As Canada continues to grow in population, and cities expand — Gen Zs are yearning for something a little more community-oriented. Though big cities like Toronto and Vancouver do draw the ire for the young and the restless, there’s a particular quality to small cities that Gen Zs love. Could it be the lower rent costs? Abundance of green space? Local art scenes? Or even an up incoming food culture? Whatever it is, Gen Zs are flocking to these smaller communities in hopes of nurturing their own sense of self and independence — and we’re here for it. Read on to learn more about the best places for Gen Z to live in Canada.
Located just a short GoTrain ride away from Toronto, this quaint small city is considered one of the safest in all of Canada. Though it is on the pricier side in terms of rent costs, it is balanced by the abundance of well-paying jobs in the manufacturing and clean energy sector. This is definitely a place worth considering if you enjoy the small city feel, without the isolation from all the action.
Though considered a large city by Canadian standards, Calgary is an underrated gem when it comes to community living. Calgary is known for having one of the most diverse art scenes in Canada with over 50 art galleries to explore. Not to mention, Calgary has a relatively low cost of living with the average one bedroom leaning towards $1,700 compared to Toronto’s $2400.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
If coastal living is your vibe, Halifax might be the one for you. What draws Gen Z to this particular city is its size and proximity to green spaces. Halifax is one of Canada’s oldest cities with tons of history pre-dating British colonization. Halifax also boasts a developing food scene with much of their cuisine focused on — you guessed it — seafood. If you’re a big foodie with an eye for nature, Halifax might be for you.
London, Ontario is probably one of the more surprising ones on this list. Located in South Western Ontario, bordering the U.S — London has a lot more to offer than one would think. Housing one of Canada’s best universities, London automatically draws the attention of young scholars looking to connect with future business people and marketing mavens. What it lacks in centricity to big city action, it certainly makes up for in community living.
Despite being one of Canada’s most populous cities, we had no choice but to put Montreal here. This smallish-yet-mighty French-Canadian city is teeming with life, laughter and culture. Montreal hosts some of the best universities in the country, lowest rent prices and overall cost of living, earning a spot on this list. Aside from its incredibly harsh winters, Montreal inches closer to the number one spot for Gen Z to move to.
For these kinds of lists, capital cities are often avoided for their rankings on safety, congestion and cost of living but Ottawa is a rare exception. This bustling city is the centre of political life in Canada and houses a myriad of cultural activities to enjoy. It’s small enough to be perfectly walkable, and big enough to still avoid boredom.
Quebec City, Quebec
Probably one of the most beautiful cities in Canada — Quebec City is a shining marvel. If you’re a lover of art, food and history, Quebec City offers an endless supply of Quebecois culture. Though their winters can be some of the worst across Canadian cities, it’s worth overlooking this to enjoy the splendor of great food and even better company.
Nature lovers, look out! Sherbrooke, Quebec easily rivals many other “nature cities” across Canada. It’s natural landscape features mountains, rivers and forest land, making it an ideal haven for the naturalist in your life. Gen Z loves Sherbrooke for it’s calm and quiet elegance, while still maintaining a high level of community life.
Nestled between Montreal and Quebec City is the quaint little city of Trois-Rivieres. This city is definitely on the quieter side with tons of museums to entertain the artsy side of Gen Z’ers. We believe Gen Zs love Trois-Rivieres so much due to its cost of living and accessibility to other major cities in Quebec. Though it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the aforementioned cities, it does offer an opportunity for Gen Z to wind down and focus on the less superficial aspects of small city living.
Victoria, British Columbia
This list wouldn’t be complete without at least one spot in BC. While BC might be the most expensive option for Gen Z, it sure isn’t their last. Tons of young Canadians have been finding ways to move out West in search of a fun-loving community feel. While Vancouver does sound exciting, it is truly unaffordable for most young Canadians. As an alternative, Victoria offers much of the same amenities that Vancouver does at a fraction of the cost.