Skip to main content

Toronto – where youth comprise a fifth of the population − scores well in entrepreneurship and creative arts. It fares worse in some areas such as accessibility of free WiFi, commuter time by transit and the cost of rent.

Gregory Bull

A first-ever ranking of Canada’s “most youthful” cities puts Toronto on top as the best place for young people to live, work and play, based on metrics such as the cost of a transit pass, monthly rent and concert tickets along with measures of youth unemployment, digital access and crime stats.

The index, to be published Wednesday by Youthful Cities, a Toronto-based social enterprise, examines how attractive 13 Canadian cities are to people between the ages of 15 and 29.

The rankings are based on 121 different indicators – collected by young people across Canada − and weighted by using an opinion survey of youth on what matters most to them. It’s a work in progress with longer-term plans to create an advisory panel and to be published annually.

Story continues below advertisement

Given the public-policy focus on older people (who also have more voter clout), the index aims to nudge cities to adopt “youthful” qualities – such as being open, innovative and dynamic – attributes which are also more likely to attract and engage young people.

Young people “feel that youthful cities are more prosperous, have better economies, better social connectedness, attract more entrepreneurs and are generally happier places” and that makes them attractive for youth and for people of all ages, said Robert Barnard, co-founder of Youthful Cities, a for-profit with a social purpose .

The index come as demographics in Canada are shifting: For the first time ever, seniors outnumber children, according to 2016 census data, a change that is reshaping everything from the labour market to health-care demand and the tax base. Municipalities will need to attract, engage and retain young people to their cities – and jobs market − or risk losing out.

Youth “are needed more than ever before in our aging society and yet they are more mobile – youth vote with their feet,” the report said, adding that its 2016 survey found seven in 10 North American youth said they would leave their current city in the next several years. “Competition for this important labour force will intensify, yet there is a crisis of youth engagement in our cities.”

The rankings are based on data collected from sources such as the census and Statistics Canada, along with municipal sources and university reports. Data collection for this study was between September, 2016, and December, 2017. It is weighted according to 20 areas that were deemed important to youth, taken from a previous global survey.

Rankings

The ranking of 13 cities places Toronto at the top followed by Vancouver and Montreal. St. John’s and Hamilton land at the bottom.

Toronto leads the country because of its diversity and civic engagement. Canada’s largest city – where youth comprise a fifth of the population − scores well in entrepreneurship and creative arts. It fares worse in some areas such as accessibility of free WiFi, commuter time by transit and the cost of rent.

Story continues below advertisement

Vancouver scores well for its public spaces, such as public libraries, walkability and sports fields – though on affordability, it has the lowest rank in Canada.

Montreal outperforms other cities in digital access and transit, along with food, music and nightlife – but fares comparatively worse on health (due to a lower legal age for buying cigarettes).

Montreal outperforms other cities in digital access and transit, along with food, music and nightlife, thanks to well-loved establishments such as La Petite Idée Fixe, a Mile End dive.

SARAH MONGEAU-BIRKETT

St. John’s is at the bottom, with lower ratings for walkability, youth unemployment and diversity. Hamilton scored poorly for its lack of free WiFi and the absence of security measures on its public transit.

The Canadian index comes after the same organization produced a global ranking of youthful cities, in 2015, which listed New York as the top city in the world for young people, followed by London and Berlin. Toronto was the top Canadian city in the global rankings, in sixth place.

This isn’t the first ranking that touts Toronto’s advantages. A 2015 global “youth economic strategy” index, for the Citi Foundation, listed Toronto as the best city in the world for youth of 35 cities measured.

YOUTHFUL CITIES,

2018 CANADIAN INDEX

Youthful cities are attractive to a young labour force (15-29 years) and youthful innovators. The youthfulness of a city is determined by data collected on 121 indicators, which reflect 20 attributes in three categories.

WORK

LIVE

PLAY

Civic

engagement

Travel

Affordability

Financial

services

Digital access

Sports

Education

Music

Diversity

Employment

Film

Environment

Food and

nightlife

Entrepreneurship

Health

Safety

Public space

Transit

Fashion

Creative arts

Top and bottom 3 ranking cities within each category, by the average score of all the attributes which have a score from 0 to 100.

WORK

TOP 3 CITIES

Moncton

Affordability

100

80

60

40

Entrepreneurship

Financial

services

20

0

Employment

Education

Quebec City

Affordability

100

80

60

40

Entrepreneurship

Financial

services

20

0

Employment

Education

Toronto

Affordability

100

80

60

40

Entrepreneurship

Financial

services

20

0

Employment

Education

WORK

BOTTOM 3 CITIES

Calgary

Affordability

100

80

60

40

Entrepreneurship

Financial

services

20

0

Employment

Education

Hamilton

Affordability

100

80

60

40

Entrepreneurship

Financial

services

20

0

Employment

Education

Halifax

Affordability

100

80

60

40

Entrepreneurship

Financial

services

20

0

Employment

Education

LIVE

TOP 3 CITIES

Vancouver

Civic engagement

100

80

Digital

access

60

Transit

40

20

0

Safety

Diversity

Health

Environment

Toronto

Civic engagement

100

80

Digital

access

60

Transit

40

20

0

Safety

Diversity

Health

Environment

Montreal

Civic engagement

100

80

Digital

access

60

Transit

40

20

0

Safety

Diversity

Health

Environment

LIVE

BOTTOM 3 CITIES

Moncton

Civic engagement

100

80

Digital

access

60

Transit

40

20

0

Safety

Diversity

Health

Environment

Halifax

Civic engagement

100

80

Digital

access

60

Transit

40

20

0

Safety

Diversity

Health

Environment

St. John’s

Civic engagement

100

80

Digital

access

60

Transit

40

20

0

Safety

Diversity

Health

Environment

PLAY

TOP 3 CITIES

Toronto

Creative arts

100

80

Travel

Fashion

60

40

20

0

Sports

Public

space

Music

Food and

nightlife

Film

Montreal

Creative arts

100

80

Travel

Fashion

60

40

20

0

Sports

Public

space

Music

Food and

nightlife

Film

Vancouver

Creative arts

100

80

Travel

Fashion

60

40

20

0

Sports

Public

space

Music

Food and

nightlife

Film

PLAY

BOTTOM 3 CITIES

Saskatoon

Creative arts

100

80

Travel

Fashion

60

40

20

0

Sports

Public

space

Music

Food and

nightlife

Film

Hamilton

Creative arts

100

80

Travel

Fashion

60

40

20

0

Sports

Public

space

Music

Food and

nightlife

Film

St. John’s

Creative arts

100

80

Travel

Fashion

60

40

20

0

Sports

Public

space

Music

Food and

nightlife

Film

MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL,

SOURCE: YOUTHFUL CITIES

YOUTHFUL CITIES, 2018 CANADIAN INDEX

Youthful cities are attractive to a young labour force (15-29 years) and youthful innovators. The youthfulness of a city is determined by data collected on 121

indicators, which reflect 20 attributes in three categories.

WORK

LIVE

PLAY

Civic

engagement

Travel

Affordability

Financial

services

Digital access

Sports

Education

Music

Diversity

Employment

Film

Environment

Food and

nightlife

Entrepreneurship

Health

Safety

Public space

Transit

Fashion

Creative arts

Top and bottom 3 ranking cities within each category, by the average score of all the attributes which have a score from 0 to 100.

WORK

TOP 3 CITIES

Moncton

Affordability

100

80

60

40

Entrepreneurship

Financial

services

20

0

Employment

Education

Quebec City

Affordability

100

80

60

40

Entrepreneurship

Financial

services

20

0

Employment

Education

Toronto

Affordability

100

80

60

40

Entrepreneurship

Financial

services

20

0

Employment

Education

WORK

BOTTOM 3 CITIES

Calgary

Affordability

100

80

60

40

Entrepreneurship

Financial

services

20

0

Employment

Education

Hamilton

Affordability

100

80

60

40

Entrepreneurship

Financial

services

20

0

Employment

Education

Halifax

Affordability

100

80

60

40

Entrepreneurship

Financial

services

20

0

Employment

Education

LIVE

TOP 3 CITIES

Vancouver

Civic engagement

100

80

Digital

access

60

Transit

40

20

0

Safety

Diversity

Health

Environment

Toronto

Civic engagement

100

80

Digital

access

60

Transit

40

20

0

Safety

Diversity

Health

Environment

Montreal

Civic engagement

100

80

Digital

access

60

Transit

40

20

0

Safety

Diversity

Health

Environment

LIVE

BOTTOM 3 CITIES

Moncton

Civic engagement

100

80

Digital

access

60

Transit

40

20

0

Safety

Diversity

Health

Environment

Halifax

Civic engagement

100

80

Digital

access

60

Transit

40

20

0

Safety

Diversity

Health

Environment

St. John’s

Civic engagement

100

80

Digital

access

60

Transit

40

20

0

Safety

Diversity

Health

Environment

PLAY

TOP 3 CITIES

Toronto

Creative arts

100

80

Travel

Fashion

60

40

20

0

Sports

Public

space

Music

Food and

nightlife

Film

Montreal

Creative arts

100

80

Travel

Fashion

60

40

20

0

Sports

Public

space

Music

Food and

nightlife

Film

Vancouver

Creative arts

100

80

Travel

Fashion

60

40

20

0

Sports

Public

space

Music

Food and

nightlife

Film

PLAY

BOTTOM 3 CITIES

Saskatoon

Creative arts

100

80

Travel

Fashion

60

40

20

0

Sports

Public

space

Music

Food and

nightlife

Film

Hamilton

Creative arts

100

80

Travel

Fashion

60

40

20

0

Sports

Public

space

Music

Food and

nightlife

Film

St. John’s

Creative arts

100

80

Travel

Fashion

60

40

20

0

Sports

Public

space

Music

Food and

nightlife

Film

MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL,

SOURCE: YOUTHFUL CITIES

YOUTHFUL CITIES, 2018 CANADIAN INDEX

Youthful cities are attractive to a young labour force (15-29 years) and youthful innovators. The youthfulness of a city is determined by data collected on 121 indicators, which reflect 20 attributes in three categories.

WORK

Financial

services

Employment

Entrepreneurship

Affordability

Education

LIVE

Transit

Diversity

Safety

Health

Digital access

Civic

engagement

Environment

PLAY

Travel

Sports

Music

Film

Food and

nightlife

Public space

Fashion

Creative arts

Top and bottom 3 ranking cities within each category, by the average score of all the attributes which have a score from 0 to 100.

WORK

TOP 3 CITIES

BOTTOM 3 CITIES

Moncton

Calgary

Affordability

Affordability

100

100

80

80

60

60

40

40

Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship

Financial

services

Financial

services

20

20

0

0

Employment

Education

Employment

Education

Quebec City

Hamilton

Affordability

Affordability

100

100

80

80

60

60

40

40

Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship

Financial

services

Financial

services

20

20

0

0

Employment

Education

Employment

Education

Toronto

Halifax

Affordability

Affordability

100

100

80

80

60

60

40

40

Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship

Financial

services

Financial

services

20

20

0

0

Employment

Education

Employment

Education

LIVE

TOP 3 CITIES

BOTTOM 3 CITIES

Moncton

Vancouver

Civic engagement

Civic engagement

100

100

80

80

Digital

access

Digital

access

60

60

Transit

Transit

40

40

20

20

0

0

Safety

Diversity

Safety

Diversity

Health

Environment

Health

Environment

Halifax

Toronto

Civic engagement

Civic engagement

100

100

80

80

Digital

access

Digital

access

60

60

Transit

Transit

40

40

20

20

0

0

Safety

Diversity

Safety

Diversity

Health

Environment

Health

Environment

St. John’s

Montreal

Civic engagement

Civic engagement

100

100

80

80

Digital

access

Digital

access

60

60

Transit

Transit

40

40

20

20

0

0

Safety

Diversity

Safety

Diversity

Health

Environment

Health

Environment

PLAY

TOP 3 CITIES

BOTTOM 3 CITIES

Saskatoon

Toronto

Creative arts

Creative arts

100

100

80

80

Travel

Fashion

Travel

Fashion

60

60

40

40

20

20

0

0

Sports

Public

space

Sports

Public

space

Music

Food and

nightlife

Music

Food and

nightlife

Film

Film

Hamilton

Montreal

Creative arts

Creative arts

100

100

80

80

Travel

Fashion

Travel

Fashion

60

60

40

40

20

20

0

0

Sports

Public

space

Sports

Public

space

Music

Food and

nightlife

Music

Food and

nightlife

Film

Film

St. John’s

Vancouver

Creative arts

Creative arts

100

100

80

80

Travel

Fashion

Travel

Fashion

60

60

40

40

20

20

0

0

Sports

Public

space

Sports

Public

space

Music

Food and

nightlife

Music

Food and

nightlife

Film

Film

MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: YOUTHFUL CITIES

Attributes

The index includes attributes such as entrepreneurship and the environment. It compares details that can affect quality of life, such as the cost of sports shoes, a dozen eggs, movie tickets and cell-phone data packages.

Story continues below advertisement

Vancouver scores well for its public spaces, such as public libraries, walkability and sports fields – though on affordability, it has the lowest rank in Canada.

DARRYL DYCK

It looked at the availability of health clinics and bike lanes, homicide rates and the level of carbon emissions in each city. It included measures on the openness to LGBTQ communities (by, for example, looking at whether there is a Pride Parade) and the youth unemployment rate.

The attributes most important to youth, based on a previous global survey, are health, safety, transit and affordability, said Mr. Barnard.

Diversity

Toronto is tops when it comes to the diversity measure, and not just in Canada. By this measure, Toronto is also No. 1 in the Youthful Cities’ 2015 global diversity ranking too.

It fares well in areas such as the languages people can vote in and the diversity of religion. This category includes factors such as how open a city is to LGBTQ issues and rights (where Calgary fares well), and to cultural or gender differences.

It also looks at the diversity of food (where Montreal tops). Montreal ranks second in Canada for diversity.

“I do see that diversity ... reflected in the every day,” said Edna Ali, executive director of the Toronto Youth Cabinet, the youth advisory body to the City of Toronto. She also sees room for improvement – not all communities have equal opportunities, inclusion and accessibility could be better, youth underemployment is too high and affordability poses a huge challenge for young people.

Ms. Ali, 22, who was born and raised in Toronto and whose parents are from Somalia, sees Toronto’s greatest attribute as its openness to people of all backgrounds. “This is a place that you can be in and take up space, and that’s an option for folks who oftentimes may not have the right to vote, [that] is something that makes Toronto a wonderful and amazing place to live.”

Edna Ali, executive director of the Toronto Youth Cabinet, poses for a portrait by Toronto City Hall on Tuesday.

Galit Rodan/The Globe and Mail

Five Facts

Hamilton is the city with the cheapest average concert tickets. Live performances remain affordable amid the city’s thriving music scene.

Saskatoon is the best city for sports fans and athletes. It has the highest number of professional sports teams, relative to its population, and the cheapest gym memberships.

St. John’s has, by far, the most affordable rental housing of the 13 cities. Its average monthly rental housing is more than $1,000 cheaper than in Canada’s most expensive cities.

Winnipeg has the largest Indigenous-advisory board among the cities and the NHL’s Jets are the first pro team in Canada to begin sporting events with a land acknowledgment. The city is emerging as a leader in recognizing its colonial history.

Moncton has the highest secondary-school graduation rate of the cities measured and it has the highest youth full-time jobs as a percentage of total employment.

A thought provoking discussion with industry leaders moderated by The Globe and Mail’s Architecture Reporter, Alex Bozikovic
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter