Vancouver tops N. American rankings for quality of life

TORONTO - Vancouver is once again ranked the top city in North America in the latest annual quality of living rankings by consulting firm Mercer.

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The city also maintained its fifth spot among cities around the world and its place as the only North American city to crack the top 10.

Vienna was tops for overall quality of living, followed by Zurich, Auckland, New Zealand and Munich -- all the same as a year ago.

"Quality of living continues to be high in Canada with a stable political environment and positive social benefits, offering a very desirable and safe place to live and work for residents and expatriate employees," said Gordon Frost, leader of Mercer's talent business in Canada.

"Our sustained high ranking is attractive to multinational corporations and their employees as they look to expand in Canada and provide significant opportunities to both Canadians and workers from abroad."

The rankings are based on a broad range of factors including social and economic conditions, public services, recreation and environment.

Vancouver's place at the top for North America comes despite concerns about the cost of living and home prices due to the city's red-hot real estate market.

Housing affordability for Vancouver has become a key issue for the city, where the average cost of a detached house in many neighbourhoods has soared past the million-dollar mark.

Other Canadian cities on the list include Toronto at 15th, Ottawa at 17th, Montreal at 23rd and Calgary at 32nd. The top U.S. city was San Francisco at 28th.

The report also ranks cities by measuring other factors including personal safety, which is based on internal stability, crime and local law enforcement, as well as their home country's relationship with other nations.

Luxembourg was the highest ranked on the personal safety list followed by Bern, Switzerland, Helsinki and Zurich -- all tied for second.

The five Canadian cities included in the ranking were tied at 16th on the personal safety list. No U.S. cities made the top 50 for personal safety.

"Canada's major cities continue to be much safer than every U.S. counterpart. This is extremely appealing for ex-patriate employees looking to bring their families with them as they move abroad for work," Frost said.



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