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CBC readers debate Canadian cities' placement on 'most livable' list

Categories: Canada


The Economist recently named Vancouver the third-most livable city in the world. (Nick Kenrick)

There's no better way to start a debate than to release a ranked list of the most livable cities in the world.

Three Canadian cities are ranked in the top 10 of The Economist's annual ranking of the world's "most livable cities." Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary all ranked in the top of the list.

That got our readers on talking, of course, sharing their experiences living in the cities listed, or wondering out loud why their favourite spot in the country didn't make it to the top of the rankings.

High costs of living

Many readers said that in the case of this survey, 'livable' may translate to 'desirable,' complaining about the high cost of living in the three Canadian cities to make the Top 10 - especially Vancouver. In July, Vancouver was listed as the most expensive Canadian city to live in, according to an annual cost of living survey.

"The Economist says it's listing "most livable" cities, when it's actually listing the nicest places wealthy people can live." - feral pumpkin

"Life may be great in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, but only for those who can afford it. Cultural and recreational opportunities don't mean much when one is living in substandard conditions due to high rents, and doesn't have adequate access to transportation despite the good "infrastructure" (roads). I know people in Vancouver and Calgary who are still living with roommates as working adults and spend hours bussing around." - littlesnowelf

"Vancouver's fine if you're wealthy and don't mind rain every day for five months straight." - Elive Prisie

Why only the big cities?

Others questioned the value of living in a large city with a million residents or more. While these types of surveys may never land a small, sleepy town on its Top 10, some posted a passionate defence that the big-city lifestyle will never be the most livable - for them, at least.

"I prefer small town country living. The town I live in is about 500 people and is self-sustainable, other than the need for gasoline. Although if we had to, we could live without that too and ride the horses. Everyone is friendly to each other and help each other out. I used to live in a big city and you don't really find that there." - CanadianChris

"Toronto (centre of the universe) and Vancouver! Ha! Good thing sometimes to be ignored here in Newfoundland, because the fewer people that know about St. John's the better. Would not want to spoil what we have now." - Leonidas hump

We complain because we love

Many chimed in to say that while we may nitpick the things about our cities that irk us, we're lucky to live in such a livable city -- and part of the world, for that matter -- compared to elsewhere, and should be thankful that things could be worse.

"I live in Vancouver, I am not rich, and I have to deal many headaches every day, just as many people here suggest. So what does this list mean to me? That means sometimes I focus so much on my daily problems that I forget to appreciate how lucky I am indeed. What is that old saying say? I had no shoes and complained, until I met a man who had no feet." - bcpaladin

"Congratulations to Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary for making the top ten of a list that includes cities from around the world. It is quite an accomplishment for these three cities, and quite an accomplishment for Canada to have three in the top ten." - Semi Retired

"I don't earn even close to six figures. I have lived in five of the cities on the list (two in Canada) and yes, they are expensive if you need to have a detached home, two newer cars in the driveway, a handful of credit cards and a lifestyle to maintain. But I found them all to be cities where people, art, culture, parks, food, et al made for a quality of life that is more than 'livable.' I guess it depends on what you define as the important things in life?" - CoastalKarma

Montreal snub?

Some readers wondered where their favourite corners of Canada were on the list, but Montreal, Quebec received far more mentions than other cities.

"Vancouver and Toronto don't surprise me, they're both great cities. Surprised Montreal didn't make it higher, and Calgary in the top 5? Give me a break, it's essentially a glorified mall parking lot." - Max W.

"I just don't get how Montreal doesn't top the list over Calgary. Or Quebec City, which is possibly Canada's most beautiful downtown. Calgary is ok, but outside of the Kensington area its pretty much suburbia and rings of newer suburbia." - Young Liberal from Toronto

"Interesting.... I guess Montreal is so out of this world awesome that it just didn't qualify for this ranking." - Andrew Robert Abela

Thanks, as always for your comments and discussion.

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