You've been dreaming about retirement for years. You picture yourself living somewhere beautiful, spending your days however you please, and pursuing new hobbies that you didn't have time for before.
So where does this fairytale take place? The first step to making your retirement dreams come true is by choosing the perfect place to live. There's never been a better time to relocate and start a new chapter than in your golden years.
Since Canada is the 2nd best country in the world to live in, in terms of happiness according to a 2020 U.S. News World & World Report ranking, why would you want to look internationally for a place to spend your retirement?
But what are the best places to retire in Canada?
Coast to coast there are ideal locations for rest and relaxation no matter what you picture your retirement looking like. From bustling cities with plenty of arts and entertainment to quaint towns with skiing and scenic highways, you can have the ideal retirement right here in Canada.
Let's break down the best places to retire in Canada so you can kickstart your golden years in the location of your dreams.
- Halifax, Nova Scotia
- Kingston, Ontario
- Vancouver, British Columbia
- Victoriaville, Quebec
- Toronto, Ontario
- White Rock, British Columbia
- Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
- Calgary, Alberta
- Quebec City, Quebec
- Saint John, New Brunswick
- Greater Sudbury, Ontario
- Sherbrooke, Quebec
- St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
1. Halifax, Nova Scotia
If you've lived most of your life in the colder parts of Canada, you'll love the mild weather in Halifax. It's neither too cold nor too hot at any time of the year.
The city offers plenty of wineries, beautiful beaches, and access to parks. It's also known as Canada's ocean playground, so if you've always wanted to live on the coast, this is the perfect choice for you.
Halifax locals enjoy a slower pace of life, so if you're looking to unwind in retirement, you'll fit right in. Enjoy strolls on the boardwalk and cool ocean breezes all year.
Halifax is a cultural melting pot, so you'll get to meet people from all around the world and experience different cultures on a regular basis.
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2. Kingston, Ontario
If you're looking for a lakefront property, Kingston, Ontario, offers the romantic and scenic experience you're after. You'll be swept up in the beautiful architecture, delightful local eateries, and all-around quaint atmosphere.
The location offers other advantages too. You'll be close to the US border and can take a quick trip down to New York, and Kingston is only a two-hour drive from Toronto.
If you're an avid sports fan, join in on the fun in Kingston. The town offers every type of community sports team you could want to get involved in. Spend your golden years playing rugby, golf, or even land bowling, with friends in Kingston.
3. Vancouver, British Columbia
If you're ready to downsize to an apartment where you can walk everywhere you need to go, Vancouver is the perfect city for you. Not only will you love the bustle of the city, but you'll also be able to immerse yourself in nature.
You can spend your days on the beach or in the mountains, enjoy several unique local eateries, and even start your own urban garden. The city has an amazing downtown library and art museum, and you can always find live entertainment on any night of the week.
If you want to live without a car, Vancouver has one of the best public transit systems in North America. You can take full advantage of downtown living in Vancouver.
4. Victoriaville, Québec
For a slower-paced city, check out beautiful Victoriaville, Québec. Along with offering gorgeous scenery along the Nicolet River, it's also one of the more affordable places to retire in Canada.
In Victoriaville, you'll be surrounded by nature, river activities, and ample golf courses to enjoy. Since Québec is Canada's French hub, you can also enjoy French culture in Victoriaville. If you've always wanted to learn the French language, there's no better place to be in Canada than Québec.
5. Toronto, Ontario
If you want to spend your retirement cheering on your favorite Canadian sports teams, Toronto is the city for you. With five major league teams, plus a thriving downtown core, you'll never get bored.
As the largest city in Canada, it also boasts great entertainment and the best restaurants in the country. Toronto is definitely one of the best cities to retire in Canada, and after working hard your whole life, you should definitely enjoy all of the culture and amenities that it has to offer.
6. White Rock, British Columbia
If the rain in Vancouver gets you down, check out White Rock, British Columbia instead. It gets the lowest amount of rainfall in all of the Greater Vancouver Area. It's a charming and scenic town that still gives you great access to the big city.
Situated on Semiahmoo Bay, White Rock is a seaside community that offers beautiful beaches and piers to walk along. It's a great option for seniors who want to get out of the city but not go too far.
7. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
If you want to spend your retirement years admiring and creating art, you'll love the Remai Modern museum in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In Saskatoon, which is nicknamed "the Paris of the prairies," you'll be surrounded by beautiful architecture and bridges.
Saskatoon is also an amazing place to see wildlife in their natural habitat, like moose and deer.
The friendly college town runs along the South Saskatchewan River Valley, where there are several attractive walking trails. Saskatoon is surrounded by prairies and faces harsher winters, but it offers one of the lowest costs of living of all major Canadian cities, making it one of the best places to retire in Canada on a budget.
8. Calgary, Alberta
The largest city in Alberta, Calgary offers great amenities for retirees. If you like the rodeo, you'll love attending the Calgary Stampede every year.
Nature lovers will also appreciate the mountains and lakes that surround the city. If you want jaw-dropping views, impressive skyscrapers, and a lower cost of living, put Calgary at the top of your list.
9. Quebec City, Quebec
If you dream of retiring in a European city but want to stay in your home country, Quebec City is the perfect solution. It's one of the oldest cities in North America, so you'll be dazzled by the European-influenced architecture and cobblestone streets.
It also has a rich culinary heritage, so you will never run out of amazing restaurants to visit.
Most Quebec City locals are bilingual, so knowing some French would be helpful if you plan to move there. If you don't already speak French, living in Quebec City will give you plenty of opportunities to learn the language since it is such a major part of the culture.
10. Saint John, New Brunswick
If you want to live in a scenic place near the Canadian and United States border, the port city of Saint John, New Brunswick, is a fantastic option. The gorgeous drive along the Bay of Fundy between Saint John and the US state of Maine is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Saint John is also home to the Stonehammer UNESCO Global Geopark, which is a great place to volunteer if you want to learn more about geology.
11. Greater Sudbury, Ontario
You don't have to choose a coastal town to enjoy a life surrounded by water in your retirement years. Greater Sudbury, Ontario, has the most lakes of any Canadian city, with 330 in total.
It's an incredibly scenic city, and it also offers amazing culture. It is home to Science North, a popular museum that overlooks Ramsey Lake. It also passes through a fault line and sits on top of a glacially carved bedrock.
12. Sherbrooke, Quebec
Canada is famous for its amazing maple syrup, and you can be near where the magic is made in Sherbrooke, Quebec. You can also get the best of city life and the outdoors in Sherbrooke.
It boasts a beautiful downtown, home to many beautiful murals, and you can go skiing right in the center of town. Mount-Bellevue Park offers skiing and snowboarding trails, so you don't have to leave the city to enjoy this truly amazing pastime.
13. St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
When it comes to dramatic views along the Atlantic Ocean, St. John in Newfoundland and Labrador does not disappoint. The city is the easternmost city in North America, as well as one of the oldest European settlements.
If you are looking for solitude in retirement, St. John's offers plenty of isolation. However, the airport quickly and conveniently connects you to the rest of the country. Plus, the community in St. John is extremely friendly, so you can enjoy your alone time and connect with others whenever you choose.
Live out your retirement years in one of the colourful houses that line the steep hills, and watch the ocean waves crash against the shore every day. Active retirees can hike up to Cabot Tower on Signal Hill for great views of the cliffs.
How to Choose the Best Places to Retire in Canada
Choosing where to retire isn't an easy decision. Most people choose to be near family, while others want to get away and start a whole new chapter of their lives.
Either way, there are some things you should prioritize when you're embarking on your retirement years. Consider the following tips as you weigh the pros and cons of your different options.
First, how do you want to spend your days in retirement? You will have a lot of time to fill, and while rest is completely necessary and deserved, that doesn't mean you should be bored.
In fact, boredom in retirement can lead to loneliness.
Do you want to stay active and enjoy more time outdoors? Do you want to volunteer for a cause that’s important to you? Do you want to be surrounded by art, theatre, and live entertainment?
Retirement should be a time when you get to explore things you have always wanted to try just for fun. It’s a time to relish new experiences, which is why determining how you want to spend your time will help you pick the perfect location.
For instance, if you’re craving more solitude after a hectic career life, you may prefer to move to one of Canada’s small coastal towns where you can sign up for an art class and take long walks on the beach. If you’re ready for more hustle and bustle in your life, choosing a city like Toronto or Vancouver with the best that culture has to offer at your fingertips would be the best choice.
Of course, your budget is a major part of the equation too. Canada is a large country with a wide range when it comes to the cost of living. Do your research before getting your heart set on a place so you can be sure the expenses fit into your lifestyle.
You can check out the cost of living in Canada by province here.
As you age, you want to be surrounded by high-quality doctors, surgeons, and hospitals. Choosing a more remote place to retire can put you at risk for lower-quality care than you would have in a bigger city.
However, that doesn’t mean that healthcare in small towns is bad. It all depends on the location, so do your research beforehand.
You can check out this Maclean report to find out the number of family doctors by location in various Canadian cities here.
If you have lived most of your life on the eastern coast of Canada, you are probably tired of the brutal winters. Relocating to somewhere on the west coast, like British Columbia, will be a welcomed break from the cold.
However, parts of Canada with milder winters can also get more rain, which is not great if you have chronic joint issues.
Weather can have a greater impact on mood than we expect, so it should definitely be factored into your decision. If you are planning to own multiple properties and fly south in the winter when you retire, check out Insurdinary’s snowbird travel insurance.
Mortgage and Life Insurance
The other thing you need to think about before you relocate is your mortgage. If you are planning to buy a new place when you retire, you should be aware of all of the options. Use Insurdinary's guide to the different types of mortgages in Canada to get started.
Additionally, if you don't have life insurance yet, you should definitely get it before you retire. Insurdinary can help you compare quotes from all of Canada's top life insurance companies. You can also learn about the different types of life insurance and find tips on how to save money on life insurance.
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Start Your Golden Years Off Right
You've worked hard and deserve an amazing retirement. Insurdinary can help you get the important things done, like life and travel insurance, so you can move onto the fun part of retirement.
As you scour the country for the best places to retire in Canada, remember to prioritize the experiences you want to have in the next chapter of your life. Focus on what makes you happy, and don't be afraid to dream big.
For more resources and assistance, request a quote from Insurdinary today.