Are you coming up to your retirement age of 65 in Canada and wondering where a good place to retire is? The good news is that with over 5000 cities, towns and villages in Canada, there are tons of options. So, keep reading to find out what the best places to retire in Canada are.
Best Places To Retire In Canada 2020 –
|Name||2016 Census Population|
|1. Victoria, British Columbia||85,792|
|2. Collingwood, Ontario||20,102|
|3. Fredericton, New Brunswick||174,348|
|4. Calgary, Alberta||1,392,609|
|5. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan||246,376|
|6. Toronto, Ontario||5,928,040|
1. Victoria, British Columbia
If you’ve lived in Canada your whole life, you know how cold it can get in the wintertime. Many retirees want to get away from this cold which is why a lot move away for the winter and come back in summer. If this is not an option for you, however, moving to Victoria, British Columbia may be the next best choice.
The average temperature in December in Victoria is a high of 7 degrees Celsius and a low of 3 degrees Celsius. While that is still cold, a winter that doesn’t go below freezing in Canada is a blessing. Victoria’s climate is actually known as sub-Mediterranean, one of the best climates in all of Canada. Their winters are so mild that snowfall is rare and sometimes non-existent. To compare, the coldest city in Canada is Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories where the average winter temperature is -28.9, known to go down to -64 with the wind chill. Victoria practically seems like a beach holiday in comparison!
Victoria also has great architecture and a strong British influence still. The city is named after the British Queen, Queen Victoria and has preserved its British heritage. It is said to seem more European than North American. Victoria was actually awarded the Prince of Wales Prize for preserving the city’s British heritage buildings and districts for over 40 years. The British influence can be seen, not only in the buildings but the traditions. High tea is very popular in Victoria and most residents tend to drink tea like their British counterparts rather than coffee. So, moving to Victoria means you can stay in Canada, but still feel like you’ve moved somewhere foreign.
There’s a lot of great, relaxing activities in Victoria. The city has actually been nicknamed “The City of Gardens” as there are so many beautiful plants, trees and gardens around the city. One notable garden is The Buchart Gardens that were started in the 1900s that now boasts over a million plants in 900 different varieties like cherry blossoms and tulips. The garden is actually a National Historic Site of Canada and also has a gelato shop, a restaurant and an ice rink in winter, so there’s something for everyone!
Victoria is known for being popular among retirees in Canada meaning you won’t be alone! It is been darkly nicknamed “The city of the newlywed or nearly dead” as almost 18% of the population is over 65 years old. This is great news for other retirees as some tend to get bored during retirement. Meeting others in your community is a great way to keep busy and to not feel lonely during this new stage of life. Ultimately, Victoria is a great place to retire in Canada, as the city has so much to offer!
2. Collingwood, Ontario
If you are looking to retire in Ontario instead, the town of Collingwood is a great option. If you have lived in Ontario your entire life, you may have heard of or been to Collingwood before as the town boasts the popular ski destination, Blue Mountain. Although skiing may not be your ideal retirement, Collingwood has plenty of other things to offer.
Collingwood is a great location, especially if you have a family in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). It is only two hours outside of Toronto and is a big enough town to not feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. Even if skiing isn’t your thing, the atmosphere at the nearby Blue Mountains is still great. Walking around Blue Mountain Village is a nice way to spend your day and your grandkids will have plenty to do in the area as well when they come to visit.
Not only is the beautiful ski resort of Blue Mountain nearby, but so is Wasaga Beach. Again, if you have lived in Ontario you’re entire life, you have probably been to Wasaga or at the very least, heard of it. It’s a great beach, number two in Ontario following Sauble Beach, and is normally a far drive from the GTA. From Collingwood, however, Wasaga Beach is less than a thirty-minute drive away. So, you could technically go to the beach every day if you wanted to.
There are even great waterfront areas in Collingwood itself. The town is set up along the Georgian Bay, one of Ontario’s most photographed bodies of water. There are plenty of homes along the shoreline if you’ve always dreamed of having a waterfront property.
Many retirees enjoy taking up golf in their spare time. Collingwood is a great place to practice that hobby with multiple, top-rated golf courses within a 15-minute drive anywhere in Collingwood.
Collingwood also has practical benefits as a place to retire. The housing market is actually affordable. In fact, the average price of a home in Collingwood is almost half the price of a home in the GTA. In 2020, the average price of a house in Collingwood was $663,806, while this is expensive, in Toronto, the average price was $1,000,400 for a house of the same size. Thus, in Collingwood, you will get more bang for your buck if you’re looking to buy a house in retirement.
Lastly, the community of people are known to be friendly. Canadians in general have a reputation of being friendly and polite and this is exemplified in Collingwood. As it is a relatively small town, especially outside of the tourist season, people are very friendly and will greet you as you walk around. The town is also growing in popularity among retirees, so you can build a great community of like-minded people. If you enjoy nature, but also the comforts of having amenities nearby, Collingwood is a great option for you to retire in.
3. Fredericton, New Brunswick
Switching up the provinces again, this time to the East in Canada, is the capital of New Brunswick, Fredericton. One of the negative things about moving to the East Coast is the lack of jobs. Many jobs are seasonal and the ones that aren’t being taken by locals that have grown up there. This is why the East Coast is a great place to retire in instead as you don’t need to worry about the job market.
The first, most notable benefit to mention about Fredericton is the low house prices. Though we talked about Collingwood being affordable, it has nothing on Fredericton. With the average house price in Fredericton sitting at $175,824, you can buy multiple houses for the same price as one in Toronto and Collingwood. A house is a great investment even if you don’t plan on staying in it for long as the value is constantly going up. If you would rather rent, however, that is still affordable. The average cost of rent in Fredericton for a one-bedroom apartment is only $750.
Fredericton and New Brunswick in general are known to have great nature areas. 80% of New Brunswick is actually made up of forest. This means there are plenty of hiking/walking trails, camping spots, gardens and rivers to explore in the city and the province. Fredericton is a great place to retire in Canada if you want the benefits of a city, but the feel of a small town.
4. Calgary, Alberta
Moving over to central Canada now, we’re talking about the city of Calgary in Alberta. You may have heard of the city before with regards to the annual Calgary Stampede. Though this doesn’t sound very inviting to retirees looking to relax, Calgary has plenty to offer.
Calgary has actually been named the world’s most livable city for seven years in a row by The Economist and also been named the world’s cleanest city in 2007. Both great reasons to want to move there. Calgary is kept clean as there are heavy fines for littering. Dropping something as small as a cigarette butt on the sidewalk or street can get you a fine up to $1000. This may seem strict, but it is what works for Calgary to keep litter where it belongs: in the trash. There is also a great recycling program in Calgary and the all the city’s streets are constantly swept for trash.
Calgary and Alberta in general have a low cost of living. There is also no Provincial Sales Tax (PST) in Alberta, meaning you only have to pay the 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on any items you buy. In provinces like Quebec and Ontario, PST and GST usually add up to around 15%, so your retirement money will go further in Alberta.
Many retirees worry about leaving their family doctors in case they have any health scares. But, Calgary is not lacking good doctors as the city used to in the past. There are now an average of 141 physicians for every 100,000 people in Calgary. The average in Canada is 115 physicians for every 100,000 people. Many of these physicians are constantly accepting new patients, so you’re good to go! Healthcare in Alberta is also free, just don’t forget to sign up for the province’s healthcare plan.
Since Alberta does host a good portion of the Rocky Mountains, it is a great place for nature lovers. As Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988, the Canada Olympic Park is still there. It is great for winter sports, but if that’s not your thing, especially in retirement, being at the location where the Olympics were is still pretty cool! There are still great parks and trails for you to explore throughout Calgary. Calgary is overall a good place to live with clean streets, reliable doctors and beautiful views of nature.
5. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Staying in the Prairies this time, we’re discussing the city of Saskatoon in Saskatchewan. In less you already live in Saskatchewan, many people don’t think of it as a province to move to. Many people are missing out, however, on the beautiful nature and low cost of living in Saskatoon.
Saskatoon actually enjoys one of the lowest costs of living among most major cities in Canada. Renting a place in Saskatoon is over 50% lower than renting in Toronto. Buying a house is also cheap as the average house price is around $289,100. Your money will go further as well as the sales tax in the province is low. Provincial Sales Tax is only 6% which is the lowest of any province that has this tax. Lastly, healthcare is affordable as, like the rest of Canada, the government provides medical, hospital and drug insurance plans. But, in Saskatchewan, residents do not have to pay any personal premiums or charges for healthcare.
Aside from the low cost of living, there is plenty of things to do in Saskatoon to keep your retirement interesting. Nature is very prevalent in Saskatchewan as the province is relatively unpopulated with only 1.1 million people in the entire province. This means that the nature is relatively untouched and there is plenty of it. With sand dunes, hills, prairies, lakes, rivers and mountain ranges, there is plenty to explore and do. Low-level activities like walking, canoeing and fishing are all popular in Saskatoon. Nightlife is not big in Saskatoon if that’s what you’re looking for in retirement. If not, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan may be the place for you!
6. Toronto, Ontario
We couldn’t end this list without mentioning Toronto. Though we have already discussed how expensive the city is to live in, if money is not a problem for you, Toronto is a great place to retire in Canada.
As it is the most populated city in Canada with 2.73 million people, it is hard to get bored or lonely there. There are always events and communities for people to join as Torontonians are known for being accepting and welcoming. Toronto is also a popular city for retirees in the suburbs, so meeting other like-minded people would be easy. Also, as it is known for being a multicultural city, you will have great opportunities to meet people from different cultures that you may not have had otherwise. Seniors who move to small towns may find the experience lonely and alienating, you won’t have that problem in Toronto!
There are also plenty of things to do in Toronto to keep you busy. With all the tourist sights alone, like the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium, The Royal Ontario Museum and plenty more, you can constantly be exploring. Although it is a big, populated city, there are still beautiful parks, beaches and even an island to explore. To get to Toronto Island, you need to take a ferry across. Experiences like this make it seem like you are on vacation in your own city.
Another benefit of Toronto is how accessible it is. It is a great location, essentially the epicentre of the Greater Toronto Area, so if you have family anywhere they will have no trouble visiting you. Getting around Toronto itself is also super easy with the subway, busses, streetcars and ride-sharing apps like Uber if you don’t want to drive yourself.
Toronto is well-known for having diverse cultural neighbourhoods. Notably areas like Chinatown, Little Italy, Greektown, Koreatown, Little India and Portugal Village. These neighbourhoods are not just for people of these backgrounds, they exist to celebrate these cultures. In each neighbourhood, you can find great, authentic cuisine for each culture. So, you don’t even need to leave Toronto to try foods from around the world.
Ultimately, Toronto is a great place to retire in Canada if you prefer big cities and want to experience other cultures. It is just important to note that cost of living will be expensive, but it’s worth it!