Five Canadian cities have been ranked among the world’s best according to a new report.
Vancouver-based branding advisor Resonance Consultancy has published its ninth annual ranking of the world’s 100 top-performing citiesbased on a methodology that analyzes statistics, user-generated reviews, social media and online activity.
“The 2024 World’s Best Cities rankings benchmark the overall performance of more than 270 principal cities in metropolitan areas with populations of more than one million, based on a wide variety of measures, in order to identify the Top 100 places to live, visit and invest on the planet,” said Resonance president and CEO Chris Fair.
Toronto, at number 23, is Canada’s highest-ranked city, followed by Vancouver (50), Montreal (60), Ottawa (90) and Calgary (93).
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The report analyzes the performance of each city based on a wide range of factors that have positive correlations with attracting employment, investment and visitors.
Resonance interprets the data gathered from user-generated ratings and reviews to generate its “Place Power” scores. Within that framework, livability (such as a city’s sustainable infrastructure), loveability (such as social vibrancy) and prosperity (growth opportunities) are all weighted.
London, U.K., was ranked first overall, followed by Paris, New York, Tokyo and Singapore. Dubai, San Francisco, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Seoul rounded out the top ten.
Here’s what the report had to say about Canada’s top-ranked cities.
The highest-ranked Canadian city and 23rd overall, Toronto earned high ranks for its universities (tenth overall) and was ranked the 11th best city for global 500 companies.
Described as North America’s second-largest financial centre, the report notes the city’s growing population and its ongoing construction that’s “streamlining an emergent global destination city,” including the reopening of Massey Hall, the construction of Love Park and the renovations to the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.
The ranking is somewhat at odds with growing frustrations around the city’s affordability, transit and violent incidents.
Per Statistics Canadathe overall crime severity index for Toronto in 2022 was 51.2, up about six points since 2021, but still well below the national average of 78.1.
Earlier this year, outreach workers, police and extra security guards were deployed across Toronto’s transit agency following a spike in violent attacksincluding stabbings, shootings with BB guns and a swarming incident.
Ranked 50th overall, Vancouver scored within the top 20 for its universities (19) and was 31st overall in its bike score.
The report notes the city’s easy access to world-class skiing, mountain biking and hiking opportunities, cultural diversity and mild climate. It also notes the challenges the city may face in the coming years as it plays host to a number of high-profile events, including the Invictus Games, the Grey Cup, the Laver Cup international tennis tournament and part of the FIFA World Cup.
The conversion of numerous hotel rooms into social housing during the pandemic, combined with soaring real estate prices, has led to limited and expensive lodging options, it notes, making Vancouver “too prohibitively priced to allow a new generation to fall in love with this special place.”
Vancouver’s unaffordability figured into a separate ranking last year, where Vancouver was identified as among the ten worst places for expats to live and workaccording to the 2023 InterNations Expat City Ranking list.
According to that ranking, 69 per cent of expats coming to Vancouver were “extremely dissatisfied” with the cost of living and half said their disposable household income was not enough to live a comfortable life.
Vancouver also received below-average results in the Ease of Settling In index, with 39 per cent of expats reporting they were unhappy with their social life and nearly 30 per cent describing local residents as unfriendly.
“It can be hard to enter a social circle which is already established,” said one expat from New Zealand about Vancouver.
While it ranked 60th overall, Montreal was also highlighted for its universities (29) and culture (20).
The report quotes Montreal-based Harley Finkelstein, president of Shopify, who has said “if you see a city with a disproportionate number of artists, musicians and chefs, that’s probably a city with great culture.”
“I don’t think there’s any city in the world that is more entrepreneurial than Montreal,” Finkelstein previously told Cult MTL.
The report also notes the ongoing construction projects in the city including efforts being made to enhance its appeal as a remote-work-friendly destination. These initiatives include the establishment of the innovation hub Ax-C and numerous pedestrian-friendly ventures, including 53 ongoing bike infrastructure projects.
Described as “the cosmopolitan capital of Canada” the report notes that Ottawa, ranked 90th overall, has “a reputation for brainpower that’s attracting the world.”
The city scored sixth overall in educational attainment and was lauded for its knowledge-based businesses, from life sciences to aerospaces. Though it notes that housing prices are increasing, the report highlights Ottawa’s relatively low cost of living compared to similarly ranked cities and its host of attractions, including Mādahòkì Farm, a new agritourism venture out of the Canadian Museum of History.
The report also highlights the city’s access to outdoor activities and recent renovations to the NCC River House, previously known as the National Capital River Pavilion and the Ottawa River Boathouse, and the restoration of Westboro Beach.
The final Canadian city to earn a spot on the list, Calgary, ranked 93rd, also scored high in education attainment (21) and GDP per capita (31).
The report notes the city’s young population, growing immigration and efforts being made to convert office towers into housing. A slew of new hotels and cultural projects, like the recently opened Central Library, are also attracting visitors.
That said, the Calgary Foundation’s 2023 Quality of Life Report, published earlier this week, found that Calgarians are increasingly struggling with affordability.
Twenty-five per cent of city residents can’t meet basic financial needs, up from 19 per cent in 2022, while 16 per cent have been using community food programs such as food banks, gift cards or neighbourhood free pantries, according to the report.
“It’s getting increasingly hard to make ends meet, especially for families,” said Calgary Foundation spokesperson Taylor Barrie, adding that “whole families are skipping meals, not just parents.”
Eighty-two per cent of Calgarians are concerned about poverty in their community, up from 66 per cent two years ago.