Opinion: There is a list of Canada’s Best Small Cities and we have a lot of thoughts

Any city in the country with a population under 200,000 is fair game.

Best Small Cities

Credit: Victoria ranked first in a recent list of Canada’s best small cities/ Canada’s Best Small Cities 2022

Victoria ranked first in a recent list of Canada’s best small cities

Any city in the country with a population under 200,000 is fair game

Here at BCBusiness, we like to promote our home province. That should be obvious. So usually, when we poke fun at a list that ranks The Best Somethings in Canada, it’s because it cherry picks a bunch of things in Toronto while giving B.C. some pity mentions.

That’s not the case with a recent list from Vancouver-based Resonance Consultancy titled Canada’s Best Small Cities 2022. Resonance’s inaugural list (the company also did The World’s Best 100 Cities last year) measures cities in 23 different subject areas, grouped into six core categories.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, since Resonance is based in Vancouver, B.C. is well-represented on the list. Let’s dive into some thoughts, in point-form.

And, just before we get into it, let’s make one thing clear. This is going to be very tongue-in-cheek. We know first hand what it’s like to make (and be criticized for) a list of The Best Somethings.

– Victoria at Number 1

Yes, okay. Victoria definitely deserves to take the number one spot on this list, given the qualifications to be on it. Does it feel a bit like the Sedin twins dropping into a game of beer league shinny? Yes, it does.

Do you really think it’s fair to compare Guelph and Moncton with Victoria? Sure, Victoria technically has a population under 100,000. But nearby Saanich (also on the list, at number 23) has another 124,639, according to the list. It feels just a tiny bit unfair.

– Niagara Falls at 4

Okay, no. Anyone who has been to Niagara Falls for more than a weekend will tell you it doesn’t belong this high.

– North Vancouver at 6

…I guess so? It’s really just an extension of Vancouver. And yes, it’s great. But this one feels a little cheap.

Also, is the seabus really “one of the most spectacular modes of public transit on the planet”? Gosh, flying cars can’t come soon enough. 

– Burlington at 7

Burlington isn’t even the seventh-best Toronto suburb.

– St. John’s at 13

Criminally low for one of the Atlantic’s best cities. And honestly, the list’s biggest omission might be Charlottetown, P.E.I.

– Moncton at 15

On the other hand, Moncton tied for second in the country in nightlife?? The downtown is walkable (if you like walking down one long strip), sure. Other than that, not sure I see it.

– Nanaimo at 20

I’m not going to throw a bunch of hate on Nanaimo—that’s not hard to find if you look—but check out this passage:

“New residents can’t help bragging how they can surf and ski in the same weekend just by getting in their car. (Tofino, Canada’s surf capital, is three hours away…”

Has anyone in the history of the world bragged about being able to make the drive from Nanaimo to Tofino (especially recently, with the road blockages)?

– Saanich at 23

Is Saanich really the “beat of Vancouver Island’s urban heart” or is that just a bunch of words that don’t really mean anything? Unclear.

Again, Resonance took on an impossible task. Props to them for doing it. And for not trying to call Waterloo “Canada’s Silicon Valley.” Oh wait.