Niagara Falls ranked fourth best small town in Canada to live, work and invest

Niagara Falls was ranked the fourth best small town in Canada to live, work and invest, according to a comprehensive city ranking website.

Resonance Consultancy’s Bestcities.org ranked municipalities with populations under 200,000 based on a set of criteria. Outcomes were determined in various areas grouped into six categories.

The categories included: Place (assessment of the perceived quality of a city’s natural and built environments); Product (key institutions, attractions and infrastructure); Programming (arts, culture, entertainment and culinary); People (immigration rate and diversity of a city); Prosperity (employment rate and income equality); and Promotion (amount of stories, references and recommendations shared online about a city).

While the top spot went to Victoria, British Columbia, Niagara Falls came in fourth, with Best Cities calling the honeymoon capital “a pretty nice place to put down roots and raise a family.”

Best Cities said Niagara Falls ranks No. 1 for family-friendly activities, No. 2 for theaters and No. 3 for sights and landmarks.

He said that apart from new investment in tourism, progress is being made in other areas, pointing to the future Niagara Falls Cultural Center and Farmer’s Market, and that the city has attractive natural amenities, including rivers that “flow everywhere”, trails and is close to a “thriving” wine region. Niagara Falls ranked #4 in Best Cities’ Parks and Outdoor Activities subcategory and #1 in the overall promotion category.

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati discussed Niagara Falls’ ranking during Tuesday afternoon’s council meeting.

He said the city is “moving in the right direction” and “firing on all cylinders again” after two years of the pandemic.

“Everyone is really excited and pumped to be here. Even if Americans aren’t (coming) here in large numbers yet, at least Canadians are flocking here.

St. Catharines was ranked the 25th best small town in Canada, with top cities saying “there’s something” about the garden city that “just seems more sophisticated, more ambitious.”

He said recent investments have created a “hub” for events, music and restaurants ranked No. 4 among small towns in Canada, “powered” by dozens of award-winning wineries.

According to Best Cities, anchored by the Meridian Centre, FirstOntario Performing Arts Center and Warehouse Concert Hall, “this stealthy creative hub” ranks eighth in Canada in the Programming category.

In an interview after the meeting, Diodati said it was nice to see Niagara Falls being recognized in such a positive light, adding that the city is “coming out of two of the toughest years” in its history.

“We are so dependent on tourism and tourism was literally shut down for two years, (but) we are not just making a comeback, but a triumphant comeback,” he said.

“You can see by the mass migration from the (Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area), they’re all coming here, and they’re talking. Before, the main reason they came was because it was cheaper. Now they say the quality of life, amenities and people realize it’s a great place to live.

Diodati said “there’s so much to do” in Niagara Falls, which borders the United States.

“And you’re not that far from Toronto – far enough, but not too far, so it’s kind of perfectly positioned between Toronto and the United States.”

He said the Niagara region as a whole is “thriving” and for a long time Niagara Falls was not on people’s radar except for tourism.

“Well now people don’t just want to visit here, they actually want to live here.”

Maria D. Ervin