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'Best places to live:' How does your city rank?

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Thursday, March 13, 2014, 5:26 PM

In its annual "Best places to live" city ranking for 2014, Money Sense has certainly attracted the attention of Canadians over where and why their respective cities were placed in the hierarchy. Tending to several factors and weightings, all of which are explained on their website, St. Albert, Alberta claims top spot, while Calgary is runner up. Other big city rankings include:

4 - Ottawa
8 - Edmonton
9 - Regina
10 - Quebec City
19 - Winnipeg
26 - Halifax
32 - Toronto
39 - Vancouver
169 - Montreal

CHECK BACK: On Thursday Arda Ocal will have reaction from the streets of Vancouver to the city being named no. 39 on the best places to live list.

Some of the factors that go into determining the order of this list are easy to guess - wealth, demographics, housing, taxation, crime, culture.

Weather is also a determining factor, and it's more highly weighted than you might think.

Each city is individually graded by the same series of factors and categories, to a maximum possible total of 103 points. The categories related to weather are:

Annual rain fall (mm) - 2 points
Number of days with rain - 3 points
Percentage of days with precipitation (rain or snow) - 1 point
Number days with minimum temperature above 0 degrees Celsius - 3 points
Number of days with minimum temperature above 20 degrees Celsius - 1 point

A total of 10 points, or 9.7% of the maximum amount of points you can earn, is directly weather related.

Money Sense adheres to Environment Canada, who lists that an annual rainfall of 700 mm is what they consider ideal. Therefore, the closer a total a city gets to this number, the better their score. Being below or above will affect their score in this category.

When you look at the Full Ranking list you are also able to see ranked cities in order of best / worst weather.

Total Rainfall (mm)
Whitehorse, Yukon sees the least rain in the country with an average 160.89 mm annually, while North Vancouver claimed the most, with a whopping 3734.77 mm. British Columbia dominated the list, with the top 18 cities falling in the province.

Days per year with Rain
Prince Rupert sees 235.94 days with rain, tops in Canada. BC holds the top 25 spots (St. John, NL, comes in at 26). Yellowknife, NWT, sees only 51.3 days a year with rain.

Days Above 0, Above 20
Despite not being the northernmost city on the list, Thompson, Man., wins for least days above 0 in a year with only 126.7 (Yellowknife, however, can proudly display their 105.18 a year with below -20 degree temperatures). Delta, B.C. boats 343.8 days, just under 22 days shy of a full year, above freezing.

A fellow B.C. city, Price Rupert, has the least amount of days above 20 degrees in Canada: 6.44. Meanwhile, Windsor, Ont., sees 138.85 days with over 20 degree weather. One factor could be that the border city lies in Canada's southernmost point.

Daily Mean Temperature
B.C. dominates in this category as well on the high end of things. Victoria is one of few cities across the country with a double digit mean, sitting at 11.24 (it’s no surprise then that 9.51% of the population ride their bike to work, while 23.36% walk, both tops in the country). BC cities occupy 20 of the top 21 spots in the "Daily Mean Temperature" category.

Only three cities in Canada (on this list) can say that they have a Daily Mean Temperature below 0. Can you guess?

They are:

Yellowknife, NWT: -4.28
Thompson, MB: -2.85
Whitehorse, Yukon: -0.07

You would think one of these three would have the lowest "Walk to Work" percentage in Canada. Believe it or not, that distinction goes to Vaughan, ON - 1.42% of its population uses the two foot express!

Top 10 places by Weather

Based on their weightings and point system explained above and on their methodology page, Money Sense also determined the Top 10 places in Canada by Weather.

Kelowna and Pentincton in B.C., roughly 60 km apart, share top spot. The other B.C. entry, Delta, is at no. 7.

The Greater Toronto Area claimed three positions, including Mississauga (4), Oakville (5, incidentally where our Weather Network national weather centre is located) and Toronto itself (9).

Factors that were listed per city were Average temperature, number of days above 20 degrees and number of days with rain.

Note that these figures and statistics in this entire article are determined from the Money Sense website, in their Full Rankings of what they have determined to be Canada's Best Places to Live.

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