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Canadian Cities Rank High

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 18 January 2000 00:00

Vancouver, British Columbia, ranks number one for quality of living, according to the world-wide quality of living survey by William M. Mercer Ltd, an international human relations consultancy. This survey fuels the continuing rivalry between Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal but does not end controversy as the others earn top ranking in different surveys.

"Topping the list is Vancouver, followed by Zurich, Vienna and Bern," states the official survey release, which explains that these cities shared the highest rating since their scores, based on 39 quality-of-living criteria, were so similar. The survey of 218 cities identifies other Canadian cities in the top 10 rankings: Toronto (joint 5th position), Montreal (joint 7th position) and Calgary (joint 9th position). A combination of social stability, excellent infrastructure and good leisure facilities earned Canadian cities their ratings.

Quality of living factors included political, economic and environmental factors, personal safety and health, education, transport and other public services. The ratings are used by multinational companies to calculate compensation for differences in quality of living standards for employees posted to jobs around the world. Variables affecting personal safety, hygiene and the basic comforts of living and relating to crime levels, transportation and education services make the biggest differences in comparing the top cities and those in developing countries. Cities were ranked against New York which established the base line with a score of 100. Compared with the top four cities, which each scored 106, the least desirable cities are Brazzaville and Pointe Noire in Congo which score 23 and 30.5 respectively.

Montreal beat out Toronto, Vancouver and Boston in a North American ranking of university students per capita, says a survey recently released by Montreal's McGill University. According to survey spokesman, this survey is significant since knowledge-based industries want to locate where they have access to an educated workforce. The higher ranking may also make it easier for Montreal to attract top researchers and sizable research grants.

Montreal is number one at 4.38 students per 100 inhabitants compared to 2.78 students per 100 inhabitants for Vancouver, which placed ninth, and 2.61 for Toronto, which placed 10th, according to a National Post report on the survey.

Toronto ranks itself number one in population and as headquarters for Canada's financial community.

What does the battle to become number one mean to homeowners?

It may mean a thriving economy since people want to live and work where they can have the highest quality of life and best job opportunities. The resulting economic development may create a strong tax base which may take the pressure off residential property owners. International recognition for quality of life and academic standing may attract much-sought-after high-tech businesses and international investment.

A number-one rating may attract more retirees as the demographic age wave begins to look for somewhere to enjoy those "golden years." This may mean a housing boom which drives up real estate values and has developers fighting for every square meter of vacant land. The very features that earned Vancouver its number one rating may disappear in massive grid lock.

Or, a number-one ranking may mean nothing more than a new factoid to toss about in the next boasting match.

More Canadian News & Issues:

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  • 'Buy the Best Location,' Calgary Couple Believes
  • Rising Energy Prices Shrink Canadian Purchasing Power
  • Canadian Housing: Affordability On The Rebound
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