For Canada’s retirees, seeking out a place to call home doesn’t just mean looking for the best healthcare providers or the lowest taxes—it means finding a community that offers the most opportunities to enjoy this stage of life to the fullest. For those of you who don’t have a cottage to escape to, here are seven Canadian communities that more and more boomers are beginning to call home.
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A stone’s throw away from the lively Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a retiree’s dream. The home of numerous heritage properties, historic sites, and high-end restaurants, it comes as no surprise that the picturesque city in Southern Ontario has been a filming location for many Hollywood films. Plus, Niagara-on-the-Lake’s mild climate is an ideal growing environment, so the surrounding area is filled with countless orchards and vineyards. There’s no better excuse to spend your days cycling from winery to winery in search of your new favourite wine.
Long before it was the birthplace of Justin Bieber, Stratford was little more than a railway junction. But as depicted in one of Canada’s Heritage Minutes, the Ontario community redefined its status in 1953 when it started the now well-known Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Named the “prettiest city in the world” in 1997, arts and culture are in abundance in this community of 30,000, which is located along the Avon River.
Moncton, New Brunswick
Although Moncton is the second-largest city in New Brunswick, it’s still comparatively small. With all the urban amenities that you might need, the bilingual city of 70,000 maintains the feel of a small community. For outdoor enthusiasts, two national parks, some wildlife preserves, and the Hopewell Rocks are all located within an hour’s drive. There’s also Moncton’s popular Centennial Park, which is home to lawn bowling and tennis facilities, as well as lighted cross-country skiing and hiking trails.
Kelowna, British Columbia
After decades of slogging through Canada’s winters, there’s no better reward than moving to the Okanagan. Although Kelowna experiences four seasons, winters are usually mild and summers are hot. A popular retirement location, the area surrounding Okanagan Lake is second-to-none for sailors and water sport enthusiasts—provided that you’re not scared of the Ogopogo (the area’s mythological lake serpent), of course.
Cochrane, Alberta is one of the fastest-growing communities in Canada for good reason. A short drive from Calgary, the Prairie town is nestled in Alberta’s Bow River Valley, surrounded by breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains. Western enthusiasts will find that the bedroom community is the perfect place for a hobby farm right on the Cowboy Trail, while adventurers will want to take advantage of the paragliding and cycling opportunities.
Comox, British Columbia
While retirees on Canada’s West Coast are historically known for flocking to Victoria, Comox is becoming an increasingly popular place to settle down. Located on Vancouver Island’s East Coast, it has become known for prime fishing, year-round golfing, and wildlife watching. Rich with history, Comox can owe much of its popularity to its sunny summer days—perfect for gardening—and mild winters.
While British Columbia’s top retirement communities boast mild weather, it comes at a cost; namely a surplus of overcast, rainy days. For those looking for greener grass, welcome to Estevan, Saskatchewan—Canada’s sunshine capital. With the most sunny days per year, the town of 10,000 also has a strong community vibe. In addition to sporting facilities, including a well-maintained golf course, Estevan has an active theatre group and local arts council. There are countless opportunities to get involved or volunteer.