Best Cities in Canada to Raise a Family
August 21, 2023
Canada is a top immigration destination for many international immigrants. This includes immigrants who want a safe, economically robust, highly educated city to settle and raise their families.
Moving to a new country is a big decision for anyone, especially when moving with a family. While wondering, “How can I move to Canada with my family” you may also have to factor how affordable cost of living, safety, and security, healthcare provision, access to education, and even the natural environment in your considerations.
Canada has upped its game among the best international destinations to raise a family. If you want to build a life with your family in the North American nation, here is a guide to the top ten best cities in Canada to raise a family!
Top 10 Best Cities to Raise a Family in Canada
Canada is known for its high quality of life and family-friendly environment. With its stunning landscapes, excellent education system, and emphasis on safety and security, it's no wonder that many families are considering moving to Canada.
To help you make an informed decision about which city to settle in and raise your family in, Canada, here are Canada's top 10 best cities to raise a family.
Located in Quebec, Sherbrooke offers a mix of urban amenities and natural beauty. The city's small-town nature is supported by urban infrastructure, making it an affordable option for families in contrast to some of the bigger cities in the province.
With its excellent healthcare facilities and access to quality education, Sherbrooke provides a nurturing environment for children to grow and thrive.
The city is also known for its vibrant cultural scene and numerous recreational activities, ensuring that there is always something to do for the whole family.
As the capital city of Quebec, Quebec City offers a rich history and a unique French-speaking culture. The city is renowned for its charming architecture and picturesque streets, which reflect its European neoclassical influences. This unique cityscape provides a beautiful backdrop for raising a family.
With its top-notch education system and affordable cost of living, Quebec City is a popular choice among families. The city also offers many family-friendly activities to enrich your family's understanding of the city. This includes exploring the historic Old Town or visiting Montmorency Falls.
Located in Ontario, Ottawa, the capital city of Canada is a political hub and a great place to raise a family. The city offers a high standard of living, with a strong focus on education and healthcare. Ottawa has numerous museums, parks, and recreational facilities, providing ample opportunities for family activities, exploration, and outings.
The city boasts one of the lowest crime rates in Canada, according to numbeo.com, making it a safe and secure environment to raise your family in. With its diverse community and welcoming atmosphere, Ottawa is an ideal choice for families looking for a balanced lifestyle.
Situated on the eastern coast of Canada's smallest province, Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown is a charming city with a strong sense of community.
Charlottetown is known for its excellent schools and safe neighborhoods, ensuring that children receive a quality education and grow up in a secure and safe environment. The city's natural beauty, including its stunning beaches and rolling green hills, provides ample outdoor activities and exploration opportunities.
The city’s museums also bear testimony to the pivotal role Charlottetown played in the Canadian Confederation, including why it is regarded as the birthplace of the Canadian Confederation.
AsCanada’s second-largest city, Montreal offers many immigrant families a vibrant and multicultural environment. The city is known for its rich history, diverse neighborhoods, and world-class cultural scene that includes Montreal International Jazz Festival, Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, and the Montreal World Film Festival.
Montreal's education system is highly regarded, with a wide range of schools and universities to choose from, including the world-renowned McGill University, ranked 46th on the Times Higher Education (THE) top universities list.
You can find numerous parks, museums, and recreational facilities across the city, providing endless opportunities for family fun. With its high standards of living and excellent healthcare system, Montreal is a popular choice for families seeking a cosmopolitan lifestyle.
Just across the river from Ottawa, in Quebec, is Gatineau, a city with an atmosphere that perfectly blends urban convenience and natural beauty. The city has a high standard of living and many affordable housing options, making it an attractive choice for families.
Gatineau’s abundant excellent schools and well-maintained, family-friendly neighborhoods provide a great place to raise your children. For families with adventurous children, the city also offers many outdoor activities, including:
On the shores Ontario’s Lake Simcoe, you will find Barrie, a picturesque city with a strong sense of community. With a high standard of living and affordable housing options, Barrie is an ideal choice for many families.
Barrie's education system is highly regarded, with a wide range of schools and colleges to choose from, such as Laurentian University, Georgian College, Nipissing University, etc.
With numerous parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities, families have ample opportunities to pursue family outings and activities with their loved ones. With its beautiful natural environment and welcoming community, Barrie is a great place to raise a family.
Kingston, which sits at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, is a historic city with a vibrant arts and culture scene. The city provides a high quality of life and a strong sense of community, attracting dozens of families to its shores. Kingston's education system is renowned for its excellence, with a wide range of schools and universities.
The city also offers numerous parks, museums, and recreational facilities, providing endless opportunities for family fun. With its affordable cost of living and beautiful waterfront, Kingston is a top choice for families seeking a balanced lifestyle.
Between Montreal and Quebec City in Quebec, Trois-Rivieres offers a perfect blend of small-town charm and urban amenities. The city has a low cost of living and affordable housing options, making it an attractive choice for families.
Trois-Rivieres is known for its excellent schools and safe neighborhoods, ensuring children receive a quality education and a secure environment to develop and grow. The city provides a broad range of recreational activities, including hiking, biking, and boating, making it an ideal destination for families who enjoy an active lifestyle.
Guelph is a vibrant and family-friendly city in southwestern Ontario. The city offers a high quality of life and a strong sense of community, making it an ideal choice for families. Guelph's education system is highly regarded, with a wide range of schools and universities.
The city offers numerous parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities, providing ample opportunities for family outings and activities.
How Can I Move to Canada With My Family?
If you are considering moving to Canada with your family, there are several immigration programs that you can explore.
The Family Sponsorship Visa program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents over 18 to sponsor their close relatives for immigration to Canada. Members of your family you can sponsor to come and live with you in Canada using the family sponsorship program, including your:
- Common-law partner
- Dependent children
Family sponsorship is a popular choice for families who want to reunite and build a new life together in Canada.
Learn more about the three easy ways to move to Canada with your family using family sponsorship.
Express Entry is an immigration program that allows skilled workers and their families to move to Canada and become permanent residents. Express Entry is a fast and efficient way for families to immigrate to Canada and start a new chapter in their lives, with application processing times as quickly as six months.
The program evaluates candidates based on a points system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which assesses variables such as your:
- Work experience
- Language proficiency
If you meet the eligibility criteria and have a high enough score, you can receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residency in Canada. Express Entry programs include
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP)
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) are immigration programs that allow provinces and territories in Canada to nominate individuals and their families for permanent residency. Each province and territory has its PNP with specific eligibility criteria and application processes.
If you have the skills and qualifications that are in demand in a particular province or territory, you may be able to apply for and receive a provincial nomination, paving the path to receiving permanent residency in Canada. PNP is a great option for families who want to settle in a specific province or territory in Canada.
Why Move to Canada With Your Family?
Some of the reasons many immigrants have decided to move to and raise their families in Canada include:
Universal Access to Quality Education
One of the key reasons to consider moving to Canada with your family is the country's commitment to providing universal access to quality education. According to world populationreview.com, Canada is the world’s most educated country.
Around 30 of its highly-rated tertiary institutions are on the Times Higher Education (THE) list of the best universities in the world. Canadian schools prioritize diversity and inclusivity, ensuring every child has the opportunity to thrive socially and academically.
Affordable Cost of Living
Another advantage of moving to Canada with your family is the affordable cost of living compared to other developed countries like the United States (US). The cost of living will vary depending on the city you choose.
However, generally speaking, Canada offers a more affordable lifestyle without compromising quality of life. Families can enjoy a comfortable living standard from housing to healthcare, groceries to transportation, without depleting their bank accounts.
The estimated cost of living (with rent) for a family of four in Canada is 6,471.41 CAD according to numbeo.com. The estimated cost of living (with rent) for a family of four in the United States is 7,966.97 CAD according to numbeo.com.
Learn more about Canada’s affordable cost of living compared to the US.
Safety and Security
Safety and security are very important when choosing a city to raise a family, an aspect Canada excels in. The country is ranked among the safest in the world, according to the worldpopulationreview.com, with low crime rates and a strong focus on community well-being. Canadian cities known for their safe neighborhoods, family-friendly environments, and providing peace of mind for parents include:
- Quebec City
Tolerance and Multiculturalism
Canada is celebrated for its diversity and multiculturalism, making it an inclusive and welcoming place for families from all backgrounds. To foster a sense of acceptance and understanding within the country’s population, the country embraces different:
Highly populated cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal offer vibrant multicultural communities where children can grow up with exposure to various sociocultural traditions and perspectives.
For families who have children or relatives who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, they need to find a city that embraces and enables those individuals to be who they are.
Canada is a progressive and accepting country with strong legal protections and support systems. Same-sex marriage has been legalized nationwide since July 20, 2005, with the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act. LGBTQIA+ individuals and families are welcomed and respected.
Cities such as Toronto and Vancouver are particularly known for their LGBTQIA+ communities, offering a safe and inclusive environment for families of all sexual orientations.
Canada's Free Healthcare System
One of the most significant advantages of living in Canada is its universal healthcare system administered by the Canadian government’s Medicare. As a permanent resident or citizen, you and your family will have access to free healthcare services, including:
- Doctor visits
- Hospital care
- CAT or PET scans
- Essential medical treatments
This ensures that your family's health needs are taken care of, providing peace of mind and financial relief.
Family-friendly neighborhoods are essential when choosing a city to raise your family in. Cities in Canada that offer safe and welcoming communities with excellent schools, parks, and recreational facilities include:
These neighborhoods prioritize the well-being and development of children, providing ample opportunities for them to thrive and make lasting connections.
Wide Range of Family Entertainment
Canada is renowned for its wide range of family entertainment options, ensuring there is always something exciting to do with your loved ones. World-class museums, art galleries and amusement parks dot the urban landscape of cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal and Calgary, offering endless family fun and bonding possibilities.
Whether you enjoy exploring nature, attending cultural events, or engaging in sports and recreational activities, Canada has it all at your disposal.
Beautiful Natural Environment
Canada's breathtaking natural environment is world-renowned. Canada offers unparalleled natural beauty from the majestic Rocky Mountains in Alberta to the stunning coastal landscapes of British Columbia.
Niagara Falls is among the most visited natural wonders of the world, with over 20 million yearly tourists coming to see the majestic waterfalls. Its protected national parks, like Banff National Park, offer families the opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities such as:
- Wildlife Spotting
These outdoor adventures help foster a love for nature and a healthy lifestyle in your family.
What Factors Should I Consider When Choosing a City to Raise a Family in Canada?
When choosing a city to raise a family in Canada, it is important to consider factors such as:
- Cost of living
- Family-friendly amenities
Assessing these aspects will ensure you select a city that aligns with your family's priorities and needs. Furthermore, we recommend visiting the city beforehand to get a firsthand experience of the community and its offerings.
What Are Some of the Best Provinces to Live in Canada for Families?
Canada’s provinces and territories offer unique benefits and attractions. Some of the best provinces to live in Canada for families include:
These provinces boast vibrant cities, excellent education systems, and ample opportunities for both work and leisure. However, each family's preferences may vary, so remember to research and assess the specific advantages of each province before making a decision.