Canada may be home to less than 0.5% of the world’s population, but it has six of the world’s 100 best cities. That’s according to the 2021 World’s Best Cities Report — a ranking list referenced by some prestigious travel guides, including Lonely Planet — that places Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Ottawa, and Edmonton among the world’s greatest cities.
In each case, Canada’s cities ranked higher in the latest report compared to the previous edition.
The Best Cities list isn’t one of those quirky rankings that spits out winners you haven’t heard of. Somewhat predictably, London, New York, and Paris took the podium, in that order, followed by Moscow and Tokyo. In this ranking, size matters, as does history.
Best Cities is the home of Vancouver-based Resonance Consultancy’s exclusive ranking of the world’s top urban destinations. Their methodology uses six metrics — place, product, programming, people, prosperity, promotion — to arrive at how and where a city ranks overall.
Toronto, for example, is the third-best city in the world under the ‘people’ metric, which accounts for a city’s diversity, immigration rate, and educational attainment. Notably, the ‘place’ metric was tweaked for 2020 to account for, you guessed it, the rate of Covid-19 infection.
So, let’s find out why Canada’s major cities made the list of best cities in the world!
Toronto (13th best city in the world, up from 17th)
Metro population: 6.9m
What they say: ‘Economic growth, fueled by immigration and global investment, have Canada’s largest city poised for big things. Toronto’s diversity is less tied to migrant labour and more to the long-term opportunity in a city that earlier this summer was crowned as the fastest growing metropolitan area in all of North America.’
- Key reading: 19 things to know before moving to Toronto
Vancouver (34th best city in the world, up from 41st)
Metro population: 2.4m
What they say: ‘Silicon Valley and Seattle tech giants are coming to town with plenty of jobs, coaxed by Canada’s openness to immigration from global tech talent largely spurned by four years of nationalist policies south of the border. Additionally, Canada’s—and Vancouver’s in particular—comparatively pro-active response to and containment of the pandemic has endeared the city to even more global nomads who can work from anywhere.’
- Key reading: Things to know before you move to Vancouver
Montreal (41st best city in the world, up from 45th)
Metro population: 3.6m
What they say: ‘Canada’s exotic French heart was hit hard with COVID-19. But a return to brighter days is never far here, mes amis. Despite the cancellation of iconic programming like the Grand Prix, the city acted swiftly to turn major streets into creatively-styled outdoor hangouts with art and music, and vastly increased bike lanes. The summer of 2020, as ever in the city, was deliriously enjoyable and tragically short — not for nothing does Montreal rank 25th in the world for the number of quality activities, shows and events.’
- Key reading: Where’s the best place to live in Montreal?