Canada offers plenty of the best places to retire in the world. Ontario is a particular favourite among Canadian retirees because of the wealth of options available.
It’s not that every retiree will find Ontario the best for retirement. However, several towns in Ontario offer attractive amenities and lifestyles that suit many retirees with a retirement plan in Canada.
Where you retire can make a world of difference in how you can enjoy your golden years. If you’re nearing retirement and considering your options, I have created a list of the best places to retire in Ontario based on demographics, amenities, and the things you can do there.
Ontario is one of the ten Canadian provinces located on the east-central side of the country. It’s the most populous province, boasting Canada’s largest city, Toronto. Toronto is the capital of Ontario and the financial hub of the country. The massive city boasts diversity, as people of various cultures live throughout Ontario.
Ontario is not just in the heart of finance in Canada; it also features a beautiful environment that has captured the interest of tourists worldwide. From mesmerizing parks, forests, and greenery to the famous Niagara Falls, Ontario is a sight to behold and a remarkable place to call home.
While many people consider Toronto the star attraction in Ontario, the high living costs might deter you from choosing it as the place you want to retire. After all, once you retire, you aren’t earning an active income, and spending a good chunk of your retirement funds on living expenses would not be ideal.
Fortunately, many cities and small towns around the major metropolitan areas in Ontario offer a lower cost of living and slower pace of life that’s more suitable for retirees.
Here are my picks for the best places to retire in Ontario (in no specific order) that you could consider:
- Population: 511,000
- Percentage of residents over 65: 19%
- Median age: 39.1
- Average home price: $607,431
London, Ontario, is one of the best places to retire in Ontario and has the largest population compared to other places on the list.
The beautiful city sits on the Thames River, featuring nine main parks that are linked by trails. London is home to excellent medical facilities, including the University Hospital, Victoria Hospital & Children’s Hospital, and Mount Hope Centre for Long-Term Care.
It also boasts different retirement communities designed for older Canadian citizens, namely, Chartwell Retirement Residence, Richmond Woods Retirement Residence, and Windermere on the Mount.
- Population: 32,906
- Percentage of residents over 65: 24%
- Median age: 45.4
- Average home price: $767,498
Stratford is a quiet little town and is considered one of the best places to retire in Ontario, especially if you love theatre. Boasting the very popular Stratford Festival, the town is located on the Avon River in Southwestern Ontario. In terms of medical facilities, the closest facility is Stratford General Hospital.
Stratford is home to several retirement communities designed to help Canadian retirees live a comfortable retired life, including Royal Palisade, Chartwell Anne Hathaway Retirement Residence, and River Gardens Retirement Residence.
- Population: 85,163
- Percentage of residents over 65: 25%
- Median age: 42.3
- Average home price: $723,008
Located 125 kilometres northeast of Toronto in central Ontario, Peterborough is a bustling city that attracts many seniors who want to retire in Ontario. The city features several activities and cultural events suitable for older adults, including a hockey league with retirees between 55 and 80.
Peterborough is also called the “Electric City” because it was one of the first places in the region to have electric streetlights. The city boasts the Peterborough Regional Health Centre, a state-of-the-art hospital providing a wide range of services.
As one of the best places to retire in Ontario, it has several retirement communities, including Applewood Retirement Residence, Chartwell Jackson Creek Retirement Residence, Empress Gardens Retirement Residence, Princess Gardens Retirement Residence, Canterbury Gardens Retirement Residence, Royal Gardens Retirement Residence, Rubidge Retirement Residence, and Kawartha Heights Retirement Living, to name a few.
- Population: 141,125
- Percentage of residents over 65: 17%
- Median age: 37.8
- Average home price: $859,694
Also called “The Royal City”, Guelph is a city that is growing at a rapid pace in Canada. The city boasts a clean environment, offers a high standard of living, and is consistently ranked as one of the best places to retire in Ontario.
The culturally diverse population and entertainment options make it an attractive location for people of all ages. The Guelph General Hospital and St. Joseph’s Health Centre are two of the best medical facilities in the city.
Guelph is one of the best places to retire in Ontario because it features several retirement communities, including The Village of Arbour Trails, Guelph Lake Commons, Chartwell Royal on Gordon Retirement Residence, and Elliot Lake Retirement Living.
- Population: 18,652
- Percentage of residents over 65: 34%
- Median age: 55.5
- Average home price: $967,000
Niagara-on-the-Lake is not a large city, making it an instant favourite for many people who want to move away from the hustle and bustle of big cities.
It’s one of the best places to retire in Ontario for a host of different reasons. If you’re a wine lover, you will probably fall in love with the place because of its reputation for producing some of the best wines worldwide.
Just under half an hour away from Niagara Falls, the small town offers a wonderful lifestyle for Canadian retirees. The closest medical facility is the regional hospital in St. Catharines.
Niagara-on-the-Lake also boasts retirement communities like the River Road Retirement Residence, Stamford Estates, and Chateau Gardens Niagara LTC, making it an excellent place for retirees.
- Population: 20,094
- Percentage of residents over 65: 37%
- Median age: 53.8
- Average home price: $722,918
Cobourg is a small lakeside town located between Toronto and Kingston. Its mesmerizing waterfront makes it one of the best places to retire in Ontario.
You will find many tourists frequenting the lakeside town because of the stunning views. In terms of retiring here, Cobourg offers low living costs, making it even more attractive. It also boasts an active art scene and plenty of trails for cycling and hiking.
The town has an excellent medical facility in the Northumberland Hills Hospital and features retirement communities like Cobourg Retirement Residence, Rosewood Estates Gracious Retirement Living, and Palisade Gardens Retirement Community.
- Population: 135,220
- Percentage of residents over 65: 23%
- Median age: 40.1
- Average home price: $582,179
Kingston sits between Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto, offering a wide range of amenities that you usually only find in the larger cities. The town has a larger population than many of the other entries on this list, and it is considered one of the best places for sailing.
Located on the eastern side of Lake Ontario, Kingston offers a low cost of living and a significant population of retirement-aged citizens.
Kingston is home to the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario, which is located at Kingston General Hospital. The retirement communities in the town include Revera St. Lawrence Place Retirement Residence, Kingsdale Chateau, and Royale Place Retirement Residence.
Kingston also has one of the top-ranked golf courses in Canada, the Cataraqui Club.
- Population: 109,739
- Percentage of residents over 65: 23%
- Median age: 44.3
- Average home price: $292,500
Thunder Bay is the largest city in Ontario’s northwest region and was initially established as a fur trading post. The city has a sizable population of retirees and is located off the shore of Lake Superior.
If you like the sun, you will love Thunder Bay. You will also have access to several exciting outdoor activities, which is ideal if you want to enjoy a more active retired life.
The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is the leading medical facility in the region. Thunder Bay also offers several retirement communities, including Chartwell Isabella Retirement Residence, Chartwell Thunder Bay Retirement Residence, and Chartwell Glacier Ridge Retirement Residence.
- Population: 16,715
- Percentage of residents over 65: 32%
- Median age: 48.6
- Average home price: $643,498
If the ideal place for you to retire is a small town that offers a quiet and peaceful life, Tillsonburg might be a good option to consider. The town boasts a very small population, low property taxes, and a low crime rate. It also features the Tillson Community Centre Complex, which offers several amenities you might like, including an indoor swimming pool.
The Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital is an excellent medical facility. You can also find several retirement communities, including Dayspring Residence, Harvest Crossing Retirement Community, and Tillsonburg Retirement Residence.
- Population: 24,127
- Percentage of residents over 65: 30%
- Median age: 48.9
- Average home price: $843,364
Collingwood is another quaint town in Ontario with a small population. Located on the southernmost tip of Georgian Bay, Collingwood attracts many tourists each year because it provides easy access to several attractions, including Blue Mountain and Wasaga Beach.
The town has a sizeable percentage of retirement-age residents and is considered a sought-after destination.
The Collingwood General and Marine Hospital is an excellent medical facility. The town also boasts retirement communities, such as Balmoral Place Retirement Community, Chartwell Georgian Traditions Retirement Residence, and Raglan Village Adult & Retirement Community.
- Population: 22,343
- Percentage of residents over 65: 30%
- Median age: 46.7
- Average home price: $648,673
Owen Sound can be found on the southern shore of Georgian Bay and is popular for tourists because of its several natural attractions. It also hosts multiple festivals throughout the year, making it an attractive place for retirees and tourists.
The Owen Sound Hospital is an excellent medical facility that serves a wide area. The town also features several retirement communities that make it one of the best places to retire in Ontario, including John Joseph Place, Seasons Owen Sound Retirement Community, and Central Place Retirement Community.
- Population: 21,010
- Percentage of residents over 65: 25%
- Median age: 46.9
- Average home price: $665,843
The largest town in the Muskoka Region, Huntsville is considered one of the best places to retire in Ontario for several reasons. It offers easy access to multiple lakes and is a popular destination with many beautiful and scenic natural locations. The low living costs in the town also make it an attractive option for Canadian retirees.
The Huntsville District Memorial Hospital is the primary medical facility in the area. Huntsville also boasts several retirement communities, including Muskoka Landing, Country Moments Retirement Home, and Chartwell Muskoka Traditions Retirement Residence.
- Population: 59,392
- Percentage of residents over 65: 23.7%
- Median age: 58
- Average home price: $547,626
Nestled along the Bay of Quinte and located an hour’s drive west of Kingston, Belleville is a great destination for retirees seeking a balanced pace of life in the province.
The city combines the charm of natural settings like waterfront parks and walking trails with a quaint downtown that offers shopping, dining, and art attractions.
In terms of healthcare, Belleville General Hospital serves as the primary medical facility, offering a range of services, including emergency care and specialized treatments.
The city is also home to several retirement communities, including Quinte Gardens, Amica Belleville, and Richmond Retirement Residence.
14. Port Hope
- Population: 17,290
- Percentage of residents over 65: 28%
- Median age: 51
- Average home price: $669,000
If you’re eager to get away from the big city and like the idea of living in a small historic city, then Port Hope is definitely worth putting on your list of potential retirement destinations.
Even if you don’t end up moving here, it’s still worth a day trip, as it’s one of the best-preserved historic towns in the province.
The town is renowned for its well-preserved 19th-century architecture, creating a sense of nostalgia and community that is hard to replicate. Natural landscapes are easily accessible, with opportunities for fishing, hiking, and picnics along the Ganaraska River or in one of the many nearby parks.
For healthcare, the Northumberland Hills Hospital in nearby Cobourg is a conveniently short drive away.
- Population: 33,415
- Percentage of residents over 65: 26%
- Median age: 47
- Average home price: $582,000
Often referred to as the “Sunshine City,” Orillia is notable for its waterfront parks, boating facilities, and fishing spots. It’s a paradise for those who love to be close to water and nature or who plan on picking up boating in their golden years.
Currently, the city is in the process of revitalizing some of its waterfront parks, so there are some temporary closures. However, the newly updated parks are expected to be beautiful.
Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital serves as the city’s primary healthcare facility. It offers a wide array of medical services to meet the needs of an aging population.
Overall, the city has a vibrant cultural scene featuring art galleries, theatres, and music festivals.
16. Wasaga Beach
- Population: 24,860
- Percentage of residents over 65: 34.7%
- Median age: 47
- Average home price: $634,500
Famous for its sprawling sandy shoreline along Georgian Bay of Lake Huron, Wasaga Beach offers a unique environment for retirees. This town is home to the longest freshwater beach in the world (no exaggeration).
Because of this, the town sees a lot of tourists during the warm summer months, with over two million visitors passing through. This can be a great opportunity to socialize and spend time in the town’s busier hubs. Once the summer season passes, though, the town becomes quieter and is mostly frequented by locals.
If you’ve ever fantasized about retiring in a beach house but don’t want to pick up and move your life to the southern US, this is a great spot to consider retiring in.
- Read More: How To Retire In Florida From Canada
17. St. Mary’s
- Population: 7,390
- Percentage of residents over 65: 26.4%
- Median age: 48
- Average home price: $516,000
Located 40 minutes north of London, St. Mary’s is a charming retirement destination with a small population and a great local community. Despite its small population, there are a number of quaint parks, easy-to-walk trails, and even three golf courses.
St. Mary’s was founded in 1840 and is known as the “Stone Town” for its historic limestone architecture, which was built with stone from the local quarry.
The local St. Marys Memorial Hospital is equipped to handle both emergency needs and offers some specialized services, especially in cardiovascular care.
Choosing The Best Place To Retire In Ontario: Key Metrics
Retirement is a significant life transition, and where you choose to spend it can significantly impact your overall well-being and enjoyment of life. This is one reason why an increasing number of Canadians have been considering retiring overseas.
For those who want to remain in the country, though, Ontario is an excellent central location.
From its diverse cultural to recreational and social amenities, the province offers a wide range of benefits for retirees. Here’s a quick guide outlining the key metrics you should consider when picking a retirement destination.
The size of the population in your retirement destination can greatly influence your social life and access to amenities.
- Smaller Towns: If a cozy, tight-knit community appeals to you, consider smaller towns like Thunder Bay or Huntsville. These places offer a slower pace of life, and residents often know each other, leading to a stronger sense of community.
- Mid-sized Cities: Guelph and Kingston offer the perfect balance between city and community life. There are more activities to spend your time on than smaller towns, but the sense of local community isn’t lost.
- Larger Cities: You’ll never run out of things to do in large urban centers like Ottawa and Toronto. From healthcare facilities to parks, restaurants, shopping, and a variety of cultural and recreational activities, these are great places for those seeking a more socially active retirement. However, they can be very busy and may lack the “everyone-knows-your-name” vibe.
Percentage Of Residents Over 65
Communities with a higher proportion of seniors are often better equipped to meet the specific needs of this demographic. Plus, you’ll find more opportunities to make new friends and enjoy some of the more social aspects of retirement.
Cities and towns with a higher percentage of seniors often offer:
- Senior-friendly public spaces: Parks with ample seating and gentle walking trails.
- Social clubs and activities tailored for seniors: Bingo nights, book clubs, and specialized fitness classes are often more readily available.
- Availability of age-appropriate healthcare services: This could include clinics that specialize in geriatric care, physical therapy, and more.
Average Home Price
Housing costs are a significant factor in deciding where to retire, as they can directly impact your budget.
If you want to live in a larger city, you’ll usually need to fork over more money to rent or buy a house, meaning you may need to downsize your lifestyle and revisit your retirement budget.
Conversely, you may be able to upsize your lifestyle by moving to a more rural location or even a smaller city. If you’ve ever wanted to buy a house on some land, cultivate a garden, or get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this could be a good opportunity.
- Related Reading: Cheapest Places To Live In Ontario
Access To Quality Healthcare
Access to quality healthcare facilities should be a primary concern for retirees. Even if you’re in good health now, time and age will eventually have their effects. Even the healthiest seniors may need regular physical therapy to maintain optimal mobility.
In case of emergencies, it also helps to live in close proximity to emergency medical facilities.
An ideal retirement location should feature:
- Proximity to Hospitals: A nearby hospital can offer peace of mind and practical benefits for routine checks and emergency situations.
- Specialized Services: Mid to larger-sized cities often have facilities specializing in conditions that are more common among seniors, such as cardiac care or orthopedics.
Having access to reliable public transportation options can be a lifesaver, particularly if you wish to minimize or eliminate driving.
Larger cities, of course, offer the best public transportation. The more rural of a town you live in, the more you’ll need to rely on your own vehicle or friendly neighbours.
That being said, it’s also common for cities and towns with a higher percentage of seniors to offer free or low-cost transportation options specifically for seniors.
The earlier you start preparing for your retirement, the better. Remember that the best possible options to suit your requirements as a retiree will depend on your preferences and your finances.
Learn about how to start investing in Canada through my guide if you’re thinking of putting your savings to work and building a more substantial retirement nest egg.
While my focus in this post was on the best places to retire in Ontario, I understand that not everyone would want to move to Ontario to spend their twilight years.
Fortunately, there are several places that you may find more suitable. Check out my list of the best places to retire in Canada to explore more options.