Mount Tolmie offers a fantastic view of Saanich

Mount Tolmie offers a fantastic view of Saanich

Saanich ranked Vancouver Island’s best city

MoneySense statistical analysis says immigrant-friendly community offers employment, health care, low crime and many amenities

According to Island Health statistics, Saanich residents have the highest incomes on Vancouver Island.

And they are among the least depressed.

So maybe it should come as no surprise a recent report by MoneySense magazine has determined Greater Victoria’s most populous municipality as the best place to live on Vancouver Island.

The annual report is based on a number of measurable factors including amenities, income, weather and affordability — 35 categories in total. It looked at 219 communities across the country and assigned each a score based on how they compared against the rest.

When they added up the totals, Saanich had finished 13th overall, significantly higher than its Island runner-up, Comox.

“Of course, was there any question?” acting Saanich mayor Vicki Sanders said, tongue only partly in cheek.

The 2016 ranking was news to her, although she is aware of the community scoring well in previous surveys. She said she appreciates the recognition, and having the numbers back up her personal observations.

“I feel proud as a person who grew up here,” she said.

MoneySense compiled the rankings using statistical data from Statistics Canada, Environics Analytics and other sources.

“While we can’t gauge many of the elements that people enjoy in their cities, the nearness of family, the friendliness of neighbours or even great sunsets, we have measured what can be measured and compared what can be compared,” report author Mark Brown said.

According to the report, which was released in June, Saanich scored among the top 25 per cent of Canadian cities in employment, access to health care, arts and sports opportunities, and crime rate. It finished in the top 10 cities overall for ease of access to walking, biking and transit.

It also received recognition as a great place for new Canadians, finishing sixth in the country in that respect. Employment, apartment rental costs, and an existing immigrant population of 17 per cent were cited as factors.

That was also news to Sanders, but not a surprise. She said the same standard of living, amenities and lifestyle balance that Saanich offers established Canadians also applies to immigrants, and it is complemented by a genuine community effort to welcome newcomers.

The Island’s top-ranked city finished fourth-overall in B.C. after West Vancouver (7 overall), North Vancouver (8), and Port Moody (11). The country’s top five cities were, in order, Ottawa, Burlington, and Oakville, Ont., St. Albert, Alta., and Boucherville, Que.

Among the report’s other interesting findings was that Victoria was ranked as the best place to retire in B.C. and the fifth-best place in the country — in part because of an average property tax of $1,026, a total of 3.73 doctors per 1,000 residents and an average of 319 days a year with temperatures above freezing. The magazine put special emphasis on senior-friendly considerations like low taxes, a thriving cultural community, quick access to an airport and plenty of doctors, when determining the retirement list.

Saanich was also the Island’s top city in the previous edition of the MoneySense report, finishing 12th overall in 2015. Vancouver Island cities in general slipped considerably on the overall list compared to 2015, most notably Victoria, Comox, Courtenay and Campbell River.

Some of those commenting online questioned the validity of a purely statistical exercise.

“I would say surveys like this are inaccurate. What people consider to be the best in a city would depend a great deal on what they value in life,” someone identifying themselves as Robert Grandfield wrote.

“These surveys are totally out of touch with reality. North and West Vancouver are nearly impossible to afford housing except to multi-millionaires. Victoria is fast going the same way. Nanaimo, population around 100,000 with a reasonably large hospital, gets no tick for health facilities or anything else including affordability,” A.J. Willcocks posted.

“Your researchers should spend at least a week in each city surveyed, I doubt they have actually visited any of them, just read up city stats on Wikipedia.”

 

How Island communities ranked

13. Saanich (12)

71. Comox (25)

91. Victoria (50)

153. Nanaimo (142)

162. Courtenay (129)

172. Parksville (178)

183. Duncan (171)

192. Campbell River (166)

210. Port Alberni (207)

— MoneySense magazine, last year’s rank in parentheses

 

Follow me on Twitter @JohnMcKinleyBP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelly McGiffin, left, Dwayne Stern, batboy Jackson McGiffin and Kirk McGiffin are reviving the Port Alberni Cubs—this time as an over-55 baseball team. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni’s McGiffin brothers revive Cubs baseball at 55-plus

The boys of summer are 55-plus now, but back on the baseball field

The intersection at 10th Avenue and Dunbar Street. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Safety improvements planned for Port Alberni intersection

10th Avenue and Dunbar Street is an “intersection of concern” based on incident data

Members of Huu-ay-aht First Nations conducted two checkpoints on Monday, May 10, asking people who enter the territory to respect the sacred principles and to act accordingly while on Huu-ay-aht land. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Huu-ay-aht First Nations set up checkpoints in territory

Access restrictions come after forestry incidents

Bulldogs forward Brandon Buhr is knocked off the puck by Grizzlies defenceman Lindsay Reid. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs beaten back-to-back by Victoria Grizzlies

Victoria Grizzlies named Island Champions while Bulldogs take second place

In 1903, if you were looking north down First Avenue with Alberni in the distance, this is what you would have seen. Scattered houses along River Road are visible, as is the corner of Watson Block building in the lower lefthand corner of the photograph. This photo is part of the 24,000 online collection of the Alberni Valley Museum. View this one and more at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN02975 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Historic street scenes of Port Alberni

Take a peek back in time with the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)
‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read