the city's yin and yang is at Cypress Provincial Park. In winter, this is the biggest of the city's three ski hills. In summer, it's hiking central. Any time of the year, a trek up Hollyburn Mountain ends with a view of the city, across the Coast Mountains and out over the ocean. After your mountain descent, head to the glass condos and office buildings of downtown Vancouver – they usually feel bright and airy, begging for a stroll. Browse the boutique stores of Robson Street and window shop along the cobblestone streets of hip Gastown, Vancouver's original downtown area. With plenty of great restaurants and bars, this a good place to end the day.

  • Day 2: Explore False Creek

    The next day, take in the other side of the downtown peninsula, False Creek. Once the industrial heart of the city, steady gentrification – first for Expo 1986 and continuing through the 2010 Olympics – has made False Creek into a great place to spend a day. A good starting point is Science World, the giant, golf ball-shaped building at the eastern end with an IMAX cinema and plenty of fun exhibits. From there, walk or hop aboard a cute Aquabus shuttle for a tour from the bay, including funky Granville Island.

  • Day 3: Day 3: North Shore Adventures

    Get your heart pounding in North Vancouver. The North Shore has become synonymous with downhill mountain biking, and the trails are easy to find with directions from bike shops like Endless Biking which also rents bikes and gear. Another good bet is the Grouse Grind, the 2.7 kilometre hike that ends at Grouse Mountain, with its theatre, zoo, restaurant, hiking trails and other attractions.

  • Day 4: North Shore Adventures, Part II

    The mountains may dominate, but there's plenty to do on the water too. Head over to quiet Deep Cove for a guided sea kayak tour up Indian Arm with Deep Cove Canoe and Kayak. Prefer to keep your feet on dry land? Amble in Ambleside or explore the seaside cliffs at Lighthouse Park, both in West Vancouver with excellent city views.

  • Day 5: Explore Canada's Recreational Captial

    Sticking with the outdoor theme, pack up and head north up the spectacular Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99) to Squamish and Whistler. Dominated by the sheer granite face of the Stawamus Chief, Squamish is known as the outdoor recreation capital of Canada for good reason. Head to the Adventure Centre to find out about the world-class mountain biking, rock climbing, kite surfing, whitewater paddling and trail running.

  • Day 6: Hit The Slopes

    The Sea to Sky hits a crescendo just north of Squamish, with a killer view of the glaciated Tantalus Range – all rock cliffs and broken blue ice. From here, it weaves north to Whistler, one of the world's great ski towns. Whistler-Blackcomb is open for skiing from November through August. But this is more than a one-trick town. In summer, the lift-accessed mountain biking and hiking is equally compelling. And then there is Whistler village, a meandering walking town of fashion and sport shops, restaurants and bars.

  • Day 7: Educate Yourself

    Back in Vancouver, recover from all that excitement with a little beach time at Kits Beach. Then absorb some history at The University of British Columbia's Museum of Anthropology, home to thousands of First Nations artifacts.

Check out the Economist report:

Most Livable Cities: Economist Intelligence Unit

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