More and more Americans moving to Canada, but which Canadian cities are US citizens moving to, and why?

Unique characteristics differentiate and define Canadian cities, large and small, but one thing that they have in common is that they are home to increasing numbers of Americans moving to Canada. As an American, if you want to select a Canadian city that best meets your needs and wants, then read on.

Toronto

As Canada’s largest city, and the fourth-biggest in North America in terms of population, Toronto has something for everyone. More Americans in Canada call Toronto home than any other Canadian city.

Toronto is Canada’s financial hub and it’s financial district is located downtown, close to the CN Tower. It is also home to many of North America’s fashion and design houses. And with extensive public transport, newcomers to Toronto may find that owning a car becomes an option, rather than a necessity. Finally, it is important to be aware that Toronto has some of the most expensive property prices in Canada and across the world. The average price for a two bed condo in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has surpassed  $400,000, while renting a one-bedroom apartment may set you back $2,000 or more per month, depending on the neighbourhood.

Vancouver

Located in the beautiful province of British Columbia and just 50 kilometres north of the US border, Canada’s third-biggest city, Vancouver, is only second to Toronto in terms of US-born residents Vancouver has become a magnet for many young and ambitious Americans moving to Canada with a sense of adventure. The combination of a booming film and visual effects industry with incredible mountain and ocean scenery and a seemingly unlimited range of outdoor pursuits make it one of the unique Canadian cities to live and work in. From Granville Island to Stanley Park and across the Capilano Suspension Bridge, there is so much to see and do in Vancouver.

View of Downtown Vancouver from above | Americans moving to Canada

Downtown Vancouver is the perfect mix of urban skyscrapers and amazing natural scenery.

Unlike most other Canadian cities, Vancouver has a relatively temperate climate, which means that rain is common, particularly from October to March. Thankfully you can often avoid many of the downpours by taking the city’s Skytrain or extensive bus and ferry networks. Similar to Toronto, one drawback of living in Vancouver is the price of renting or purchasing property.

Montreal

Montreal, Quebec is the fourth-largest French-speaking city in the world after Kinshasa, Paris and Abidjan, while it ranks in the top three in the city-stakes for the number of Americans moving to Canada. As of 2016, almost 18,000 Americans called Montreal their permanent home, with many more Americans enjoying life in Montreal as a student or on a temporary work permit. As the second-largest city in Canada, Montreal is a diverse, bilingual and multicultural hub that is often referred to as Canada’s cultural capital. It is also home to some of the world’s leading aerospace, pharmaceutical and visual effects companies.

Montreal is one of the most densely populated Canadian cities, and as a result has an extensive metro (underground light rail system) and bus service to cater to the needs of the four million inhabitants who live in the wider metropolitan area. When it comes to things to do and places to hang out in Montreal, there are plenty of options to choose from, including Old Montreal, Place Des Arts, La Ronde and Biodome Montreal.

This highway in Montreal is one of many in the city | Americans moving to Canada

Ville Marie is one of Montreal’s most popular neighbourhoods.

Unlike Toronto and Vancouver, renting and purchasing property in Montreal is comparatively affordable. As of April 2018, the average rental price of a one-bedroom apartment in Montreal was $1,290, though good apartments in many neighbourhoods can be rented at an even lower rate.

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Calgary

Situated on the edge of the Rocky Mountains, Calgary has a lot going for it in the ideal city stakes. In addition to having some of the most breathtaking views in North America right on its doorstep, Calgary is also the sunniest city in Canada, as well as one of the youngest. All that sunshine and youth has helped to make Calgary the fourth most liveable city in the world, as judged by The Economist’s 2018 Global Liveability Index.

As of 2016, over 12,100 Americans were permanently settled in Calgary, with more present as students and workers

Calgary, and Alberta more generally, is home to 95% of Canada’s oil reserves. Consequently, jobs in mining, construction, engineering and a plethora of related industries thrive in the province’s biggest city. Calgary is a driving city, and the sprawling nature of its layout means that owning a car should be considered. The average price to rent  a one-bedroom apartment in Calgary is around $1,200.

Ottawa

Ottawa, Canada’s multicultural capital city, is often underrated, but it is a great location for Americans moving to Canada looking for a city where history and culture adorn almost every street corner. Over 9,500 Americans call Ottawa their permanent home, and while some are undoubtedly employed in government positions, Ottawa is also a hotbed for innovative tech startups, with Shopify starting out from here in 2006.

Cycling is one of the most popular pastimes in Ottawa | Americans moving to Canada

The University of Ottawa sits beside the Rideau Canal in Sandy Hill

With a population of around one million, Ottawa has traffic problems. Thankfully, the Confederation Line light-rail system will launch in 2019, helping residents in a range of Ottawa neighbourhoods to alleviate this issue. House prices in Ottawa are high and getting higher. This is exemplified by the fact that the average price for residential properties sold in Ottawa in June 2018 was $449,200, up 3.4% from June 2017.

Victoria

Located on the picturesque Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Victoria (pop: 370,000) is a magnet for Americans moving to Canada and looking for a slower pace of life surrounded by natural beauty. Victoria is a progressive and environmentally-friendly city that is home to 6,200 settled Americans.

If you are looking for a job in Victoria, then the tourism and tech sectors are two of your best bets. Similarly, as the provincial capital of British Columbia, Victoria is also a government city that attracts Americans moving to Canada with a political or media-based background.

Windsor

Windsor, Ontario may seem like a surprise destination for top Canadian cities for US-born citizens, but the reality is that it’s close proximity to the United States, and Detroit in particular, makes it an ideal location for Americans moving to Canada. As of 2016, just over 6,000 Americans were living in Windsor as permanent residents or dual citizens.

Picturesque waterfront in the heart of Windsor | Americans moving to Canada

The Windsor, Ontario Waterfront Trail.

Windsor provides Americans moving to Canada with a small, compact downtown that can be navigated easily. It is also home to the University of Windsor and a number of tech startups taking advantage of the cheaper commercial rental rates. Public transport is considered pretty unreliable in Windsor, but the relatively low costs of rent make it an affordable place to call home.

Edmonton

Edmonton is Alberta’s capital, and the sports-mad city is also home to a growing number of Americans. Situated close to the world famous Jasper National Park in the Rocky Mountains, Edmonton is the most northerly major city in North America. With a metropolitan area that is home to more than one million people, it should come as no surprise that over 8,600 Americans are settled Edmontonians.

West Edmonton Mall attracts millions of visitors each year. | Americans moving to Canada

The West Edmonton Mall is the largest mall in North America.

Edmonton is an employment hub for northern and central Alberta, with the oil and gas industries among the biggest employers in the region. Edmontonians also possess the highest average income in Canada, aided further by relatively affordable living costs in terms of housing, as well as low tax rates by Canadian standards. Edmonton is also a city where you really need a car, as public transit is far from perfect. Many of the malls and attractions are outside of the city’s downtown core.

Hamilton

Hamilton has recently stepped out of nearby Toronto’s shadow and shown how important a city it is in its own right. From 2016, there were 5,700 Americans living in Hamilton permanently, out of a total population in the wider metropolitan area of approximately 536,000. The most recent census data indicates that over 20% of Hamilton residents were born outside Canada.

Hamilton is home to a modern transit system known locally as the Hamilton Street Railway, and there is  also an extensive network of bike paths. In terms of renting, Hamilton is much cheaper than Toronto, it’s bigger and more illustrious neighbour on Lake Ontario. The average price of a one-bedroom apartment in Hamilton is approximately $1,000 per month. Manufacturing, medical and tertiary education are three of the biggest employment sectors in Hamilton.

Winnipeg

Located in the prairie province of Manitoba, when it comes to Canadian cities there aren’t many more central than Winnipeg. As the provincial capital of Manitoba, government jobs are plentiful in Winnipeg, while the recent opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights provides the perfect focal point for the city.

Public transit is pretty hit and miss in Winnipeg, meaning that a car is more of a necessity than it may be in larger cities such as Toronto or Montreal. With a population of over 725,000, almost 4,500 of whom are permanently-settled Americans, Winnipeg is the perfect mid-sized city for Americans moving to Canada and looking for something a little different.

The average price for a house in Winnipeg is close to $300,000, making it far more affordable than Canada’s larger cities.

Are you a US citizen living in Canada? Got a story to share? We’d love to find out how you are doing in Canada and showcase your story in our dedicated section on moving to Canada from the US. Contact [email protected] and let us know about your journey to Canada.

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