As the tail-end of the Baby Boomer generation approaches its retirement years, the question of best places to retire in Canada is an inevitable dinner-table topic of conversation. On the one hand, the appeal of “aging in place” is clear, allowing retirees to stay in the home and neighbourhood they know and love, close to family, friends and frequented places. However the reality is that a large home is no longer needed or even wanted, and an urban address isn’t as crucial as it is in one’s working years. Financially speaking, urban property owners find themselves sitting on a goldmine of equity with which to fund those retirement years.
According to a 2018 survey of RE/MAX brokers and agents, market activity in 91 per cent of recreational markets in Canada was driven Baby Boomers – a 36-per-cent increase year over year. The trend continues in 2019.
Atlantic Canada has seen the largest influx of retirees from across the country, selling their high-value urban residence in favour of the slower (and cheaper) pace afforded by East Coast recreational markets. But for dwellers of metropolitan centres like the GTA and Vancouver who don’t want to make a cross-country move, recreational areas within their province are a hot spot. Here are some of the most in-demand cities and regions popular among those in search of the best places to retire in
Best Places to Retire in Ontario: Wasaga Beach & Rideau Lakes
Ontario is seeing the increasing trend of retirees fleeing urban centres across the Greater Toronto Area where prices continue to rise. However, cottage country isn’t just a more cost-effective approach. The waterfront lifestyle has its perks, ideal for retirees seeking an active lifestyle.
The town of Wasaga Beach is situated along the second-longest freshwater beach in the world. Offering a variety of relaxing activities, it boasts country clubs, golf courses, trails, yoga, and great access to activities on the water. With Blue Mountain in close proximity, the area offers an array of social activities and cultural experiences. Rideau Lakes is also a popular retirement destination, offering the best of nature with a number of historic trails, farms, and access to the Rideau Canal. The township also hosts adult social clubs for seniors that provide the opportunity to connect with the community over games, entertainment, and a meal.
Best Place to Retire in British Columbia: South Okanagan
Similar to Ontario, retirees continue to drive the recreational market in British Columbia as they seek a more affordable lifestyle outside of particularly expensive metropolitan areas like Vancouver. The Okanagan region is a scenic valley with a retirement-based economy. The region offers sunny climate, and Okanagan Lake in particular offers a number of outdoor activities to cater to retirees looking for an active lifestyle.
Best Places to Retire in Atlantic Canada
Miramichi & Miramichi Rural, New Brunswick
With average home prices down by more than 10 percent in Miramichi within the past year, retirees from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Alberta are downsizing and settling in this beautiful riverside city. Situated on the Miramichi River, the city boasts a number of marinas and access to waterfront activities. As an affordable social and cultural hub, Miramichi offers a well balanced lifestyle for retirees.
Annapolis Valley and Yarmouth
Baby boomers looking to retire have been dominating home-buying activity across Annapolis Valley and Yarmouth in 2019. Out-of-province buyers from across the country are selling their properties at high prices and moving to Atlantic Canada to settle down. Annapolis Valley offers a number of relaxing attractions with its beaches and vineyards, while Yarmoth is bustling with waterfront activities, parks, trails, heritage sites and festivals. This incredibly diverse and beautiful region offers something for everyone – especially a scenic view for retirement.
Kings County, Nova Scotia
Sunny skies in Kings County have contributed to solid home-buying activity in recent months, particularly attracting retirees from Ontario and Western Canada who are selling their homes and moving to Nova Scotia. From farmlands and orchards to wineries and vineyards, the region offers a relaxing atmosphere to compliment the hidden shore communities and Lake Lands. The natural beauty of the valley is unparalleled, as it is enclosed by mountains and located on the southwest shore of the Bay of Fundy and much of the Shoreline of the Minas Basin – home of the world’s highest tides. Kings County doesn’t just offer a picturesque setting – its economy is thriving and continues to grow thanks to the abundance of wineries and microbreweries.
Many retirees are choosing to lead lifestyles that involve farming, hiking and maintaining vineyards, so it’s no surprise that they make up one in five residents of this county (Statistics Canada’s 2016 Census Profile).
The city of Summerside is experiencing a seller’s market as it is highly sought after because of picturesque landscape, quality of life and affordability, especially by retirees from Ontario and British Columbia who are selling their properties to move to the area. With the influx of residents, the city continues to experience significant economic diversification, advancement, and growth. As PEI’s second largest city, it boasts a lively downtown core, with a number of social and cultural events throughout the year. One of the most well-connected places to retire in Canada, Summerside offers both a serene environment and an active social scene.
Best Places to Retire in the Prairies: Sylvan Lake & Lake Winnipeg
Due to the strong US dollar, retirees in the Sylvan Lake and Lake Winnipeg regions are selling their snowbird properties south of the border and purchasing recreational homes for use as retirement properties as well. The town of Sylvan Lake attracts 1.5 million visitors every year due to its various parks, campgrounds, and of course, the lake itself. Bustling with life, Sylvan Lake is perfect for retirees looking for an active an engaged lifestyle. Lake Winnipeg, the largest lake within the borders of Southern Canada, attracts Canadians from across the country with its white sandy beaches. There are up to 30 diverse communities along the thousands of miles of shoreline that offer unique cultural experiences. With the city of Winnipeg only an hour away from certain regions of the lake, it makes for a convenient and ideal location for those looking to settle down and escape city life.