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This year marks the 150th birthday of our prodigious nation, and cities like Toronto and Vancouver are getting global recognition. It's not easy to top global lists of "best places to live" while making headlines for real-estate growth. The next generation of Canadians are known as millennials. This important group consists of 12,584,300 people or 35.5 per cent of the national population as of 2016, according to Statistics Canada.
There are many amazing neighbourhoods for millennials to live in Canada, and here we explore some of the most popular choices. For the sake of this list, we tried to get as regionally specific as possible, especially considering the variation of the number of people in each neighbourhood or city. We look forward to hearing your opinion, so comment below and join the conversation on social media at @RentSeeker.
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Calgary - Population 1,500,000
Calgary offers an incredible combination of industry and nature, and Mount Pleasant is a particularly desirable neighbourhood for millennials, though many live downtown or in the south. Home to both university students and young professionals, Calgary is one of Canada's largest cities and growing for good reasons, such as living an hour's drive from Banff. If you like spending time in the mountains after work, consider calling Calgary home.
Waterloo (North-Central Waterloo) - Population 109,000
Waterloo is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of Canada, and lots of tech-driven millennials live in the North-Central neighbourhood. The area is gaining global recognition as a hub for developing tech professionals and the high-tech industry is shaping the region.
Being accepted into the University of Waterloo is a big deal, and it's widely regarded as one of the most cutting-edge universities in North America. University of Waterloo is situated in the North-Central neighbourhood. Combine its student population with neighbouring Wilfrid Laurier University, and Waterloo has a young, professional culture that's hard to find anywhere else.
Ottawa - Population 960,000
Some don't consider Ottawa a very hip and trendy place to live, but the ByWard Market neighbourhood will challenge any notion that Ottawa isn't cool. Home to extensive campuses for University of Ottawa students and government workers, Ottawa offers an eclectic mix of old-world charm and new urban development. More than 20 per cent of the housing options were built after 1990, including numerous condo buildings that are perfect for students. The night life has no shortage of options in Canada's capital city.
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Saskatoon - Population 307,000
For years now, Saskatoon has been topping lists of the best places to live in Canada. While most of the West Coast economy has been hit by the low price of oil, Saskatoon is booming and is currently the youngest city in Canada!
The unemployment rate is well below the national average, and the city is increasingly becoming popular amongst millennials. Combine a low cost of living, friendly neighbourhoods, multiculturalism and beautiful scenery, and it's easy to understand why so many millennials from Alberta and Western Canada are moving here.
It's also important to note that although 30 per cent of Canada's ag-bio industry is here, the city has a diverse economy. Before you get ready to move, be sure to check out these interesting facts about life in Hub City.
Kelowna - Population 195,000
To be able to live on (or a bike ride's distance to) Lake Okanagan is a dream come true, and to say the neighbourhood is beautiful doesn't do it justice. For many millennials who are living the West Coast dream, Kelowna is one of the only affordable options as the cost of Vancouver rent is staggering, even in the suburbs. As a result, for many young people it's "Kelowna or Bust," and for a city of just under 200,000, it's getting quite the reputation.
Montreal - Population 1,761,000
It's very difficult to single out any particular neighbourhood of Montreal, as most will agree living in pretty much any region of the city is awesome. So awesome that it made this list of the top global cities for millennials. The city is much more affordable than Toronto, and there are numerous reasons other than price why many consider Montreal the best city for millennials in Canada.
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Boucherville - Population 43,000
Just outside of Montreal, Boucherville is perhaps the best place in Quebec for millennials to live, especially for those who are family driven. From a financial perspective, the neighbourhood has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada, and with the average house price at $377,789 it's easy to understand why so many young couples are starting their families in Boucherville.
This neighbourhood is much more than just a Montreal suburb, topping the MoneySense list of best places to live in 2015 and referred to as Canada's best-kept secret!
Toronto (The Annex) - Population 2,849,000
The Annex is extremely popular amongst millennials and the over-30 crowd. The high number of old buildings offer several housing options for young professionals and U of T students who enjoy the benefits of downtown Toronto living at a more reasonable price range. Even though Honest Ed's isn't around anymore, there are many classic Toronto spots to enjoy.
Toronto (Queen Street West) - Population 2,849,000
Getting named as Vogue's "second-hippest city" is the truth, it doesn't get much cooler than Queen Street West. To be able to live in Toronto's trendiest neighbourhood for millennials is an awesome experience, though it goes it without saying, it's not cheap. By saying it's "not cheap" we know it can be quite expensivefor an average 25-year-old, since it's one of the most expensive places to rent in Canada, and there aren't a lot of options. If you can make it happen, enjoy it!
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BMO labour market ranking: 12 Average household income: $84,560 Average mortgage payment: $1,038 People outside the Maritimes rarely consider moving there, but Halifax’s 5.9-per-cent unemployment rate, and its addition of 1.2 per cent new jobs over the past year, make it a decent candidate. And with the average house price at $274,142 in December, it's one of the most affordable major markets in Canada.
BMO labour market ranking: 8 Average household income: $75,010 Average mortgage payment: $1,330 Quebec’s largest city has been a job-creating powerhouse lately, accounting for all the net growth in full-time jobs in Canada in 2016. There are four per cent more jobs in Montreal today than there were a year ago and the jobless rate is a rock-bottom 4 per cent. The average house price was a comfortable $351,255 in January. Pictured: St. Paul street in Montreal's Old Port.
BMO labour market ranking: 5 Average household income: $102,020 Average mortgage payment: $1,492 Ottawa has benefited from looser spending under the Liberal government, and the number of jobs in the city rose by 3.5 per cent over the past year. The jobless rate stands at a very respectable 5.7 per cent. With an average house price of $394,001, the city just barely fits our criteria. But prices have been growing slowly in recent years (they’re up 1.9 per cent over the past 12 months) so there’s no need to panic-buy in this market. Pictured: The Rideau Canal, with the Chateau Laurier on the right and Parliament buildings on the left.
BMO labour market ranking: 4 Average household income: $76,260 Average mortgage payment: $825 The city across the river from Detroit struggled through some hard times in the wake of the Great Recession, but that seems to be behind it now. Employment in the city jumped by 3.8 per cent over the past year, and its jobless rate dropped to 5.4 per cent, down from 8.9 per cent just a year earlier. What’s more, it has some of the lowest home prices of any mid-sized city in Canada. Even with prices up 9.2 per cent in a year, homes in Windsor-Essex County averaged $217,926 in December — practically free, by Toronto and Vancouver standards. Pictured: Downtown Windsor in the foreground, with the Detroit skyline in the background.
BMO labour market ranking: 1 Average household income: $73,082 (2010) Average mortgage payment: $1,464 Brantford is another city that struggled in the wake of the Great Recession, and is now recovering impressively. The southern Ontario city, on the distant fringes of the Greater Toronto region, grew its number of jobs by a stunning 10.3 per cent in the past year, pushing the jobless rate down to 4.7 per cent — the sort of jobless rates Alberta used to enjoy before the oil crash. The average price of a home in the city was $386,716 in January, but if you want in, you may need to hurry. The average house price jumped by 20.9 per cent over the past year, as Greater Toronto residents move ever farther out in search of affordable housing. So houses under $400,000 may not last long there if trends keep up. On the other hand, if the Bank of Montreal is right in its diagnosis of a housing bubble in the area, there may yet be affordable homes in the region in the years to come.
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