And the winner is………

Okay, first let me give some introduction to this post. Today, I was mulling over a question from one of the blog readers – “Why did you choose Ottawa?” We had two major reasons for moving to Ottawa:

  1. Mr. O is in the IT/Telecoms space and Ottawa is the Tech capital of Ontario, and maybe Canada.
  2. We went through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program so our options were limited to Ontario. From research, we learnt that Ottawa was slightly cheaper to live in than Toronto. This was important in the first couple of months when we would not have any income.


Since moving to Ottawa though, we have come to love some additional things:

  1. The city is beautiful and clean.
  2. Everyone seems very easy going friendly.
  3. It is a multicultural city. Ottawa is diverse in religion, language and ethnicity, so we never feel out of place or “different”. We blend right in!


And for the cons:
  1. There’s a fair bit of construction ongoing, especially for the mass transit. Now, this gives us hope that the city will get even better in the medium term. However, the current mass transit system seems inadequate to support Ottawa’s booming population at the moment.
  2. It seems a tad bit boring. The pace of life here is generally slow to medium. Even in the downtown core, you do not sense that “frantic city pace” that you would get in New York and the City (in London).



Anyway, I got thinking….if we could choose anywhere, where would we have gone to? So I started to do some research, and came across this report by Moneysense. I have read on various fora different peoples’ opinions on the best place to live in Canada. Each person has sighted various reasons for their choice of “best city”.


While I am sure that they are mostly accurate, it gets quite tedious comparing cities yourself and trying to balance how each city caters to you and your family’s needs.



I love this Moneysense ranking because it compares all Canada’s cities based on these criteria – demographics, unemployment, income & wealth, affordability, taxation, mobility, crime, weather, health care, amenities, and culture & community – and assigns a weighting to each to arrive at a league table of sorts.


The results of my research shocked me! For the second consecutive year, Ottawa leads the pack among 417 cities analysed in the report. In terms of Provinces, Ontario makes up 40% of the Top 50, while Quebec and British Columbia account for 20% each.



Ottawa was chosen for its low unemployment rate, vibrant job market (especially in the tech sector which employs over 70,000 people), transit and healthcare accessibility, among other things.


The most interesting thing about Ottawa is that it is a very underestimated city. We always hear about the beautiful mid-sized cities in Toronto’s surrounding ‘Golden Horseshoe’, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, but never Ottawa.


  1. Ottawa, ON
  2. Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, QC
  3. Oak Bay, BC
  4. North Saanich, BC
  5. Weyburn, SK
  6. Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, QC
  7. St. Albert, AB
  8. Mont-Royal, QC
  9. Burlington, ON
  10. Lévis, QC




Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

Interestingly, there is also this ranking which I found quite useful. The winning city offers free summer programs for kids! Overall, Quebec seems to be a very good city for kids (and indeed to live in) as they feature very prominently (80%!) in the below list.

  1. Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, QC
  2. Levis, QC
  3. Blainville, QC
  4. Saint-Constant, QC
  5. Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, QC
  6. Mont-Royal, QC
  7. Oakville, ON
  8. Ottawa, ON
  9. Cantley, QC
  10. Mont-Saint-Hilaire, QC



I am sure that most of you reading would find this list very helpful. Again, and not surprisingly (after I have read the report lol), Ottawa topped this list.

  1. Ottawa, ON
  2. Waterloo, ON
  3. Regina, SK
  4. Brossard, QC
  5. Brandon, MB
  6. Guelph, ON
  7. Thunderbay, ON
  8. Oakville, ON
  9. London, ON
  10. Delta, BC



The best part about Moneysense is that they recognise that each individual will have their own unique priorities. So, they have created an interactive tool to help you find your “Best Place to Live”.


So, have fun with the tool guys, and let me know what city you would love to relocate to and what city the tool pick out for you 🙂


Enjoy the rest of your week!


Mrs. O


  1. Mrs O. Thanks for another wonderful piece as always. I used the interactive tool and found it extremely useful as I have been racking my brain…what city we are to settle in on arrival.

    But in my past interactions with friends already settled in Canada part of their motivation for choosing their current city was due to fact that they knew a friend or relative that had been living there. This afforded them a support structure to ease into in terms of things such as childcare, accommodation etc. until they found their feet within the country.

    In any case it’s always good to have a balanced perspective of issues which is always helpful in making an informed decision. Thanks again for sharing this. Keep up the good work. Seun UK

    1. Thanks Seun. You are right. From my experience as well, most people tend to go where they have friends and family, and with good reason. Support is very important, especially in the first couple of months. However, like you said, it is worth understanding what your options are before making a long term decision. Where are you on your application process? Please keep us posted.

  2. Thank you very much from this Mrs O, i stumbled on your blog from a response of yours on Quora, i just got my ITA last week so im preparing my documents at the moment, i am also in the IT sector too and hearing your opinion of the best place to settle is really nice

    1. Congrats on your ITA! Please keep us posted. If the recent processing times are anything to go by, your PPR should be round the corner.

  3. Hi Mrs O! I’ve read ur response on Quora thus leading me here. Canada has been my ‘dream’ country, and especially now that i’m in my mid life, I really hope that I can move there soon and retire in this lovely country.
    More than 27years ago, I was in Ontario for a month living with our family friend. That was the time I fell deeply in love with the country. Though the cold weather is a big threat to me as I have been living all my life in a country where the coolest temperature is about 25degrees celcius.
    I am aware that the successful applicants are mostly into IT. I have a degree in Commerce and have worked in a bank about 10years ago, and before that I was helping out in our family business which is into trading. I’m divorced with a 5 year old son. And all I want is for my son to have a secured future. In the country where we are now, I can’t rely on the government at all as it is very corrupt and poor. Our home country is at war with its own mother so I don’t want my son to grow up in such place exposing to the negativities of protests after protests.
    I’ve lost my savings on my previous court case against my ex-husband paying the lawyers. So now, to start anew, i’m exploring the ideas to move to a country where I can somehow rely on the government (to take care of my son) in case something happens to me. I heard that if I apply as a caretaker, it takes only about 4years and I can apply for PR? Do u know if there are other options? What about in the education? Because I may work out on some certificates if it can help me to increase the chance of getting a job in Canada and higher chance to get a grant from immigration?

    1. Hi Jezz and thanks for stopping by.

      I do not think that most successful applicants are in the IT field. While some provinces are actively seeking IT skilled labour (eg Ontario), this only applies to provincial nomination programs. The Express Entry system is unbiased towards all fields. I can imagine that it was love at first sight for you with Canada. It is such a beautiful city.

      Sorry to hear about the difficulties you have experienced in your personal life too. You must be one tough lady!

      Regarding applying for PR as a caregiver, my understanding is that you would need to have a number of years of experience in Canada, but I have not looked into this deeply. May I suggest that you use the CRS tool to check your eligibility first of all. If you score high enough, then you should consider completing an Express Entry profile.

      You are not restricted to working in your current field (Banking) once you land in Canada. Once your application is approved and you land, you are free to seek and obtain a job as a caregiver here in Canada. If you decide to go through this route, feel free to ask any questions you may have here.


      Mrs. O

  4. Great piece of advice!

    I am current gathering all the documents (my fiancée and I) to apply for Express Entry.
    I am focusing on London, but maybe Ottawa would be an option.

    I also found your blog through Quora. Keep the good articles coming, they help and give motivation for the ones that are still in the process of immigration.

    Thanks and best regards!


    1. Thanks Jackson! I wish you all the best in your application process. Please feel free to stop by and ask questions too as you gather your documents.

  5. Hello Mrs O.

    I got to your blog on quora. I am planning to immigrate to Canada but do not have all the money to do so right now.
    I have been researching on this for quite some time now and got to know that one of the issues many people face upon migrating to Canada is the “Canadian Work Experience” . This i have read about many people who have not been able to get jobs in their field due to no Canadian work experience.

    I am an IT professional with over 7 years experience specialized in Software and have more passion for UX.

    I want to come for 1 year Software Development and UX program in Canada, Vancouver in (Vanarts).

    Will I be able to get a job during or after my studies and if I get a job, will it lead me into getting a PR to stay in Canada in which i can bring in my family?

    I am looking at this procedure because i feel it might work out since some of the students who have graduated in Vanarts testified that they got job after studies and some during studies.

    Please i want to know these possibilities.

    Thank you.


    1. Hi Joel,

      I was just reading up on this yesterday for someone. I believe that you can work while studying in Canada, depending on the institution you choose. Please check out this CIC link for the designated learning institutions. Also, you may be eligible to work on-campus and/or off-campus depending on the course you are studying. Please see here for more details.

      If you graduated from a designated learning institution, you may be eligible to apply for a 1 year PGWP. This work experience can help you qualify for permanent residence in Canada. Depending on the province as well, you may be able to get a provincial nomination (OINP).

      Hope this helps.

      Mrs. O

    1. Thank you. We chose the PNP route because at the time, the ITA draw scores were very high – in the 480’s and we felt it was a good way to boost our score. Had we waited till early this year, we would have been drawn out of the pool and would have saved some money. However, at the time (November 2015), with the facts available to us, PNP was our best bet.

        1. Hi,

          Eventually, yes it is. Because there is an application fee you pay to the province to which you are applying. This varies from province to province.

  6. Hey Mrs O stumbled on your blog via Quora.
    Also got nominated through OINP and I’ll be landing in Ontario soon.
    Passed medicals and waiting for PPR.

    I haven’t given much thought to what city to call home………………….I guess I’m a bit scared to start my research. Could you give me some pointers on how to start making a choice about where to land, affordability and job opportunities are top criteria.

    I’m also planning to enroll for my Masters when I land, but I fear that with 3 kids I may not be able to pull that stunt. However which affordable universities in Ontario offer IT based Masters?

    Glad if you could help.

    1. Hi,

      Congrats on your nomination! Moneysense has a tool which you can play around with and customise based on your priorities. It will then determine the best city for you. The above post has links to the rankings and to the tool. Ultimately, it may be helpful to initially (at least) stay close to family and friends.

      However, if like us, you have not friends or relatives, then you have a blank canvas to work with and the tool may be useful for you.

      I haven’t done much research into masters programs here but I believe most of them are affordable for Canadian citizens and PRs.

      All the best and please keep us posted on where you decide to live.

  7. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Hey Mrs O stumbled on your blog via Quora.
    Also got nominated through OINP and I’ll be landing in Ontario soon.
    Passed medicals and waiting for PPR.

    I haven’t given much thought to what city to call home………………….I guess I’m a bit scared to start my research. Could you give me some pointers on how to start making a choice about where to land, affordability and job opportunities are top criteria.

    I’m also planning to enroll for my Masters when I land, but I fear that with 3 kids I may not be able to pull that stunt. However which affordable universities in Ontario offer IT based Masters?

    Glad if you could help.

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