[Note reference to transit and cycling below, highlighted in yellow.]

We're No. 4 (in large Canadian cities) and that's OK

By: Kevin Rollason 


WINNIPEG may have slipped a few spots overall on MoneySense magazine's annual list of the best places to live in Canada, but in terms of big cities, it has gone up a notch in the rankings.

And for organizations that promote Winnipeg, that is the key finding.

MoneySense, a personal finance magazine, lists Winnipeg as the 24th-best place to live in Canada in 2015 -- a drop from 19th last year, and continuing the city's fall from 16th in 2013, and 10th in 2012.

But in terms of the survey's 15 large Canadian cities, Winnipeg jumped up to fourth place from fifth, surpassing Edmonton, which plunged to 33rd from eighth overall in 2014. The centres ahead of Winnipeg are Ottawa, Quebec City and Calgary.

Marina James, the CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc., said she believes the large city ranking is the more relevant ranking for Winnipeg.

"I'm so pleased we moved from fifth to fourth in big cities," James said Monday.

"As an economic development agency we will promote that... I do believe any time we are in the top list it is very valuable for Winnipeg."

The annual list puts small-sized Boucherville, Que., as number 1 of 209 Canadian cities to live in, edging out Ottawa.

Brandon, in 26th place, is the next Manitoba entry after Winnipeg on the list, climbing up from 42nd.

Other listed Manitoba communities are Steinbach at 149 (down from 85), Selkirk at 155 (the first time it has appeared on MoneySense's list), Portage la Prairie at 170 (down from 144) and Thompson at 177 (down from 121).

Mark Brown, the author of the article, said Winnipeg mainly dropped down in the rankings because other cities popped up.

"If another city has improvements, Winnipeg might be just as good as last year, but you can lose ground," he said.

Brown said Winnipeg has several things going for it, including a population growth slightly higher than the national average, good access to health care and public transit, and ease in getting around on bicycle or foot.

"You are 30th best for public transit -- that's positive," he said.

"And two per cent of your population takes a bicycle to work -- that's really good and puts you 27th in the country."

Brown said several Alberta cities have dropped because the massive influx in their populations in recent years have left them struggling to provide public services such as accessible health care.

Loren Remillard of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce said in itself a drop to 24th place from 19th is not bad news.

"Overall, this is more a case of small and medium-sized cities rocketing up the survey," Remillard said.

"These aren't the communities Winnipeg is competing against for community investment... we didn't drop so much as smaller cities (went) up. "Being fourth bodes well for Winnipeg."



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 2, 2015 A2