Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City slips in best places to live on MoneySense list

Now 19th on magazine's rankings, Winnipeg holds its own in key areas

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Our town is holding its own in several of MoneySense magazine's livability criteria, with a steady growth in population and average household income.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

Our town is holding its own in several of MoneySense magazine's livability criteria, with a steady growth in population and average household income. Photo Store

Winnipeg has dropped a couple more notches on MoneySense magazine's annual list of the best places to live in Canada, but still ranks as one of the best large Canadian cities to call home.

The Toronto-based personal finance and lifestyle magazine ranks Winnipeg 19th on this year's list of 201 Canadian cities. That's down from No. 16 a year ago and No. 10 in 2012.

But it also ranked Winnipeg No. 5 on its list of the 15 best large cities (400,000-plus people) in which to live, unchanged from a year ago.

"So Winnipeg held steady this year at No. 5, which is really good," MoneySense senior editor Julie Cazzin said in interview Wednesday.

And 19th on a list of 201 cities is also "a really good score," she added.

Cazzin said dropping three spots on a list of 201 is a pretty insignificant change. The only reason Winnipeg lost ground is because a couple of small or medium-size cities that were below it last year showed stronger growth in a few key areas over the past year, she said. It wasn't a case of Winnipeg's overall performance deteriorating, which is why its big-city ranking didn't change.

MoneySense looks at 33 different criteria in compiling its annual rankings. They include factors such as household income, population growth, unemployment rate, cost of housing, crime rates, number of rainy days, number of doctors per 1,000 residents and the percentage of the population that walks, bikes or takes public transit to get to work.

Cazzin noted there was little or no change in Winnipeg's score in terms of the number of doctors per 1,000 residents (2.72), the percentage of residents who walk, (12.37), ride a bike (1.47) or take public transit to work (12.37), or in its unemployment rate (5.7 per cent).

The city enjoyed good growth in other key areas such as average household income ($80,376) and average household net worth ($331,003).

"Your population is also still growing at a fairly steady pace, which is good," she added.

One area where Winnipeg lost a few points was rainy days -- it had a couple more than in the previous year, Cazzin said. The violent-crime index went up a bit, although the overall crime rate went down.

"So the two sort of cancel each other out," she said.

Winnipeg was one of five Manitoba cities included in this year's survey. Brandon enjoyed a rebound, jumping to No. 42 from 91 in 2013. Steinbach lost ground, falling to 85 from 61. Thompson climbed to 121 from 164 and Portage la Prairie rose to 144 from 160.

The magazine ranked St. Albert, a satellite community outside Edmonton, as the best place to live in Canada. Calgary, which had the top ranking last year, slipped to No. 2. The B.C. city of Port Alberni finished last.

The MoneySense rankings were released just one day after Walk Score, a Seattle-based company known for its rankings of North American places for their "walkability," released its first-ever ranking of the 10 best large Canadian cities for public transit.

It ranked Winnipeg fourth after Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and ahead of cities such as Ottawa (fifth), Edmonton (eighth) and Calgary (ninth).

See the full rankings here.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Why do you think Winnipeg has dropped in the ranking since 2012? Join the conversation in the comments below.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 13, 2014 B5

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