If you’re thinking about spending the most rewarding part of your life in the Great White North, this 11 best places to retire in Canada list should come in handy. It might not be as sunny as Florida, for instance, but Canada has its advantages and plenty of them at that. English is the official language here (together with French), and cultural differences are more or less insignificant for American retirees. Moreover, Canadian healthcare system coupled with financial incentives is unmatched by any of America’s 50 states and wider. More liberal economic and social policies needn’t be mentioned as well, but there are some drawbacks too. For starters, it’s still a foreign country for American retirees, hence, residency might become an issue. Furthermore, Canadian immigration law has become somewhat more strict in recent years, especially for those short on money. While Canada isn’t among 10 cheapest countries to live like a king, it is more affordable than the US thanks to aforementioned social benefits.
US citizens wishing to retire abroad have to plan their move carefully. Canada is generally an easier place to move and live, but this doesn’t mean you can just walk right in and settle without fulfilling the requirements and finishing the paperwork. You can do that, however, if you’re planning on spending no more than 6 months in a year there. The rest of the time can be spent in Arizona, for instance. I’m stating this example because many people do exactly that. However, this is not the topic of our article here. Most important aspects to pay attention to when moving abroad are checking visa and residency requirements, and studying the local laws. Preparing your finances and medical care plan are also topping the list of things to do before moving away. You should note that the US Government health plan for people aged 65 and over does not cover healthcare abroad. Luckily, Canadian healthcare system is much more humane than that of the United States. Furthermore, don’t forget to file an annual report with the IRS. Although an agreement between the countries prevents double taxation, you are still required to file the form in both countries. Of course, you’ll only pay the Canadian tax.
But, what is it like actually getting to Canada as a senior citizen? It used to be much easier before since there was a special category for retirees. They only needed to state that they want to retire in Canada, prove that they are in good health, that they have no criminal record, and that they are financially independent. Right now, potential retirees are regarded like any other immigrant, and they can choose which category suits them best. The easiest way is to qualify as an immigrant investor, but you need $800,000 of net worth. Otherwise, it’s either family ties or skilled worker category. Be advised that you’ll likely fail in the latter of the two if you’re above the age of 54 since the lack of points based on age might severely damage your application’s chances to succeed.
With that out of the picture, let us focus on the actual methodology used to determine the 11 best places to retire in Canada. You’ll all agree that weather, a number of physicians and average property taxes play, probably the most important roles when choosing the place to retire. All this data has been pulled from Money Sense – who possess the largest database of Canadian cities’ statistics relevant for this research. For determining whether weather suits prospective retirees, we have used a number of days with daily minimum temperatures higher than 0 ºC or 32 ºF, and total rainfall depicted in mm per square meter during one hour. Instead of calculating the average property taxes we have shown them in percentages so that you can easily calculate them yourselves based on the market value of property in question. Finally, the number of physicians per 1,000 inhabitants is pretty much self-explanatory. All criteria will be assigned points from 1 to 10, and cities with best overall score will be inducted to the list of 10 best places to retire in Canada.
11. Toronto, ON
While Canada’s largest city isn’t exactly a role model for retirement, it actually offers plenty of advantages to our elders. Property tax is among lowest in the country at only 1.89%, but note that most properties are also more expensive than it is the case in rural parts. Given its vastness, Toronto hides plenty of suburban neighborhoods which are actually better suited to elders than most traditional smaller areas. Moreover, you’ll always be close to a doctor since there are at least 2 physicians per 1,000 inhabitants here. Finally, 264 days with minimum daily temperature above zero and average 714 mm of precipitation mean that weather in Toronto will serve you well too.
10. Edmonton, AB
The capital of Alberta and Canada’s fifth largest city might look like an odd choice as well, but things aren’t that simple. Edmonton offers plenty of opportunities to prospective retirees including 2.9 physicians per 1,000 citizens and 2.49% property tax which is about average for Canada. Although in Canada’s mid-west, Edmonton has a plethora of non rainy days with precipitation being 348 mm. On the other hand, 185 days with above zero minimum temperature mean that the city is somewhat cold.
9. Quebec City, QC
St. Lawrence river starts its estuary just after leaving Quebec City, but that doesn’t necessarily have to mean anything to those wishing to retire in Canada. What’s important to them are 3.8 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants and relatively low property taxes of 2.04%. The weather might not be ideal, on the other hand, but at least it’s not disastrous as well. 195 days with minimum temperatures higher than 0 ºC (32 ºF) and precipitation of 899 mm are manageable.
8. Saanich, BC
Saanich might be the first, but it certainly won’t be the last British Columbia city on this list of 11 best places to retire in Canada. Located at the southern tip of the Vancouver Island, Saanich has a climate influenced by the North Pacific ocean current. In other words, it’s mild and rainy. The temperature rarely drops below zero which is evident by 334 above zero days in a year, and precipitation is more than endurable for this part of the country – 886 mm. Add to that 3.1 doctors per 1,000 people and 2.71% property tax, and you’ll see why Saanich lands where it does.
7. Kingston, ON
Kingston is located at the spot where St. Lawrence begins its journey from Lake Ontario to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Atlantic Ocean. It features property tax of 2.52% and no less than 4.4 physicians per 1,000 inhabitants – most among cities listed here. It also features 223 days with positive temperatures and 809 mm of rainfall every year. All this makes Kingston a fine place to settle for anyone – not only elders.
6. Canmore, AB
Canmore’s proximity to Calgary and numerous national parks including Banff, Kootenay and Yoho, make it quite an attractive location for settling down. Property tax of 2.69% isn’t as bad as it looks since property is usually less expensive in smaller mountain towns. Canmore also boasts 3.7 physicians per 1,000 of its inhabitants, 159 above zero days which is understandable for a mountain town, and only 322 mm of rainfall a year – lowest among listed cities.
5. Rimouski, QC
Rimouski is located on the right bank of St. Lawrence river where it already reaches its maximum width. This 50,000 inhabitants city has no less than 3.9 physicians per 1,000 people. Property tax amounts to 2.31% and precipitation comes to 687 mm. 197 days with minimum daily temperatures above zero don’t seem like much, but they’re pretty much above average for Rimouski’s northern exposition.
4. Joliette, QC
Joliette’s proximity to Montreal doesn’t even need to be mentioned as its advantage. 3.9 physicians per 1,000 inhabitants is another perk of spending the golden years here, and so is property tax of 2.14%. Joliette ranks as high on this list of 11 best places to retire in Canada as it does thanks to 202 averagely warm days per year and precipitation of 813 mm.
3. Vernon, BC
We’re closing this list with a trio of British Columbia cities. Vernon is relatively far from the Pacific Ocean and, hence receives only 333 mm of rainfall a year. At the same time, 249 days feature temperatures higher than 0 ºC (32 ºF), which means that weather is more than suitable for retirees. 3 doctors per 1,000 of the city’s inhabitants is another one of Vernon’s perks, and only property tax of 2.81% slightly ruins the picture. However, a property in Vernon isn’t that highly priced for property tax to make too much fuss.
2. Vancouver, BC
Largest Canadian west coast city doesn’t need any kind of introduction. If you’re planning on retiring in Canada and you still crave for the urban setting, Vancouver is definitely the place to go. Expensive property is countered by somewhat lower property tax of 1.72%, and you’ll never be in jeopardy from lack of professional medical help since 2.5 physicians per 1,000 inhabitants call this city their home. 1,231 mm of rainfall a year means that you’ll have to love the rain, but 331 days with minimum temperatures higher than zero Celsius also mean that winter doesn’t hold its grip over Vancouver.
1. Victoria, BC
We have already mentioned Saanich on this list, and Victoria is the city towards which Saanich gravitates. There are 3.1 physicians per 1,000 citizens in Victoria, and property tax is as low as 1.58%. Furthermore, 319 days with relatively high daily temperatures, and 845 mm of rainfall perfectly describe what British Columbia is all about. This concludes our list of 11 best places to retire in Canada. Hopefully, it helps you in finding your dream place.