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So you’ve applied to come to Canada as a permanent resident but you don’t know exactly where you should live. Everyone has heard of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, but who knows if those are really great cities to start your new life. This list looks at big cities in Canada that are most accessible to new immigrants.
The richest city on this list, West Vancouver is a suburb of – you guessed it – Vancouver! It is surprisingly affordable for the renter: the average rent price in the city puts it right in the middle of the pack; it’s actually cheaper to rent in West Van than in Milton! The unemployment is relatively low, well over a third of the population are immigrants, and it of course features the warmer temperatures that the Vancouver area is known for. So what could possibly be wrong? Well, on average it takes about 8 years to save up enough money to buy a house. So if you’re thinking of starting out in West Vancouver, be sure to check out the rest of the list to find out where to move once you’ve made some money in Canada.
Looking for a job? The rapidly expanding city of Milton may be the place to move. Though it’s a bit of a hike from Toronto – nearly an hour drive in traffic and significantly further by train – Milton boasts very low unemployment; the lowest among the immigrant-friendly big cities in the country. There aren’t as many immigrants in Milton as there are in some of the other cities on this list, and the rent isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s hard to say no to jobs. Unless you’re concerned about safety: Milton’s crime-rate isn’t exactly low.
The nation’s capital is a safe bet. Predicted by experts to see a boom in jobs in the near future, the capital is also pretty much in the middle in all livability factors: the rent and vacancy rates are reasonable, unemployment is higher than some places but should soon drop, house prices are about average, as is the time it takes to save for a house, and the city is safe with decent transit. But Ottawa is notoriously boring and cold, so keep that in mind.
Richmond Hill, a suburb of Toronto easily accessible from the city by transit or highway, has one of the highest percentages of immigrants of any city in Canada – nearly equal that of the larger and perhaps more intimidating Mississauga. The only thing keeping it from being higher on this list is the violent crime rate which, while low, is significantly higher than the cities listed below. Well, that and the fact that it takes significantly longer to buy a house in Richmond Hill than it does in some other cities: the length of time to save for a house is not West Vancouver bad, but it’s close.
Looking for a cheap apartment? Well, the immigrant-friendly Montreal suburb of Brossard has them in droves. The vacancy rate is reasonably high and the rent is way lower than any suburb of Toronto or Vancouver. Plus, it has a way lower crime rate than the equally cheap – and even more immigrant-friendly – Dollard-des-Ormeaux, another of suburb of Montreal, located almost as close to the downtown core. Sure, you have to cross the notoriously traffic-jammed Pont Champlain to get from Brossard to Montreal, but Dollard just isn’t as safe. Finally, the average resident of Brossard only has to save for three years to afford a house, and Brossard has the second lowest real estate prices of any major city in Canada.
Mississauga, the third largest city in Canada’s most pop0lous province, is still considered by many to be a suburb of Toronto. That’s because it is only a 20 minute drive from the downtown and a short trip by transit. Mississauga boasts a population of over 50% immigrants and a low crime rate. But it’s still somewhat of a bedroom community despite it’s size – meaning you have to drive everywhere – and the employment rate doesn’t compare favourably with the other suburbs of Toronto.
Markham is a suburb north of Toronto that is easily accessible from Toronto by transit or highway; it’s right nextdoor to Richmond Hill. Markham has the second highest percentage of immigrants of any large city in Canada, with well over 50% of the population having been born overseas. The city boasts a high apartment vacancy rate and the rent is comparable to the other suburbs of Toronto. Markham is a pretty wealthy place too, meaning that it is a safe place to start your new life.