Canadians moving

Top 5 Cities Canadians Moved From the Most Last Year

If you’ve read our blog recently, you might have caught our post about the cities that Canadians moved to the most in 2020 (and if you didn’t, you can find it here). That list was generated by reviewing data we analyzed from 1,450 moves throughout the year, combing through cities and comparing moves into vs. moves out of each particular place. Today, we’re back with another piece using that same data—but this time, we’re looking at the cities that Canadians were leaving the most last year.

You might remember that the overarching theme from our study was that Canadians were fleeing densely populated cities for more space and fewer people, and that’s certainly evident here. Check out our list of the top five places Canadians moved from the most in 2020 and a few quick reasons behind what may have prompted them to pack up and go.

1. Toronto, Ontario

Toronto Skyline

Coming in at the top spot (and by a wide margin) is The Big Smoke. So, why are people departing Toronto in record numbers? For one thing, the city’s exorbitant cost of living has left many people feeling the pinch, especially in the middle of a pandemic. With COVID-19 also forcing a lot of businesses to transition to a remote work environment, some people who once lived in Toronto out of career necessity found that they could keep their jobs and move out of the city.

2. Vancouver, British Columbia


Similar to market conditions in Toronto, rising home costs left many people in search of greener pastures (literally and figuratively) by moving to the more rural parts of the country. It’s also important to point out that crime rates in Vancouver have risen in some areas in recent years (though violent crime remains low).

3. Edmonton, Alberta


Another of the more expensive cities in Canada, Edmonton has also faced provincial uncertainty around its economy and politics. Chief among those concerns is the possibility of Alberta pulling out of the Canada Pension Plan. Doing so would reportedly “come with $133B unfunded liability,” reports CBC.

4. Winnipeg, Manitoba


Young people have been moving out of Manitoba for years, so we can’t say we’re very surprised to see Winnipeg make this year’s list. While its housing is less expensive than other cities like Toronto or Vancouver, Winnipeg’s location in the center of the country has historically led to a lower-than-you-might-expect volume of flights going in and out of the city’s airport, making it a challenge to travel. In the past, Winnipeg’s public transportation has also been panned for being unreliable

5. Ottawa, Ontario


The outward migration from Ottawa follows the same script as other major metropolitan areas, with the pandemic accelerating what was an established trend. Though the city serves as the capital of Canada, it lacks some of the nightlife and action that other cities of its size and prestige possess. Additionally, the city is bilingual, so living (and working) there can be tricky if you aren’t fluent in French.

For what it’s worth, we still think these five places are great cities—they just may not be for everyone. To see more insights from the data that shows the moving patterns of Canadians, be sure to click here