Methodology Canadas | World’s Best Cities


How we ranked Canada’s Best Cities in 2022

Resonance Consultancy ranks Canada’s best small cities (municipalities with populations of less than 200,000) by using a combination of statistical performance and qualitative evaluations by locals and visitors in 31 areas grouped into six core categories.



Our most layered category quantifies a city’s physical sense of place. To score a city within our Place category, we evaluate the perceived quality of its natural and built environments. From how often the sun shines to the safety of the streets, several readily measurable, oft-cited factors influence our perceptions.

Average number of sunny days (Weatherbase, 2022)

Overall Crime Severity Index (Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Statistics, Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, 2020)

Share of the population taking less than 15 minutes to travel to and from their place of employment (Polaris Intelligence, 2021)

Air Quality
Air Quality Index (IQAir, 2022)

Parks & Outdoors
Number of quality parks and outdoor activities recommended by locals and visitors in a city (TripAdvisor, 2022)

Sights & Landmarks
Number of quality sights and landmarks in a city (TripAdvisor, 2022)


This is a ranking of the “hardware” of a city—often the most difficult metric for cities to get right. Our product category studies a city’s key institutions, attractions and infrastructure. A city’s infrastructure and institutions shape its identity via the quantity, quality and reputation of these “products.” Expensive and difficult to develop and maintain, exceptional, recognizable products are often found only in well-developed, cosmopolitan cities.

Airport Connectivity
Number of direct destinations served by the city’s airports (Google Flights, 2022)

Share of residents employed in educational services (Polaris Intelligence, 2021)

Number of healthcare practitioners per 100,000 residents (Polaris Intelligence, 2021)

Bike Paths
Share of residents who cycle to work (Polaris Intelligence, 2021)

Number of quality museums and arts institutions recommended by locals and visitors (TripAdvisor, 2022)


This category measures the experiential pillars of a great visit: food, shows, shopping and nightlife. If our Product category is the “hardware” of cities and destinations, the mosaic of cultural programming and lifestyle experiences they offer is the “software” that makes them run—including the subcategories of Shopping, Theatres, Restaurants and Nightlife. While such programming initiatives are individually insignificant, their sum fosters a community’s connection to place.

Family-friendly Activities
Number of family-friendly recommended by locals and visitors (TripAdvisor, 2022)

Number of quality nightlife experiences recommended by locals and visitors (TripAdvisor, 2022)

Number of quality restaurants and culinary experiences recommended by locals and visitors (TripAdvisor, 2022)

Number of quality shopping experiences recommended by locals and visitors (TripAdvisor, 2022)


Human capital is often a city’s most valuable resource. To evaluate the relative strength of human capital from one city to the next, we consider the diversity and talent of the city’s population—something of proven importance when it comes to attracting talent.

Young Adults
Share of residents between the ages of 15 and 29 in a city (Polaris Intelligence, 2021)

Educational Attainment
Share of the population with a bachelor’s degree or higher (Polaris Intelligence, 2021)

Share of movers from other cities in Canada (Polaris Intelligence, 2021)

Creative Class
Share of residents employed knowledge- based occupations) (Polaris Intelligence, 2021)

Growth Share of residents who have moved to their the current city of residence in the past five years (Statistics Canada, 2016 & 2021)


A well-paid, economically secure citizenry facilitates stewardship and innovation. In general, beliefs about the wealth and prosperity of a city are shaped by statistics such as the income of citizens, the standard of living and the ability to own a home. And since start-ups and innovation increasingly drive a city’s development and economic growth, this overall category also measures the share of self-employed residents.

Household Income
Median household income (Polaris Intelligence, 2021)

Employment Rate
Employment rate of residents (Polaris Intelligence, 2021)

Income Equality
A city’s Gini Index, a simple measure of the distribution of income across income percentiles in a population (Statistics Canada, 2019)

Home Ownership
Rate of home ownership among residents of a city (Polaris Intelligence, 2021)

Rate of residents of a city who are self- employed (Polaris Intelligence, 2021)

Poverty Rate
Rate of poverty among residents of a city (Polaris Intelligence, 2021)


A city’s ability to tell its story (and help others do the same) depends on how it incentivizes and rewards sharing of experiences by locals and visitors. The number and frequency of media coverage, online articles, references and place-based recommendations influence our perception of cities, whether the news is good or bad. Today, residents, businesses and visitors promote a city to the world more than city marketers or chambers of commerce. Resonance ranks a city’s Promotion performance based on the number of stories, references and recommendations shared online about that city.

Facebook Check-ins
Number of Facebook check-ins (Facebook, 2022)

Google Search
Number of Google search results (Google, 2022)

TripAdvisor Reviews
Number of TripAdvisor reviews (TripAdvisor, 2022)

Instagram Hashtags
Number of Instagram hashtags (Instagram, 2022)

Google Trends
Popularity on Google Trends in the past 12 months (Google, 2022)