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Canada’s 10 best cities for young professionals

top cities for young professionals

Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver have long dominated the headlines for fast-growing major urban centres in Canada. But the exciting list of cities of growing extends well beyond four of Canada’s largest urban areas—and this is good news for young, hard-working folk. So where should a young professional plant their roots? Consider this list of 10 top cities for young professionals in Canada.

Before we start, however, we should point out that for this list, we wanted to compile a collection of cities that really make the grade across a wide spectrum. So we factored in history, nightlife, cultural opportunities, access to nature, job opportunities, and, the kicker, average rental rates for a one-bedroom flat—because you can’t live somewhere if you can’t get a room! We sourced our average rental rates from

Here are the 10 top cities for young professionals in Canada.

10. Ottawa, Ontario

Top 10 cities for young professionals
(Source: Flickr / tsaiproject)

The nation’s capital, Ottawa! Young people are heading to Ottawa because it’s fast becoming the cool alternative to cities like Montreal and Toronto. While being bilingual certainly helps career prospects—particularly since many jobs are in government-sector agencies—it’s not mandatory. For young professionals, the attraction is the rich culture, great community and a growing foodie scene.

What’s the average rent in Ottawa? $1,314.52

9. Montreal, Quebec

top cities for young professionalsYes. Montreal made the list—and why not! If you are fortunate enough to get a good job in this city than you have it all—bagels, cocktail bars, vintage shops on streets lined with mom-and-pop shops, old churches and densely packed-in duplexes. Of course, to get a good-paying job you’ll probably need to be bilingual, although some English-speaking-only opportunities do exist.

What’s the average rent in Montreal? $1,203.78

8. Calgary, Alberta

Calgary, Alberta. Saddledome. Downtown skyline at night
(Source: Flickr / Calgary Reviews)

If you love mountains, you’re going to love Calgary. Situated right in Canada’s heartland, Calgary is growing in an interesting way. While oil might have been the primary industry for quite some time, we’re seeing more and more tech companies moving into the now-vacant office towers of Cowtown’s core. The city is still struggling a bit, economically, but anyone that can find should have a great quality of life without the super-high living expenses found in other big cities.

What’s the average rent in Calgary? $1,251.82

7. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

top cities for young professionals.
(Source: Wikimedia Commons / Jay Van Doornum)

It’s the best-kept secret in the Prairies, but word will be out soon enough – Saskatoon is one of the best cities on the rise in all of Canada. Not only has this city been ranked as one of the most livable, but it’s also the youngest! Agriculture is a big industry here, which is pretty specific, but a low cost of living, beautiful scenery and friendly vibes mean that anyone can make Saskatoon home.

What’s the average rent in Saskatoon? $963.70

6. London, Ontario

London, Ontario, Canada. top cities for young professionals.
(Source: Wikimedia Commons / Ken Lund)

While it might have initially been known as nothing more than a university town, thanks to Western University, London is quickly becoming a great place for young professionals to set up shop. The city is growing at a rapid pace, with new developments all over the city, and it’s becoming an affordable spot for marketing firms, video game companies, and other tech and health-based firms.

What’s the average rent in London? $1,052.08

5. Waterloo, Ontario

top cities for young professionals
(Source: Wikimedia Commons / Victor Vucicevich)

If Google is bringing its offices into your backyard, you must be doing something right. Waterloo is known as the Silicon Valley of the Great White North. This means an intense build-up of tech-savvy firms and start-ups and a great place to plant roots for the young, urban professional. While locals will tell you that the downtown still has some work to do, there are definitely some hot-spots in this city and the cost of living, well, is very manageable.

What’s the average rent in Waterloo? $1,309.09

4. Halifax, Nova Scotia

top cities for young professionalsMany young people might leave Halifax to study abroad but, quite often, they come back and, with them, they bring ideas. This has helped make Halifax one of the most exciting cities on the Eastern Coast of Canada. Add in the low cost of rent, the thriving art scene and the youthful, university vibe and you have a great spot for anyone employed in the trades, healthcare, government sector or in a maritime-related profession.

What’s the average rent in Halifax? $1,195.80

3. Kingston, Ontario

Former train station with Canadian flags
(Source: Wikimedia Commons / Doug Kerr)

Kingston is a picturesque community that is absolutely thriving, partly because it’s part of that booming Golden Horseshoe area in southern Ontario. It’s biggest economic sectors are health care, post-secondary education and government sectors (including military and correctional services). If you are a professional in any of these fields, Kingston offers a great opportunity to live and work in a growing city, with a decent standard of living and excellent job prospects.

What’s the average rent in Kingston? $1,280.79

2. Toronto, Ontario

top cities for young professionalsToronto is Canada’s biggest city and with good reason. Jobs are abundant here, making it one of the best spots in the country for a young professional to start off their career path. Of course, while the job opportunities are plentiful here, the cost of living is high. Very high. The more expensive and sought-after rental units are found in the downtown core, where an updated one-bedroom can easily fetch $1,750 or more in rent each month. Toronto’s real estate market trends follow suit. Look for options further away from the downtown core if you want to keep your living costs more manageable.

What’s the average rent in Toronto? $2,107.65

1. Victoria, British Columbia

10 best cities for young professionals. Victoria, BCVictoria was actually ranked as one of the “Next Cities” by Next Generation Consulting and for good reason! Victoria is not only stunning, but it’s a city steeped in history, offers a thriving food scene and it’s super bike-friendly with its forward-thinking complete community approach. If you’re employed in health care, the government sector or tech, this is a city to consider.

What’s the average rent in Victoria? $1,489.29

Young professionals aren’t necessarily just looking for the biggest city anymore. They want a place that is exciting, vibrant, and where they can find a career that allows them to stick to a budget! If you’re a young professional, check out these 10 best cities for young professionals to see if one holds the key to your future professional development.

Image of Max Specht

Max Specht

Nothing makes Max Specht happier than telling people where to go and what to do—and not in an authoritative sense. He prides himself on being a tour guide par excellence and has the recommendations to prove it.