'There's a clear bias': Maritime communities fail to crack top 100 list of best places to live
MoneySense Magazine has released its annual list of best places to live in Canada, and there isn’t a single Maritime community in the top 100.
The magazine’s livability survey has expanded to include 417 Canadian cities, towns and villages. It ranks each community across 36 categories, including housing prices, transit, average income, health-care accessibility, and crime rates.
Ottawa has been named the best place to live, while Nova Scotia’s Colchester Subdivision C has the distinction of placing dead last. In fact, the last five communities on the list are all in Nova Scotia, and 13 of the bottom 22 communities are in the Maritimes.
The first Maritime community to make the list is Quispamsis, N.B., at 105, with MoneySense citing affordable homes and high employment. Halifax doesn’t make the list until 137, followed by Fredericton at 149 and Moncton at 155.
Nova Scotia’s seaside community of Chester – known for its sailing, arts and culture, and beautiful ocean views that attract visitors every summer – has been ranked the second worst place to live in Canada, leaving some residents scratching their heads.
“I don’t agree with that. I think Chester is a great place to live,” says resident Angela Corkum. “We have great weather, great people, great places to eat, great produce.”
“I can only assume they’ve never been here and know nothing about us, because anywhere I’ve travelled in Canada, and I tell them I’m from Chester, they just wish they were here,” says Allen Webber, warden for the Municipality of Chester.
“They’ve either been here and love it or can’t wait to come.”
While the low ranking has left some Chester residents fuming, there is a sense of relief in New Glasgow, N.S., which had been ranked last for the past five years. This year, it comes in at 399.
“I’m frankly sick and tired of hearing about us being a bad place to live because it’s not representative of how the people feel, and there’s a clear bias against Atlantic Canada and the Maritimes,” says Sherry Blinkhorn, a real estate agent in the New Glasgow area.
MoneySense points to many Maritime communities suffering from higher-than-average unemployment and lower incomes as reasons for being at or near the bottom of the list.
“You may or may not be interested in culture, you may or may not need to take transit, but everyone needs a place to live, and so the affordability and the ranking of housing comes down to those basic essential needs of everyone in the population,” says Alexandra Baird-Allen of Turner Drake & Partners Ltd., a firm of real estate consultants, counsellors and brokers.
However, Baird-Allen says the future looks bright for Halifax, due to a relatively low housing cost, easy commutes, and population growth.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Allan April