6 Best Provinces To Live In Canada & Why They’re Great (2024)

Canada’s 13 provinces and territories offer plenty of variety in terms of natural beauty, city life, and industry.

Canada was recently ranked as the second-most beautiful country in the world thanks to its natural beauty. But the country offers a lot more than its natural beauty alone.

I’ve outlined the best provinces to live in Canada below, based on various factors.

List Of Canadian Provinces & Territories

Canada is the second-largest country in the world (after Russia). Despite this, its population is relatively small, and the entire country is home to just 39,292,355 people.

Despite its massive size, much of Canada is uninhabited or sparsely populated due to harsh winters and unforgiving geography. During the peak winter months, many regions of Canada are inaccessible by roads and can only be accessed by air transportation.

As a result, most of the population is centred around major cities and economic centres.

Here’s a quick chart outlining Canada’s thirteen provinces and territories, their estimated population, and their biggest cities:

Province/TerritoryEstimated PopulationCapital City
British Columbia5,145,000Victoria
New Brunswick770,000Fredericton
Newfoundland and Labrador523,000St. John’s
Nova Scotia977,000Halifax
Prince Edward Island159,000Charlottetown
Quebec8,574,000Quebec City
Northwest Territories (Territory)41,786Yellowknife
Nunavut (Territory)41,786Iqaluit
Yukon (Territory)40,000Whitehorse

The Top Provinces To Live In Canada (Plus Major Cities)

Below, I’ll outline some of the best provinces in Canada, list their major cities, explain what the major industries and job prospects are, and give you some data on how affordable each province is to live in.

I’ll also share some of the most notable attractions in each province so you know where to go when you visit!

Although all the provinces have their own unique benefits, the following stand out the most to me.

1. British Columbia

British Columbia
  • Capital City: Victoria
  • Other Major Cities: Vancouver, Kelowna, Abbotsford
  • Region: The West Coast
  • Best Known For: Beautiful weather, incredible natural parks, Vancouver Island
  • Biggest Industries: Forestry, tech, tourism


Located on Canada’s west coast on the Pacific Ocean, British Columbia is easily one of the country’s most scenic and visually captivating provinces.

Known for its lush green forests, mountains (most notably Mountain National Park), rich cultural heritage, and dynamic economy, it’s easily one of the best provinces to live in Canada.

British Columbia is especially popular for outdoor lovers, thanks to its stunning forests and coastline, as well as its towering mountains.

However, it is also home to a budding tech industry and Vancouver is home to some of the country’s most notable fintech companies.

Job Opportunities & Major Industries:

British Columbia offers various industries and job opportunities, particularly in forestry, tech, and tourism.

  • Technology: British Columbia is home to a growing tech sector, particularly in the Vancouver area. It is known for its thriving tech industry and is often referred to as “Canada’s Silicon Valley.”
  • Forestry: British Columbia is home to vast forests and is one of the largest producers of paper and wood products in the country. The forestry industry plays a significant role in the province’s economy and is, by far, the largest blue-collar sector in the province.
  • Tourism: British Columbia is known for its parks and nature, attracting millions of tourists each year. The tourism industry is a major source of revenue for the province and employs many residents in hospitality, food and beverage, and more.


While the cost of living in British Columbia is higher than in some other parts of Canada, the quality of life and natural beauty more than make up for it. If you’re looking for low living costs in BC, you’ll definitely want to move outside of the city into a more suburban region.

Despite its higher cost of living, the province’s thriving economy, top-notch healthcare system, and high standard of living make it a desirable location for families, professionals, and retirees alike.

As someone who used to live in BC, I always said that if you can afford it, it’s the best province to live in Canada.

Notable Attractions & Activities:

Vancouver, the province’s most populous city, is notable for its mild climate, bustling economy, numerous outdoor recreational options, and thriving cultural scene.

The province capital, Victoria (located on Vancouver Island), is famous for its picturesque architecture and for having the best weather in the country.

Aside from its busy cities, though, the main reason why tourists love British Columbia is its nature. The Rocky Mountains expand up through the US into central BC, and its slopes make it a prime attraction for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding.

Overall, Canada’s westernmost province is home to some of the country’s best national parks.

Who This Province Is Best For:

  • Outdoor enthusiasts
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Tech specialists
  • Retirees

2. Ontario

  • Capital City: Toronto
  • Other Major Cities: Ottawa, London, Markham, Windsor, St. Catharines
  • Region: Central Canada
  • Best Known For: Being Canada’s most populous province
  • Biggest Industry: The service sector (healthcare, finance, retail, education, etc.)


Ontario offers a mix of both urban and rural living. Its largest city, Toronto, is known for its diverse population and economic opportunities and recently surpassed Vancouver as the country’s most expensive city.

However, Ontario also serves as Canada’s agricultural centre and has no shortage of farmland and small rural towns.

The province has a strong economy and a diverse job market and also serves as the seat of the Canadian government. It’s one of the best provinces to live in Canada for entrepreneurs, college graduates, and other skilled professionals. Its bustling job market is unparalleled.

Ontario is a province in Canada that offers a traditional four-season climate with cold winters and warm summers. While its northern regions are sparsely populated, central and southern Ontario are busy and represent the most people per capita in Canada.

The province offers good access to healthcare, education, and cultural amenities. Compared to other provinces, Ontario is probably one of the easiest to immigrate to, thanks to its high concentration of job opportunities and diverse population.

Job Opportunities & Major Industries:

Ontario (specifically the Greater Toronto Area) is the economic powerhouse of Canada. It’s home to a high concentration of service sector jobs, manufacturing plants, and government organizations.

The major industries in Ontario include:

  • Services: The service sector is the largest industry in the province, including finance, healthcare, retail, and education.
  • Industrial Manufacturing: Ontario has a large manufacturing sector, particularly in the automotive, aerospace, and high-tech industries.
  • Agriculture: Ontario is one of Canada’s leading agricultural provinces, producing a variety of crops and livestock. This is one of the reasons why the region grew far quicker than any of the other Canadian provinces.
  • Energy, Mining, and Natural Resources: The province has abundant natural resources, including forests, minerals, and freshwater, which support industries such as mining, lumber, and energy production. Ontario is home to some of Canada’s largest hydroelectric dams.
  • Tourism: Toronto receives over 27 million tourists each year, which helps drive the local hospitality, food and beverage, and tourism sectors.


If you plan on living in one of Ontario’s big cities like Toronto, the cost of living isn’t going to be cheap. In Toronto, the average cost of rent is just under $2,500, and a single person’s living cost is $1,395.

However, if you move out into the suburbs or choose a smaller city like London, the cost of living drops dramatically. In London, the average cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment is around $1,800, and the cost of living is $1,242.

Prices drop even more if you move into a more rural area. However, by moving into a rural region, you’ll sacrifice access to higher-paying jobs and career opportunities. This could be a good strategy for remote workers, though.

Notable Attractions & Activities:

The most notable attraction in Ontario is arguably Niagara Falls, which lies on the border of Canada and the US. Aside from being a major tourist attraction, the falls also generate a massive amount of electricity.

Toronto, of course, is the largest city in Ontario and is home to over 2.7 million residents. Towering skyscrapers, over 7,500 restaurants, and the Royal Ontario Museum are just a few reasons to visit this city.

Who This Province Is Best For:

  • Students
  • Professionals
  • Government employees
  • Immigrants

3. Quebec

  • Capital City: Quebec City
  • Other Major Cities: Montreal, Sherbrooke, Saguenay, Gatineau
  • Region: The Atlantic Provinces
  • Best Known For: Canada’s only French-speaking province
  • Biggest Industry: The service sector


Quebec is Canada’s east coast province and is also the country’s largest. Like other provinces, though, much of the northern regions remain uninhabited due to the arctic climate.

Unlike the rest of Canada, Quebec is the one province where most of the inhabitants speak French. This is because French immigrants first settled in the region.

In fact, Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America. In the early 1800s, British immigrants began to outnumber French immigrants and spread into surrounding regions.

This is why most of Canada speaks English, while the Quebecois still remain true to their French roots. In other words, Quebec is one of the best provinces to live in Canada for Francophiles. Montreal has a very European feel that you’ll find in few other North American cities.

The two major cities in Quebec are Montreal and Quebec City (its capital). Montreal is a beautiful city and serves as the cultural centre for the province.

Job Opportunities & Major Industries:

Quebec is home to a number of industries and has maintained a stable labour market despite recent economic fluctuations. Some of the top industries in Quebec include:

  • Aerospace: Some of Canada’s largest aerospace companies have their headquarters in Canada, including Air Canada, Rolls Royce, Lockheed Martin, and Airbus.
  • Creative Industries: Montreal is a hub for creative industries such as film, music, fashion, and gaming.
  • Tourism and Hospitality: Quebec has a thriving tourism industry, thanks to its Euro-centric atmosphere, diversity, and beautiful towns/cities.
  • Tech: Although Quebec isn’t as big of a player in the tech industry as B.C., several mid to large-sized tech companies are headquartered in Quebec’s major cities.
  • Renewable Energy: Thanks to its natural waterways and proximity to the coastline, Quebec has a growing energy sector focused on hydroelectric and wind power.


Compared to Ontario and B.C., Quebec is one of the more affordable provinces in Canada. Montreal and Quebec City have an overall lower cost of living than the Canadian cities of Toronto and Vancouver.

For example, a single-bedroom apartment in downtown Montreal will run you just over $1,400 per month, compared to the same space in Toronto, which would cost nearly $1,000 more per month.

Notable Attractions & Activities:

Quebec is known for its cultural diversity and French heritage. In places like Old Quebec, Quebec City, and Montreal, you’ll find great examples of French Gothic-style architecture in old churches and towers.

The city of Montreal is known for its incredible culinary and cultural diversity and is home to several art museums, festivals, and has a great nightlife scene.

If you prefer nature, I recommend visiting the Charlevoix Region – a scenic area known for its beautiful landscapes, such as the Saint Lawrence River and the Laurentian Mountains. The Laurentian Mountains are also home to Mont-Tremblant, which is one of Quebec’s best ski resorts.

Who This Province Is Best For:

  • International students
  • Immigrants
  • Tourists
  • History enthusiasts
  • French-speakers

4. Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia
  • Capital City: Halifax
  • Other Major Cities: Dartmouth, New Glasgow, Sydney, Truro
  • Region: The Atlantic Provinces
  • Best Known For: Historic towns and villages and its scenic coastline
  • Biggest Industry: Fishing, renewable energy


Nova Scotia is Canada’s easternmost province and is surrounded by the Atlantic ocean. As such, Nova Scotia has historically been known as a fishing province – which remains one of the region’s top industries today.

The province consistently ranks high in surveys measuring the quality of life, thanks to its clean environment, friendly communities, and access to outdoor activities. It’s also one of Canada’s most affordable provinces to live in, which has made it a popular destination for remote workers and retirees alike.

Nova Scotia has a strong education system and is home to several notable universities, including Dalhousie University, Acadia University, Saint Mary’s, and others.

Job Opportunities & Major Industries:

While employment opportunities may be more limited in more remote regions of the province, Nova Scotiaq’s cities provide many job opportunities in fields such as healthcare, education, ICT, and the service sector.


The cost of living in Nova Scotia is generally lower than in larger Canadian cities, such as Toronto and Vancouver. The affordable cost of living makes it an attractive option for those looking to save money on the high costs associated with living in a major city.

Notable Attractions & Activities:

Although Nova Scotia is one of the country’s smallest provinces, it’s also one of its most scenic. The Atlantic coastline provides ample opportunity for fishing, boating, or just catching a beautiful sunset by the water.

Seafood lovers will find no shortage of their favourite foods at small restaurants, and history buffs will enjoy the classic architecture of Nova Scotia’s small historic fishing villages.

If you’re looking for a fun night out, the province’s capital, Halifax, is home to several higher-end restaurants, nightclubs, and other urban activities.

Who This Province Is Best For:

  • Retirees
  • Remote workers
  • Students
  • Outdoor enthusiasts

5. Alberta

  • Capital City: Edmonton
  • Other Major Cities: Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Grande Prairie
  • Region: The Prairie Provinces
  • Best Known For: Its natural resources, high quality of living
  • Biggest Industry: Oil industry


Alberta is known for its friendly people, strong economy, and natural beauty.

Its two largest cities, Calgary and Edmonton, offer a taste of big-city life, featuring various cultural events, festivals, and a thriving food scene. On the other hand, Alberta’s smaller cities and towns provide a quieter pace of life with more access to nature.

On the downside, Alberta’s weather can be extreme, with hot summers and cold winters, which can dip as low as minus 30 degrees. As someone who lived in Alberta for over 20 years, this was my least favourite part about living there.

However, overall, Alberta is a great place to live, work, and raise a family, offering a high quality of life and a unique blend of natural beauty, Western culture, and modern amenities.

Job Opportunities & Major Industries:

Alberta has some of the largest oil and natural gas deposits in Canada. This has created a very strong energy sector that provides many job opportunities. The only downside of this is that the oil and gas industry can lead to boom and bust cycles.

Aside from the oil industry, though, Alberta also has thriving agricultural and industrial manufacturing industries. Its major cities have become hubs for major banks and fintech companies as well.


Compared to its neighbouring province of British Columbia, Alberta is quite affordable. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Calgary will run you between $1,500-1,600 per month, which is significantly cheaper than living in downtown Vancouver.

Additionally, Alberta has some of the lowest tax rates in Canada, which has led some of the country’s wealthiest individuals and businesses to settle here.

Notable Attractions & Activities:

The Rocky Mountains run through Alberta, and the province is home to Jasper National Park, which is known for its glacier lakes, wildlife, and hiking opportunities.

Calgary holds the famous Calgary Stampede, which is the largest rodeo event in the country.

Who This Province Is Best For:

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Families
  • Students
  • Outdoor enthusiasts

6. Manitoba

  • Capital City: Winnipeg
  • Other Major Cities: Brandon, Steinbach, Thompson
  • Region: Prairies
  • Best Known For: Diverse landscapes, vibrant arts scene, The Forks marketplace
  • Biggest Industries: Agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare


Located in the center prairie regions of Canada, Manitoba offers diverse landscapes, a rich indigenous history, and a growing economy with abundant jobs in agriculture, manufacturing, and professional sectors.

Although it doesn’t offer the seaside views of Nova Scotia or the grand mountain views of British Columbia, Manitoba’s natural beauty can be found in its lakes, rivers, prairies, and forests.

Manitoba’s cities are steeped in art, and the province’s diverse population is home to a significant Indigenous community. The province offers an excellent quality of life and an affordable cost of living, making it a desirable location for families, professionals, and retirees.

Job Opportunities & Major Industries:

Manitoba has a robust economy, offering career opportunities across multiple sectors, including:

  • Agriculture: As one of the leading agricultural provinces in Canada, Manitoba produces a range of crops and livestock. The sector is a significant contributor to the province’s economy and offers numerous job opportunities, from general labour to farm management, accounting, and more.
  • Aerospace Engineering: Some of the largest aerospace companies in North America are headquartered in or around Winnipeg, including Air Canada, Boeing, and Bristol Aerospace.
  • Manufacturing: This industry is primarily centred around Winnipeg and involves a wide range of products, from machinery to food and beverages. It is the province’s largest sector by employment, providing plenty of jobs.
  • Healthcare: With its growing population, jobs in healthcare are plentiful in Manitoba, ranging from nursing to specialized medical services.
  • Mining: Manitoba is rich in mineral resources like nickel, zinc, copper, and gold. Some of the most prominent mining companies operating in Manitoba include Hudbay Minerals, Vale Canada, and Yamana Gold.


While Manitoba’s cost of living might not be as low as in some other Prairie provinces, it offers a balanced mix of affordability and quality of life.

The average cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Winnipeg is just $1,250 per month, which is significantly lower than other capital cities in the country.

Notable Attractions & Activities:

Manitoba’s capital, Winnipeg, is a cultural hub filled with museums, galleries, and theatres, not to mention The Forks – a celebrated market and public space where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet.

It’s also home to the Royal Canadian Mint, which manufactures a large percentage of the country’s coin supply.

Manitoba offers a vast range of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. The province is known for its numerous lakes, including Lake Winnipeg, which is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. Its serene forests are excellent for hunting, mountain biking, and off-road driving.

Manitoba is also famous for its wildlife, particularly the polar bears in Churchill, making it a must-visit destination for animal lovers.

Who This Province Is Best For:

  • Outdoor Enthusiasts
  • Cultural Aficionados
  • Families
  • Professionals
  • Retirees

FAQs About Canada’s Provinces

Here are a few quick answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Canada’s provinces.

Which Province In Canada Has The Lowest Cost Of Living?

New Brunswick is widely regarded as the most affordable province in Canada. However, there also aren’t a lot of job opportunities in NB compared to larger provinces.

What Are The Maritime Provinces In Canada?

The Maritime provinces in Canada consist of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island – all of which are located on the country’s eastern Atlantic coast.

These provinces are known for their rugged coastlines, rich maritime heritage, and vibrant cultural communities. The term “Maritime” reflects the provinces’ deep relationship with the sea, historically significant for fishing, shipping, and naval activity.

What Is The Easiest Province To Immigrate To In Canada?

Due to its diverse culture and abundant job opportunities, Ontario is likely the easiest province for new immigrants to move to.

What Is The Least Populated Canadian Province?

Prince Edward Island is the least populated province in Canada, with a population of just 172,707.

What Is The Safest Province In Canada?

Quebec has the lowest crime rate in Canada, with just 3,508 crimes per 100,000 people, according to a 2022 report from Statistics Canada. It’s followed closely by Ontario, which has a crime rate of 4,151.

The most dangerous province in Canada is Saskatchewan, with a crime rate of 12,176 per 100,000 people.

Conclusion – What’s The Best Province To Live In Canada?

This is entirely subjective and really depends on what your lifestyle goals are. Having lived in Vancouver, BC, I’m partial to the city and the rest of the beautiful province.

However, if you’re looking to build a career and have access to a wider range of job opportunities, Ontario is probably the best place to move to.

Considering moving to Ontario? Keep on reading to see my list of the cheapest places to live in Ontario next!

Photo of author
Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

Check Out These Posts:

2 thoughts on “6 Best Provinces To Live In Canada & Why They’re Great (2024)”

Leave a Comment