Strathcona Park, from the ski hill on Mount Washington. (John McKinley file)

3 of Canada’s most livable places right here on Vancouver Island: report

Langford placed first overall in a report by RATESDOTCA

You picked yourself a good spot to live, Vancouver Islanders.

Two Vancouver Island communities ranked among the top 10 spots in Canada in terms of livability according to a list compiled by an insurance and money products comparison website — including first overall — while a third finished in eleventh.

Langford took first spot as the most livable place in Canada, according to the recently-released list by Rates.ca of Canada’s Most Livable Places 2021, which also placed Cowichan Bay in 7th and Courtenay at 11th.

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According to the website, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many Canadians to reevaluate their lives, after losing jobs and watching dense metropolitan areas see a dramatic rise in virus numbers. This led residents across the country to explore the idea of new living arrangements, moving out of bigger cities and into locations with greater affordability and more space.

This led RATESDOTCA to evaluate more than 150 cities and towns outside the country’s biggest metropolitan areas and rank them in a Livability Report.

The website says the Livability Report factors in traditional metrics like affordability and growth, but also gives weight to lifestyle-oriented criteria such as scenery, nightlife, outdoor activities and accessibility.

The survey found that 51 per cent of Canadians who moved in 2020 due to COVID-19 did so to “live in an area with more nature” and 36 per cent “felt financial pressure” to find a cheaper home. According to Statistics Canada, 44 per cent of Canadians are looking for a home with more space for personal amenities, such as a pool, balcony or a large yard.

The website notes Canadians are asking where they can move within the country more this year than ever due to the pandemic. The Leger survey conducted on behalf of the website found that almost one quarter (23 per cent) of those who moved or plan to move since April 2020 cited COVID-19 as a reason for relocating.

Twenty-one per cent of those who moved or plan to move are moving from a major city hub to smaller towns/rural areas.

They add the survey revealed one of the top-deciding factors when looking for where to move is scenery (17 per cent) which is followed the top factor, affordability (33 per cent).

Other factors include economic and job growth, size of city/town and outdoor activities.

The total list includes more than 150 communities and refined and ranked using a formula that awards points for positives like growing population, low mortgage costs and scenic beauty.

Langford had a population growth of 5.2 per cent, and average home price (2020) of $725,300, with a scenery rating of four stars. Cowichan Bay also had a four-star scenery rating an average home price of $561,900

Courtenay was ranked with a population growth of 1.3 per cent and an average 2020 home price of $550,800. The city was also given a scenery rating of four stars, a nightlife rating of three, an outdoor activity rating of four, and a climate rating of five.

Other Island communities that made the list include Victoria at the 30, Campbell River at 37, Nanaimo at 54, Parksville at 66, Port Alberni at 82, Ucluelet at 97 and Tofino at 155.

The survey was conducted online with 1,514 Canadians from Jan. 22 to 24, 2021.

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Canada’s top 10 livable places in 2021 according to RATESDOTCA’s Livability Report:

Canada’s top 10 livable places in 2021 according to RATESDOTCA’s Livability Report:

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