Best Small Cities To Live In Canada

There are about a million reasons why many people are choosing small town living vs. large city life and luckily, Canada is chock full of quaint and charming small towns and cities spanning from Prince Edward Island to Vancouver Island. Nowadays, with many jobs providing “work-from-home” options, or satellite offices, more and more buyers are opting for a small town atmosphere over a big city. 

Small towns and cities throughout Canada boast a number of benefits which include a great atmosphere to raise children, lower crime rates, less traffic, a wider variety of real estate, more land and close knit atmospheres. Though they may not offer as many options, Canada’s small towns are also packed full of amazing and necessary amenities which include medical services, restaurants, unique and local shops and businesses and dozens of parks, recreational spaces and community centers. 

Below is a list of some of the best small cities to live in and a few of the things that make them so great! 

Tofino, British Columbia

Generally defined by its surfing culture, Tofino, BC is a highly sought after small town which is sprawled across a peninsula off of Vancouver Island. There are just under 2,000 residents who list Tofino as home, however, being a sought after tourist location, the area sees many more visitors during the summer months. 

Tofino, BC is an idyllic community which is great for anyone who enjoys spending time outdoors. Not only can one take advantage of the prime surfing, there are other recreation opportunities such as whale watching, fishing, hiking, biking and much more. 

Known by the locals as Tough Town, Tofino lies at the end of Highway 4, and bordered on three sides by water. The rustic and natural setting offers up some of the best views along the west coast. Life in Tofino, for full time residents is quiet during the off season and hustling and bustling during the summer. The vacation destination comes alive in the summer with many visitors and seasonal workers coming to the area. Job opportunities abound in the summer months to accommodate in the influx of vacationers. Real estate in Tofino consists of beautiful homes on the water, cottages & small single-family homes.  

Elliot Lake, Ontario

Once considered the “uranium capital of the world”, Elliot Lake is now more known for its beautiful scenery, quiet atmosphere and friendly neighbors. Though still offering a stable and diverse economy, Elliot Lake has become a popular town for retirees as well as vacationers. The area is filled with affordable housing and many stunning cottages dotted along the water's edge.

Residents of Elliot Lake enjoy ample opportunities to get outside and explore nature. Surrounded by heavy forestry, muskeg swamps, lakes, rivers and rolling hills, the area is picturesque regardless of the time of year. Home to roughly 12,000 residents, Elliot Lake is an outdoor enthusiasts ideal small town! 

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Charlottetown is a lovely, coastal town and the capital of Prince Edward Island. Known as one of the safest cities in Canada, Charlottetown is both picturesque and charming. There are just over 36,000 residents who live in Charlottetown where they enjoy beautiful summers, and mild, though snowy winters. 

Charlottetown is a great area for families and singles alike. A popular tourist destination, the area has plenty of things to see and do for all. Set along the South Shores of PEI, residents enjoy unparalleled views of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Quality of life is high in Charlottetown as the beautiful town offers big city amenities, restaurants, theatre, nightlight, entertainment and much more. Real estate is affordable, job opportunities are varied and neighbours are friendly in Charlottetown. 

Related Article: 10 Steps To Buying A Home In Canada

Grimsby, Ontario

A beautiful, lakefront town, Grimsby, Ontario is a “larger” small town, but a small town nonetheless. The area has seen recent development as it is ideally located between St. Catherines and Hamilton, Ontario. Development does have a limit though as the scenic small town is surrounded by Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment. 

Grimsby is a perfect area for those who wish to enjoy small town living, however, want to be able to quickly access the amenities and features found in a larger town. Closely set near many major roadways such as Queen Elizabeth Parkway, residents are able to venture into city’s such as Hamilton, and even Toronto, quickly. 

Ashcroft, British Columbia

Ashcroft is a small rural town which straddles the Thompson River in the BC Interior. The tight knit community is home to roughly 2,000 residents who enjoy the beautiful water views and rugged surrounding terrain. The Village of Ashcroft is a vibrant town which is rich in history, art and culture, all of which are fused together and displayed throughout the stunning Mosaics which are showcased. 

Residents of Ashcroft enjoy the quiet community where one rarely runs into an unfamiliar face. The downtown area offers a range of services, restaurants and shops many of which are independently and locally owned. A unique area for its climate, Ashcroft has also been a popular sight for TV and movie production. Real estate in Ashcroft consists of mainly single-family homes ranging from $70,000 - $600,000. 

Mahone’s Bay, Nova Scotia

Set within Lunenburg County, along the South Shores of Nova Scotia is the picturesque town of Mahone’s Bay. Chances are you might have even seen glimpses of the town, as the prominent three churches which fall along the harbour have become somewhat of an iconic image of Nova Scotia. 

Mahone’s Bay is home to just over 1,000 full time residents, with much of the town’s activity stemming from tourist activity. A charming downtown and candy coloured housing has, however, drawn in more residents over the last couple of years, and made the town the fastest growing municipality in Nova Scotia. 

There are plenty of things to see and do around Mahone’s Bay which include upscale shopping, fine dining and of course, taking full advantage of the water with activities such as boating, paddleboarding, canoeing and fishing. 

Maple Creek, Saskatchewan

Maple Creek is a tiny town of just over 2,000 residents located in Cypress Hills of southwest Saskatchewan. A historic town, Maple Creek is filled with plenty of things to see and do for visitors and residents alike. 

Some of the most popular attractions found in Maple Creek include Cypress Hills Vineyard and Winery, a reconstructed national historic site known as Fort Walsh, the Robsart Art Works, and the T.rex Discovery Centre which housed the fossil record of the Eastend area started many years before the discovery of "Scotty" the T.Rex in 1994. 

The quiet and friendly town falls just 8km’s south of the Trans Canada Highway making it quick and easy for residents to access many nearby areas which include Medicine Hat which is just over an hours drive to the west. 

Canada is a beautiful country that is filled with amazing small towns and cities from coast to coast. Regardless of which one you call home, small towns throughout Canada offer a great balance of big city amenities and intimate, tight knit atmospheres. More and more we are seeing people choose to move out of large cities, and since this is Canada after, they are happily being welcomed into small towns.