Old Town neighbourhood is most liveable according to new report

This Toronto neighbourhood was just ranked one of the most liveable in Canada

A new report suggests that Canadians love their neighbourhoods, with the majority (86 per cent) saying they like the quality of life and liveability their hoods offer, and 50 per cent liking it a lot.

The RE/MAX 2024 Liveability Report shows that the 10 most liveable neighbourhoods in Canada are mainly nestled across cities in Prairie provinces, such as Alberta and Manitoba. And although new data shows that people are leaving Toronto in serious numbers — Old Town, Toronto, might be relatively stable, as it’s one of only two liveable neighbourhoods in Ontario to make the list.

Old Town is said to be the first named neighbourhood in Toronto, gaining its name and status at around 1815.

“Even in the modern day, you can experience historic character with its cobblestone streets, Victorian architecture, and local landmarks including St. Lawrence Market, the famed Flatiron Building, St. James Cathedral and the Distillery District,” the report states. “King and Queen Streets are a stone’s throw away, and when life pulls you further from home, public transit is around every corner and the Gardiner Expressway is just to the south. Given its central downtown location, the majority of homes here come in condo and apartment form.”

Corktown, Hamilton, also made the list — situated near Main Street East and Wellington Street, Corktown is one of Hamilton’s oldest and most vibrant neighbourhoods.

“It boasts a strong sense of community and is a residential hotspot, offering a blend of older and newer homes, with access to schools, walking and biking trails, and vibrant cultural scene,” the report states.

The report also suggests that in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the most livable neighbourhoods are often concentrated in the metropolitan center (e.g., Toronto proper, which refers to the area that is officially the city of Toronto, distinguishing it from the GTA) as these neighbourhoods were generally developed before cars were introduced, and so were designed to be more walkable.

“Given this, they tend to rank high on overall liveability but fall short when it comes to affordability,” the report states.

Focusing solely on Ontario — some of the top “most liveable” neighbourhoods in the province are located within older, established areas, with high walkability scores: Corktown, Hamilton; O’Neill, Durham Region; Williamsville, Greater Kingston; Downtown London, London; Garson, Sudbury; Simpson-Ogden, Thunder Bay; Sandy Hill, Ottawa; Jefferson, York Region; and Old Town, Toronto.

The Beach neighbourhood, aerial view, Toronto
The Beach neighbourhood, aerial view, Toronto

In Toronto proper, eight neighbourhoods were identified as the city’s most up-and-coming liveable areas: Leaside, East York, Trinity-Bellwood’s, the Beaches-Leslieville, Davisville, Midtown, South Etobicoke, and Bloor West. All eight have key elements in common — they’re mature neighbourhoods with renovated and modernized homes. Just north of Toronto, in York Region, downtown Markham was noted as an up-and-coming neighbourhood in the region.

For the survey, RE/MAX partnered with Montreal-based data analytics company Local Logic1  to compile the lists of neighbourhoods within some of Canada’s largest and growing real estate markets, based on liveability factors that Canadians said were most important to them, i.e.,  affordability, proximity to work, easily walkable, access to green spaces and parks, proximity to health or medical services, low-density neighbourhoods, proximity to public transit, easily driveable, proximity to preferred childcare/schools, access to bike lanes/walking paths, a neighbourhood with diverse cultures and ethnicities, and high-density neighbourhoods.

The survey shows that the most-important liveability factors named by Canadians are affordability (44 per cent), neighbourhood safety (10 per cent), walkability (six per cent), and age of the home (six per cent).

“Quality of life continues to be an important consideration for Canadians when choosing a place to live. Our survey shows that many have found a place they love, but we also know that ongoing affordability crises and housing shortages are severely impacting many Canadians and have become a barrier to home ownership in regions across the country,” Christopher Alexander, President of RE/MAX Canada, said in a statement. “By rethinking design, relevant government policies and zoning bylaws as applicable in existing and new neighbourhoods, we can achieve a more effective and comprehensive national housing strategy, that supports long-term liveability and greater affordability for Canadians.”

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO