Best Cities/Towns to Live and Thrive in Greater Toronto

Different people have different opinions about Toronto and the surrounding areas.  I have lived in the Toronto area for 50 years, downtown, uptown and all around the suburbs and satellite cities.  Toronto has been my home for all except for 6 months (Montreal).  Southern Ontario has about 13 million in population of which the Greater Toronto Area is the major shareholder.

Greater Toronto is a fantastic place to live and have a family. In the greater Toronto Area we have a variety of cities and cultures. Different cities have different flavors and cultures.  Choose a Canadian area or one with exotic culture and food.

See the Toronto ethnicity maps here.

Below is list of the best cities/towns in the greater Toronto area listed based on family life and livability.  While I highly value the Rosedale area and uptown Yonge and Eglinton, I would not consider raising a family there.   I  had a great time downtown at the University of Toronto, but once again the suburbs win when it comes to family. You can get a small detached home for about $200,000 if you pick the right suburb. I have divided my choices into the absolute best Toronto family oriented communities followed by the best economical choices in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond.

Also note that some of the satellite cities are expanding, needing skilled workers, while the inner city has lost a lot of jobs to outlying areas as industry moves outward.


 A) The best Places to Live in the Toronto Area

Port Perry– Live by the lake in a Victorian town.  Incredibly scenic small town living on lake Scugog.  North East of Toronto.  This small town has its own hospital.

Port Perry

Port Perry – Fantastic lake and beautiful town


Oakville – Beautiful neighborhoods.  Nice place to live on the shores of Lake Ontario to the west of the city core.  easy access to the 403 and QEW.


Oakville – A town by the Lake


Uxbridge – Quaker Village.  Incredibly scenic small town living in the country side North East of Toronto.


Uxbridge – Best Place to Live

Georgetown – A very nice town to the north east of Toronto.  Away from the city crime and smog.



Stouffville – A town in the green belt. On the 404/Don Valley with easy access to downtown Toronto.  Estate homes on acreage and country side within easy commute.


Stouffville – A great place to live in Toronto

Whitby – A fantastic place.  The wealthy suburb of Oshawa.  Lake Ontario, HWY 401 and nice homes with an easy commute.


Whitby – a Nice Toronto community

Peterborough – A beautiful city in the Kawarthas.  Lakes fishing and the Canadian lifestyle.  Peterborough has manufacturing such as Pepsico.  One of my favourites is the free Zoo.  A great place to take young children.


Peterborough – Kawarthas

Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge – Ontario’s own technology triangle.  High tech jobs, nice homes and out of the smog of Toronto.  Take a drive here.  Maybe go through Victoria park or talk a walk on the Grand River.  Upscale area providing Universities with a home.

Kitchener Waterloo Cambridge

Kitchener Waterloo Cambridge

B) Best Places in Toronto to Live and Thrive

(Place that are good to live but economical too).

Brantford (2015-2016 Winner) – Detached homes in a Victorian city for under $200,000, jobs galore, and theGrand River (a river runs through it).  Live and thrive in an beautiful modern city on HWY 403.   The telephone was invented here by Alexander Graham Bell.   Also the birthplace of Wayne Gretzky.  This is a city that is expanding in a massive way, needing skilled workers to fill their jobs.  See promotional videos below.  VIA service, GO Service, Brantford City Transit, airport, major shopping, restaurants, live theatre, a city striving to reach its potential.  Massive expansion plans

2015-2016 Community Winner  –  Brantford . A dynamic super beautiful city which has houses under $200,000 and a solid job market.  Multiple global manufacturing companies.  A city on the rise which has come back from economic lows.  Currently being managed well.  All sorts of shopping and easy to drive around.  An old city with a rich history and a University where your children can obtain their degree.  Also and importantly a fisherman’s paradise.   

Best City

Brantford – Best City to Live In

Keswick –  Living by the lake on the 404.  Cost effective solution.  Go fishing after work.

Keswick by the Lake

Keswick by the Lake

Oshawa – An older Toronto Area community.  Birthplace of GM (formerly McLaughlin carriage company established 1876).  Nice beach on lake Ontario.  Easy drive to Toronto via 401.

Oshawa Home of General Motors

Oshawa Home of General Motors