Toronto ‘Masters Quality Of Living,' Ranks As World's 3rd-Best City To Live, Work

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Toronto has “mastered quality of living,” helping the city rank as the world’s third-best major metro area in which to live and work in a new study.

The seventh edition of the “Cities of Opportunity” report from business consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) names London the best city in the world for business, finance and culture — though the data was collected before the Brexit vote. Second place goes to Singapore on the list of 30 major cities.

toronto nathan phillips square
Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square. (Photo: Michele Falzone via Getty Images)

The study authors argued people shouldn’t be surprised by the city’s standing, up one spot from its last edition in 2014. It’s the only Canadian city included in the survey.

“What is most remarkable about the particular success of Toronto … is that it should be considered remarkable at all,” the report said, noting the city has consistently ranked top four in the survey.

The best cities to live and work, according to PwC (click for full size).
best cities chart

“The city may be calm, cold a good bit of the year, and overshadowed by the ‘buzz’ in U.S. cities to the south, but its performance clearly shows that a strong economy and high quality of life can exist very happily a bit farther from the madding crowd,” the study said.

But in what will likely come as no surprise to Toronto residents, the PwC report identified transportation gridlock and housing costs as the city’s weak spots.

“The city continues to be challenged by connectivity factors which impact its ability to efficiently move and connect its people, businesses and communities,” PwC said.

“Study results show room for improvement in areas such as traffic congestion, mass transit coverage, airport connectivity and broadband quality to advance the connectivity and productivity of the city.”

toronto housing affordability
Toronto housing affordability is the worst it's been in a quarter century, approaching levels not seen since the housing bubble of the early 1990s. (Chart: Royal Bank of Canada)

Housing costs are also a drag on the city’s ranking — with house prices up in double digits over the past year, Toronto placed 19th out of 30 cities in that measure.

But on most metrics, the city ranks among the top, placing first for overall quality of life, and in the top five for health, safety and security; ease of doing business, and innovation, among other things.

toronto kensington market
"A strong economy and high quality of life can exist very happily a bit farther from the madding crowd": Toronto's Kensington Market. (Photo: Jean Heguy via Getty Images)

“Toronto is impressive not only in that it does so well in so many areas but in the company it keeps in doing so,” PwC wrote.

Toronto’s success on quality of life indicators accounts for its high rank, PwC wrote, “since this is the indicator that assesses the bottom line in every urbanite’s daily reality: livability.”

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