Nanaimo
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Nanaimo is a desirable city for Canadian migrants, according to a recent study

Study shows working Canadians are interested in coastal life

A cheaper, chiller life on the coast. Why not?

Working-age Canadians are flocking to midsized communities on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, according to a recent report by the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET). 

The study, which uses the most recent census data, looks at who lived in Canada’s 152 urban centres as of the 2016 census, compared to where they lived in 2011. It aims to rank and measure the hot spots of intra-Canada migration.

So while the country’s largest urban centres are still reportedly drawing international migrants, all seven of the ICET region’s urban centres (Nanaimo, Campbell River, Courtenay, Duncan, Parksville, Port Alberni and Powell River) had a positive net inflow of residents from the rest of Canada from 2011 to 2016. 

Five ICET cities—Nanaimo (No. 10), Parksville (No. 19), Courtenay (No. 20), Campbell River (No. 25) and Duncan (No. 40)—made the top 40. Powell River and Port Alberni came in at No. 62 and No. 73, respectively.

When taking into consideration working-age Canadians (25-54 years), Nanaimo, Courtenay and Campbell River all made the top 15.

“A younger demographic is increasingly drawn into our region and bringing with them new ideas, businesses and investment prospects that align well with the economic opportunities available here,” ICET vice-chair Aaron Stone said in a release.

“Our communities have historically shown themselves to be adaptable and resilient (particularly more recently with COVID), and for many Canadians, living in this type of environment is highly attractive,” Sone added.

Edmonton and Calgary took the top two spots, with Kelowna coming in third. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the country’s biggest cities—Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, in that order—made up the bottom three.