Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Top 10 Small Cities In Canada

Small cities are scattered throughout the Canadian landscape, but there are some that stand apart from others. The cities on this list represent the best quality of life that Canada has to offer. Each of these cities will make a great vacation spot or a perfect place to start a family.

These cities have rich historical roots, thriving economies and many leisure activities. Best of all, you can get a taste of the small-town atmosphere while having access to the same amenities that attract people to large cities. With distinct local traditions, each of the following cities has something unique to offer you.


10. Grande Prairie, Alberta

Located in northwest Alberta, Grande Prairie is one of the fastest growing small cities in Canada. According to Grande Prairie’s website, the population reached 55,032 in 2011 during its second major growth spurt. Average income per household was listed as $126,877 in 2012.

The most recent unemployment statistics from February 2014 listed this city as having a low 2.4-percent unemployment rate. Average home prices for 2014 are $324,385, while the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is $1,124.

Grande Prairie’s first boom happened after the Elmworth Deep Basin Gad Field was discovered in 1977. The population of the sleepy village accelerated quickly, but even a dramatic increase in construction couldn’t keep up with the demand for housing. The good news is, Grande Prairie learned from its history and has adapted successfully to recent growth.

Grande Prairie officially became a city when it received a charter in 1958. The city quickly became known as the “Home of the Trumpeter Swan” because officials from the Canadian Wildlife Service had found nesting sites in the wilderness surrounding Grande Prairie.

In fact, the CityofGP website highlights the cooperative efforts of Canadian and American conservationists responsible for removing the trumpeter swan from the endangered species list.
Grande Prairie is a wonderful city for nature enthusiasts. Grande Prairie’s website lists Muskoseepi Park as one of its most popular attractions.

This park has 18 kilometers of trails for hikers, bikers and joggers. The trails run through the entire city from north to south, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy beautiful scenery and diverse wildlife in the heart of a busy town.

Grande Prairie also has a variety of other attractions. According to CityofGP, The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie is the largest public gallery in the region. The Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum will be opening its doors to the public soon, and it will feature 41,000 square feet of educational displays for the family, as well as a research space for archaeologists from around the world.

9. Caledon, Ontario

Even though it wasn’t officially established as a town until 1974, Caledon has a history stretching back more than two centuries. According to Caledon’s website, Caledon was originally a part of the County of Peel, which was purchased by the British in 1805.

The area around Caledon was opened to settlers in 1820, and villages started to spring up around mills on the Humber and Credit rivers. In the 1870s, newly-built railroads in the area sparked another settlement boom. It’s the remnants of these early settlements that make Caledon such a fascinating historic community today.

On Caledon’s website, you can find many historic attractions. You can visit the Melville White Church, which was built in 1837. It is designated as the oldest church in the Region of Peel, and it has been completely restored by the Belfountain Heritage Society.

You can also rent the St. Andrew’s Stone Church, which was built in 1853. This beautifully restored Scottish Presbyterian church makes the perfect destination for weddings, reunions and more.

Proud of its title as “The Greenest Town in Ontario,” Caledon works hard to deserve its recognition as a leader in environmental practices. Citizens and local government share a commitment to preserve the natural beauty of their home by supporting sustainable development and lifestyles.

Reducing energy use, supporting solar projects throughout the community and a city-side recycling program are some of the ways Caledon “Lets their green show.”

Caledon is also a horse-lover’s paradise. The town’s website calls Caledon the “centre of all things equestrian.” In and around Caledon, you will find some of Canada’s top horse farms, as well as a variety of riding schools, boarding stables, equestrian events and more.

The Caledon Equestrian Parka popular destination for equestrian sportsmen and women from around the world. They have hosted Olympic Selection Trials, Pan Am Game Trials, and other world-class equestrian sporting events.

8. Ville de Saint-Georges, Quebec

In 2001 four municipalities merged to form the present-day Ville de Saint-Georges. The city now includes a thriving urban center, two suburbs and rural lands.

The Ville de Saint-Georges website lists this town as the third best city in Quebec and the eleventh best city in all of Canada for quality of life. With a population of 32,000, the local government bills the Ville de Saint-Georges as an economic hot spot.

This small city has an unusually high number of small businesses, and it serves as one of Quebec’s manufacturing hubs. It’s no accident that so many small and medium-sized businesses call Ville de Saint-George home. With no port, agriculture, forests or mines to provide employment, Ville de Saint-George municipal leaders turned to industry to develop the town’s local economy.

With such an excellent growth rate, it’s no wonder that the Ville de Saint-Georges is becoming a center for cultural, social and leisure activities. This town has numerous festivals throughout the year. In February, local artists gather at the Lacroix-Dutil Sports Center to showcase their ice sculptures.
There is a Summer Solstice Celebration in June, and a Winter Solstice Celebration in December.

People walk the Path of Gateways by torchlight on the evening of the longest and shortest days of the year. In July, the Ville de Saint-Georges holds the Dragon Boat Race. Boats decorated to look like dragons gather on the Chaudiere River for this day-long race.

According to the Ville de Saint-Georges website, this small town is also a popular destination for cyclists from around the globe. With a network of bike trails that winds through several parks, bicycling is a common way to travel the city.

The Ville de Saint-Georges also hosts many world-class races. Cyclists participate in the yearly Tour de Beauce, as well as the Canadian Championships and the Grand Tour.

7. Whitehorse, Yukon

Whitehorse, Yukon has a long and wild history. What started as a campsite for Indians of the First Nations grew, and became what it is today: the capital city of the Yukon. According to the Yukon info website, Whitehorse is named for the rapids on the Yukon River, just south of the city.

The plumes of these rough waters were said to have resembled the manes of running horses. During the Yukon Gold Rush, the White Horse Rapids were the most notorious danger gold seekers faced on their way to the Klondike.

Whitehorse became a city in 1950, and it was adopted as the capital of the Yukon in 1953. The infamous White Horse Rapids were tamed with the construction of the Whitehorse hydro-electric dam in 1958. The local government’s website names Whitehorse “The Wilderness City.” By most standards, Whitehorse is a small town, but with more than 27,000 residents, it is the largest city in the Yukon.

According to the Yukon Community Profile page, the residents of Whitehorse can enjoy the best of nature and technology. Situated on the banks of the Yukon River, this small city is a short drive from some of the world’s most beautiful mountains and lakes. With territory-wide broadband internet access and a booming economy, Whitehorse is among the top small cities in Canada for quality of life.

With Golden Horn Mountain, Grey Mountain and Haeckel Hill surrounding the city, Whitehorse is one of the most picturesque cities in Canada. There are plenty of things to do in this youthful and energetic city. The Yukon Community Profile page details many events and festivals available to Whitehorse visitors and residents.

You can watch dances performed by members of the First Nations tribes, view unique arts and crafts, or plan a getaway in one of the many remote areas surrounding Whitehorse.

6. Camrose, Alberta

It all started when a man named Duncan Sampson bought a wagonload of lumber. According to the Tourism Camrose website, that lumber became the first store in downtown Camrose. Today, that building still exists, along with more than 40 other historic buildings in the downtown area.

Residents and visitors alike frequent downtown Camrose for unique shopping and dining experiences. Of particular interest to history buffs is the Camrose and District Centennial Museum. This museum spans eight historic buildings, and contains hundreds of artifacts from Camrose’s past.

According to the city’s website, Camrose also has an active arts community. Creatively-minded people are welcome to visit the Chuck MacLean Arts Centre. This facility features a dark room for photography enthusiasts, plus two art studios, two dance studios and a recital hall.

You can also use the Artists Directory to find more information about local artists, and you can visit many of their creations throughout the city of Camrose.

One of the most unique features of Camrose is the “Boomtown Trail,” a trail of communities that grew as the railroad expanded about 100 years ago. Evidence of the Boomtown Trail lives on today in the architecture of Camrose. Citizens of Camrose value their shared history and efforts to preserve and restore Boomtown sites are ongoing.

When it comes to parks, you will be hard-pressed to find another small city that has as many parks as Camrose. According to the City of Camrose’s website, there are 25 kilometers of trails that connect parks, residential and commercial areas throughout the city.

Many of these trails will take you to attractions such as the beautiful Mirror Lake, or through parks such as Jubilee and Stoney Creek. The park and trail system is designed to give residents and visitors a quiet retreat in the heart of a busy city. There are also numerous playgrounds, ice skating rinks, and a skate park located at the Rudy Swanson Recreation Park.


5. Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Situated on the northern shore of the Great Slave Lake, Yellowknife has a lot to offer residents and visitors. According to the local government’s website, this affluent city boasted a population of 19,234 as of the 2011 Census.

Residents can expect to make $64,350 a year per person, or $138,620 per household. Median home prices are $387,900, while rent runs around $1,668 per month. With home prices rising by about 3.4% each year, Yellowknife is a prime location for real estate investment.

According to the city’s website, Yellowknife is the perfect place for anyone seeking northern adventures. With more than 15 kilometers of city trails, 14 kilometers of ski trails, and countless places to fish, hunt and camp, outdoorsy folks can always find something to do.

The Visit Yellowknife website also lists dog sledding as a popular attraction in Yellowknife. You can book a trip north with world-champion sled dogs from Beck’s Kennels.

Situated in the thick of Canadian wilderness, just a short distance from the Arctic’s edge, the lifestyle in Yellowknife is energetic and geared towards the great outdoors.

Residents and visitors to Yellowknife can experience the midnight sun and the aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights. The recent discovery of diamonds near Yellowknife has been a welcome boost to the economy.

Yellowknife also hosts several festivals. On the Yellowknife website, the most notable festivals include the Snow King Winter Festival, the Long John Jamboree, and Folk on the Rocks. Throughout the month of March, visitors can visit a gorgeous castle built from snow and ice at the Snow King Winter Festival.

The Long John Jamboree is also held in March, and patrons can see a variety of ice sculptures, take part in contests and watch a fireworks display celebrating the end of winter. Folk on the Rocks is a summertime music festival that blends a variety of traditional musical themes into one magical event.

4. Stratford, Ontario

The area around Stratford was first settled in the 1830s. According to the city’s website, the town was named after Stratfort-on-Avon in Great Britain. In 1859, several years after railways had been built in the area, Stratford officially became a town.

During the late 19th century, much of Stratford’s economy was based on locomotive repair and furniture construction. As the locomotive repair shops and furniture makers closed their doors, tourism took over as the city’s main industry. Today, Stratford is known as one of the greatest arts communities in North America.

One of the biggest attractions in Stratford is the Stratford Festival. According to the Stratford Festival’s website, their mission is to bring high-quality classical theatre to a diverse audience. The Stratford Festival is inspired by William Shakespeare, and they put on regular classic and contemporary plays throughout the year.

With some of the finest actors from around the world, the Stratford Festival is one of the leading acting companies in North America.

The Stratford Summer Music Festival is another major event that attracts artists and music lovers from all over Canada. This month-long music festival features more than 350 musicians playing in indoor and outdoor venues all over town.

The Summer Music Festival’s website lists past performances from some of history’s most famous musicians, including Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington.

With music from a variety of genres, from classical to world music, there is something for everyone at the Stratford Summer Music Festival. The festival also hosts lectures, demonstrations, and music-themed visual arts to engage those with a deeper passion for music.

The city is prepared for a new boon of economic growth and is geographically located to take advantage of surrounding economies. It’s located within a short drive of three international airports and five different border crossings. The proximity to Canada’s main ground artery, Highway 401, provides easy connection to Stratford’s neighbors in all directions.

3. Rimouski, Quebec

As one of the oldest towns in Canada, Rimouski’s celebrated heritage is the driving force behind much of the area’s culture and industry. The Canadian Encyclopedia notes that Rimouski was first settled in 1696. Its setting on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River and ready access to timber made it one of the fastest growing towns in the 18th century. Today, Rimouski is a popular destination for historians, artists and oceanographic researchers.

Located 300 kilometers northeast of Quebec City, Rimouski boasts an unusual feature. The city was built in the shape of a three-level amphitheater. Originally, fishing and agriculture were the city’s only industries, but the development of forestry and sawmills helped Rimouski develop a more stable economy.

The Canada-Travel website lists several museums that residents and visitors of Rimouski can enjoy. At the Lamontangne House, you can see beautifully restored 18th century architecture, as well as archaeological exhibits from the city’s past.

The Sisters of Saint-Rosaire Museum is a great place to learn about the history of religion in early Quebec. The Rimouski Regional Museum brings art, history and science exhibits to the area, while the Pointe-au-Pere Sea Museum covers more than two centuries of oceanic history.

Rimouski’s official website lists even more fun things to do. With easy access to the Saint Lawrence River, residents and tourists can enjoy boating, fishing and more. Thanks to the Corporation d’Amenagement des Espaces Verts, much of the area around Rimouski and the Riviere Rimouski has been devoted to trails and parkland.

In the fall, you can visit the popular Festival d’Automne. Festival attractions include clay pigeon shoots, pheasant hunts, strong-man contests, and local arts and crafts. Rimouski also hosts two music festivals each year. Jazz aficionados will love the Festi Jazz International de Rimouski, while the Les Grandes Fetes du St-Laurent hosts performing artists from a variety of genres.

2. Lacombe, Alberta

Lacombe started as an agricultural community in the late 1880’s. According to the Lacombe Regional Tourism page, Lacombe was officially incorporated as a village in 1896, and it became an established town in 1902. This small town takes its name from Father Albert Lacombe, who was a French-Canadian Catholic missionary that is most famous for arranging peace treaties between the Canadian Pacific Railway and Indians from the Cree and Blackfoot Nations.

Lacombe’s website lists the many murals in the downtown area as one of the city’s greatest claims to fame. Created by painter Tim Giles, there are more than 40 murals dotting Lacombe’s alleyways.

These murals are divided into two groups, and depict scenes from Lacombe’s history. The first group details historic buildings and events from 1890 to 1910, while the second group shows scenes from 1930’s Lacombe.

“You-Pick” farms are a main attraction in Lacombe, owing to the areas fertile land and diverse farming. Pack a picnic and plan to make a day of it while you harvest fresh berries, tomatoes, peppers or cucumbers and other seasonal produce at one of many locations. If picking your own sounds like too much work, visit one of the city’s popular farmer’s markets instead.

According to Lacombe’s website, the city also has many modern amenities. Residents enjoy the Kinsmen Aquatic Centre, the Barnett Arena, and a variety of campgrounds, parks and hiking trails. If you are looking for a sleepy little town to call home, Lacombe might be the perfect option.

The Lacombe Community Profile page lists a small population of approximately 12,000 people.

Major industries are divided between agriculture, manufacturing, and natural sciences. The active economy makes it easy to earn a good living in Lacombe. The average household income is $90,000 per year, and median home prices sit around $262,575.

Great income opportunities, plenty of activities, and a rich history combine to make Lacombe, Alberta one of the best cities in Canada.

1. St. Albert, Alberta

Situated on the banks of the Sturgeon River, St. Albert is known as “The Botanical Arts City.” According to the official website, St. Albert was founded Father Albert Lacombe in 1861.

He constructed the Father Lacombe Chapel, which still stands today, more than 150 years later. It is the oldest building in Alberta, and it is classified as a Provincial Heritage Site. St. Albert received village status in 1904, and was officially listed as a city in 1977.

The 2012 St. Albert Census shows that this small city has a population of nearly 61,000 people. This affluent city boasts an average household income of $128,270 and home prices averaging at $373,426. According to St. Albert’s business profile, industry is highly varied.

Technical, professional and scientific services make up a large portion of the labor force. Other popular occupations are mining, retail trade and health care.

One of the reasons why St. Albert calls itself “The Botanical Arts City” is because of its many green initiatives. The city government is committed to attracting environmental and botanical researchers and engineers from around the globe. St. Albert also has a variety of green programs, such as Clean Air Day, the Rain Barrel Program, and more.

When it comes to recreation, St. Albert attracts newcomers with all kinds of fun activities. The city’s website lists numerous parks, athletic fields and aquatic centers. The Cultural Services Department is the driving force behind art and theatre in St. Albert.

They manage several performing and visual arts programs, the Arden Theatre, the Public Art Collection, and several art and craft festivals. Despite its small size, St. Albert has no lack of things to do and places to go. The active community, surrounding wilderness, and thriving economy make St. Albert the top choice among people searching for a place to call home.


No comments:

Post a Comment