If you’re thinking about relocating to Canada, you’ll find that the path is well paved. Many people choose to move to Canada for its friendly approach to immigration, its high quality of life, and of course, the gorgeous expanses of nature that the country is known for.
The safety, affordability, good healthcare options, and abundance of job opportunities also make it easy for newcomers, as does the well-established immigrant population. Over 1 in 5 Canadians are foreign-born! For those reasons and many more, Canada is one of the most popular countries to migrate to – and it’s often ranked the number one country in the world for immigrants.
Canada is a massive country, with tons of cities sprinkled between the unspoiled stretches of nature. If you’re having trouble deciding which city to call home once you arrive, check out our list of the top 15 best cities in Canada for immigrants.
Table of Contents
- 1. Ottawa, Ontario
- 2. Gatineau, Quebec
- 3. Toronto, Ontario
- 4. Waterloo, Ontario
- 5. Brossard, Quebec
- 6. Calgary, Alberta
- 7. Vancouver, British Columbia
- 8. Delta, British Columbia
- 9. Halifax, Nova Scotia
- 10. Saanich, British Columbia
- 11. Burlington, Ontario
- 12. Regina, Saskatchewan
- 13. St. Albert, Alberta
- 14. Edmonton, Alberta
- 15. Guelph, Ontario
1. Ottawa, Ontario
Coming in at number one for the best city in Canada for immigrants is the country’s capital, Ottawa. Located in eastern Ontario on the Quebec border, this large city has a way of maintaining a friendly, small-town feel, making it one of the most popular places for newcomers to settle in Canada.
Thanks to the thousands of immigrants who choose to move here each year, Ottawa is a very diverse city, and about 1 in 6 residents are foreign-born. The city is bilingual, and most services are offered in both English and French.
There are lots of employment opportunities for immigrants in the capital, with the federal government employing most. There are also tons of jobs available in the tech, healthcare, tourism, and education sectors.
You’ll also find two universities in Ottawa, along with an excellent education system for the kiddos. In fact, Ottawa is one of the best places for families to live in Canada.
The capital also has the highest household income in Canada, and although housing prices are a bit high, they are actually fairly reasonable when you compare them to some of the other major cities around the country.
The summers in Ottawa are hot and humid, while the winters bring blankets of snow – but this is Canada after all, and there are plenty of fun outdoor activities around the city no matter the season. In the winter you’ll find locals playing hockey, cross-country skiing, and skating – while the summer brings great weather for kayaking, rock climbing, and yoga, to name a few.
Ottawa is a green city in more ways than one. You’ll find plenty of verdant park space, and the city also puts a large focus on eco-friendly services. There is over 170 km (about 105 miles) of bike paths, and the public transportation here runs like clockwork.
2. Gatineau, Quebec
Across the river from Ottawa lies the city of Gatineau. Thanks to its nearby location to the capital and its thriving job scene, Gatineau is another popular place for immigrants to settle in Canada.
Although it isn’t far from Ottawa, Gatineau is in an entirely different region. Quebec is the only province in Canada with French as their official language, and depending on where you’re from, this can be a help or a hindrance.
Learning a new language can be stressful, especially when you’re in a new place – and you’ll need it to get by. That being said, it’s a great opportunity if you are interested in immersing yourself in a new culture or adding another language to your repertoire.
Another bonus to living across the river in Gatineau is that income taxes are lower, as are the housing costs. Families in particular usually favor Gatineau over Ottawa, as childcare is cheaper and subsidized. Some of the most popular neighborhoods for families include Centretown, Lowertown, Byward Market, and Lakeview Terrace.
The downfall of choosing Gatineau over Ottawa is that there are fewer doctors and health care providers, and being in a different region you won’t be able to access those across the river in the capital.
3. Toronto, Ontario
Toronto is Canada’s most populous city, and it’s also one of the best for immigrants. In fact, over half of the population of Toronto is foreign-born, giving the city a multi-cultural makeup that makes it both a vibrant place to live and an accepting one.
Toronto is a large hub for many Canadian industries, with financial, tech, and industrial sectors topping the list. There’s also a world-class film and media presence, further expanding the job opportunities for immigrants.
Although we’d be lying if we said it didn’t get cold here, the winters in Toronto are somewhat milder than in other northern cities. The city is used to snow, so even big storms don’t usually deter the infrastructure from performing the way it was meant to.
No matter what kind of weather you’re experiencing, Toronto is one of the easiest cities to get around in Canada, even if you don’t have a car. The public transportation here is famous for its ease and comprehensiveness, and there are even lots of residential areas right in the city center if you prefer to walk or bike.
Although Toronto is the largest city in the country, the crime rate remains low – and this is a great place for families to settle down. There’s always something going on, which makes it a fun place for people of all ages. From film festivals and art celebrations to a renowned food scene and hip nightlife, Toronto promises to keep things interesting.
4. Waterloo, Ontario
If you prefer a small community to a lively city, then Waterloo is the town for you – but the small-town charm isn’t the only thing that makes Waterloo one of the best cities in Canada for immigrants, the diverse community and high standards of living are also part of the reason that newcomers flock to this southern Ontario town.
With about 1 in 4 Waterloo residents being foreign-born, the city enjoys a rich and diverse community along with lots of fun festivals throughout the year to celebrate different cultures.
Besides being a fun and inclusive place to live, Waterloo also boasts low unemployment rates with the main employment sectors being technology and manufacturing. The city is also home to one of Canada’s most modern universities and boasts quality education for young children.
Affordable housing is another plus of immigrating to Waterloo, and you’ll have your pick of places both inside of the city center and out in the countryside. The same is true for entertainment in the city, though the real star of the show is the 3,000+ acres of parkland for hiking, skiing, and fishing.
5. Brossard, Quebec
Located just outside of Montreal in Quebec, Brossard is another one of the best cities in Canada for immigrants. Although Brossard is a mostly residential suburb, as part of the greater Montreal area there are many high paying jobs nearby.
Its low unemployment rate coupled with affordable housing makes Brossard popular with immigrants from all over the world – and the city has a foreign-born population of nearly 40%. This results in vibrant cultural diversity, and although French is the official language, you’ll likely hear English, Chinese, Spanish, Cantonese, Persian, and Arabic being spoken around town.
Although Borssard’s population is just over 85,000, if you’re looking for more of a small-town feel, you’ll find some good options nearby – including Saint-Lambert, Carignan, and La Prairie.
6. Calgary, Alberta
Calgary is the largest city in Alberta, and also has the highest number of immigrants in the region. The city’s size isn’t what drives newcomers to Calgary, though. There are tons of reasons that it is one of the best cities in Canada for immigrants.
One of Calgary’s top-selling points is that it is amongst the cleanest, safest, and healthiest cities in the world. With more sunny days than any other major city in Canada and its close proximity to the Rocky Mountains, immigrants who choose Calgary as their new home are assured lots of time in nature and a high-quality of life.
The local economy is booming, with job opportunities in the agricultural, energy, and transportation industries. The city also has some up-and-coming opportunities in newer industries like tourism, logistics, finance, and life science and health.
Calgary is a big city (the third largest in Canada) and it is a pretty spread out one too. This often makes it hard to get from point A to point B without a car, but there are tons of options when it comes to housing. Whether you’re looking for a historic home in the city center or a larger lot out in the suburbs, you’ll have plenty of options.
Another reason immigrants love Calgary is that it’s an extremely diverse city. This is best shown along International Avenue, where the 35 blocks are dedicated to a mix of cultures from all around the world.
7. Vancouver, British Columbia
Another one of the best cities in Canada for immigrants is Vancouver, situated on the Pacific Coast in the British Columbia region. Vancouver has a well-established history with immigration, and those looking to settle in Canada often choose this big city as their new home base.
Not only is Vancouver a beautiful place to call home, but it’s also consistently ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities – and a top large city of the future. This is in part due to its vast public transportation network, booming economy, and diverse and progressive population.
Immigrants will find natives to be extremely accepting and more than 50% speak more than one language. In addition to the official English language, you’ll likely hear Arabic, French, Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean being spoken frequently.
Other things that make Vancouver attractive to immigrants include a great education system (including several esteemed colleges and universities), the ever-declining crime rate, and the relatively mild weather (by Canadian standards, of course).
The one downside of moving to Vancouver is the housing market. Like many cities in the Pacific Northwest, property prices have skyrocketed in the last few years – and whether you’re looking to buy or rent, you’ll likely be paying a pretty penny to live in the Vancouver area. That being said, the jobs market is thriving, but newcomers should still be aware of the high housing prices.
8. Delta, British Columbia
Immigrants who like the Vancouver area but don’t want to be in the city center should look into the nearby town of Delta. This suburb is located just 25 km (about 16 miles) from the city center and is a quiet place for families and outdoor lovers to settle down.
Delta has many of the same perks as Vancouver, including mild weather, a good economy, job opportunities, and beautiful coastal scenery – but this small town also has some added perks that you won’t find in the nearby metropolis.
For one, the housing costs here are much lower, yet the average household income remains far above the average income in the rest of the country. The town is known for being a great place to raise a family, and the population in Delta is spread across three main residential areas (North Delta, Tsawwassen, and Ladner).
The great outdoors draw many immigrants to Delta, and you’ll find lots of parks, wildlife, and hiking and biking trails throughout the city. Agriculture is one of the biggest industries in the area, and Delta produces some of the best crops in the country. Other big industries include tourism, transportation, energy, communication, and manufacturing.
9. Halifax, Nova Scotia
One of the more underrated cities in Canada for immigrants is Halifax, located in the province of Nova Scotia on the country’s east coast. While many immigrants are drawn to cities like Toronto and Vancouver for their bustling lifestyles and fast-paced culture, the opposite is true in Nova Scotia.
With just over 400,000 residents, Halifax is Nova Scotia’s biggest city – and people are drawn to this Atlantic gem for its quiet sense of calm and beautiful natural scenery. Life moves a little slower here, and if you’re looking for a big city that’s not overly crowded, Halifax checks the box.
Although rich in Scottish history, Halifax’s immigrant population has been on the rise for years, and you can see the effect in the wide variety of cultural offerings. From art galleries and theaters to eclectic cuisine and festivals, you’ll find immigrant influences around every turn.
The downside of living in a smaller place is that the job opportunities are not as abundant – but that’s not to say they’re non-existent. The cost of living is also significantly lower here than some of the other major metropolitan areas in Canada, including housing prices.
Other perks that put Halifax on our list of the best cities in Canada for immigrants are its public transportation and great education system – but the main draw to Halifax is its beautiful backdrop.
The nature surrounding the city is good for more than just the scenery, however. You’ll find endless opportunities to explore the great outdoors, and there are also numerous small towns nearby that provide tons of fun opportunities for day trips.
10. Saanich, British Columbia
Those looking for the best of both worlds will find one of the best cities for immigrants to be Saanich, located in the Greater Victoria area of Vancouver Island. With just over 100,000 people calling this place home, it’s definitely a quieter option than Toronto or Ottawa. Newcomers will find that it’s a diverse and accepting community, filled with people from all walks of life.
Saanich is the perfect mix of rural and urban, and you’ll find both modern conveniences and plenty of green space throughout the city. In fact, many locals enthusiastically claim that it’s one of the most beautiful areas in the whole country, with rocky coastlines, verdant forests, and incredible views from the ferries that charter people back and forth from the mainland and the various islands surrounding the city.
Not surprisingly, this picturesque paradise does come with quite a large price tag – and while the cost of living is high, the housing prices and taxes are absolutely astronomical.
Wages don’t usually match this high cost of living – but if you possess specialized skills in the tech industry, you may be able to find a good job within the Vancouver Island Technology Park, located in Saanich.
11. Burlington, Ontario
Located on the lovely shores of Lake Ontario in the Halton Region, Burlington is one of the best cities in Canada for immigrants. The Halton Region is known for consistently winning the number one spot for the safest region in the country, along with its beautiful scenery and large immigrant population (about 30%).
This mid-sized town is less than an hour away from Toronto and is a great spot for families looking to be close to the big city without actually living in it. There are tons of family-friendly neighborhoods, along with hundreds of acres of parks and green space which allow for a high quality of life for residents.
Some of the best hiking trails in the country begin right in Burlington, and the warm summers are the perfect time to explore the wilderness that lives in the city’s backyard.
Burlington also boasts fairly affordable housing options and a booming local economy. Some of its main industries include manufacturing and automotive, and there’s also usually work to be found in the education system and at the hospital.
12. Regina, Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan isn’t the most popular province for newcomers, but the region’s capital, Regina, is one of the best cities in Canada for immigrants. The city is a multicultural hub – and although English is the main language, you’ll also hear French, Filipino, German, Vietnamese, Chinese, Spanish, Ukrainian, and Punjabi speakers.
Although the culture is diverse, the landscape is relatively flat, with few topographical features – but that doesn’t stop Regina from being beautiful, and there are hundreds of thousands of hand-planted trees and shrubs all around the city.
There are also numerous parks and even a few lakes nearby, and common outdoor activities include boating, swimming, canoeing, and ice fishing – along with virtually every winter sport known to man.
Besides the beauty and diversity, immigrants choose to relocate to Regina for its low cost of living. Housing prices here are some of the lowest in the country, making homeownership achievable for most residents. Basic health services are also cheaper here than most other provinces, as is the sales tax.
Agriculture and natural gas are two of the biggest industries in Regina in the surrounding area, and both are big stimulators of the local economy.
13. St. Albert, Alberta
St. Albert has a gleaming reputation amongst both Canadians and foreign residents alike, and it’s no wonder why this is one of the best cities in the country for immigrants. It has been voted as one of the best places to raise kids in Canada and one of the healthiest cities in the country.
The access to beautiful outdoor areas and clean air is part of the cause for both of these accolades, making it easy for residents to stay fit and grow fresh and organic products that are sold at farmers’ markets year-round.
Sunshine is also plentiful throughout all four seasons, and although the winters do get cold, the extra vitamin D has been proven to lift moods. If you do get sick, you’ll find the health care system easy to access and plenty of doctors in and around the city.
Other draws to St. Albert include a low unemployment rate and some of the highest household incomes in the country. The close proximity to the large city of Edmonton provides plenty of job opportunities, especially in the trade, business, and tech industries.
St. Albert also boasts a great education system with three different school districts, apprenticeship programs, and numerous post-secondary institutions.
14. Edmonton, Alberta
Of course, you could always opt to make your home base in the nearby Edmonton, as this is another one of the best cities in Canada for immigrants. This is specifically true for skilled immigrants and those looking to receive higher education.
Edmonton has a robust economy and many jobs come from the oil and gas industries. That being said, this large metropolitan area offers numerous work opportunities around town.
If you’re interested in studying in Edmonton, you’ll find the province’s oldest and largest university here, and students are eligible for government grants and loans to help offset costs.
Although Edmonton is the sixth biggest urban area in the country, the city boasts large swaths of green space. The North Saskatchewan River Valley is home to the biggest stretch of urban parkland in North America, and Edmonton has more park space per capita than any other Canadian city.
There are also numerous festivals held around these green spaces throughout the summer, and the winter brings even more fun outdoor activities like snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and ice skating.
Edmonton has a relatively high immigrant population (about 25%), many of which come from European countries. This makes for a diverse and vibrant atmosphere, one that is celebrated by the welcoming community.
15. Guelph, Ontario
Those who are most concerned with finding a job when they arrive will find one of the best cities in Canada for immigrants to be Guelph – a small city, in southwest Ontario.
Although Guelph is much smaller than some of the other major cities on our list, the unemployment rate here is small, and the economy is booming. Many jobs are in the manufacturing industry but the second-largest employer here is the education system.
It’s not just a booming economy that draws immigrants to Guelph. The city is also known for its low crime rates, clean air, and overall high standard of living. In fact, it’s consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the entire country.
All of these positive attributes have made Guelph one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, and immigrants from all over the world have decided to make this place their home. The foreign population was once dominated by Brits, but nowadays, you’ll also see many immigrants from Latin America, China, South Asia, and Japan, among others.