Retiring in Canada
Canadian seniors are generally more satisfied with their lives than those in younger age groups. Older Canadians are especially appreciative of their safety, the quality of their local environment and their personal relationships, but are generally less satisfied with their health, according to a Statistics Canada report. However, life satisfaction among Canadians also varies by metro area and ranges from 7.8 out of 10 in Vancouver, Toronto and Windsor, to 8.2 in St. John’s, Trois-Rivières and Saguenay, according to a Statistics Canada analysis of Canadian Community Health Survey and General Social Survey data about average life satisfaction from 2009 to 2013. Here’s where Canadians are the most likely to be satisfied with their current lifestyle.
Saguenay is best known for its dramatic fjord leading into the St. Lawrence River, which can be enjoyed at Saguenay Fjord National Park. Residents of Saguenay rate their life satisfaction as an average of 8.2 out of 10, Statistics Canada found. Some 77.8% of Saguenay residents report their life satisfaction as 8 or higher, more than any other metro area in Canada. Only 8.6% of the survey respondents in Saguenay say their life satisfaction is 6 or lower.
Located at the junction of the Saint Maurice and Saint Lawrence rivers, the city’s name means “three rivers” in English, due to the three streams of water where the rivers meet. It was founded in 1634 and settled by French colonists. Foreign language skills will be helpful in this French-speaking city. While many of the French structures were destroyed in a fire, you can still stroll among a few of the original buildings, including the Musée des Ursulines and the Manoir Boucher de Niverville. The average life satisfaction in Trois-Rivières is 8.2 out of 10, according to Statistics Canada. Just over three quarters (76%) of residents rate their quality of life as an 8 or higher, but 9.8% of people say it is 6 or lower.
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
North America’s easternmost city is also one of the continent’s oldest European settlements. The city has colorful houses that line the sides of steep hills, and you can hike up Signal Hill to Cabot Tower for dramatic views of Atlantic Ocean waves crashing against the cliffs. People who live in St. John’s rate their life satisfaction as an average of 8.2 out of 10, with 74.3% of residents giving a score of 8 or higher. There are 12% of residents who rate their life satisfaction as 6 or less.
Sudbury has 330 lakes within the city limits, the most of any city in Canada. A popular science museum, Science North, includes two snowflake-shaped buildings connected by a tunnel that contains evidence of an ancient meteorite impact and passes through a geological fault. The science center sits atop glacially carved bedrock and overlooks Ramsey Lake. Greater Sudbury residents have an average life satisfaction score of 8.2 out of 10, and 72.7% of residents list a score of at least 8. Only 11.3% of residents rate their life satisfaction as 6 or lower.
This atmospheric city on the Saint Lawrence River is among the oldest in North America. Quebec has quaint cobblestone lanes reminiscent of a city in Europe, as well as the Canadian pleasures of poutine and maple syrup. The locals speak French, although many are bilingual. The average life satisfaction score in Québec is 8.1 out of 10, Statistics Canada found. Three quarters of residents report life satisfaction of 8 or higher, compared to just 9.3% giving a rating of 6 or lower.
Saint John, New Brunswick
Located on the Bay of Fundy, Saint John is a major port city. There’s a scenic drive along the Bay of Fundy between Saint John and the U.S. state of Maine, and it’s about a 3-hour drive to Bangor. Retirees with an interest in geology can work or volunteer at the Stonehammer UNESCO Global Geopark. Some 72.9% of Saint John residents rate their life satisfaction as an 8 or higher, versus 13.2% who list their satisfaction as 6 or less. The average life satisfaction rating is 8.1 out of 10.
Sherbrooke has trails for downhill skiing, cross country skiing and snow tubing right in the center of town at Mont-Bellevue Park. Locals get to enjoy the fresh maple syrup the region produces. The city is also known for its fresco murals that decorate the downtown buildings. The average life satisfaction score is 8.1 out of 10. Three quarters of residents rate their life satisfaction as 8 or higher, compared to 11.8% who say it’s 6 or lower.
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Hockey fans can cheer on the Lakehead Thunderwolves and the Thunder Bay North Stars, or play a game at one of the city’s many outdoor rinks. Located on the southeastern shore of Lake Superior, Thunder Bay is also an ideal retirement spot for those interested in boating, fishing and swimming during the summer months. The scenic sites surrounding the city include Mount McKay, the Sleeping Giant and Kakabeka Falls. Most Thunder Bay residents (72.5%) rate their life satisfaction as 8 or higher, with 14.1% giving a score of 6 or lower. The average life satisfaction score is 8.1 out of 10.
Moncton, New Brunswick
Moncton is known for its scenic beauty and unique natural features. The city is within an hour’s drive of two national parks, Fundy National Park and Kouchibouguac National Park, the Hopewell Rocks and the Joggins Fossil Cliffs. The average life satisfaction rating among residents is 8 out of 10. Some 69.9% of people in the metro area rate their life satisfaction as 8 or higher, while 14.1% say it is 6 or lower.
The South Saskatchewan River cuts Saskatoon in half, but several bridges unite the city. This college town is home to the University of Saskatchewan. The city is named after an edible berry, often enjoyed locally in pies and jams. The new Remai Modern museum provides a unique space where retirees can enjoy and create art, including an extensive collection of linocuts by Pablo Picasso. The majority of residents (72.1%) rate their life satisfaction as 8 or higher, but 12.7% report a satisfaction score of 6 or lower.
The 10 Best Places to Retire in Canada
- Saguenay, Quebec
- Trois-Rivières, Quebec
- St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
- Greater Sudbury, Ontario
- Quebec City
- Saint John, New Brunswick
- Sherbrooke, Quebec
- Thunder Bay, Ontario
- Moncton, New Brunswick
- Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
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