The 5 Happiest Places in Canada: Where Joy Finds a Home

Published on: April 30th, 2024

From east to west, there are cities across the country that consistently rank high on happiness indexes, offering a blend of natural beauty, economic prosperity, and social well-being.


Let’s delve into the five happiest places in Canada! Our selection is based on factors such as the unemployment rate, average annual income, and overall life satisfaction scores. We will explore what makes these cities exceptional and also highlight their main attractions. Whether you’re considering moving from abroad, within Canada from another province, or simply curious about where the brightest smiles are in the country, read on to discover the vibrant cities that promise a higher quality of life and a more joyous living experience.

1. Vancouver, British Columbia

Cherry blossom flowers at David Lam Park. Vancouver city, BC, Canada.

Happiness Index: 7.6/10

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountains, Vancouver is a city renowned for its stunning natural beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, and vibrant cultural scene. The city consistently ranks high on global happiness indexes, thanks in part to its strong economy, excellent healthcare system, and emphasis on work-life balance.


  • Unemployment Rate: 4.5%
  • Average Annual Income: CAD 63,423
  • Life Satisfaction Score: 8.5/10

Why Vancouver?

  1. Natural Splendor: From Stanley Park’s lush greenery to the breathtaking views from Grouse Mountain, Vancouver offers residents ample opportunities to connect with nature.
  2. Cultural Diversity: A melting pot of cultures, Vancouver celebrates diversity through festivals, cuisines, and arts, fostering a sense of inclusivity and belonging.
  3. Healthy Lifestyle: With access to outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and cycling year-round, Vancouverites prioritize physical well-being and active living.
  4. Discover the reasons why living in Vancouver offers a fantastic experience in a complete blog post: Living in Vancouver
Embrace the Drizzle

Embrace the Drizzle

Embrace the rain like a local! Don't just tolerate it—celebrate it. Grab the flashiest, most outrageous umbrella you can find, or better yet, sport some stylish rain boots that make a splash in every puddle. Remember, in Vancouver, the rain is just another opportunity to show off your rainy-day fashion and join the city's unofficial "Best-Dressed in Drizzle" contest!

2. Calgary, Alberta

Olympic Plaza, Calgary, Alberta

Happiness Index: 7.8/10

Calgary, situated in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, combines economic prosperity with a strong sense of community, making it a top contender in happiness rankings. The city’s robust job market, low crime rates, and abundance of recreational amenities contribute to its residents’ overall well-being.


  • Unemployment Rate: 6.2%
  • Average Annual Income: CAD 70,770
  • Life Satisfaction Score: 8.2/10

Why Calgary?

  1. Economic Opportunities: With a thriving energy sector and a growing tech industry, Calgary offers residents diverse career options and competitive salaries.
  2. Outdoor Paradise: From skiing in Banff to hiking in Kananaskis Country, Calgarians embrace the great outdoors, promoting an active and healthy lifestyle.
  3. Community Spirit: Strong community ties, evident in events like the Calgary Stampede and local volunteer initiatives, foster a sense of belonging and camaraderie.
Cowboy Up Calgary

Cowboy Up Calgary

To ramp up your happiness in Calgary, embrace the cowboy spirit, especially during the Calgary Stampede! Grab a cowboy hat and some boots, and blend in with the local festivities. But here’s the real tip: learn to line dance! Not only will it put a smile on your face, but you'll also get some great exercise and maybe even impress the locals with your moves. Yeehaw to happiness, Calgary style!

3. Ottawa, Ontario

The tulips festival, Ottawa , Ontario.

Happiness Index: 7.9/10

As Canada’s capital city, Ottawa boasts a rich cultural heritage, a stable economy, and a high standard of living, earning it a spot among the happiest places in the country. Residents enjoy a mix of urban amenities and natural beauty, along with strong social support systems.


  • Unemployment Rate: 5.1%
  • Average Annual Income: CAD 67,430
  • Life Satisfaction Score: 8.0/10

Why Ottawa?

  1. Cultural Richness: Museums, galleries, and historic sites abound in Ottawa, offering residents and visitors alike a glimpse into Canada’s past and present.
  2. Government Stability: As the seat of Canada’s federal government, Ottawa benefits from a stable economy, job security, and a well-functioning public sector.
  3. Green Spaces: From the Rideau Canal to Gatineau Park, Ottawa prioritizes green initiatives, providing residents with ample parks and outdoor recreational areas.
Canal Skating Essentials

Canal Skating Essentials

For a true boost of happiness in Ottawa, make sure to perfect your ice skating skills—or at least your ability to stay upright on skates. Every winter, the Rideau Canal becomes the world's largest skating rink. Joining the locals in this quintessential activity is a must. But here’s the real tip: bring a thermos of hot chocolate (or maybe even some maple syrup to drizzle on snow for a makeshift treat). It’ll warm your spirits as you glide (or wobble) through the heart of the city!

4. Victoria, British Columbia

Inner Harbour of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Happiness Index: 8.0/10

Located on Vancouver Island, Victoria exudes charm with its historic architecture, temperate climate, and strong sense of community. The city’s emphasis on sustainability, cultural diversity, and work-life balance contributes to its high happiness quotient.


  • Unemployment Rate: 3.8%
  • Average Annual Income: CAD 61,984
  • Life Satisfaction Score: 8.4/10

Why Victoria?

  1. Quality of Life: With a mild climate, scenic waterfronts, and a slower pace of life, Victoria offers residents a high quality of life conducive to well-being.
  2. Environmental Stewardship: Victoria leads in sustainable practices, promoting green initiatives, bike-friendly infrastructure, and conservation efforts.
  3. Community Engagement: Strong community ties are evident in Victoria’s local markets, festivals, and volunteer organizations, fostering a sense of belonging and civic pride.
Whales on Whim

Whales on Whim

If you're in Victoria, British Columbia, and want to spike your happiness levels, go whale watching—but don’t forget your sense of humour along with your binoculars! Whales, like celebrities, don’t always stick to the schedule. So while you're scanning the ocean, remember that patience is key, and the anticipation is part of the fun. And here’s a pro tip: practice your best whale calls. You never know, you might just be fluent in Humpback!

5. Halifax, Nova Scotia

Happiness Index: 7.7/10

On the eastern shores of Canada, Halifax blends maritime charm with economic opportunities, making it a sought-after destination for those seeking a balanced lifestyle. The city’s rich history, cultural vibrancy, and scenic coastal landscapes contribute to its residents’ overall happiness.


  • Unemployment Rate: 7.2%
  • Average Annual Income: CAD 56,632
  • Life Satisfaction Score: 8.1/10

Why Halifax?

  1. Cultural Heritage: From the Halifax Citadel to Peggy’s Cove, the city preserves its maritime history while embracing modern cultural expressions through arts and festivals.
  2. Affordable Living: Compared to larger cities, Halifax offers a more affordable cost of living, allowing residents to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without excessive financial strain.
  3. Coastal Living: Access to beaches, waterfront trails, and outdoor activities like sailing and kayaking promotes a healthy and active lifestyle, contributing to residents’ well-being.
Savor Halifax Mess

Savor Halifax Mess

To dial up the happiness in Halifax, Nova Scotia, don't miss out on the power of a good donair. After soaking in the picturesque views and fresh ocean breeze, treat yourself to this local favourite—it's practically a rite of passage in Halifax. But remember to always lean forward while eating. This way, when the inevitable spill happens, it's your shoes that get seasoned, not your clothes. Embrace the mess—it's all part of the authentic Halifax dining experience!

Canada’s happiest places embody a harmonious blend of economic stability, natural beauty, cultural richness, and strong community bonds. Cities like Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Victoria, and Halifax consistently rank high on happiness indexes, reflecting their residents’ overall satisfaction with life. Whether it’s the stunning landscapes of the West Coast, the cultural vibrancy of the nation’s capital, or the maritime charm of the East Coast, these cities offer unique experiences while fostering environments conducive to happiness, well-being, and a fulfilling life.


Explore the possibilities of immigrating to Canada, and let us guide you through the pathways that lead to your new home. Start planning your journey to experience the warmth of Canadian hospitality. Your adventure begins now!


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