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Top Millennial Hot Spots in 2018 – 85 Canadian Cities Ranked

Top Millennial Hot Spots in 2018 – 85 Canadian Cities Ranked

Quality employment and affordable housing are two key factors that motivate millennials to settle down in a new city. But this upbeat generation obsessed with life-work balance is looking for more than just a well-paying job and a nice house. They want engaging leisure activities, opportunities to socialize with other like-minded millennials, eco-friendly resources, and a safe but exciting city where they can thrive.

To determine Canada’s up-and-coming millennial hot spots in 2018, we compared 85 of the most populous cities by looking at nine factors, and based on the individual ranking of each factor we measured the cities’ overall attractiveness. Aside from housing affordability, we weighed seven other criteria that we thought are important to millennials: unemployment rate, life satisfaction, low crime rate, healthcare, climate, level of education (the percentage of the population with a bachelor’s degree or above) and the percentage of millennials of the total population.

You may think millennial hot spots such as Vancouver or Toronto took the rest of the competition down. Surprisingly, that’s not the case:

  • Quebec City takes the number one spot on our list as Canada’s most attractive city for millennials.
  • None of Canada’s largest cities, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa or Calgary, made the top three.
  • 7 of the top 10 best cities for millennials have a population of under 500,000.

Top 5 Millennial Hot Spots

1. Quebec City, QC

Quebec City is Canada’s best city for millennials. Not only does it rank the highest overall, it also boasts an affordable housing market compared to most of the other surveyed locations. Add this to the fact that the city has the third lowest unemployment rate in Canada and an above average yearly income, and it makes sense why it takes the number one spot on our list. For millennials looking to settle down and start a family, Quebec City also has a low crime severity index.

Did you know? Quebec City might be known for its rich cultural heritage, but millennials are creating a culture of their own, bringing new creative forces outside the city’s walls. Its less polished neighbourhoods are now bursting with trendy boutiques, chic cafes and bistronomy eateries.

2. Victoria, BC

According to the numbers, Victoria is a magnet city for young, educated Canadians, boasting the second highest percentage of millennials in the country, many of whom have a bachelor degree or above. Aside from having a low unemployment rate, this city also holds top position for climate. It comes as no surprise therefore that the BC capital ranks highest in the nation for life satisfaction of millennials.

Did you know? Home to the Biketoria cycling network, Victoria made the top of the list as Canada’s most “bikeable” city in UBC’s Cycling in Cities Research Program.

3. Guelph, ON

Compared to neighbouring Toronto, Guelph presents itself as a great alternative for millennials looking to settle down. While in Toronto the yearly income for millennials is only $67,880 and a home sells for $818,201, in Guelph a house costs less than half  that ($406,800), and the yearly income ($82,910) is considerably higher – even higher than the Canadian benchmark of $79,660. Ranking eighth for life satisfaction of millennials, this peaceful city is the ideal destination for those looking to combine the benefits of a strong job market with a thriving living environment.

Did you know: Guelph’s Farmers’ Market offers fresh, local food and artisanal products, supporting the local economy and entrepreneurship, and is also one of the city’s oldest community spaces, having served as a gathering place since 1827.

4. Halifax, NS

With its highly affordable housing market and low crime rate, Halifax ranks as the fourth most attractive city for millennials. As millennials have been powering the housing market, bringing new life into Halifax’s downtown, the city is experiencing a renaissance both in residential and commercial real estate, becoming an attractive destination for young professionals.

Did you know? Halifax currently holds the title of the fifth-largest tech-hub in Canada.

5. Ottawa, ON

As a government town, Ottawa offers a steady job market and an above average income of $88,310. Besides having a good economy and well-paying jobs, Canada’s capital city also boasts a thriving cultural scene. In addition, it also ranks sixth for the highest percentage of Canadians with a bachelor’s degree or above. This makes it a top location for young professionals looking to interact with like-minded individuals.

Did you know? Ottawa is one of the youngest cities in Canada, with nearly half its population under 35.

Least Tempting Millennial Cities

1. Langley (Township), BC

The Township of Langley might have the second lowest unemployment rate in Canada, but it also has a high crime rate and a low percentage of millennials living here. And although a home in Langley sells for less than half the average price of a Vancouver property, its housing market is still severely unaffordable, which puts the township at the bottom of the list.

Did you know? In Langley you can drink some of the best wines in all of British Columbia. In fact, the township prides itself with award-winning wineries which are open to the public for tasting and buying.

2. Kawartha Lakes, ON

In Kawartha Lakes, the yearly income for millennials, $83,630, is way above the national benchmark. But despite enjoying one of highest wages in Canada, millennials are not exactly flocking to live in this Ontario city. Furthermore, Kawartha Lakes has the lowest percentage of Canadians with a bachelor’s degree or above. This being said, not being part of a community which includes like-minded individuals seems to outweigh the benefits of a good salary, making Kawartha Lakes the second least attractive city for millennials in Canada.

Did you know? If you’re looking to explore the cultural scene in Kawartha Lakes, the Kawartha Lakes Cultural Map allows you to locate over 700 points of interest, from live theatre and dance schools to handmade chocolate.

3. Brantford, ON

Ranked third-least attractive city for millennials in Canada, Brantford also draws some attention for the wrong reasons. Not only does Brantford have a high crime index, but it also has one of the lowest ratings in education. The fact that the yearly income for millennials is below the Canadian benchmark of $79,660 adds to the factors which place this city so low in the ranking.

Did you know? Brantford’s Public Library was the first in North America to join the UNESCO model library network.

4. Chilliwack, BC

On the one hand, Chilliwack stands out for having a low unemployment rate and a relatively mild climate. On the other hand, it has an extremely high crime rate and ranks fifth lowest for education, which are serious enough reasons to keep millennials away from this British Columbia city.

Did you know? Chilliwack has an active music scene, centred on rock and classical music, and also offers many community events and classes throughout the year.

5. Sault Ste. Marie, ON

While Sault Ste. Marie might have the sixth most affordable housing market in Canada, it also has the third highest unemployment rate. Aside from this, it also ranks lowest for life satisfaction of millennials. Taking everything into account, Sault Ste. Marie is not an attractive destination for millennials, with its position in the ranking further reinforced by the low percentage of millennials already living in the city.

Did you know? Sault Ste. Marie is the Alternative Energy Capital of North America. Energy projects that operate or are underway in the community include wind energy, hydroelectric energy, cogeneration, solar energy and reverse polymerization.

Check out the interactive table below for detailed data on the 85 most populous Canadian cities ranked for millennials:

RankCityProvincePopulation% of Millennials of Total Population% Millennials of Population RankAverage Home PriceHome Price RankMillennials' Yearly IncomeIncome RankUnemployment Rate (%)Unemployment Rank% of Population with Bachelor's Degree or AboveEducation Rank Crime Severity IndexCrime RankHealthcare IndexHealthcare RankClimate IndexClimate RankLife Satisfaction of MillennialsLife Satisfaction Rank
1Quebec CityQuebec 531,900 20.82%28$278,67221$85,270144.9331.6%3151.032077.15847.663496.7%13
2VictoriaBritish Columbia 84,289 27.00%2$620,40061$79,7502761141.6%1263.773868.892692.25199.0%1
3GuelphOntario 131,794 22.29%18$406,80045$82,910176.11235.6%2254.612576.39953.023397.2%8
4HalifaxNova Scotia 403,131 21.79%22$286,02625$79,130297.32035.2%2548.481375.991158.992292.4%32
5OttawaOntario 947,000 20.77%29$425,25646$88,310127.21945.0%652.62172.761941.353996.3%16
6SaanichBritish Columbia 114,148 19.6%44$907,44675$79,750275.7837.7%2040.16668.892692.25199.0%1
7WaterlooOntario 104,986 24.26%6$456,19848$82,310206.91748.9%460.833367.362953.573194.7%23
8KingstonOntario 123,798 21.72%23$323,56633$77,340317.92432.8%2962.223480.32759.22194.7%23
9Trois-RivièresQuebec 134,413 18.04%58$145,2402$75,670357.52222.6%5950.811994.441543097.4%6
10VancouverBritish Columbia 631,486 26.82%3$1,439,65284$72,390425.6747.4%5114.476472.542191.13497.3%7
11New WestminsterBritish Columbia 70,996 23.44%13$651,60062$72,3904261135.6%2478.845072.542187.66697.1%10
12LevisQuebec 143,414 17.0%73$262,00016$85,270144.1127.2%4230.9462.193847.663496.1%18
13GatineauQuebec 276,245 20.0%39$219,00010$86,830136.81630.2%3559.643222.045243.593897.4%6
14BurnabyBritish Columbia 232,755 24.03%7$1,078,22781$72,390426.41341.1%1377.114872.542186.94897.1%10
15CalgaryAlberta 1,239,220 23.26%16$475,91852$95,80059.53339.8%1673.684372.951833.414396.1%18
16SherbrookeQuebec 161,323 21.20%27$250,90915$73,520416.91727.5%4148.991454.864841.044098.1%2
17St. John'sNewfoundland and Labrador 111,796 23.81%11$308,03631$99,39028.93035.6%2379.235166.923256.42791.1%39
18HamiltonOntario 536,917 19.96%40$468,44651$83,7901571825.0%5263.433582.37662.351696.1%18
18EdmontonAlberta 932,546 25.66%4$370,48441$97,17048.82932.5%30117.66675.591226.584595.9%20
20St. CatharinesOntario 133,000 19.65%43$345,79637$70,280478.12623.4%5750.341876.291069.931197.9%3
20FrederictonNew Brunswick 58,220 23.37%15$169,7544$78,230308.82943.0%973251.304945.133691.2%38
22SaskatoonSaskatchewan 246,376 24.93%5$331,88935$92,97086.81633.8%27128.386961.784117.124897.5%5
23MonctonNew Brunswick 71,889 21.24%25$175,3007$76,8803282525.6%4775.684685.88445.133692.3%33
24LondonOntario 383,822 22.18%19$328,13034$75,470367.92430.6%3477.094767.922859.342096.4%15
24TorontoOntario 2,731,571 23.88%10$818,20171$67,880498.22744.1%758.923173.771667.251593.2%31
26CharlottetownPrince Edward Island 64,487 21.55%24$234,99011$74,9103810.54034.3%2654.722650.005045.133696.9%11
27BramptonOntario 593,640 21.24%26$669,38964$67,880498.32830.2%3643.081074.551462.291796.0%19
28BurlingtonOntario 183,315 16.41%75$728,81870$67,880495.6738.7%1924.81751367.471496%16
28SaguenayQuebec 145,949 17.44%65$171,8035$81,520238.32819.7%6657.583076.39947.663497.6%4
30BarrieOntario 141,434 20.56%31$481,98753$81,240247.42120.9%62501773.771647.423597.2%8
31St. AlbertAlberta 65,589 17.3%67$401,90444$97,17046.61529.8%3853.672475.591226.584595.9%20
32ReginaSaskatchewan 215,106 23.43%14$297,45828$91,5001061125.3%49131.727068.942515.45096.5%14
32BrossardQuebec 85,721 18.31%57$281,17323$73,950407.42139.3%1754.732762.1938543096.1%18
34AjaxOntario 119,675 19.72%42$615,80060$67,880498.22730.2%3740.46782.64554.142896.2%17
34MississaugaOntario 721,599 20.16%36$685,86068$67,880498.32841.6%1143.081065.983362.21896.0%19
36KitchenerOntario 232,222 22.58%17$456,19848$82,310206.81627.1%4360.833361.004353.573194.7%23
37RichmondBritish Columbia 198,309 20.36%34$985,00077$72,390425.91041.0%1474.544472.542187.31793.9%29
38VaughanOntario 306,233 17.70%62$988,75778$67,880495.8940.7%1534.92573.771657.632595.6%21
38MontrealQuebec 1,704,694 23.92%8$464,46649$73,950409.33239.0%1872.394162.1938543094.6%24
40Saint JohnNew Brunswick 67,575 18.88%52$168,5753$82,110229.63419.9%6574.794572.692045.133697.6%4
41MiltonOntario 110,125 17.78%60$723,17069$67,880495.6741.8%1052.712273.771653.023396.3%16
41CoquitlamBritish Columbia 139,284 19.57%45$909,20076$72,390426.11237.4%2170.544068.522783.541097.1%9
41MarkhamOntario 328,966 19.15%49$1,034,38480$67,880497.32043.8%834.92571.062457.242695.6%21
44LethbridgeAlberta 92,729 23.89%9$263,44317$82,790186.61525.1%51121.566755.624744.223794.4%25
44Red DeerAlberta 100,418 23.65%12$321,18232$97,850310.23819.7%67206.877487.77316.734997.2%8
46WindsorOntario 217,188 20.08%38$249,77114$72,270439.23125.2%5085.125473.771659.342094.4%25
47North VancouverBritish Columbia 85,935 14.4%84$1,093,90082$72,390425.1448.9%381.255272.542191.43397.6%4
48OakvilleOntario 193,832 15.09%81$1,098,78183$67,880496.91753.0%124.8162.53768.351396.3%16
49Niagara FallsOntario 88,071 17.2%70$368,85539$70,280477.72318.3%73501773.771669.361297.9%3
50RepentignyQuebec 84,285 15.91%79$280,18822$73,950405.6718.7%7028.93362.1938543096.8%12
51SarniaOntario 71,594 18.31%56$264,99919$88,880119.23118.4%7282.075363.333659.342097.6%4
52WhitbyOntario 128,377 17.08%72$615,59959$67,880497.42131.1%3340.46773.771654.032996.2%17
52PickeringOntario 91,771 19.19%48$672,01865$67,8804982531.4%3252.712273.771654.032996.2%17
54LavalQuebec 422,993 17.54%63$337,29336$73,9504071827.6%4047.931262.193853.293294.2%27
55Grande PrairieAlberta 63,166 29.23%1$271,11920$114,98019.73516.7%77150.417272.222212.395194.0%28
56NewmarketOntario 84,224 17.73%61$823,72772$67,880496.61533.7%2852.712273.771657.722495.6%21
56PeterboroughOntario 81,032 20.62%30$380,81843$75,350378.93024.9%5355.142874.441547.423591.4%37
58TerrebonneQuebec 111,575 17.21%69$283,79324$73,950406.11217.1%7640.81862.1938543096.8%12
59DeltaBritish Columbia 102,238 16.04%77$906,57774$72,390425.3528.0%3953.592372.542188.43594.3%26
60ClaringtonOntario 92,010 19.05%51$524,64056$67,880497.42118.9%6940.46773.771654.142896.2%17
60OshawaOntario 159,455 19.75%41$483,85154$67,880499.83617%7840.86987.78254.142896.2%17
62Saint-Jean-sur-RichelieuQuebec 95,114 11.9%85$263,78718$82,270215.91016.5%7949.71662.1938543096.1%18
62KelownaBritish Columbia 124,951 20.41%33$615,12258$80,150256.91724.1%54100.256067.323059.651996.0%19
64SurreyBritish Columbia 517,887 20.35%35$685,47067$72,390426.51427.0%45116.996573.151788.43594.3%26
65LongueuilQuebec 239,700 16.00%78$306,87030$73,950407.32025.3%4849.661562.1938543096.1%18
66Prince GeorgeBritish Columbia 74,003 22.04%20$289,58026$92,68099.33219.5%68154.397375.001336.074291.6%36
67CambridgeOntario 129,000 19.09%50$454,80847$82,310206.41318.5%7160.833364.813553.573194.7%23
67Chatham-KentOntario 101,647 15.90%80$185,4778$70,970467.52213.1%8466.43973.771659.342097.2%8
69Richmond HillOntario 195,022 17.12%71$989,68979$67,880496.91751.1%252.712262.043957.632595.6%21
70WinnipegManitoba 705,224 21.81%21$294,84327$71,830456.51426.1%46108.136267.123126.044691.8%34
71DrummondvilleQuebec 75,423 16.99%74$189,5969$74,150397.21914.9%8356.422962.1938543097%6
72Greater SudburyOntario 161,531 18.68%54$248,70213$94,23078.32820.5%6463.523661.114230.54490.5%40
73KamloopsBritish Columbia 90,280 20.44%32$349,84538$88,880117.52222.1%60128.066843.475159.651993.3%30
74CaledonOntario 66,502 16.3%76$888,03873$67,880495.5627.1%4426.61262.043957.632596.0%19
75Thunder BayOntario 107,909 19.41%46$245,24212$82,570197.72324.1%5588.635558.954423.034791.7%35
75Cape BretonNova Scotia 94,285 15.03%82$132,8331$70,1404817.44118.2%7547.481175.991145.133693.2%31
77Medicine HatAlberta 63,260 19.27%47$299,28829$94,7206103715.4%82103.856172.951844.223794.4%25
78Maple RidgeBritish Columbia 82,256 17.80%59$680,10066$72,390425.1418.3%7493.245772.542183.541097.1%10
79AbbotsfordBritish Columbia 141,397 20.11%37$540,85457$72,210446.61520.6%6391.355657.314685.19995.6%21
80NanaimoBritish Columbia 90,504 18.54%55$501,40055$76,580337.72323.3%58111.516361.844092.14295.3%22
81Sault Ste. MarieOntario 73,368 17.42%66$174,9136$79,6602810.33921.4%6177.394971.832338.414188.6%41
82ChilliwackBritish Columbia 83,788 17.53%64$466,96550$79,970266.41315.5%81140.127172.542185.19995.6%21
83BrantfordOntario 97,496 18.77%53$378,26242$76,220346.91715.7%8095.145864.863458.722395.3%22
84Kawartha LakesOntario 75,423 14.64%83$370,00040$83,630167.72311.9%8563.653773.771647.423593.9%29
85Langley TownshipBritish Columbia 117,285 17.3%68$668,35663$72,390424.4223.5%5699.225957.874583.541094.3%26

For reference, feel free to look over the national average values for each of the nine criteria:

Average % of Millennials of Total PopulationAverage Home PriceMillennials' Median Yearly IncomeAverage Unemployment Rate (%)Average % of Population with Bachelor's Degree or AboveAverage Crime Severity IndexAverage Healthcare IndexAverage Climate IndexAverage Life Satisfaction of Millennials
19.5%$505,618$79,660 7.728.5%70.9670.6352.8295.4%


  • To compile our list we looked at data available for Canada’s 85 largest cities by population.
  • For each city we analyzed nine different criteria which are attractive to millennials: yearly income, average home selling price, unemployment rate, life satisfaction, crime rate, healthcare, climate, level of education (the percentage of the population with a bachelor’s degree or above) and percentage of millennials of the total population.
  • We graded each criterion from 1 to 85 and then calculated a total attractiveness score for each city by summing these grades up. Based on this score, we determined their position in the ranking.
  • The data was researched within the last three months from Statistics Canada for unemployment rates, millennials’ life satisfaction, crime severity, education, the percentage of millennials of the total population and median income, from Numbeo for healthcare and climate, and from CREA and Real Estate Associations for the average home prices.

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