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Meet the most contented city in Canada (and the least)

Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 12:26 PM - If you thought people in Vancouver, land of mild winters and outdoor fun, are the most contented people in Canada, you'd be quite wrong.

In fact, Canada's west coast metropolis is dead last in Statistics Canada's latest life satisfaction poll, with respondents reporting an average life satisfaction score of 7.808 out of 10. 

That's not much better than Toronto (7.818), Windsor (7.85), Guelph (7.858) and Edmonton (7.87).

Image: Anthony Maw.

Topping the list: Saguenay, Que., a city of 150,000 people about 200 km north of Quebec City. People in that community have a life satisfaction score of 8.245 out of 10. Rounding out the top 5 are Trois-Rivieres, Que. (8.176), St. John's, Nfld. (8.174), Greater Sudbury, Ont. (8.167) and Quebec City (8.143).

Statistics Canada gave each community on its list a score out of 10 on a series of indicators that could influence life satisfaction, such as age, employment status and health, but if weather was a factor, it doesn't seem to have had much of an impact. 

Far from Vancouver's famously balmy winters, the average temperature in Saguenay is -10oC in January (often being much, much colder), with levels of snow Vancouverites would likely find scary.

Image: Denis Tremblay.

And in Saguenay, even the ones who aren't satisfied with life in the Quebec community make up a small proportion of the population. Only 8.6 per cent report a life satisfaction rating of 6 or less. 

Maybe it's something in the water around there. It would certainly explain why people in the town of La baie des Ha! Ha! decided to give their community such a joyful name.

The greatest proportion of dissatisfied folks live in Windsor, Toronto and Abbotsford-Mission, B.C., which are all tied at 17.1 per cent.

As for where the happiest of the happy live, Greater Sudbury, which is noticeably cooler than southern Ontario in the winter with an average December snowfall of 60 cm, seems to be your best choice.

Image: Louise Cecchetto

Some 44.9 per cent of people in that Nickel Belt metropolis rate their life satisfaction as 9 or more out of 10. Making its reappearance in last position is Vancouver, where only 33.6 per cent of residents feel the same way.

Statistics Canada released the report earlier this month, including data gathered from 340,000 individuals from 2009 to 2014.

SOURCE: Statistics Canada Life Satisfaction Survey.

Community Average life satisfaction score
Vancouver 7.808
Toronto 7.818
Windsor 7.85
Guelph 7.858
Edmonton 7.87
Barrie 7.878
Victoria 7.885
Peterborough 7.886
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 7.887
Abbotsford-Mission 7.893
Winnipeg 7.894
Brantford 7.897
Hamilton 7.897
St. Catharines-Niagara 7.905
Kingston 7.938
Regina 7.944
London 7.947
Calgary 7.958
Oshawa 7.961
Halifax 7.97
Canada (All) 7.973
Montreal 7.976
Kelowna 7.985
Saskatoon 8.022
Ottawa-Gatineau 8.045
Moncton 8.046
Thunder Bay 8.104
Sherbrooke 8.108
Saint John 8.125
Quebec City 8.143
Greater Sudbury 8.167
St. John's 8.174
Trois-Rivieres 8.176
Saguenay 8.245

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