Magazine ranking lists Salmon Arm as the No. 1 city in B.C., sixth overall in Canada

The community of Salmon Arm is situated beside Shuswap Lake and has a population that is approaching 20,000 people. Shirley Bargs

It’s the type of poll people love or laugh at: Ranking the “best” cities in the nation.

This week, Maclean’s magazine released its Best Communities in Canada 2019 list. The magazine said it ranked 415 cities based on 10 categories: wealth and economy, affordability, population growth, taxes, commute, crime, weather, access to health care, amenities and culture.

Not surprisingly, a number of B.C. cities cracked a variety of top-10 lists.

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In the weather category, for example, five Interior cities took the top spots: Summerland at No. 1, followed by Penticton, Kamloops, West Kelowna and Lake Country. Eleven Ontario cities followed, with Colwood at 17, Langford at 18, Esquimalt at 19 and Vernon at 20.

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All good, smart choices, given the hot summers that bake the Southern Interior and the mild, consistent weather that Vancouver Island receives.

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Sharp-eyed readers will have noticed a top-20 omission, though: Kelowna.

Nestled between West Kelowna at No. 4 and Lake Country at No. 5, the Interior’s largest community was ranked 93rd.

Vancouver? No top-50 ranking for you. Instead, 77th place. West Vancouver was slightly higher at 67th. Oak Bay was 94th, New Westminster was ranked 99th, with Pitt Meadows at 100.

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But there’s more to a community than just weather. Overall, with all factors combined, Burlington, Ont., took the top spot, while the top B.C. community was Salmon Arm at No. 6.

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Ontario cities dominated the top 11 spots and swept the top five. Another five Ontario cities followed Salmon Arm.

“We’re thrilled to be ranked No. 1 in B.C., and No. 6 in the nation,” said Salmon Arm mayor Alan Harrison.

“Salmon Arm is really on the map now. We’re approaching 20,000 people; we’re a hub of the Shuswap, and while we’re able to access Kelowna and Kamloops as nearby cities, and Vernon as well, we really have established our own identity now.

“We’re attracting not just retirees, but lots of young families here.”

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Rounding out the top 20 were West Kelowna at 12th place, Oak Bay in 15th and Nelson in 18th.

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Other B.C. communities in the top 50 were Colwood (25th), Central Saanich (29th), Squamish (30th), Saanich (32nd), Terrace at (35th), Langford (38th), Kelowna (39th), West Vancouver (42nd), Prince Rupert (46th), Summerland (49th) and Sidney (50th).

Notably, Vancouver was ranked 112th while Langley was seeded 366th, behind Williams Lake at 324th and Dawson Creek at 349th.

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Under affordability, Salmon Arm was ranked No. 1, with Terrace at No. 4 and Prince Rupert at 10th.

Regarding retirement, Toronto was ranked No. 1, with Langford at No. 5, Colwood at No. 6, Central Saanich at No. 7 and North Vancouver at No. 8., Vancouver was 11th.

For more about MacLean’s rankings, click here.

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