Vancouver is North America's most liveable city: survey

Dene Moore
National Affairs Contributor
Daily Brew
The skyline of Vancouver, British Columbia

When it comes to quality of life, it seems the West Coast is the best coast.

Vancouver is the most livable city in North America,according to a new global survey.

The list by British-based consulting firm Mercer ranks Vancouver No. 5 in the world when it comes to quality of life, after Vienna, Zurich, Auckland and Munich, in that order.

“This is true for most of the major Canadian cities – they rank highly because of Canada’s favourable political and social environment, as well as medical and health considerations,” Eleana Rodriguez of Mercer Canada told Yahoo Canada News.

“Vancouver tends to score a little bit higher than some of the other Canadian cities because, of course, of the weather. The weather is a bit more favourable in Vancouver than it is in Toronto… or Ottawa, for example.”

Vancouver is the only city in North America to break the top 10. Toronto makes the list at 15, Ottawa at 16 and Montreal at 24.

The ranking takes into account dozens of factors such as political and natural environment, economics, access to medical services, quality of schools and education, housing and public services like transportation.

“Our quality of living is important. It continues to play a role in why some organizations will move their operations to Canada,” Rodriguez says.

The top-ranking U.S. cities on the Mercer list are San Francisco, 27, Boston, 34, and Honolulu, 36.

The West Coast city with the rainforest weather regularly tops best cities lists, including No. 3 on The Economist’s top 10 list of most livable cities released in August.

But Rodriguez cautions against making too much of the pecking order at the top tier of the list. The difference between No. 5 and No.15 is not much, she says.

“All of the Canadian cities that are ranked scored very high.”

The annual survey by Mercer looks at more than 400 cities around the world.

Montevideo is considered the most livable city in South America, at No. 78 on the list. In the Asia-Pacific region, Singapore was deemed the best place to live at 25on the list, and Dubai finished first in the Middle East and Africa, earning slot 74.

The two worst cities on the list are Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, and Baghdad.

“Cities that have favourable weather, political stability and good medical and health and infrastructure tend to score higher,” she says.

“Cities that want to rank higher will look to improve the things that can be improved. They obviously can’t do anything about the weather.”