The 10 Best Communities to Retire in 2020

Ottawa, ON

"Heart of the nation’s capital region"

Population: 934,243 Lifestyle: vibrant

The nation’s capital is a destination for many retirees for some obvious reasons. It's a great place to settle, to be near family in Ottawa Region, and there’s a wonderful mix of local conveniences and attractions. Parkland and greenspace line the two rivers that flow through the city. Museums and galleries are found throughout, including the Museum of Nature, the National Gallery of Canada, and others. Ottawa was ranked as the #1 best place to live by MoneySense in 2016 (and #2 in 2017). Our national capital is especially noted for healthy real estate values, an array of cultural activities, and easy access to health care.

Smaller communities on the outskirts of Ottawa are also worth your consideration. Stittsville offers fast-rising real estate values while still retaining its small-town charm. Further out, towns like Carleton Place and Manotick feature the best of country living with proximity to the capital region.

2. West Vancouver, BC


For good reason, West Van tops our own list of the best places to retire in British Columbia. All of majestic BC is an international destination for retirement, and this District is perfectly situated to sample all that's best about the province. It's removed from the expensive real estate and bustle of Vancouver proper but all that you love about the city is just across the Lion's Gate Bridge. Of course, Stanley Park, Cypress Provincial Park and a wealth of other mountain scenery beckon from nearby. By law, there is no industry allowed in the city. West Vancouver ranks high on sources like MoneySense, due to statistics like low taxes and low crime, but the real test is, how do people like living here?

3. Collingwood, ON

Population: 21,793 Weather: continental Lifestyle: social

Survey the population of central Ontario about their favorite summer beach destination, and Collingwood and Wasaga Beach will almost certainly win every poll. The fact is that people vote with their feet, anyway, and when they do, the beaches of Georgian Bay are crowded with Ontario sun-worshippers. The bay is also home to some of the most pleasant sailing waters in all of Canada. Don Wilson moved to Balmoral Village, an adult lifestyle community right in town. As he says, “Finding a perfect home, [with everything] we want for now and looking ahead, made the decision to move an easy one.”

4 . Calgary, AB

"Canada's sunniest city"

Population: 1,239,220 Weather: continental Lifestyle: cosmopolitan

Calgary is listed by The Economist as one of the top 5 most livable cities on earth. It's the jewel of Wild Rose Country, with the highest GDP per Capita in Canada and is ranked among the top cities in quality of life.

5. Clarington, ON

Population: 92,013 (2016) Weather: humid continental Lifestyle: fast or slow, depending on your mood

On the pristine shores of Lake Ontario, just outside the busy GTA, lies Clarington. Its proximity to Toronto makes it desirable for a multitude of reasons. Real estate prices are still reasonable but appreciating steadily here, so even in retirement, you'll acquire equity on your investment. This suburban area has low crime and the strong presence of commuting families. Nestled within that suburban population, though, you'll find a number of active living gems ideal for those 55 and older looking to downsize from their family home.

6. Lambton County, ON

Population: 123,399 Weather: continental Lifestyle: relaxed, friendly

Lambton County makes up the warmest, sunniest end of Lake Huron, an area brimming with destination beaches that include Grand Bend and Bright's Grove, as well as spots on the St. Clair River. There are several notable active lifestyle communities in the area, with more in development. This area's a hot spot for progressive-minded retirement development, removed as it is from the high-end real estate of the Golden Horseshoe, while it's also home to all that sunny beachfront. There's also just enough to do nearby when you want a day out. Great shopping is just a border-crossing away, and London – under an hour away – has an active nightlife, great restaurants, and fun activities for the grandkids.

7. Victoria, BC

Population: 383,360 (Greater Victoria) Weather: mild Lifestyle: active

Victoria is often ranked highly as a retirement destination for its low property tax rates and the high number of doctors per capita. Money and health care are important, certainly, but the climate here is second to none in the country. Healthy sea air and moderate temperatures make life here better than many other colder, drier climes. And of course, let’s not forget the scenery! Nearby towns include Saanich, just as desirable, and further up you’ll find sparkling island gems like Duncan, Comox Valley and other retirement destinations.

8. Swan River, MB

Population: 4,014 Weather: dry-continental Lifestyle: rural living

It's about time more people considered retiring to Manitoba. And Swan River, situated at the crossroads of Highways 10 and 275, stands out for several reasons. It's home to some of the most spectacular scenery and one of the most affordable active lifestyle communities in Canada. Summers in Manitoba are much drier than in other parts of the country, ideal weather for health issues like arthritis. Hey, if you snowbird in winter, why not "summer bird" in summer! There's great fishing in the river, and great golfing at the Swan River Golf and Country Club.

9. Ancaster, ON

Population: 40,557 Weather: humid-continental Lifestyle: easy-going, small-town living

Ancaster, Ontario is a rapidly growing community, well-situated on the cusp of the Golden Horseshoe but still retaining its small-town roots. It's home to lots of green space, and nearby you'll find world-class health care, along with notable higher learning environments like McMaster University and Mohawk College. Real estate prices in the area are much lower than those in the GTA, while downtown Toronto is still an easy drive along the 403.

Several neighborhoods in the Ancaster area are especially welcoming to those 55 and older who want to move into a smaller home. Adult lifestyle communities throughout the Hamilton area take away much of the traditional work of homeownership; here, grass-cutting, snow-shoveling and other household tasks are all taken care of, so you can just live.

10. Vancouver, B.C

"Hollywood North"

Population: 2,463,400 (Greater Vancouver) Weather: temperate-coastal Lifestyle: cosmopolitan

Vancouver is storied as one of the most eminently livable cities in the world, but it falls down our list here, due to its equally storied real estate prices. If you can afford a place in Vancouver, it makes a great investment, a factor you should consider even in retirement. With house prices still increasing as much as 5% year-over-year in recent times, Vancouver real estate remains a healthy way of investing your nest egg.

No list of great places to retire in Canada is complete without Vancouver, the central gem in the province that once duly labeled itself the best place on earth. And according to some, its spectacular scenery, temperate climate, and fresh sea air is just a bonus to living here! What's really important? The Economist has ranked Vancouver in the top three places to live in the world for years on end, based on key factors like stability, health care, culture, environment, education and infrastructure.

Source: Emily Brandon

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