Toronto on the World Stage

Numerous studies appear each year, ranking global metropolitan regions on measures such as prosperity, economic strength, competitiveness, and liveability. Although researchers sometimes question the methodologies used to compare cities in such studies, the following studies outlined in this section illustrate what the world is saying about Toronto in 2014 and 2015.

Toronto is a “Youthful City”:

  • Toronto is the sixth most Youthful City in the world according to the 2015 YouthfulCities Index, after having placed first in 2014.
    • In its second index, YouthfulCities, a global initiative to rank the world’s top 100 cities from a youth perspective and lead a unique urban regeneration in the process, analysed data from 55 global cities, using 101 indicators across 20 categories (such as diversity, music, film, safety, health, civic engagement, and transit) deemed important for life, work, and play by 9,000 surveyed youth.
  • New York, London, and Berlin placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, respectively. Other North American cities in the top 10 included San Francisco at 4th, Chicago at 7th, and Los Angeles at 8th.[1]


Toronto is one of the safest cities in the world, and the world’s most liveable city:


  • Our city ranks eighth out of 20 across the globe on The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)’s Safe Cities Index 2015, which assesses urban security in the digital age.
    • Toronto and New York (in 10th place) are the only North American cities to make the top 10. Montréal was the only other Canadian city on the list at 14th. San Francisco placed 12th, Chicago 16th, Los Angeles 17th, and Washington DC 19th.
    • The safest cities are in Asia: Tokyo, Singapore, and Osaka in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively.
  • Cities were ranked based on their levels of digital security, health security, infrastructure safety, and personal safety.
    • Toronto ranks 11th in digital security, 21st in health security, 8th in infrastructure safety, and seventh in personal safety.[2]
  • This year’s Safe Cities Index included an “index of indexes” compiled from six rankings by The Economist—Safe Cities, Liveability, Cost of Living, Business Environment, Democracy, and Global Food Security—to determine the most liveable cities in the world. Toronto came out on top of 50 global cities.
    • Montréal and Stockholm followed Toronto in 2nd and 3rd respectively.[3]


“Toronto is one of the world’s most liveable cities”:

  • Toronto again places high on The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)’s 2015 Global Liveability Ranking, placing fourth again—a position it has held since 2009, when it moved up from its sixth place standing in 2008.
  • The annual index ranks 140 global cities on over 30 indicators across stability, infrastructure, education, healthcare, and culture and environment categories.
  • Melbourne tops the list, and Vienna places second. Two other Canadian cities round out the top five, on either side of Toronto: Vancouver is third, and Calgary ties with Adelaide for fifth place.[4]


Toronto is the most liveable location for employees living in North America as assignees:

  • ECA International, a global consulting firm that provides data and technology to help companies assign and manage employees around the world, says Toronto is the most liveable location for North American assignees.
  • ECA’s Location Ratings are updated annually, and in 2014 the overall quality of living of over 450 locations worldwide was evaluated.
    • Factors assessed included political tensions, personal safety, climate, air quality, infrastructure, availability of health services, housing and utilities, and social considerations including risk of isolation and access to a social network and leisure facilities.
  • Toronto’s “good air quality, solid infrastructure, decent medical facilities, low crime and health risks” contributed to its topping the global ranking.
    • Ottawa, Vancouver, and Montréal also made the top 20.[5]


According to MoneySense magazine, however, Toronto is only the 35th best place to live in Canada:

  • While crediting Toronto for its low taxes, ease of walking, biking and using transit, good weather and strong arts and sports communities, the Canada’s Best Places to Live 2015 ranking from MoneySense nudged Toronto from 32nd place in 2014 to 35th this year.
    • The magazine evaluated 209 cities using metrics related to household income, employment, housing prices, weather, crime, and healthcare access.
  • Two GTA cities, Burlington and Oakville, did manage to place among the top 10, in 3rd and 6th respectively.
    • Boucherville, QC and Ottawa were 1st and 2nd.
  • Toronto itself did not make the top 10 “Best Places for New Immigrants.”
  • Toronto is ranked the second-best place in Canada to retire, with an average property tax of $1,710, a ratio of 2.03 doctors per 1,000 people, and 264 days a year with a temperature above 0° C. Ottawa ranked 1st (with the respective stats of $2,498, 2.53/1,000, and 216).
  • Seven of the 10 richest cities in Canada are within the GTA: Oakville placed 4th with an average household net worth of $1,069,469, Whitchurch-Stouffville 5th ($1,037,252), Vaughan 6th ($1,014,562), Richmond Hill 7th ($946,615), Aurora 8th ($935,067), Caledon 9th ($926,552), and Markham 10th ($918,633).
    • The three richest cities were West Vancouver ($3,152,364), North Vancouver ($1,149,991), and Canmore, AB ($1,099,001).
    • These rankings are further indication of growing income inequality. In 2014 only two cities had an average household net worth over $1M and in 2015, six do.[6]

The Toronto Region dropped to 5th place (from 3rd in 2014) among the dozen North American cities included in a ranking of 24 global metropolitan areas:

  • The 2014 Toronto Region Board of Trade Scorecard on Prosperity assesses the strengths of the Region through the lenses of economy and labour attractiveness (socio-economic and environmental factors) against other global cities.
  • Calgary beat out Toronto again this year, placing 3rd (down from 2nd last year).
    • Paris placed 1st again, Stockholm 2nd, and Oslo 4th.
  • While Toronto scores high overall, its economy has traditionally been an underperformer.
    • Toronto fell two spots to 14th on the overall economy ranking with a ”C” grade. Nonetheless, the Region is crucial to the economy of Ontario as well as to that of Canada. Toronto is home to half of Ontario’s labour force and businesses, and industry here accounts for nearly 50% of the province’s GDP and 20% of Canada’s. By comparison, New York produces about 9% of the US’ GDP.
    • Many North American cities populate this ranking’s top 10, with San Francisco in 1st with an A grade, Boston 2nd (A), Seattle 3rd (A), Dallas 4th (B), Calgary 7th (B), and New York in 10th (B).
  • In labour attractiveness, Toronto ranks 3rd with a B grade. Paris and London take 1st and 2nd respectively.
    • Toronto earned an “A” in six of the 15 indicators, including measures of immigrant population, teachers per 1,000 school-aged children, and air quality.
    • Transportation continues to be Toronto’s area for improvement, showing a rare combination of both a low percentage of people who commute by means other than automobile (29%, ranking us 14th) and a long commuting time (66 minutes, good for 15th place).
    • Toronto performed quite well on environment indicators, with a grade of “A” in air quality (ranking 7th), “A” in domestic water usage (3rd), and a “B” in the comfortable climate index (although our ranking is quite low at 18th).[7]




[1] Youthful Cities. (2015). New York named ‘Youthful City of the Year’ [Press Release]. Last accessed September 22, 2015 from:

[2] The Economist Intelligence Unit. (2015). The Safe Cities Index 2015. Last accessed September 22, 2015 from:

[3] Toronto Sun. (March 2, 2015). Toronto is the world’s best city to live in, Economist study finds. Last accessed September 22, 2015 from:; The Economist Intelligence Unit. (2015). The Safe Cities Index 2015. Last accessed September 22, 2015 from:; Toronto one of the Best Cities To Live In, According To The Economist.; Huffington Post. (2015). Toronto And Montreal Are The Best Cities To Live In, According To The Economist. Last accessed September 22, 2015 from:

[4] The Economist Intelligence Unit. (2015). Global Liveability Ranking and Report August 2015. Last accessed August 24, 2015 from:

[5] ECA International. (2015). Toronto tops global liveability index for North Americans. Last accessed September 22, 2015 from:;

[6] Moneysense. (2015). Canada’s Best Places to Live 2015.  Last accessed August 24, 2015 from:

[7] Toronto Region Board of Trade. (2015). Scorecard on Prosperity.