The inaugural report of the ‘Best Small Cities in Canada’ states 82 per cent of Canadians now live in cities. According to the Chris Fair of Resonance Consultancy, it has taken approximately 100 years for that shift in society for Canada to become so urbanized.
“When you go back at, the beginning of the 1900s, less than half of Canadians lived in cities, and by 1980, it reached that 80 per cent threshold,” said Fair, adding it’s not surprising to see cities like Victoria and Kelowna at the top of list.
“They offer great environment, great quality of life, are popular for visitors, so they’re popular as places to live.” he said.
On this edition of Today in BC, host Peter McCully talked with Fair as well as the mayors and Chamber of Commerce CEOs about the report.
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says the biggest misconception about Victoria is “we’re a sleepy little town where people come to retire, but Victoria has changed in the last decade.”
“The other misconception I think is that people think that tourism is our number one industry and tourism is really important,” she said. “And we love when people come to visit. But our number one industry is actually high tech. It’s $5 billion a year and growing quickly.”
Kelowna was named the second-best small city in Canada. The report shows that Kelowna is a very active hub for arts and entertainment.
“We are blessed with talent and we have artistic companies here in our community that punch way above their weight class,” said Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. “We have a ballet, a symphony, an opera that I would put on par with any major city in Canada.”
In addition to Victoria and Kelowna, North Vancouver, Kamloops, Nanaimo and Saanich made the Top 25 list. The report can be downloaded at BestCities.org.
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