Five of the top 10 places to retire in Canada are in British Columbia, according to a 2009 MoneySense article. Victoria, Vancouver, Courtenay, Vernon and Salmon Arm finished on top. Ontario tallied four of the spots while Quebec took one. MoneySense developed the list by considering the needs of retirees, such as health care and climate.
British Columbia's capital of Victoria is on Vancouver Island in the southwest corner of the province. As one of the province's southernmost municipalities, the temperature reaches below freezing on 53 days of the year. Approximately 10 percent of the population uses transit as their main form of transportation. Victoria finished first in MoneySense's survey.
As the largest city in the province, and home to the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver is nestled between vast coastal mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Vancouver ranked fourth on the MoneySense list. Vancouver has a subway, skytrain and bus system that allows retirees to move around the city. Parks and a seawall path offers recreation. Vancouver is loaded with retirement homes options.
Courtenay is on Vancouver Island and experiences a mild annual climate. Unlike Victoria and Vancouver, Courtenay is a community for people looking to live in a small town. Courtenay is home to the Comox Valley Seniors Village, which provides housing, and the CRA Evergreen Seniors Club, providing various activities for seniors. Courtenay was voted sixth on the MoneySense list.
Vernon is in British Columbia's sunny Okanagan region. The hot and long summers in the area allow for the plentiful production of fruit. During all of the seasons, Vernon receives little precipitation. Housing in Vernon is considered very affordable, at around $170,000 for an average house as of 2008. Vernon has its own hospital and a larger hospital is 45 minutes drive away in neighboring Kelowna. The town was voted by MoneySense as the seventh best place in Canada to retire.
Salmon Arm is a small community that is surrounded by lakes and forest. According to Retirement Investigator, many retirees choose Salmon Arm because they have vacationed there for many years and have grown to love the scenery. The town sits on Shuswap Lake, which is a setting for hiking, water sports, golf, tennis and mountain biking. Salmon Arm was ranked 10th by MoneySense as a top place to retire.